Tag Archives: #crimefiction

The Vacation by John Marrs – a review BLOG TOUR

John Marr’s is one of my favourite authors so I was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for the newly repacked The Vacation (previously titled Welcome to Wherever You Are)

The Vacation is set in a back packers hostel on a Los Angeles beach. Eight strangers are all there but none of them are there just for a holiday. Each of them has their own reasons for trying to turn their back on their normal life, and each of them have secrets they want to keep hidden. Whether they are running from themselves or other people they hope that the hostel will be the solution, yet as the saying goes you can run but you can’t hide!

The Vacation is a real twisty read that I found very compelling. The chapters are short and there are lots of cliff hanger endings, all of which makes this hard to put down.

The book started relatively slowly as we are introduced to all of the main players but it soon starts to pick up pace. There are a lot of characters in this book but it is so well written that they are all easy to keep track of. They each have their own back story and as with all good books as the stories start to unwind the characters lives begin to merge.

I liked the way that all the stories were tied up properly at the end, some with endings I didn’t see coming and some with endings that were just heartbreaking. Throughout the book my views of each of the characters had kept changing and this continued right to the end.

I would recommend this great read for all fans of a twisty well written tale.

Find out what other bloggers on the tour thought by visiting the stop below:

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THEAKSTON OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2022 SHORTLIST REVEALED

So tomorrow is July, which mean’s it’s TOPCWF month, and what better way to celebrate than with the announcement of the the shortlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022:

Presented by Harrogate International Festivals, the coveted award, now in its eighteenth year, celebrates crime fiction at its very best, with this year’s shortlist taking readers from newly independent India to the tension of a remote Fenlands cottage, from a nail-biting missing persons investigation in Manchester to the wilds of North Norfolk, and from the hedonism of Georgian London to the murky world of international espionage. Selected by the public from a longlist of eighteen novels, with a record number of votes being placed this year, the list of six novels features newcomers to the shortlist, two New Blood panellists, a previous Festival Programming Chair, and a five-time shortlistee. None of this year’s shortlistees have ever taken home the prize before, making the competition even more tense.

Elly Griffiths, who was the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Chair in 2017, is shortlisted for the fifth time for The Night Hawks, the thirteenth instalment in her popular Ruth Galloway series. The Night Hawks sees Norfolk’s favourite forensic archaeologist Galloway called when a group of metal detectorists discover a body buried on a beach with Bronze Age treasure, a find which will lead to a series of murders seemingly linked to the local legend of a spectral dog whose appearance heralds death.

Sunday Times bestseller True Crime Story, the first standalone novel from Joseph Knox, blends fact and fiction to tell the gripping story of a 19-year-old university student who leaves a party in her student halls and is never seen again. Knox, who was selected by Val McDermid as a New Blood panellist in 2017, was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2018 for his thriller Sirens the following year, but has never previously reached the shortlist stage. 

Historical crime writer Laura Shepherd Robinson continues her incredible streak as her second novel Daughters of Nightis shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, two years after her debut Blood & Sugar was longlisted for the award in 2020. Robinson’s evocative novel transports readers to the seedy underworld of Georgian London, as Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham tries to solve the murder of a prostitute in the infamous Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, an investigation which will delve into the darkest corners of high society.

Bestselling author Mick Herron is longlisted for Slough House, the tenth instalment in his series of the same name, which was recently adapted by Apple TV as spy drama Slow Horses, starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas. Herron will be hoping to take home the prize this year, with 2022 marking the fifth time in the past six years he has secured a place on the shortlist.

Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan, the first in a new series chronicling the investigations of India’s first female police detective, marks Khan’s first time reaching the shortlist. The novel introduces readers to Inspector Persis Wadia as she is plucked from obscurity in a basement office and tasked with solving the murder of an English diplomat as the country prepares to become the world’s biggest republic.

Finally, The Last Thing to Burn sees bestselling author and New Blood 2018 panellist Will Dean move away from the Nordic setting of his acclaimed Tuva Moodyson series in favour of a claustrophobic thriller set on the British fenlands. The Last Thing to Burn, which has secured Dean his first ever placement on the shortlist, sees a woman held captive in a remote cottage by a man who calls her Jane and insists she is his wife. She has long abandoned hopes of escape, until she finds a reason to live and finds herself watching and planning, waiting for the right moment to act. 

The six novels shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 are:

·       The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths (Quercus Fiction)

·       True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Doubleday)

·       Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd Robinson (Mantle/Pan)

·       Slough House by Mick Herron (Baskerville)

·       Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)

·       The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean (Hodder & Stoughton)

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of Theakston, added“What a fantastic shortlist, six thrilling tales which deliver shocking twists and unforgettable characters! We raise a glass of Theakston Old Peculier to all of the shortlistees and look forward to revealing the winner in July as we kick off the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.”

Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, commented: “We are delighted to announce this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year shortlist, featuring six novels by some of the most exciting crime writers working today. Whisking readers around the world and through time, this shortlist is a fantastic demonstration of the variety to be found in crime fiction. The public have a tough task ahead choosing just one winner and we can’t wait to see who they vote for!”

The public are now invited to vote for a winner at www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com. Voting closes on Friday 8th July, with the winner to be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 21st July. The winner will receive a £3,000 prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston Ltd.

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with Waterstones and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2021 to 30 April 2022 by UK and Irish authors.

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City of the Dead by Jonathan Kellerman – a review

Sometimes I find that with the fabulous amount of new books on offer the longer running series can fall off my radar even if I have loved the previous ones. This is what had happened with Jonathan Kellerman and the Alex Delaware series. Therefore I was really pleased to be sent his latest one City of the Dead.

City of the Dead begins with a dead man who whilst originally thought to have been run over actually seems to have been thrown into the side of a van. However things take a more sinister turn when a trail of blood leads the detectives to the body of a young women. The woman turns out to have a troubled background and the case gets even more complicated as the investigations leads us into the sordid side of LA.

I really enjoyed this story. Despite the murder and crime it felt like the type of story that could be described as a caper (the frolicsom crime type, not the pickled berry), lots of red herrings and dead ends but not so many that it became confusing.

I liked the characters within it, Alex is a psychologist who helps the police out on cases when needed and is an all round nice bloke. The friendship between Alex and detective Milo Sturgis is an interesting one, and I like the fact they work together with mutual respect rather than it just being who can use who the most. I really enjoy the mix of police procedural and psychological thriller that is created by having the two characters together.

The descriptions of the city are incredibly vivid and it conjoured up a pretty murky desperate place where criminals are around every corner.

Although this is the 37 book in the series I think it could be read as a standalone as the focus is on the crimes not necessarily the detectives. However if you are in the market for investing some time and starting a new long running series then start dig out When The Bow Breaks and get stuck in.

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Faceless by Vanda Symon – a review BLOG TOUR

I have been a fan of Vanda Symon since I saw her a few years ago at the Harrogate Crime Festival and have very much enjoyed her Sam Shepherd series so was looking forward to reading her latest.

Faceless is a stand alone novel set in New Zealand, that was an absolute cracker. It tells the story of three very different characters who’s lives collide with devastating consequences. Billy is a homeless artist who has to make money to survive anyway she can. Bradley is an office worker with a dark side that even he didn’t realise existed until a fateful night. Max has become Billy’s friend and despite living an unseen life now he’s having to come out of the shadows and face his demons to save a life.

Faceless was a story that I’ll be honest I was not expecting. I agreed to the tour because of the author and started reading without checking the blurb so it was certainly something unexpected, and all the better for it. What starts as a story of three separate people all in their own way completely ‘faceless’ to society, soon becomes a terrifying tale of kidnap, violence, mental health crisis and more.

The story is told mainly from the perspective of the three main characters with the chapters flitting backwards and forwards. Gradually the back story of the characters is revealed and the reasons they are in the situations they are becomes apparent. This was very much a character led story yet the plot was impeccable. The story was interesting and the writing was flawless. The face that it was told from the different viewpoints meant that you almost felt that you were learning about the characters at the same time as they were learning about themselves and what they were capable of.

This is a really difficult story to review because it was harrowing but it was absolutely compelling and a fantastic change from her usual police procedural. I would highly recommend this as one of the best books I’ve read for a while.

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