Review: Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture

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When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, Detective Kim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead? As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim’s sure this was no accident. Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked. With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim? The killer is picking off his victims at a terrifying pace, and he’s not finished yet.

My review:

To be honest, I hadn’t yet recovered from Angela Marson’s last Kim Stone book (Dying Truth) when I saw that the new installment was already out! I admit I was kind of angry when I finished reading #8, but of course, I still wanted to continue reading this series, as it’s one of my favorites. I love how Angela Marsons continues to write amazing mysteries every time, and they’re always thrilling and addictive as the first one.

Fatal Promise was another great book featuring two different cases that our team have to solve as soon as possible. One of the characters from the last book is actually the victim in this one, and there’s a mysterious serial killer who’s not stopping anytime soon… As usual, the plot was top-notch. And the prologue featuring the mysterious killer was so fantastic that it grabbed me right away. This is not a slow-burn at all.

As I kept on reading, I realized Stacey’s case about the missing girl was the one that I was most interested in. This mystery was not entirely unpredictable because of a certain fiction with the same plot that has become popular this year, but I nevertheless thought the young girl’s story was heartbreaking and emotional. I always love this kind of revelations.

As for the characters, I really loved the new addition and I enjoyed learning more about his backstory. And of course, I liked that Stacey was more of a protagonist this time around. Kim’s personal storyline was also really touching and I almost cried during certain scenes.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Review: Idyll Hands by Stephanie Gayle

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Charleston, Massachusetts, 1972: Rookie cop Michael Finnegan gets a call from his mother. His youngest sister, Susan, has disappeared, the same sister who ran away two years earlier. Anxious not to waste police resources, Finnegan advises his family to wait and search on their own. But a week turns into two decades, and Susan is never found. Idyll, Connecticut, 1999: In the woods outside of town, a young woman’s corpse is discovered, and Detective Finnegan seems unusually disturbed by the case. When Police Chief Thomas Lynch learns about Finnegan’s past, he makes a bargain with his officer: He will allow Finnegan to investigate the body found in the woods–if Finnegan lets the bored Lynch secretly look into the disappearance of his sister. Both cases reveal old secrets–about the murder, and about the men inside the Idyll Police Station and what they’ve been hiding from each other their whole careers.

My review:

As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read Idyll Hands. I didn’t know this series so I hadn’t read the previous books, but I believe this can be read as a standalone and I had no issues following the characters and their backstory.

This is a police procedural set in the 90s, and it features two different cold cases that must be solved many years later. Although the main character is chief Tommy Lynch, we also have Detective Finnegan narrate his side of the story, and the disappearance of his sister was my favorite case out of the two.

I really enjoyed this book, not only because of the mysteries, which were smart and well-written but because of the interaction between the characters. I loved reading about Lynch’s love life, and I found incredibly interesting that he was the gay chief of police, as I haven’t encountered many characters like him in mystery books. He was so likable!

As for the investigation, I did think that the first clue for the Finnegan’s sister case was a bit too coincidental (Seriously? No one thought of that? And are we supposed to believe that many years later someone just spills the truth after speaking to Tommy Lynch for the first time?), but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying the story at all.

This is a great cop procedural featuring a unique protagonist and a set of interesting secondary characters. Stephanie Gayle is an amazing writer and I loved reading all the references to 90s movies and culture.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Review: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

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When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside. And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

My review:

First of all, I want to say that I haven’t read all the books in this series. I read the first one years ago when it came out and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. But then, I watched the tv series last year and I really enjoyed it, especially because of Cormoran and Robin, whose relationship I adored.

As I knew what was going on because of the tv series, I decided to read the fourth book, Lethal White. When it arrived, I couldn’t believe it was almost 700 pages. Surely, JK Rowling is following the same path as with the Harry Potter books. But would Lethal White be as entertaining as the latter HP novels? I couldn’t wait to find out.

This was a buddy read with a friend and I’m not proud to say that it took us almost three weeks to finish it. I started another book while I was reading Lethal White, but it wasn’t really a matter of lack of time, it was just SO LONG that I never felt I was making progress.

The plot was super addictive at first (the mystery of Billy was what made me want to keep reading) but as I kept on reading, I realized the main mystery was a political storyline that I didn’t really enjoy that much. Halfway through the book, the intrigue picked up and it became more engaging because of a sudden death that left me wondering what had happened.

Overall, I would say that this book interested me more because of Cormoran and Robin’s personal lives than because of the mystery storyline. I truly believe this novel could’ve been like 50% shorter and the result would’ve been the same. And that’s a pity because I really like JK Rowling, and I love Robin and Cormoran, but unfortunately, this was not a favorite of mine.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Blog Tour: The Promise by Katerina Diamond @TheVenomousPen @AvonBooksUK

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When troubled teen Connor moves to Exeter from the US to escape his past, he finds himself embroiled in a world of popular kids and easy girls. Everyone wants to be his friend, but they don’t know about what he did…and they don’t know about his father. As Connor’s life in England begins to unravel, DS Adrian Miles and his partner Imogen Grey are working up against the clock to catch a serial killer who dates his victims before he kills them. Determined to uncover the truth, Imogen is forced to act as bait – but will she take it too far and risk her own life?

 

My review:

The Promise is the fourth book in the Imogen Grey & Adrian Miles mystery series and this is really a series that I can’t get enough of. To be honest, I think they get better with each new book. This last installment was as exciting and as addictive as always and although the mystery storyline wasn’t my favorite, the storyline focused on Imogen and Adrian was the absolute best.

The team is investigating a serial killer who takes the victims on a date before killing them. And when they find out he chooses them while playing a mobile app, Imogen decides to act as bait. She’s not living a good moment after a romantic breakup and neither is Adrian, who had his heart broken in the last book.

The relationship between Imogen and Adrian has always been one of my favorite parts of this series. It’s not romantic, or at least it isn’t yet, and it’s so complex and beautiful that I would read about them for many more years. In this book, their relationship is more special than ever and their scenes had me on the edge of my seat.

As it is common in Katerina Diamond’s novels, we have multiple perspectives here. This time, the three voices are from Imogen & Adrian, a young troubled teenager called Connor who’s new in town, and the mysterious young woman from the journal pages. As you can expect, there’s a connection between them, and while there’s not a twist as there was in The Angel, the plot was thrilling and I read about 75% of The Promise in one sitting.

This book is everything you can expect from a cop procedural. The mystery is amazing and I care so much about these characters that I can’t wait until the next book is out! Hopefully soon.

Extract

‘Was she sexually assaulted?’ Sarah said, her body tense, as though she almost didn’t want to know the answer. ‘Did he rape her? I asked but no one would tell me.’
‘There were signs of sexual activity, but at this point there is no evidence of sexual assault, we will know more when we get the post mortem.’
‘You think they met before? She wasn’t the kind of person who would sleep with someone on the first date.’ Imogen handed her the box of tissues that were on the table; the girl took one and clutched it to her, ready for the tears to come out. ‘Is there a possibility it was someone from her work at the recruitment agency?’ Imogen asked gently.  Sarah shook her head. ‘No, she kind of hated everyone there, she was looking for another job anyway. I don’t think so.’
‘Did she have any hobbies? Go to any clubs? Any cafés she went to regularly?’ Imogen said. ‘No, she used to get lunch in the theatre; they did these sandwiches she liked and she never had to wait because no one else ever thought to go there for
lunch. It was always empty.’ ‘What about your parents? Is she likely to have told
them anything?’ Adrian said. ‘Our dad lives in Spain with my stepmother; we aren’t very close. Mum died five years ago.’ ‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ Adrian said, inclining his head. ‘Is there anything else you can tell us that might help find out who she was with?’ Imogen asked.

Katerina Diamond

Katerina Diamond was born in Weston in the seventies. She moved to Thessaloniki in Greece and attended Greek school where she learnt Greek in just 6 months. After her parents’ divorce, they relocated to Devon. After school, and working in her uncle’s fish and chip shop, she went (briefly) to university at Derby, where she met her husband and had two children. Katerina now lives on the East Kent Coast with her husband and children. She is a Sunday Times and Kindle bestseller.

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Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Blog Tour: Gallows Court by Martin Edwards @medwardsbooks @HoZ_Books

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1930, London. An enigmatic heiress, a family secret and the thirst for justice. A headless corpse; an apparent suicide in a locked room; a man burned alive during an illusionist’s show in front of thousands of people. Scotland Yard is baffled by the sequence of ghastly murders unfolding across the city and at the centre of it all is mysterious heiress Rachel Savernake. Daughter of a grand judge, Rachel is as glamorous as she is elusive.

Jacob Flint, a tenacious young journalist eager to cover the gruesome crimes, is drawn into Rachel’s glittering world of wealth and power. But as the body count continues to rise, Jacob is convinced Rachel is harbouring a dark secret and he soon becomes part of a dangerous game that could leave him dancing at the end of the hangman’s rope if he pursues the truth.

My review:

Gallows Court is a mystery novel that reminds us of classic detective stories. Only this one is much more twisty and full of despicable characters. What I loved more about this book at first is that it gets interesting as soon as it starts. You’re the witness of a conversation you don’t really know what’s about and you read about a crime that’s not your traditional one. And then there’s Rachel, of course. The woman at the centre of it all, as the blurb appropriately says.

Jacob Flint is the hero of this book, our dear main character and the victim of a conspiracy that seems too big to understand at first. He’s likable, he’s fun to be around and he’s tenacious, he will never stop trying to find out what’s really going on. When he becomes obsessed with Rachel, we know he’s determined to uncover her secret, even if it seems impossible at first.

I found Rachel’s character to be completely fascinating. It’s one of those situations where you don’t really know if a person’s pure evil or there are actually good reasons behind their actions. But you can’t wait to find out. But Rachel’s not the only female character I loved here. I really appreciate how Martin Edwards has created such multi-layered female characters in Elaine and Sara as well. Even if it’s the 1930’s, women also have things to say. This is one of the details that made me appreciate the book even more.

Although I did guess part of the mystery, the story was incredibly twisty and full of surprises. If you enjoy traditional mysteries with compelling characters and a dose of psychological suspense, then Gallows Court is perfect for you!

Martin Edwards

Martin Edwards is internationally recognised as an expert on crime fiction and has won the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating, and Dagger Macavity awards as well as being shortlisted for the Theakston’s prize and the CWA John Creasey Dagger. He is President of the Detection Club, Chair of the CWA and consultant to the British Library’s bestselling classic crime series.

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