I am a huge fan of John Marrs so was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for his latest Keep It In The Family.
Keep It In The Family begins with Mia and Finn who have bought a derelict house to do up and turn into their dream family home. When Mia falls pregnant, they rush to get it finished. All is going well until Mia discovers a message written on a skirting board: I WILL SAVE THEM FROM THE ATTIC. When they head up to the attic they soon realise that the house is hiding a terrible secret. It’s a secret that Mia becomes obsessed with and as she searches for the truth, she realises that she and her family are in danger.
Keep It In The Family was a great read. With John Marr’s you know that you are going to get a twisty tale with a dark undertone and this certainly didn’t disappoint. The story kept me hooked from the beginning as Mia and Finn start to fall apart whilst the family secrets become exposed and nobody is who they first seemed.
Most of the characters were intentionally unlikeable and even those who I really wanted to feel sympathy for such as Finn made it very difficult with some of their actions. I found the character of Mia supremely frustrating at times. Whilst I do understand her compulsion to work out what had happened, her actions put her and her son in danger and you just wanted her to stop!
One of the things I like about John Marr’s books are the fact that the stories often don’t just focus on the crime but also the actual repercussions of it. Even once we found out the perpetrator the story doesn’t stop but continues to throw in twists and turns until the main finale.
The writing is slick, with short chapters that keep you gripped throughout and I read it over the course of a few nights. I absolutely love John Marrs books and would definitely recommend this.
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I am a big fan of Icelandic crime fiction, and very much enjoyed Lilja Sigurdardóttir’s previous novels so I was looking forward to reading her latest Red As Blood.
Red As Blood starts with the wife of millionaire Flossi going missing. He comes home to find the house in dissaray and a ransom demand of two million euros. As someone who specialises in finding missing assets Aurora is asked to help look into the finances of the couple in the hope that the money may throw up some leads. Realising she’s out of her depth she calls in police friend Daniel. They have to race to solve the case without the kidnappers finding out they are involved. Alongside this Aurora is still looking for her missing sister whilst struggling to navigate the path between grief and hope.
Red as blood was another great read from Lilja Sigurdardóttir. The story is told from multiple view points and written with nice short chapters so the story zips along.
There is a large array of characters and at the start it was a little tricky keeping track of them all but I soon found that the story almost had a rhythm that I fell into. I then really enjoyed this cast of characters from the feisty, hands on Aurora to the more measured calm Daniel, through his vibrant drag queen neighbour Lady Gugula. They are all intertwined and bounce of each other as the story progresses and each character is given enough back story to become fully alive.
The story itself was good, and although I did guess part of it there were also plenty of red herrings and twists to keep you on tenterhooks. I always enjoy reading about other places and this was no exception with the cold foggy weather creating a good background for the story.
Although this is the second in the series it can be read as a standalone but you will get more of a sense of Aurora and Daniel if you have read Cold as Hell first.
If you like your scandanvian crime, and sassy interesting characters then this is definitely a read for you.
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I find that often because I read so many new and debut authors I can often ignore established writers, especially those with long running series where I have probably missed out on a few of the books. Ann Cleaves is one of those authors but when I was offered a copy of her latest Vera novel I decided to give it a go, and I most certainly wasn’t disappointed.
In the Rising Tide we are transported to the Holy Island of Lindesfarne which is one of my favourite places. A group of friends are gathering for their regular reunion to remember a friend they lost during their first visit there fifty years ago. When one of the group is found hanged Vera Stanhope is called to investigate. The dead man had recently been fired from a very public role for misconduct and Vera soon realises that the friends are all hiding secrets.
This was an absolutely fantastic read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I had forgotten how much I love Vera Stanhope as a character. Her gruff exterior belies a heart that does really care and this case will test her resolve, especially at the heartbreaking finale. Vera is such an iconic character loved by everyone that it must be difficult to write her without having that always in the back of your head but Ann Cleeves manages to write a character that is both flawed and wonderful at the same time.
The story itself is intriguing. I enjoyed the mix of characters and liked the fact that we were introduced to them all individually at the beginning which gave us a real sense of who they all were. Ann Cleeves has a superb way of writing that absolutely flows of the page. There is a real sense of place about the books, and I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of Lindesfarne. It’s a beautiful place but within it is a real sense of menace and danger that comes from living somewhere that is cut off for a lot of the time.
The Rising Tide was a great read that was absolutely enthralling. I had forgotten what a superb author Ann Cleeves is and what a fantastic character we have in Vera!
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I’ve been lucky enough to be invited onto some fantastic blog tours recently and the latest for the new novel by Karen Rose is no exception.
Quarter to Midnight by Karen Rose is the start of a brand new series featuring a band of private investigators led by Burke Broussard. Rocky Herbert has seemingly killed himself, however his son Gabe is certain that his dad wouldn’t do that and has a private autopsy done before hiring the Broussard agency. PI Molly Sutton soon realises that ex policeman Rocky was working on his own investigation. An investigation that threatens to expose corruption within the police force and bring down some high ranking individuals. A phonecall leads them to Xavier, a young lad who is the key witness to the case. Unfortunately they are not the only people who know that Xavier is the key and soon they are all running for their lives.
This is a great start to a cracking new series that was full of action and twists from the start. The series is set in New Orleans which is a fascinating city that Karen Rose managed to portray all sides of, from the terrible devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina to the diverse musical heritage the place is known for to the amazing sounding food and drink.
I enjoyed this story although it was not a quick read at over 600 pages and for me it did seem to drag on a bit in the middle but that’s probably because I was impatient to find out what was going to happen.
There were a lot of characters to keep track of but I found the story was so engrossing that it’s simple to keep everyone straight. I really enjoyed the characters of Xavier’s Mum and her friend Willa Mae. Their light hearted banter in the midst of some dark scenes was a real highlight.
As with a lot of the author’s stories this has a romance element and the budding relationship between PI Molly and her charge Gabe is interesting, although as I was keen to get back to the thriller element. The mix of thriller, romance and old fashioned adventure story was a mix that worked really well and creates a riveting read.
I have always been a big fan of Karen Rose, and despite it’s length this is a great start to a new series and I would definitely be looking out for the next in the series.