Thursday, 27 April 2017

Cover Crush: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!



A special collector's edition of the New York Times bestselling novel that inspired the international hit video game: The Witcher.

Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin.

And a cold-blooded killer.

His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good. . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

For fans of the video game and the uninitiated alike, The Last Wish is the opening chapter of The Witcher series.


Some thoughts about the cover:

This is what I want to see when it comes to fantasy novels. A cover with a fire breading dragon. Need I sat more? As a fantasy fan is this pretty much drool worthy...

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Flashlight Commentary
2 Kids and Tired Books
Layered Pages
The Maidens Court
A Literary Vacation
IndieBRAG

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Wishlist April: Historical Fantasy/Horror

I was thinking of making a Sci-fi list this month, but while I was going through my want-to-read list on Goodreads did my thoughts shift towards another direction. So, instead, here are 5 Historical Fantasy/Horror titles that I want!

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Winter, 1862. A malevolent spirit roams the cold and gloomy streets of Victorian London, the vampiric ghost of John Polidori, the onetime physician of the mad, bad and dangerous Romantic poet Lord Byron. Polidori is also the supernatural muse to his niece and nephew, poet Christina Rossetti and her artist brother Dante Gabriel.

But Polidori's taste for debauchery has grown excessive. He is determined to possess the life and soul of an innocent young girl, the daughter of a veterinarian and a reformed prostitute he once haunted. And he has resurrected Dante's dead wife, transforming her into a horrifying vampire. The Rossettis know the time has come – Polidori must be stopped. Joining forces with the girl's unlikely parents, they are plunged into a supernatural London underworld whose existence they never suspected.

These wildly mismatched allies – a strait-laced animal doctor, and ex-prostitute, a poet, a painter, and even the Artful Dodger-like young daughter – must ultimately choose between the banality and constraints of human life and the unholy immortality that Polidori offers. Sweeping from high society to grimy slums, elegant West End salons to pre-Roman catacombs beneath St. Paul's cathedral, Hide Me Among The Graves blends the historical and the supernatural in a dazzling, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride.

The bestselling author of Ilium and Olympos transforms the true story of a legendary Arctic expedition into a thriller worthy of Stephen King or Patrick O'Brian.

Their captain's insane vision of a Northwest Passage has kept the crewmen of The Terror trapped in Arctic ice for two years without a thaw. But the real threat to their survival isn't the ever-shifting landscape of white, the provisions that have turned to poison before they open them, or the ship slowly buckling in the grip of the frozen ocean.

The real threat is whatever is out in the frigid darkness, stalking their ship, snatching one seaman at a time or whole crews, leaving bodies mangled horribly or missing forever. Captain Crozier takes over the expedition after the creature kills its original leader, Sir John Franklin.

Drawing equally on his own strengths as a seaman and the mystical beliefs of the Eskimo woman he's rescued, Crozier sets a course on foot out of the Arctic and away from the insatiable beast. But every day the dwindling crew becomes more deranged and mutinous, until Crozier begins to fear there is no escape from an ever-more-inconceivable nightmare.

A thrilling tale of high-altitude death and survival set on the snowy summits of Mount Everest, from the bestselling author of The Terror 

It's 1924 and the race to summit the world's highest mountain has been brought to a terrified pause by the shocking disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine high on the shoulder of Mt. Everest. By the following year, three climbers -- a British poet and veteran of the Great War, a young French Chamonix guide, and an idealistic young American -- find a way to take their shot at the top. They arrange funding from the grieving Lady Bromley, whose son also disappeared on Mt. Everest in 1924. Young Bromley must be dead, but his mother refuses to believe it and pays the trio to bring him home. 

Deep in Tibet and high on Everest, the three climbers -- joined by the missing boy's female cousin -- find themselves being pursued through the night by someone . . . or something. This nightmare becomes a matter of life and death at 28,000 feet - but what is pursuing them? And what is the truth behind the 1924 disappearances on Everest? As they fight their way to the top of the world, the friends uncover a secret far more abominable than any mythical creature could ever be. A pulse-pounding story of adventure and suspense, The Abominable is Dan Simmons at his spine-chilling best.

In modern day England, Professor Felix Guichard is called in to identify occult symbols found on the corpse of a young girl. His investigation brings him in contact with a mysterious woman, Jackdaw Hammond, who guards a monumental secret–She’s Dead. Or she would be, were it not for magic which has artificially extended her life. But someone else knows her secret. Someone very old and very powerful, who won’t rest until they’ve taken the magic that keeps her alive….

In Krakow in 1585, Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. But they soon realize that the only thing worse than the Countess’ malady, is the magic that might be able to save her…

As Jackdaw and Felix race to uncover the truth about the person hunting her, it becomes clear that the answers they seek can only be found in the ancient diary of John Dee’s assistant, Edward Kelley. Together they must solve a mystery centuries in the making, or die trying.

Cora and her husband hunt things – things that shouldn’t exist.

When the marshal of Leadville, Colorado, comes across a pair of mysterious deaths, he turns to Cora to find the creature responsible. But if Cora is to overcome the unnatural tide threatening to consume the small town, she must first confront her own tragic past as well as her present.





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Want to see more wishlist?
Check out these that my friends have posted:

Stephanie at Layered Pages
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley

The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Travel through the lush English countryside and explore the magnificent estates of the British aristocracy in this next spellbinding love story in The Seven Sisters series by #1 internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley.

Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father—the elusive billionaire, affectionately called Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted from across the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to her true heritage, and Star nervously decides to follow hers, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world.

A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in England’s picturesque Lake District—just a stone’s throw away from the residence of her childhood idol, Beatrix Potter—when machinations lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society’s most notorious society hostesses, Alice Keppel. Flora is torn between passionate love and her duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a larger game. That is, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life...

As Star learns more of Flora’s incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love.


**********

The Shadow Sister is book three The Seven Sisters series. I had wanted to read this series from the beginning and I was a bit unsure how it would go starting with book three. But, despite some mentionings from the previous book did I find this book to work as a stand-alone. Although now I really want to read the previous two books!

I found the title of this book to be very fitting, both the main characters in the present time Star D'Aplièse and Flora MacNichol that lived in the beginning of the 20th-century are both shadow sisters. They both have to find their own way in life. Star by daring to finally break free from living her life in symbiosis with her sister CeCe and Flora who has always lived in the shadow of her beautiful younger sisters will one day have to choose between her own happiness or her sisters.

I got very engaged in both Star's and Flora's lives. Sure there were times I wanted to scream at them to not be stupid and think of themselves, but they are both very undemanding and their love for their sisters makes them make decisions that go against what they really want. I did have moments when I just wanted them both to be a bit more selfish, and tell them to reach for the stars!

The Shadow Sister is a thick book, but absolutely not a dull book. A lot of things are going on, I do admit that I did want the story to get going at a faster pace sometimes, but at the same time, I enjoyed reading about the people in the book. From the bookish Orlando to little Rory, and Mouse who had lost so much in life. And, of course, Star and Flora, both storylines were interesting to follow.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book which seems to be starring CeCe!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo

Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

As the First World War rages in continental Europe, two New York heiresses, Sydney and Brooke Sinclair, are due to set sail for England. Brooke is engaged to marry impoverished aristocrat Edward Thorpe-Tracey, the future Lord Northbrook, in the wedding of the social calendar. Sydney has other adventures in mind; she is drawn to the burgeoning suffragette movement, which is a constant source of embarrassment to her proper sister. As international tempers flare, the German embassy releases a warning that any ships making the Atlantic crossing are at risk. Undaunted, Sydney and Brooke board the Lusitania for the seven-day voyage with Edward, not knowing that disaster lies ahead.

In London, Isabel Nelson, a young woman grateful to have escaped her blemished reputation in Oxford, has found employment at the British Admiralty in the mysterious Room 40. While she begins as a secretary, it isn’t long before her skills in codes and cyphers are called on, and she learns a devastating truth and the true cost of war.

As the days of the voyage pass, these four lives collide in a struggle for survival as the Lusitania meets its deadly fate


**********

Erin Davis review pretty much sums up my feelings for this book. But I guess that I have put down some thoughts I have on the book and not just refer to her splendid review. This is not a book that I liked so it's a pretty negative review...

Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo appealed to me as I'm interested in reading about WW1 and the suffragette movement. I was looking forward to seeing how the author would combine the storyline on the ship and that of the codebreaker Isabel in London. I'm sad to say that the book didn't really manage to satisfy me. I wanted intensity, but what I got was a bombast story with shallow characters and extremely predictable storyline.

The storyline with Isabel was marginally better than the one with the sisters on the ship. Still, the fallen women storyline has been done so many times before and better. Although I did enjoy the part when Mildred, Isabel's nemesis got what she deserved. I always like it when a despicable person gets what she/he deserves. What really troubled me was that Isabel getting an important job and the first thing she does is reading a letter from Churchill, because the envelope wasn't sealed ... seriously? And, when I think about it, shouldn't they have done a better background check on her, now that she has such an important job?

Then we have Sydney and Brooke Sinclair. Sydney is a suffragette fighting for women's rights, at least she is supposed to be it, but it never rings true and mostly she is portrayed as a poor rich girl that pretends to be a suffragette, but I lost all respect for her when she in spite decided to change from first class to third on the ship because she was arguing with her sister. Like a child with a tantrum. Brooke isn't much better, she is rich, but she wants a title and the best way is to find a poor aristocrat and marry him.

Then we have the romance story, oh this one was so easy to see that it's almost laughable. I won't give it away, but you can see right from the start how it all will end.

So, this was not a story to my liking, I persevered until the end, but It's not a book I can recommend. 

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

Cover Reveal: Blue Bottle Tree by Beaird Glover


There’s no such thing as Voodoo. At least, that’s what most of the Baptists in Bellin tell themselves. But Seven LaVey knows better.

In a small rural town just outside of Nashville, Voodoo conjures and curses simmer and seethe under the noses of the many who will never know. Seventeen-year-old Seven romanticizes about the meaning of life while held captive as a zombie under the shell of a kiddie pool. He's counting on the strength - and maybe even love - of a certain redheaded clarinet player to save him. But will she?

Filled with betrayal and revenge, two families struggle with a curse that stretches back to Voodoo-ienne Marie Laveau in this contemporary southern gothic adventure. Prepare for a wildly original twist on the paranormal.


Author bio:

Beaird Glover grew up on a farm in rural Tennessee. He graduated from The Evergreen State College of Olympia, Washington, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing. He then moved to Southern California and wrote Secret Ciphers of the 1876 Presidential Election (Aegean Park Press). He has traveled extensively and lived in eleven of the United Sates, and Taipei and Buenos Aires. His poems have been published in the New York Quarterly and his chapbook of poetry was selected by the Austin Chronicle as one of the Top 10 Best of 1994. More recently, he acquired a Bachelor of Science degree from Long Island University in Brooklyn and has worked as a physician assistant. Beaird now lives in New Orleans with his wife Kim and their cats.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray Blog Tour

Her Secret

by Shelley Shepard Gray

on Tour April 17 – 28, 2017

Synopsis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray begins a new series—The Amish of Hart County—with this suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she'll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he's misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

Book Details:

Genre: Amish Fiction
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 272
ISBN: 006246910X (ISBN13: 9780062469106)
Series: The Amish of Hart County #1

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 2

Someone was coming. After reeling in his line, Isaac Troyer set his pole on the bank next to Spot, his Australian shepherd, and turned in the direction of the noise.
He wasn’t worried about encountering a stranger as much as curious to know who would walk through the woods while managing to disturb every tree branch, twig, and bird in their midst. A silent tracker, this person was not.
Beside him, Spot, named for the spot of black fur ringing his eye, pricked his ears and tilted his head to one side as he, too, listened and watched for their guest to appear.
When they heard a muffled umph, followed by the crack of a branch, Isaac began to grow amused. Their visitor didn’t seem to be faring so well.
He wasn’t surprised. That path was rarely used and notoriously overrun with hollyhocks, poison oak, and ivy. For some reason, wild rosebushes also ran rampant there. Though walking on the old path made for a pretty journey, it also was a somewhat dangerous one, too. Those bushes had a lot of thorns. Most everyone he knew chose to walk on the road instead.
He was just wondering if, perhaps, he should brave the thorns and the possibility of rashes to offer his help—when a woman popped out.
The new girl. Hannah Hilty.
Obviously thinking she was completely alone, she stepped out of the shade of the bushes and lifted her face into the sun. She mumbled to herself as she pulled a black sweater off her light-blue short-sleeved dress. Then she turned her right arm this way and that, frowning at what looked like a sizable scrape on it.
He’d been introduced to her at church the first weekend her family had come. His first impression of her had been that she was a pretty thing, with dark-brown hair and hazel-colored eyes. She was fairly tall and willowy, too, and had been blessed with creamy-looking pale skin. But for all of that, she’d looked incredibly wary.
Thinking she was simply shy, he’d tried to be friendly, everyone in his family had. But instead of looking happy to meet him or his siblings, she’d merely stared at him the way a doe might stare at an oncoming car—with a bit of weariness and a great dose of fear.
He left her alone after that.
Every once in a while he’d see her. At church, or at the market with her mother. She always acted kind of odd. She was mostly silent, sometimes hardly even talking to her parents or siblings. Often, when he’d see her family in town shopping, she usually wasn’t with them. When she was, he’d see her following her parents. With them, yet separate. Silently watching her surroundings like she feared she was about to step off a cliff.
So, by his estimation, she was a strange girl. Weird.
And her actions just now? They seemed even odder. Feeling kind of sorry for her, he got to his feet. “Hey!” he called out.
Obviously startled, Hannah turned to him with a jerk, then froze.
Her unusual hazel eyes appeared dilated. She looked scared to death. Rethinking the step forward he’d been about to do, he stayed where he was. Maybe she wasn’t right in the mind? Maybe she was lost and needed help.
Feeling a little worried about her, he held up a hand. “Hey, Hannah. Are you okay?”
But instead of answering him, or even smiling back like a normal person would, she simply stared.
He tried again. “I’m Isaac Troyer.” When no look of recognition flickered in her eyes, he added, “I’m your neighbor. We met at church, soon after you moved in. Remember?”
She clenched her fists but otherwise seemed to be trying hard to regain some self-control. After another second, color bloomed in her cheeks. “I’m Hannah Hilty.”
“Yeah. I know.” Obviously, he’d known it. Hadn’t she heard him say her name? He smiled at her, hoping she’d see the humor in their conversation. It was awfully intense for two neighbors having to reacquaint themselves. By his reckoning, anyway.
She still didn’t smile back. Actually, she didn’t do much of anything at all, besides gaze kind of blankly at him.
Belatedly, he started wondering if something had happened to her on her walk. “Hey, are you okay? Are you hurt or something?”
Her hand clenched into a fist. “Why do you ask?”
Everything he wanted to say sounded mean and rude. “You just, uh, seem out of breath.” And she was white as a sheet, looked like she’d just seen a monster, and could hardly speak.
Giving her an out, he said, “Are you lost?”
“Nee.”
He was starting to lose patience with her. All he’d wanted to do was sit on the bank with Spot and fish for an hour or two, not enter into some strange conversation with his neighbor girl.
“Okay, then. Well, I was just fishing, so I’m going to go back and do that.”
Just before he turned away, she took a deep breath. Then she spoke. “I’m sorry. I know I’m not making any sense.”
“You’re making sense.” Kind of. “But that said, you don’t got anything to be sorry for. It’s obvious you, too, were looking for a couple of minutes to be by yourself.”
“No, that ain’t it.” After taking another deep breath, she said, “Seeing you took me by surprise. That’s all.” Isaac wasn’t enough of a jerk to not be aware that seeing a strange man, when you thought you were alone, might be scary to a timid girl like her.
“You took me by surprise, too. I never see anyone out here.”
Some of the muscles in her face and neck relaxed. After another second, she seemed to come to a decision and stepped closer to him. “Is that your dog?”
“Jah. His name is Spot, on account of the circle around his eye.”
“He looks to be a real fine hund.” She smiled.
And what a smile it was. Sweet, lighting up her eyes. Feeling a bit taken by surprise, too, he said, “He’s an Australian shepherd and real nice. Would you like to meet him?”
“Sure.” She smiled again, this time displaying pretty white teeth.
“Spot, come here, boy.”
With a stretch and a groan, Spot stood up, stretched again, then sauntered over. When he got to Isaac’s side, he paused. Isaac ran a hand along his back, then clicked his tongue, a sign for Spot to simply be a dog.
Spot walked right over and rubbed his nose along one of Hannah’s hands.
She giggled softly. “Hello, Spot. Aren’t you a handsome hund?” After she let Spot sniff her hand, she ran it along his soft fur. Spot, as could be expected, closed his eyes and enjoyed the attention.
“Look at that,” Hannah said. “He likes to be petted.”
“He’s friendly.”
“Do you go fishing here much?” she asked hesitantly.
“Not as much as I’d like to. I’m pretty busy. Usually, I’m helping my father on the farm or working in my uncle’s woodworking shop.” Because she seemed interested, he admitted, “I don’t get to sit around and just enjoy the day all that much.”
“And here I came and ruined your peace and quiet.”
“I didn’t say that. You’re fine.”
She didn’t look as if she believed him. Actually, she looked even more agitated. Taking a step backward, she said, “I should probably let you get back to your fishing, then.”
“I don’t care about that. I’d rather talk to you.”
Her eyes widened. “Oh?”
“Jah. I mean, we’re neighbors and all.” When she still looked doubtful, he said, “Besides, everyone is curious about you.”
“I don’t know why. I’m just an Amish girl.”
He thought she was anything but that. “Come on,” he chided. “You know what I’m talking about.”
Looking even more unsure, she shook her head.
“First off, I’ve hardly even seen you around town, only on Sundays when we have church. And even then you never stray from your parents’ side. That’s kind of odd.”
“I’m still getting used to being here in Kentucky,” she said quickly.
“What is there to get used to?” he joked. “We’re just a small community in the middle of cave country.”
To his surprise, she stepped back. “I guess getting used to my new home is taking me a while. But that doesn’t mean anything.”
Aware that he’d hurt her feelings, he realized that he should have really watched his tone. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just saying that the way you’ve been acting has everyone curious. That’s why people are calling you ‘The Recluse.’ ”
“ ‘The Recluse’?”
“Well, jah. I mean you truly are an Amish woman of mystery,” he said, hoping she’d tease him right back like his older sister would have done.
She did not.
Actually, she looked like she was about to cry, and it was his doing.
When was he ever going to learn to read people better? Actually, he should knock some sense into himself. He’d been a real jerk. “Sorry. I didn’t intend to sound so callous.”
“Well, you certainly did.”
“Ah, you are right. It was a bad joke.”
“I better go.”
Staring at her more closely, he noticed that those pretty hazel eyes of hers looked kind of shimmery, like a whole mess of tears was about to fall. Now he felt worse than bad.“Hey, are you going to be okay getting home? I could walk you back, if you’d like.”
“Danke, nee.”
Reaching out, he grasped Spot by his collar. “I don’t mind at all. It will give us a chance to—”
She cut him off. “I do not want or need your help.” She was staring at him like he was scary. Like he was the type of guy who would do her harm.
That bothered him.
“Look, I already apologized. You don’t need to look at me like I’m going to attack you or something. I’m just trying to be a good neighbor.”
She flinched before visibly collecting herself. “I understand. But like I said, I don’t want your help. I will be fine.”
When he noticed that Spot was also sensing her distress, he tried again even though he knew he should just let her go. “I was done fishing anyway. All I have to do is grab my pole. Then Spot and I could walk with you.”
“What else do I have to say for you to listen to me?” she fairly cried out. “Isaac, I do not want you to walk me anywhere.” She turned and darted away, sliding back into the brush. No doubt about to get covered in more scratches and poison ivy.
Well, she’d finally said his name, and it certainly did sound sweet on her lips.
Too bad she was now certain to avoid him for the rest of her life. He really hoped his mother was never going to hear about how awful he’d just been. She’d be so disappointed.
He was disappointed in himself, and was usually a lot more patient with people. He liked that about himself, too. And this girl? Well, she needed someone, too. But she seemed even afraid of her shadow.
***
Excerpt from Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Shelley Shepard Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
  Shelley Shepard Gray

Author Bio:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Catch Up With Ms. Gray On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


Tour Participants:


Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Wendy Corsi Staub and William Morrow. There will be 2 winners of one $25 Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 15th and runs through May 2nd, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.
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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help to deal with her demons.

She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends, pillow talk with Hudson, and smack talk with the local bad boys. And after the victim is identified as the very doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. An unlikely ally helps navigate the murky waters before her knowledge destroys her, and this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life.

**********

I first read a book by Diane Vallere last year (A Disguise to Die For (Costume Shop Mystery, #1)), and I found the book to be charming, just the kind of cozy mystery I like to read. So, when I got the chance to read this one did I not hesitate. I quite like the idea of an interior Decorator that has a thing for Doris Day. 

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much is a great book. I came to like Madison Night quite a lot, I especially liked that she is not a young thing. That she is a mature woman over forty who just stumbles over mysteries like this one in this book. Nowadays it's like all the books I read the main characters (women) are around 20-40 years old. Nothing wrong with that, but I like authors that actually decide to something different from everyone else. Another thing, for a cozy mystery, did the book feel very serious, with Madison dealing with PTSD, seeing a dead body and being mistrusted because no dead body is found and clashing with her boyfriend's brother-in-law among other things. 

But, it worked, there are no gruesome deaths, but at the same time, it has not a silly plot, despite Madison's Doris Day passion (obsession). I quite liked the mystery in this book, even though I did have an inkling of whom was behind it all and was right about that. It was a very good book, perfect when you want a mystery, but have read too many heavy crime novels. 

I found the book to be just to my taste, loved the cover, like the characters, there is a hint of a triangle drama, she had to choose between two men in the previous book or one of the previous books. Did she make the right choice? Well, Hudson, her boyfriend is a nice guy, but I kind of like Tex Allen as well. So, it will be interesting to see what the future will bring because I will definitely read the next book in this series, and the previous as well if I can get them.

I want to thank Liz D Publicity & Promotions for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!


Links:










About Diane Vallere:

Diane Vallere is a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. She is president of Sisters in Crime and writes the Samantha Kidd, Madison Night, Costume Shop, and Lefty-Award Nominated Material Witness Mysteries. She started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Killer On The Wall by Emma Kavanagh

The Killer On The Wall by Emma Kavanagh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first body comes as a shock

The second brings horror

The third signals the beginning of a nightmare


When fifteen-year-old Isla Bell finds three bodies propped against Hadrian’s Wall, her whole world falls apart. In such a close-knit community, everyone knows the victims, and the man who did it.

Twenty years on and Isla has dedicated her life to forensic psychology; studying the brains of serial killers, and even coming face to face with the convicted murderer who turned her world upside down. She is safe after all, with him behind bars.

Then another body appears against the Wall.

And another.

As the nightmare returns and the body count rises, everyone in town is a suspect.

Who is the Killer on the Wall?


**********

The Killer On The Wall is a chilling story about Isla Bell, a young girl that finds three bodies propped against Hadrian's wall. This will have a great impact on her life. She will, later on, dedicate her life studying the brains of serial killers, in hope that one day she will find what makes a person a killer. Then, 20 years later a body is found propped up against the wall, and then another.

I found The Killer On The Wall the be interesting to read. There are several POV's in this book, among them are Isla, her husband who survived the first attack 20 years ago, and her father who caught the killer. But, the one person I think I liked the best was Mina, a young cop that has been transferred from London to Briganton to get away from her overbearing family. Now she faces a nightmare with a serial killer loose.

I read The Missing Hours by the same author last year and I think this book is better. This story was much more interesting and all these different characters make this story engrossing to read. The ending was perhaps not that surprising since there is just not many suspects to chose from anymore. However, I found it fitting because even though one can know a person well, can even the best of us be blind when it comes to seeing things...

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

The Half Wives by Stacia Pelletier Blog Tour (spotlight)



The Half Wives by Stacia Pelletier
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover & eBook; 336 Pages
ISBN-10: 0547491166

Genre: Historical Fiction


Over the course of one momentous day, two women who have built their lives around the same man find themselves moving toward an inevitable reckoning.

Former Lutheran minister Henry Plageman is a master secret keeper and a man wracked by grief. He and his wife, Marilyn, tragically lost their young son, Jack, many years ago. But he now has another child—a daughter, eight-year-old Blue—with Lucy, the woman he fell in love with after his marriage collapsed.

The Half Wives follows these interconnected characters on May 22, 1897, the anniversary of Jack’s birth. Marilyn distracts herself with charity work at an orphanage. Henry needs to wrangle his way out of the police station, where he has spent the night for disorderly conduct. Lucy must rescue and rein in the intrepid Blue, who has fallen in a saltwater well. But before long, these four will all be drawn on this day to the same destination: to the city cemetery on the outskirts of San Francisco, to the grave that means so much to all of them. The collision of lives and secrets that follows will leave no one unaltered.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Kobo

Praise

“Pelletier’s second novel unfolds a complex story in the span of 24 hours… [The author] expertly fills in the back story—introspection and memories mingle smoothly with the present… Well-crafted characters struggling alone with shared grief furnishes a coursing river on which this intriguing story effortlessly flows. Tough to put down.” —Kirkus Reviews
The Half Wives is a profoundly hypnotic and mesmerizing work. The characters do not capture you as much as claim you, as the writing—languid, heartbreaking, and hopeful—pulls you deep into their world. The backdrop of Old San Francisco comes gloriously alive, as though the mist of the city itself rose from every page.”—Kathy Hepinstall, author of Blue Asylum and others
“Stacia Pelletier’s The Half Wives is set in the past, but it is a story for any time: a poignant, sometimes heart-rending, beautifully crafted, always gripping tale of loss and love, and the human need to try to set things right. A great read.”—Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd

About the Author

Stacia Pelletier is the author of Accidents of Providence, which was short-listed for the Townsend Prize in Fiction, and the forthcoming The Half Wives. She earned graduate degrees in religion and historical theology from Emory University in Atlanta. A two-time fellow of the Hambidge Center, located in the mountains of North Georgia, she currently lives in Decatur, Georgia, and works at Emory University’s School of Medicine.

For more information, please visit Stacia Pelletier’s website.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 4
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, April 5
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, April 6
Review & Giveaway at Rainy Day Reviews
Friday, April 7
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, April 11
Review at West Metro Mommy
Friday, April 14
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Tuesday, April 18
Review at Books, Dreams, Life
Wednesday, April 19
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, April 20
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Monday, April 24
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Friday, April 28
Review at Reviews by Room With Books
Tuesday, May 2
Review, Guest Post & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs
Wednesday, May 3
Giveaway at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, May 4
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Clarissa Reads It All
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, May 5
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee


Cover Crush: Tears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!




Set amid the beauty and decadence of the Ottoman Empire, Lady Emily’s latest adventure is full of intrigue, treachery, and romance.

Looking forward to the joys of connubial bliss, newlyweds Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves, diplomats of the British Empire, set out toward Turkey for an exotic honeymoon. But on their first night in the city, a harem girl is found murdered, strangled in the courtyard of the Sultan’s lavish Topkapi Palace. Sir Richard St. Clare, an Englishman who works at the embassy in Constantinople, is present and recognizes the girl as his own daughter who was kidnapped twenty years earlier. Emily and Colin promise the heartbroken father that they’ll find her killer, but as the investigation gains speed, they find that appearance can be deceiving—especially within the confines of the seraglio

As a woman, Emily is given access to the forbidden world of the harem and quickly discovers that its mysterious, sheltered walls offer no protection from a ruthless murderer. As the number of victims grows, Emily must rely on her own sharp wits in a heart-stopping finale if she is to stop a killer bent on exacting vengeance no matter how many innocent lives he leaves in his wake. 


Some thoughts about the cover:

I have to admit that the I quite like covers with women's faces cut off. Well, not in a bloody kind of way of course. But just like the cover for Tears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander. But, that's not really what caught by attention. It's the city of Constantinople at the bottom of the cover that really caught my eyes. I just look at the city, amides the mist and clouds and in that light and it looks magical.

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Sandcastle Sister by Lisa Wingate

The Sandcastle Sister by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

*An Outer Banks Novella*

I want to be like this stretch of freshly cleared shore. At times I think, I'm ready. Let the waves wash over me. But then I catch myself running from the tide just before it happens . . .

New York editor Jen Gibbs knew when she bought Evan Hall's next blockbuster book, it would change her career. She didn't know it would change her life. But after being sent along on the European book tour, at Evan's request, she has made a promise she's not sure she can keep--she's crossed professional lines and accepted Evan's surprising engagement proposal. Now she's scared to death. In Jen's family, marriage represents the death of every dream a woman holds for herself.

Can the revelation of her mother's long-held secret open the doors to Jen's future and change her beliefs about life and love?

**********

When I read The Sea Keeper's Daughters (book 3 in the Carolina series) did I not know how much I would come to love that book, or rather love the whole series. But, the story was so gripping and beautiful that I bought the previous two books in the series and loved them as well. The Sandcastle Sisters is the last novella that I had left to read. Now I just hope that Lisa Wingate will write another book in the series.

The Sandcastle Sister takes place after The Story Keeper and it's like an interlude to the book with Jen Gibbs trying to decide if she should marry Evan Hall or not. She has said yes to his proposal, but in her family marriage is more like a slavery for women than an equal union. A call from her sister makes her head home to find out more about her mother's family and perhaps decide if she dares marry the man she loves.

This sweet little novella made me remember how much I love the Carolina series. I loved reading about Jen again and the story was pleasant albeit short. Hence, the 3-star rating. I liked the novella, but at the same time, it's like an appetizer when I want a full meal. When the story really starts to get somewhere it ends. At the same time, it was a nice ending. I just want more!

You should definitely read this book if you have read the previous books/novellas in this series and if you have never read The Carolina series should you really do it! 

Missing by Kelley Armstrong

Missing by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?


**********

By no one else's fault than my own did I get the impression that this would be a paranormal book and that was what I was looking forward to reading. However, this is a YA thriller, a whodunit book about Winter, a young girl who discovers that the people that have left the little town of Reeve's End have perhaps met a grisly end. Among them is Winter's sister that left a year before and never was heard from again.

Young adult is not a genre I read that often, but I've lately been reading up on Kelley Armstrong and this book seemed interesting and it turned out to be quite a good book. For a YA is it actually really good. However, despite that Armstrong managed to create a really great female lead characters and also write an interesting story, did I not completely fall for the story, especially not the ending. I don't know, it just didn't really intrigue me and I felt that the book lacked suspense.

Missing was an interesting book. I came to like Winter very much, she is a strong character and I loved how Winter, despite her upbringing has a goal in life. I also loved the little town of Reeve's End, there is just something special about town like this, far from civilization. The best part of the book was the beginning when everything was still a mystery and one wondered what was going on, what had happened with all the youngster? Personally, would I have loved a paranormal angle to the story, but it worked as a thriller, despite the lack of a truly suspenseful ending.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

The Secret Room by Sandra Block

The Secret Room by Sandra Block
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Her patients are dying. Some are apparent suicides and others possible accidents, but rumors are flying that Dr. Zoe Goldman is an angel of death-intentionally helping hopeless cases go to a "better place" - or, worse yet, a dangerously incompetent doctor.

As a new psychiatry fellow at the local correctional facility, Zoe is still learning the ropes while watching her back to avoid some dangerous prisoners. As the deaths mount up, Zoe is wracked with horror and guilt, feverishly trying to figure out what is going wrong and even questioning her own sanity.

What Zoe doesn't realize is that someone is targeting her patients to get to her. Someone who has access to her deepest secrets and fears. Someone who will stop at nothing to take everything Zoe has, even her life.


**********

I read The Girl Without a Name the previous book in the series two years ago and really liked it and was thrilled to get The Secret Room to read. I haven't read Little Black Lies, but this book deals with what happened in that book by having Zoe's sister in the story. And, that's a subject that intrigued me very much and one some levels did I find it more interesting than the main story about the prisoners that dies. I guess the troubled relationship Zoe has with her sister just fascinates me more since what happened between them that makes Zoe mistrust her. Yeah, I'm trying to be as vague as possible if you haven't read any of the books.

Dr. Zoe Goldman is a new psychiatry fellow at the local correctional facility. Lately has problems arisen with prisoners dying, either by suicide or by accidents. But, they have all been her patients and the prison warden is getting more and more displeased with her and Zoe is racked with guilt and self-doubt. Then, she starts to suspect that someone is helping the prisoners die. But, who could it be, could someone of the prisoners be after her, but why?

I found the whole prisoner dying plot interesting, Zoe herself suspects a certain person, but I had a feeling that it would be too easy if it was so. However, I had some suspicious feeling that Zoe was played by that person. That even if this person was not the one behind it could it be that the person in question had some knowledge or even helped out. It will be interesting reading the next book to see the consequences of the events in this book.

Besides the hardship at work is Zoe dealing with her own "little" problem, she has learned something that will affect her whole life and she's struggling with this during the book. She has to make a decision and this storyline added quite a lot of drama to the story. But, in a good why. I quite liked this development.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

The Secret Room by Sandra Block

The Fix by David Baldacci

The Fix by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amos Decker witnesses a murder just outside FBI headquarters. A man shoots a woman execution style on a crowded sidewalk, then turns the gun on himself.

Even with Decker's extraordinary powers of observation and deduction, the killing is baffling. Decker and his team can find absolutely no connection between the shooter - a family man with a successful consulting business - and his victim, a schoolteacher. Nor is there a hint of any possible motive for the attack.

Enter Harper Brown. An agent of the Defense Intelligence Agency, she orders Decker to back off the case. The murder is part of an open DIA investigation, one so classified that Decker and his team aren't cleared for it.

But they learn that the DIA believes solving the murder is now a matter of urgent national security. Critical information may have been leaked to a hostile government - or, worse, an international terrorist group - and an attack may be imminent.

Decker's never been one to follow the rules, especially with the stakes so high. Forced into an uneasy alliance with Agent Brown, Decker remains laser focused on only one goal: solving the case before it's too late.


**********

The Fix is the third book in the Amos Decker series. You don't have to read the previous books to enjoy this one. Personally, haven't I read the first book yet (although I'm eyeing right now since it's on my desk waiting to be read).

Amos Decker and his team have a new case, a man shoots and kills a woman outside FBI headquarters and then he shoots himself. But why? The man and the woman have no connection to each other and no one can understand why he did it. This is a strange case that soon gets even stranger when Harper Brown, an agent of the Defense Intelligence Agency gets involved with the case, first trying to get Amos to back down and then more and less helping them.

As usual, has Baldacci written an interesting thriller. What I love about this book not only the strange case, but small things like Marvin Mars showing up in the story and Decker and Jamison moving in together as roommates in a building that Mars bought. Just roommates, they are just friends, although Jamison seems sometimes a bit "fond" of Decker. However, Decker is not a man that's ready to move on from the tragic murder of his wife and daughter especially since with his extraordinary memory never can forget the sight of finding them. What he needs is friends and that's what he got in Mars and Jamison.

I liked how weird this case is, how they slowly had to unravel it to find out the motive for the killing. Did I see the ending coming? Partly to be honest. I was not totally surprised by the twist towards the end when we learn just how everything is connected. Sometimes, the answer is in front of your eyes all the time and I have read so many thrillers that I felt it was quite obvious who the person behind it all was. That doesn't mean that I did not enjoy reading the book, but some twist were just a bit too obvious...

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

The Fix by David Baldacci

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett Blog Tour

The Restless Dead: by Simon Beckett
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Meet forensics expert Dr David Hunter in the menacing, skin-prickling, tense new thriller from Simon Beckett - the number one European best-selling author.

Dr David Hunter receives a phone call one Friday evening from a Detective Inspector Lundy from the Essex police force. A badly decomposed body has been washed up near Mersea Island and the local police would welcome Hunter’s help with the recovery and identification...

They’d like it to be the body of Leo Villiers, the 31-year-old son of a prominent local family who went missing weeks ago. Villiers was supposed to be having an affair with married woman Emma Derby, who too is missing. The local force believe that the young man disposed of his lover, and then killed himself. But could it really be that simple?

As Hunter is drawn into a toxic mire of family secrets and resentments, local lies and deception, he finds himself unable or perhaps unwilling, to escape even though he knows the real thread comes from the living, not the dead.


********** 

The Restless Dead is book five in the David Hunter series. I have not read any of the previous books in this series, but I have heard about it and have wanted to read them so I was happy to get the chance to participate in a blog tour for this book.

David Hunter is blacklisted after events in the previous book so when he gets a call for help to identifying a body doesn't he hesitate to go. This seems to be an open and shut case, they have a missing man and now they have found a body, but Hunter feels that something is wrong, despite the missing man's father confirmation that the dead man is wearing his son's clothes. And on his way to the mortuary for the autopsy does he take the wrong turn and suddenly he runs into problems with a flooded road and car that ends up stuck in the water and ends up taking refuge at a family that not only is acting hostile to him, but they also seem to have some secrets....

With this action, just getting stuck and having to accept help from strangers is Hunter suddenly drawn into a web of secrets. There is something odd going on, people are harbinger secrets and when the young daughter in the family that Hunter is staying with goes missing will the case suddenly take a different direction.

The Restless Dead never made me feel lost, despite not having read the previous four books. Instead, was I fascinated by Hunter and his tragic past with the death of his family and other events that have hit him hard (like a knife attack). The story in this book is intriguing and poor Hunter just doesn't seem to be able to do anything without stumbling over a dead body or being in the middle of things that go out of hand. I was engrossed with the story and I loved that it was hard to see how it all would end. Then, we have the interesting ending of the book when everything has been resolved, wow what a perfect and frustrating cliffhanger!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Simon Beckett has worked as a freelance journalist, writing for national newspapers and colour supplements. He is the author of four international bestselling crime thrillers featuring his forensic anthropologist hero, Dr David Hunter: The Chemistry of Death, Written in Bone, Whispers of the Dead and The Calling of the Grave. His other novels are Stone Bruises and Where There’s Smoke.



Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An unforgettable horror novel from bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn—hailed as a writer of “some of the most promising horror I’ve encountered in years” (New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire)—in which a small-town boy investigates the mysterious disappearance of his cousin and uncovers a terrifying secret kept hidden for years.


Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.

That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen...the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.

*********

THE DEVIL CREPT IN is a creepy story about a young boy who discovers that there is something or someone hiding out in the woods in a rundown house. Or is it really so? Stevie Clark has been plagued with awful visions for years, seeing things that aren't there. Could the thing he saw be just a fragment of his imagination? But when his cousin Jude goes missing, Stevie is convinced that what he saw is real and that perhaps the thing has something to do with Jude's disappearance. Years ago a little boy, Max Larsen, disappeared and never returned, and the pets of the town of Deer Valley seem to disappear as well. Stevie doesn't know what to believe, could there really be a monster in the woods?

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

Harley Quinn, Volume 1: Die Laughing by Amanda Conner

Harley Quinn, Volume 1: Die Laughing by Amanda Conner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Her name is Dr. Harleen Quinzel, better known to her friends and enemies as playful-but-deadly Harley Quinn. Her ex-boyfriend, the Joker, may be the Clown Prince of Crime, but Harley's the Queen of Coney Island! So when a zombie apocalypse threatens her li'l seaside stretch of paradise, who else would ya call to save your butt?

In these action-packed pages, the baddest bad girl in the entire DC Universe joins forces with everyone from her gal-pal Poison Ivy to the leading lights of the New York City punk scene to take down anyone who stands between her and a good time--living, dead or undead.


The Harley Quinn powerhouse team of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti joins forces with artists John Timms and Chad Hardin and draft a new beginning for DC’s craziest anti-hero in HARLEY QUINN VOL. 1: DIE LAUGHING. Collects HARLEY QUINN #1-7.


**********

I so want to love this volume, but frankly, I struggled with reading it. Am I the only one that a bit sick and tired of Zombie storylines? It's up there with vampires that are also a bit overdone by now. Of course, now and then something good will be produced with vampire/zombie in it, I still like The Originals for instance.

Anyway, this volume (that I read a while back, so far back that I had to check up what it was all about since my memory is not getting better as older I get) start off with an alien getting made into hot dogs and turning people into Zombies. Yes, that's the storyline. I was not that impressed. But, at least it was better than the next story arc...


Harley goes to India. I kind of forgot about that. I mean how bad is it that I had to read a review to remember what it's all about and all I can think of is that it's the part of the volume that really sucked. Utterly boring. On to the next story...

The last part I actually enjoyed reading. Harley goes punk. This was at least fun to read and brought an old villain into the story. Loved Harley's punk style and that she sucked at singing. Ah, if the rest of the volume had been this fun had I liked it a lot more.


So, not a favorite volume of mine, it was OK to read (mostly), but I hope the next one is better!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

Pitch Black by Alex Gray Blog Tour

Pitch Black by Alex GrayPitch Black: A DCI Lorimer Novel by Alex Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pitch Black

by Alex Gray

on Tour: March 20 - April 20, 2017

Synopsis:

DCI Lorimer is back in the next gripping atmospheric police procedural by international bestselling author Alex Gray.

When Chief Inspector Lorimer returns from holiday on the island of Mull, he feels a welcome sense of calm. But that doesn’t last long. Kelvin Football Club’s new star midfielder is found brutally stabbed to death in his own home, and with his wife apprehended trying to leave the country, a seemingly straightforward new case begins. But the grisly murder of a referee after a Kelvin match throws light on some dark secrets. And when the newest player who signed to the club becomes the latest victim in a string of killings, Lorimer knows there’s a serial killer on the loose—one that’s only beginning to show his true colors. 

As lies emerge and tensions build, Lorimer must discover the truth before one of the players or managers become the next Kelvin fatality.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery & Detective
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780062659149
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Book Review

Pitch Black is the second book I have read in this series and, despite my lack of interest for sports do I like the series. And, I think that the books, despite being part of a series, are easy to get into even if you haven't read the previous books.

This book would probably have been a lot more fun to read if I had liked football. But, sports of any kind is just not my thing. Fortunately, the case is interesting enough, even if I have to admit that I sometimes struggled with the story, especially during whenever there is a match going on in the story. On the plus side were the side stories, a stray kitten found by Lorimer's wife and a tragic car accident that one of the characters is in involved in interesting enough to counterweight the matches.

The book starts off with the wife of a football player being arrested for the murder of him. But, is she really guilty? She isn't saying anything to her defense, but there is no physical evidence to bind her to the crime. But, he was found in a locked house that's not broken into and she is the only one besides the murdered man that has a key and she has no alibi. Then, a referee gets killed and that's just the start, could she be innocent and there is someone out there killing people connected to the Kelvin Football Club?  

I did like the story in The Riverman better (the previous book), I found reading about football players just not that interesting, however, the story got a bit better when the killer started to pick them off one by one. But, what's the motive and who is it?

In the end, I have to say that the book is OK, much thanks to the side stories, and the fact that I like the characters. The case was not altogether bad, but it will probably appeal more to football fans than to someone that basically allergic to it...;)

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 3
The dust motes swirled round, captured in the one beam of light that filtered through a gap in the blinds. Behind him an insect buzzed drowsily against the window, seeking to escape from the confines of the room. Listening to its feeble struggles, Lorimer felt some empathy for the tiny creature. At that moment he would have given a great deal to walk out into the warm air of the city streets. Before him on the videoscreen were pictures of the deceased, not happy snaps at all. The scene-of-crime photographer had managed to convey each and every aspect of the man’s death, from the bread knife sticking out of his chest cavity to the open-mouthed grimace portraying that final scream of agony. Close-ups of blood spatters surrounded the main pictures, adding graphically to the image.
‘It was hot,’ Mitchison commented, somewhat unnecessarily, releasing the stills and letting the film pan in on the body. The black patches around the wound showed a moving mass of flies. Lorimer could almost smell the scent of corruption and was glad for once that he had not been first on the scene. But now Mitchison’s peremptory call had stolen the final day of Lorimer’s break and he had to be brought up to speed if he were to take charge of this case.
‘We’ve got the woman in custody and she’ll appear in court in the morning,’ the superintendent began, ‘but there are some problems.’
Lorimer raised his eyebrows.
‘She says she didn’t do it, of course, despite the fact she drove all the way up to the Hebrides...’ Mitchison’s drawl tailed off.
‘So, the problems are . . . ?’
‘We need to have some forensic evidence to connect her to the crime. There’s been nothing on her person and we couldn’t find anything else in the house. Either she was extremely forensically aware and managed to remove any traces of blood from the scene, or she’s telling us the truth.’
Lorimer, fixing his gaze on the images of a man who had bled to death, wondered what had provoked the attack. ‘What’s your own opinion, sir?’
Mitchison frowned. ‘She certainly had the means to do it. There was a huge rack of knives on one of those magnetic strips. It was one of these that was the murder weapon. No prints, I’m afraid. No residual traces, either. And the door was locked. There was no sign of a forced entry.’
‘Just circumstantial evidence, then?’
Mitchison nodded and screwed up his eyes in the half-light, then blinked. He’d probably been working through the night, Lorimer realised.
Method, means and opportunity, a familiar voice intoned in Lorimer’s head. It had been old George’s mantra. A wave of nostalgia for his former boss washed over him just then. Weary or not, George would never have delegated a case like this. He’d have ferreted away at it, looking for something more than the obvious. Though a runaway wife was a fairly obvious place to begin, Lorimer had to admit to himself. The method was straightforward enough and, despite his level of athleticism, the victim might have been taken by complete surprise. His expression alone was testament to that theory. She’d had the means easily to hand. And the opportunity? Who could say? Knife attacks were usually random affairs undertaken in a moment of frenzy.
‘What d’you reckon, then? A domestic gone wrong?’
The super made a face. ‘Janis Faulkner’s saying nothing. No plea for mitigating circumstances. Just a persistent refusal to admit she’d had anything to do with her husband’s death.’
‘Anything else suspicious?’
Mitchison paused for a moment then looked past Lorimer. ‘What would I call it? A strange absence of grief, I suppose.’
Lorimer gave a non-committal shrug. You couldn’t charge the woman for failing to mourn her dead husband, but still . . . His thoughts wandered for a moment to the sight of Janis Faulkner’s face as she’d glanced up at him on Fishnish pier. Had she been showing remorse? That haunted look had stayed with him since he’d seen her yesterday.
‘What do we know about her own movements before she scarpered?’
‘Says she was down at the gym. We’ve checked and her signing in and out times tally with her story. But as for simply setting off afterwards and not returning home first, well that was fairly unlikely, don’t you think? A few rounds on an exercise bike then she suddenly decides to leave her husband. It doesn’t make sense.’
‘So she’ll be charged?’
‘Yes, first thing tomorrow. There’s not another shred of evidence to show anyone else was in the house. I don’t care what Janis Faulkner claims; she did it, all right.’
Lorimer looked at his boss. The vehemence in Mitchison’s tone surprised him. Or was it simply that he was afraid Lorimer would see things in a different light, take away his prime suspect and cause problems? There was a past between these two senior officers that had never been adequately resolved. Mitchison had been promoted to superintendent when everyone’s expectations had been on Lorimer stepping into his old boss’s shoes, but it was their different attitudes to police work that had been the real cause of friction between them. Mitchison did everything by the rule book, creating masses of paperwork for everyone, while his DCI preferred a more handson approach. Lorimer remained silent. He was being officially designated as SIO and unless something new emerged, Janis Faulkner’s guilt or otherwise remained a matter for the jury.
‘Her solicitor is bound to ask for bail to be granted, pending a full investigation. We’ll see what happens in court tomorrow, but I have my doubts.’ Mitchison passed over the case file. ‘Don’t expect you’ll have too much bother with this one.’
Famous last words, Lorimer told himself as Mitchison left the room. Whether it was that quirk of fate placing him at the scene of her arrest on Mull or the victim’s high profile, the DCI had a strong feeling that this case was going to be anything but straightforward.
The woman had been brought back from Mull and placed in the police cells for one more night until she could be brought to court and officially charged with Nicko Faulkner’s murder. Lorimer waited outside as the duty officer unlocked the cell and stood aside. The first thing he noticed was the smell. It wafted towards him, a mixture of stale sweat and something more pungent that he recognised as menstrual blood. He’d smelt it before from women banged up over long weekends without any facilities to shower or change their clothes. Janis Faulkner was sitting in a corner of the bunk, feet together, head down and clutching her stomach. A movement as the cell door was opening made him realise she had looked up for a split second but now her expression was hidden under that curtain of damp hair.
‘Anyone thought to give her some paracetamol?’ he asked the uniformed officer.
‘Hasn’t asked for it,’ the man shrugged. ‘What’s she want it for anyway?’
‘Just go and get some,’ Lorimer told him, ‘and a drink of cold water.’ He let the man close the cell door behind them and stood waiting for the woman to look his way.
‘Feeling bad?’ he asked, as if she were an old acquaintance and not a stranger who was also his prisoner. He heard the sigh first, then Janis raised her head and looked at him. There was a brightness in her eyes that spoke of unshed tears. Her little nod and a flicker of recognition were all Lorimer needed to know he’d begun to win her confidence.
The door clanged open and the uniform strode in, proffering a tumbler of water and a strip of foil containing two painkillers. Both men watched as she unwrapped them, her fingers shaking as she clutched the glass and tilted back her head, then swallowed.
‘Thanks,’ she said, her voice hoarse. But it was to Lorimer that she spoke, to Lorimer that she handed back the empty tumbler.
‘You’ll have been told that we have to keep you here till tomorrow?’ he asked quietly, a hint of apology in his voice. She nodded again, but her head had drooped once more and Lorimer sensed she was withdrawing into herself, just as Mitchison had described. ‘You can talk to me if you want to,’ he told her. There was no response at all this time and as the minutes ticked past he realised that there was little point in trying any longer.
As he turned to leave, the silence inside that cell was redolent of misery.
Excerpt from Pitch Black by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from WitnessImpulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.
Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.
A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website  & on Twitter .


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