Category Archives: crime fiction

What You Want To See by Kristen Lepionka – a review BLOG TOUR

What You Want to SeeIn What You Want To See, Roxanne is a private investigator who takes on what she thinks is going to be a nice easy case. Arthur thinks his fiancée is cheating on him and wants Roxanne to follow her. Unfortunately her case starts to get more complicated when the woman she is following turns up dead. The police think that Arthur is the killer. However as Roxanne starts to investigate things get more complicated and the body count rises. Arthur’s fiancée was a lot more complicated than she at first seemed and Roxanne needs to find out exactly what she is wrapped up in.

I love a novel with a good female protagonist, and What You want to see is definitely one of those.

This is a good story that is full of twists and turns and moves along at a decent pace. There are a lot of characters within the novel. Not only Roxanne’s family and friends including ex-lovers and next door neighbours, but also those involved in the case. There were brothers and sisters, step-families, gangsters, and antiques dealers, all mixing to create a very intriguing case. Yet the real star iof this story is definitely Roxanne herself. She is clever, strong, funny and dedicated to her job. I am a huge fan of Stephanie Plum (find her in the Janet Evanovich novels) and I think in Roxanne, Stephanie has got a run for her money.

This is Kristen’s second novel and I do think that you would benefit from reading the first one. In this novel although Roxanne’s drinking and her mixed up love life are discussed, she seems a lot more sorted in this novel so despite the whisky in her coffee it might not be fully apparent without the background. However this still works as a stand-alone novel. The story was self-contained so don’t be put off if you haven’t read the first one. The quality of the writing means that the story flows smoothly but there are enough background details included so you know the gist of what happened previously. I would say however that once you have read this you will want to read more about Roxanne!

If you like your novels female led and enjoy reading good crime stories then I would definitely recommend What You Want To See by Kristen Lepionka. To find out what other bloggers thought of the novel visit the other stops on the tour. Tomorrow it is the turn of www.thrillerbooksjournal.com.

To find out more about the author ad over to from first page to last

 

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Fearless by Jessie Keane – a review BLOG TOUR

I have always been fascinated by the gypsy lifestyle and have read a few of Jessie Keane’s previous novels. Therefore I am delighted to be closing the fantastic blog tour for her latest novel, Fearless.

Fearless is a stand alone novel telling the story of Claire and Shauna. Both of them are in love with Josh. He is a gypsy who makes money for people by throwing his bare knuckle fights. Engaged to Claire he decides he no longer wants to just get knocked out and so wins the fight to become the king of the gypsy fighters. However Shauna isn’t about to let him get away easily and starts a chain of events that has far reaching consequences  for the rest of their lives.

Jessie Keane is one of those authors whose style of storytelling doesn’t just focus on a small part of someone’s life as most crime stories do. These are epic tales of peoples entire lives. I found this was a really interesting change from what I’ve been reading previously. It meant you became more invested in the characters as they got older, and their lives became more complicated and you felt like you were aging with them.

I absolutely sped through this book, and couldn’t stop turning the pages. It is a story that starts off at a breathtaking speed and doesn’t let up until the end.  The glimpse into the gypsy world is fascinating. You can completely understand why one of the characters is so keen to escape this background, yet there is loyalty and love there too. The book also sticks with Jessie’s usual backdrop of gangland and murders with the crime underworld being mixed with normal emotions and heartache.

The people in the novel are well drawn and all believable. The two main  characters make a nice contrast to each other. Shauna is despicable and some of her actions are horrendous. Yet she does everything she does because of her own twisted sense of love. Claire however is a nice pleasant character that you warm to from the start. She is kind and slightly vulnerable, yet has to grow up fast. I always enjoy a book with good female characters, which were in complete contrast to the slightly pathetic men within the story.

Fearless is an interesting, fast, character lead novel. If you like a gritty crime story led by strong women then I would recommend this novel.

Order her latest novel here

And visit the other stops on the tour

 

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The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dhal – a review BLOG TOUR

I must confess to never having read any of the previous novels by Kjell Ola Dhal. However when he was introduced to me as the Godfather of Nordic Noir I jumped at the chance to be on the blog tour for his latest novel, and I’m glad I did.

In the Ice Swimmer it is a few days before Christmas and a woman is being pursued onto a tube station in Oslo. When she is then run over by a train it is at first assumed to be a suicide. Elsewhere a body has been pulled from a frozen lake. This time it is thought that he just fell whilst drunk and the cold got him. However as Detective Lena Stigersand and her colleagues Gunnarstranda and Frølich start to investigate, they begin to realise that there are more sinister forces at work, which reach far wider than they thought.

This is a superb novel that I genuinely couldn’t put down. Set in the cold streets of a Winter Oslo the atmosphere was chilly to say the least. It’s the kind of book where when you are reading the descriptions of the place you feel the need to put an extra jumper on as the cold seeps off the page.

I really enjoyed the character of Lena. Personally I felt she was a really welcome change to a lot of the current female leads out there. Often females are portrayed as either being whisky drinking, one night stand, no feeling types, or weak and pathetic needing to be ‘rescued’ Yet she wasn’t either. She was a tough police officer who could look after herself. However she had a natural vulnerable side to her that helped in her policing. Her health scare, and her blossoming relationship with a local reporter also helped to give her a multidimensional character that worked really well. Although her taste in music was little dodgy (Does anyone really like listening to Christmas music??)

The story itself is fast paced with a huge amount of twists and turns, yet it was easy to follow. The novel is the sixth in the Oslo detective series however it works as a standalone and although I would like to know more about the detectives, that’s because I enjoyed the characters so much rather than I felt I was missing anything. One thing that I also really liked was that to me this didn’t actually feel like it was a translation. Sometimes when reading translated books I find myself having to re-read bits to make sense of them, yet this didn’t which is testament to the translator Don Bartlett.

If you like novels where the story is gripping and the writing is so good that you actually feel like you are in the place it is set then I would highly recommend The Ice Swimmer. I will definitely be reading the rest of Kjell Ola Dahl’s novels.

Find out more about the Ice Swimmer and Kjell Ola Dahl by visiting the other stops on the blog tour or buy the book here:

 

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Closer Than You Know by Brad Parks – a review BLOG TOUR

Closer Than You Know by Brad Park introduces us to Melanie. Having survived a difficult childhood she is now happily married with a young son. Her life seems to be in control. Until she arrives to pick up her son from his child minder to find out that he has been removed by social services. Her problems then increase when she is arrested for drug possession and she realises that someone is trying to frame her.

The story is told not only from the point of view of Melanie, but also that of Amy who is the assistant commonwealth’s attorney. She is assigned to Melanie’s case, but is also hunting down a serial rapist who has been active for years.

This was a good read. The story itself was interesting although in parts it did feel a little implausible. However it is no lie that I couldn’t put this one down. The twists and turns just kept coming giving it a real rollercoaster feel. The characters of Melanie and Amy were both well written. Both women were in incredibly frustrating situations and despite their different circumstances they both felt powerless at times. One thing that really stood out for me was the fact that at no point did it become obvious that this was a man writing from a woman’s point of view. I find often certain words or phrases sound a bit out of kilter but not with this one.

This was the first I have read from Brad Park’s but I’ll certainly keep an eye out for the rest of his novels if they are all such a roller coast as this one was. Closer Than You Know is out on the 15th March. Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the blog tour.

Closer Than You Know_BLOG TOUR POSTER

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Evidence of Death by Peter Ritchie – a review BLOG TOUR

Today I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Evidence of Death by Peter Ritchie published by Black and White Publishing.

In Evidence of Death Billy Nelson returns to his loyalist roots following his discharge from army service and leads a gang in a series of violent attacks. Being forced out of Belfast which has changed since he was there he moves to Edinburgh. Here he decides to get into the drugs business and take on the criminal underworld that stretches from Edinburgh to Glasgow and back to Belfast. It is newly promoted Grace Macallan who has to try and keep the streets of Scotland safe whilst dealing with police in Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Evidence of Death by Peter Ritchie is the second in the Grace Macallan book, and although I hadn’t read his previous one there is enough in the story to fill in some of the background. This was a really interesting read that grabbed my attention from the start.

It is quite a violent novel, yet it doesn’t seem out of kilter with the book. Rather the violence draws you into the incredibly seedy and disturbing world that Billy Nelson inhabits. I particularly liked the character of Grace Macallan. She is tough, and doesn’t take any nonsense as you would expect. However we also get glimpses into a softer side of her.

There is a lot of police procedural in this book, yet that in no way distracts from the story. I actually found it fascinating learning details about how the police work. You almost felt like you were part of the investigation. I was also bizarrely drawn to some of the characters, even those who you are not meant to like, which says something about the quality of writing. Even mindless thugs have a different side sometimes!

I very much enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more from Peter.

Evidence of Death is out on the 22nd February and can be purchased here.

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The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn – a review

As regular readers of this blog will know one of my favourite things about the TOPCWF is the opportunity it gives to read authors that have books coming out the following year. Sometimes these books include brand new authors and often there are some real gems within my book haul. One such gem is The Woman in the Window by A J Finn.  

The Woman in the Window tells the story of Anna Fox, a child psychologist who is suffering from severe agoraphobia. She hasn’t left her house in over ten months and spends her days either watching her neighbours through the windows, or watching old films in the company of red wine. When new neighbours the Russell’s move in she is drawn to their picture perfect family. Until the night she hears a scream and thinks she sees something that she wasn’t supposed to. Unfortunately no one believes Anna, thinking she has just let her drunken imagination run wild. Therefore it is left to Anna to prove that she isn’t mad.

This was an absolutely cracking novel. I have to say I read a similar story last year which helped me guess one of the major plot twists quite early on. Yet this in no way detracted from what was an superb read. It did literally keep me up all night. There is a scene with Anna in bed with her cat that really shouldn’t be read when in bed on your own with a cat.

I thought the story itself was interesting and really didn’t see the ending coming. I found the character of Anna incredibly likeable. Despite her excessive self-medication and the slight self-pitying feel to her, she is a character that you quickly feel sympathy for as she struggles with the reality she has created. The beauty of this story is that it is a slow burner, this draws you into Anna’s world and you actually feel like you are looking through the windows with her. Obviously the setting rarely changes, which means there are few descriptive paragraphs included which I felt gave it a really claustrophobic feel. I was drawn in from the beginning and you are gradually taken along with Anna as she slowly declines before the ending shatters into sight.

This was a superb story, with excellent writing that I would highly recommend. I look forward to reading more by AJ Finn and to what little gems will be in the TOPCWF 2018 goody bag this year.

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Class Murder by Leigh Russell BLOG TOUR

Today I’m delighted to be the next and final stop on Leigh Russell’s top ten tour. 

For those of you who don’t know, Leigh writes the fantastic Geraldine Steel series. The tenth novel Class Murder is out now. In it Geraldine moves to York and has been demoted to Detective. She finds herself investigating the murder of two people, both of whom went to the same school and were in the same class. It soon becomes a race against time to stop the killer before more bodies appear. 

Obviously any novel using York as a setting instantly heads to the top of my tbr pile. It’s always nice to read stories set where you live and I’m very glad I did. This is a fantastic story that kept me gripped throughout. The chapters from the killer’s point of view were especially chilling. 

Although this is the tenth it works perfectly well as a standalone. I suspect this is helped by the move to York as I got to know Geraldine along with her new colleagues. Having only read a couple of her early novels before I definitely want to go back and read the whole series now. 

To celebrate the release of the tenth novel I’m pleased to share Leigh’s latest top ten and this time we are finding out her top ten TV shows :

Homeland
Breaking Bad
Judge Judy
The West Wing
Have I got News for You
The Coroner
Line of Duty
Safe House
Sherlock
Death in Paradise

Some interesting choices there. I thought I was the only Death in Paradise fan! 

If you want to find out more about Leigh’s top tens then visit the other stops on her tour. 

Thanks to No Exit Press for my copy of Class Murder.

http://www.noexit.co.uk/index1.php?imprint=1&isbn=&ebookid=1607

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