Category Archives: crime fiction

His Perfect Wife by Natasha Bell – a review BLOG TOUR

His Perfect Wife follows artist Alex who lives a perfect life with her husband Marc and their two children in York. When she goes missing, at first it’s thought to be an abduction, until her clothing and belongings are found near the riverbank and the police think it’s a murder case. However, Alex hasn’t died, she is being kept against her will far away from her family. Marc is determined to find out what has happened to his wife, even though it means uncovering secrets proving he didn’t really know her at all.

Told from the point of view of Alex, the story switches backwards and forwards between the past and present. Alex imagines the scenes at home after she has gone, alongside replaying how her and Marc met and built their life together. We also find out about Alex’s previous and rather exciting life as a performance artist in New York via letters from her former roommate. These letters show a slightly different side of our perfect wife, who gave up a glamourous career to be with the man she loved.

This was an interesting take on the domestic set novel that I really enjoyed. Clearly you know that the perfect marriage portrayed at the start is going to start tumbling down as soon as Marc starts investigating. Yet the way this pans out led to an ending I did not see coming and actually made me re-read some chapters to see what I had missed.

The character of Alex is frankly annoying from the start which did make the reading a little uncomfortable at times as you know you should feel sorry for her but it’s a struggle. Yet despite not feeling sorry for her the story kept me gripped. I was a little disappointed that the setting of York didn’t make more of an appearance. Although you knew it was set in the city as it said so, it could have really been in any city with a river, but that is probably because I am a bit biased.

I’m not sure how true to life this is, without wishing to give away any spoilers there are certain parts that just would not be possible. Yet as I always say with fiction you can get away with stretching boundaries somewhat. Overall it was an easy enjoyable story that I thought had a clever twist.

Thanks to Penguin Random house for my copy of His Perfect Wife. Available here.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the blog tour to find out more.

 

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I’ve Got My Eyes On You by Mary Higgins Clark – a review

As a young girl (obviously only a few years ago) one of the first mystery writers I ever picked up was Mary Higgins Clark. Therefore I was very excited to be offered the chance to read a copy of her latest novel I’ve Got My Eyes On You’

The story starts with the body of Kerry being found in her parent’s swimming pool. Her parent’s had been away and she had thrown a party but despite the house being packed with people no one saw anything. Her boyfriend is the main suspect to start with, as they were known to have a pretty argumentative relationship. However there are other suspects including the boy next door who was upset that he didn’t get invited to the party and the mysterious big guy that was spotted by the neighbour. Kerry’s sister has just returned after travelling to work as a guidance counsellor at her sister’s old school and as well as dealing with her own grief she has to help her sister’s friends deal with theirs.

This was a great quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I must confess it wasn’t the most difficult mystery to solve, it was pretty obvious early on what the outcome might be. However that at no point spoils the story. The key to Mary Higgins Clark longevity is her characterisation and writing style. Short chapters make it an easy read that keeps you doing the classic just one more chapter then I’ll put the book down until early morning. The characters are all well rounded and there is a good mix of likeable and annoying ones. Of course as well as the mystery there is also a romance, and that just adds to the intrigue in the book. 

As with all her novels this isn’t gruesome graphic novel, it is a story of a murder and of why it happened. I would recommend this if you want an easy fast yet satisfying read.

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The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste – a review

I am lucky enough to read many debut novelists which means I often get hooked on a series from the beginning. However the downside of having so many debut authors to read of course, is that it sometimes means that an authors later novels get pushed down the ever increasing ‘want to read’ pile in favour of debuts. This is what happened with Luca Veste. I read both the first two in the excellent Murphy and Rossi series and I have book three ‘Bloodstream’ and four ‘Then She Was Gone’ on the pile. Therefore when I realised that the new one by Luca Veste was available on netgalley and was a standalone story I jumped at the chance to read it.

luca vesteThe Bone Keeper starts with 4 children playing in the woods talking about the local mythical killer – ‘The Bone Keeper’ . The Bone Keeper steals children, slices them up and as you can probably guess, hangs onto the bones. The 4 children dare each other to walk through the tunnel where the Bone Keeper lives but only three of them come out the other side. Forward twenty years and a woman is found wandering round the streets covered in slash marks and saying that the bone keeper did it. DC Louise Henderson starts to investigate whilst dealing with her own issues and trying not to let herself believe that the Bone Keeper might actually be real.

This was a superb book that kept me absolutely engrossed on a recent trip up to Edinburgh. Everyone can recall stories from when they were young of the bogeyman in the woods, with every different place having a slight twist in the tale meaning they all have some personal connection. Therefore a tale about one of these stories coming to life is always going to be a page turner.

The Bone Keeper is set in Liverpool and this is a place that is as much a part of the book as the story itself. I can’t say I was particularly fond of the central character Louise, in fact I found her rather insipid, with very little that actually made me care about her at all. I did however like her partner Shipley, and the way the characters interacted.  However the story is the element that really makes this novel stand out. In parts this crossed to being more of a horror story rather than a simple crime story which I really enjoyed. It takes real skill to write a novel that can scare whilst being realistic.

Whilst for fans of the Murphy and Rossi series this is a bit of a departure I would definitely recommend it if you like fiction that scares.

The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste is available on amazon

 

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Black Matter by GD Parker – BLOG TOUR

I have always been a bit wary of fitbit’s, so many people seem to wear them and in my head I’ve always imagined that somewhere there are aliens getting ready to take over the planet. They’ll just flick a switch and everyone with a fitbit will be turned into a killing robot. Therefore when I was invited onto the promotional blog tour for Black Matter I was happy to help!

Black matter is the debut novel by author GD Parker. It is book one of a three-part series that explores the depths of the unfolding high-tech world we now live in, making it a dangerous place.

Black Matter – the blurb

The future is now… it’s terrifying!!! Humanity locks jaws with the ever-increasing human desires towards highly advanced technological innovations making the world a dangerous place. Unanticipated horrific consequences unfold for Tommy McGregor when he partakes in a new high-tech innovation to enhance his health and wellbeing. He thought it would make him healthier, better looking and live forever…DI Valentina is out of her comfort zone when she’s tasked to track down a killer, unknown to her, hidden behind a digital mask. The future has already fallen upon humanity as she soon discovers, nothing is as it seems anymore as society embarks in technology that’s already here. A terrifying mystery, it feeds your imaginative mind’s eye – a fast-paced “whoisit” thrilling crime, novel that will leave you guessing until the end, (or will it?) As it leaves the hairs on your arms stand on end as you uncontrollably turn each page in this 3 part series.

The author

Gareth was born in the UK in 1981. A family man he has spent much of his working life in South Wales working in a professional capacity. One day he made the decision write about an idea he dreamt about. Still working full time for a large organisation, he enjoys reading all manner of books, and spending time with his family.

 

If you would like to read this novel, set not too far in the future then it is out now. I bet it makes you think twice about keeping hold of your activity tracker though!

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Matter-order-must-read-thriller-ebook/dp/B07KJNDX1P

US – https://www.amazon.com/Black-Matter-order-must-read-thriller-ebook/dp/B07KJNDX1P

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The Man With No Face by Peter May – BLOG TOUR

isbn9781787472617I originally found Peter May as part of my TOPCWFC which you may recall was the original aim of this blog. His first novel for me was The Blackhouse, which is part of a trilogy set on the Isle of Lewis. This was an interesting novel and I went on to read the rest of the trilogy. Last year I was also privileged to be able to read I’ll Keep You Safe which was a cracking read (see review here)  However one of the downsides to there being so many great new books coming out all the time is that if you are anything like me you often don’t get the time to go back and read an author’s early works. Therefore I was excited to be given the chance to read Peter May’s latest novel The Man With No Face which is actually a re-issue of one of his early books, Hidden Faces.

The Man With No Face is set in 1970’s Brussels at the time when Britain had just committed itself to the new Europe. (You can see why this has been re-released now!) The story follows Scottish journalist Bannerman who is sent to Brussels to report on the European Union. However when he arrives in Brussels both the journalist he was meant to be staying with and a high ranking politician have been murdered. The only witness is the autistic daughter of the victim who communicates through drawings. She draws the crime scene and includes everything except the killers face. Bannerman soon starts to build a relationship with the girl as he is determined to track down the truth, whilst racing to protect the witness from a killer who doesn’t want her to finish her drawing.

I am a big fan of this author. His writing is flawless and it drags you into the story from the start. As with all of Peter May’s novels one of the standout things for me is how the settings always play as big a part as any characters. A lot of that is down to the amount of research he undertakes. The Man With No Face is no exception. May was working as a journalist himself when this was originally written, writing for The Scotsman reporting on the political and social upheaval of the time. In the late 1970’s Peter made the journey by train from Glasgow to Brussels which whilst financial necessity at the time, was perfect research for how to transport murder weapons!peter author photo 2017

The Man With No Face is a crime thriller that seems as relevant today as it was then and is a definite must read for anyone who likes their mysteries with a political backdrop and a hard hitting theme.

The Man With No Face is out on the 10th January 2019 from amazon.

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The Judas Tree by Susan Bacoyanis – Extract BLOG TOUR

Today I am delighted to share with you the opening extract of the latest novel by Susan Bacoyanis. The Judas Tree is an intriguing tale of a woman scorned who takes her revenge to scary new heights. When Mary moves to a small village she is hoping to put her ex husband and the bitter divorce behind her. When she befriends Jonas it seems that she is finally moving on, however it soon turns out that he isn’t the person she thought he was, and Mary is clearly not the quiet divorcee she at first seems.

This is an interesting tale that cleverly intersperses historical facts about Mary Tudor with the story of Mary Webster. If you like a tale with a serious amount of revenge then this is definitely the story for you. Read on for the opening chapter.

PART ONE: MARY, MARY, QUITE CONTRARY

A story of betrayal

Oh! What a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive
Sir Walter Scott

Why do people lie? To gain attention? To elevate their status, or reinvent themselves? Is it perhaps the need to control? To instill fear, exercise power or cultivate friendship and love?
People who lie are the ordinary, uninspired immature adults who were ignored as children. Whose siblings stole their parents’ affection. Who underachieved in school, were patronised, humiliated and scolded more than praised. These emotionally crippled beings continuously seek attention to distract from their self-disgust, which allows no liberty in their skin.
We honest people are the unsuspecting audience, naively watching their performance… captivated by their practised script. We listen to their stories, their memories, their family history recited with affectionate anecdotes. We perceive them as gentle and kind, with values that are admirable. We hang on every syllable, listening in earnest as they boost their ego at our expense and with glazed eyes, we reflect an image of love, which they have cultivated. It is undeserving. It is a lie.
To be undetected, successful liars must be clever, cunning and well practised in their art. But most of all… they must possess a good memory.

The Letter

Dear Frances,
You will be surprised to learn that I’ve written a book. I realise that I’m a mere novice compared with you – the famous author. So it’s with some trepidation that I’m sending you my manuscript for review.
It’s an account of a macabre episode in my life… and I warn you, it will be emotionally challenging as the raw facts I lay before you will chill you to the bone.
*
I sign the email ‘With love’, as siblings do, although I know I don’t feel it. There is a bond between us, but it is rivalry on my part.
I attach the manuscript and label it ‘For your eyes only’ and press ‘Send’. Fate will be the decider now, for there’s a chance that when she reads it I could be either incarcerated or dead.

To find out what others thought of The Judas Tree visit the other stops on the blog tour. The Judas Tree is available on amazon.

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Win 2 novels by Emma Viskic!

Today I am delighted to be able to offer a very exciting giveaway thanks to the lovely Pushkin Press, namely a copy of two novels from CWA Award shortlisted writer Emma Viskic.

If you haven’t yet tried her debut novel Resurrection Bay and its stunning sequel And Fire Came Down, then this is your chance to delve into the world of deaf detective Caleb Zelic. Caleb lives in Melbourne and has been deaf since the age of 5. We first meet him in Resurrection Bay where he discovers the body of a friend who has been brutally murdered. Determined to get to the truth and prove his innocence Caleb teams up with another friend Frankie, a former policewoman who struggles with addiction, to try and track down the killer.

I enjoyed Resurrection Bay, the Australian setting gives this novel a really original feel. The two main settings of big city and small coastal town gave a good contrast highlighting the differences between Caleb’s childhood and his grown up life. It was also interesting the way that Caleb is portrayed, he may have a disability but he is certainly not someone courting sympathy. The story was fast paced and kept me riveted.

I would highly recommend Emma Viskic’s novels and if you would like to give them a go then you can win a copy of both ‘Resurrection Bay’ and ‘And Fire Came Down’.

To enter simply comment below, retweet the tweet @cj_colbourn, comment on my facebook post or just email me at candic13@yahoo.co.uk. The winner will be chosen at random on December 21st 2018and will win a copy of both books.

Please note your name and address will be passed to Pushkin Press to distribute the prize but all details will be deleted after the competition.

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