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The Death House
The Death House
by Sarah Pinborough
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

5.0 out of 5 stars No faults in the five stars I give this book, 26 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Death House (Hardcover)
In turn, sad, scary and life-affirming. After The Language of Dying I was nervous as to whether Pinborough would be able to do this type of story again and so well. I needn't have worried at all - this is an excellent read which will have wide appeal across age groups and genres, will mean different things to different age groups and cements her position as an author to watch for how she can shed both light and darkness onto finely honed fiction with characters you'll care about and themes that are universal. Highly recommended. Very early into 2015, this is guaranteed a place in my top reads of the year.

Shallow Waters: DI Hannah Robbins Book 1
Shallow Waters: DI Hannah Robbins Book 1
Price: £1.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A striking and bold debut, 25 Jan. 2015
A striking and bold first novel from this debut crime novelist.
Never shying away from the evils the narrative portrays, Bradley still manages to pull off the skill I most admire in skilful film direction - she makes you think you've read more of the horrors than she has actually written on the page - cleverly placing enough of the darkness in your mind for it to then race to fill in the blanks. At times very uncomfortable reading, but introducing a great new DI to the crime fiction fraternity - a powerful and very well orchestrated debut, awash with procedural detail - Rebecca Bradley knows her stuff and I will certainly be up for reading the next one.
Shallow Waters has reinvigorated why I've always enjoyed the range of crime fiction out there and I'm pretty damn sure that publishers will be hot on Bradley's trail to seek out what she's planning next.

Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity and horror quite literally crash together in this great and haunting tale, 27 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crash (Kindle Edition)
Humanity and horror quite literally crash together in this great and haunting tale.
It will make you think, put things into perspective and, quite possibly shed a tear along the way - well played Mr Wright & Mr Platt, placing your readers in jeopardy once again : )

Cry Baby
Cry Baby
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jackson knocks it out of the park with this one!, 26 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cry Baby (Kindle Edition)
A very worthy addition to the Doyle series of novels and yet bravely takes risks with its narrative, placing the central character on the outskirts of the investigation and the main story for a fair chunk of the read. But when he's there, he's really there - with all of his great banter and views on the world and those around him. The character of Callum Doyle seems to be able to successfully 'double-act' and almost 'buddy-up' with anyone he meets, be they his colleagues in the NYPD or the wonderful characters he meets from the wrong side of the law. The scenes with 'Albert' who comes in to confess to an awful crime are like verbal gold dust and I'd love to see them played out on screen by two skilled actors.

The central plot is very well handled and plays the tension perfectly, with young mother Erin discovering that her baby daughter, Georgia, has gone missing. There are genuinely horrific moments, many of which are played out in the reader's mind from the skilful writing and the twists along the way as the mother seeks to find her daughter and is forced to act to stand any chance of getting her back. Placing a central character in such continual trauma and jeopardy made me think of Stephen King's Misery in the earlier chapters but then the whole thing twists and turns with a puzzle to the plot that certainly kept Calum Doyle and this reader on our toes right through to the end.

It's a clever manipulation with this fourth book in that, whilst it still is, I guess, a Police Procedural novel in many respects, it is also a very different construction and tone to the previous books. With Cry Baby I think David Jackson has managed a very successful psychological thriller addition within his series. To write this type of story many other series authors I think would feel the need to break out of their series and go with a different cast with a standalone book.

And, if you haven't read the previous three books (where have you been?) then no real need to worry as Cry Baby presents a perfectly self contained novel to simply jump in on. Be prepared for some serious surprises with this one!

Price: £1.49

19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime Fiction just upped its game - a great debut, 5 Dec. 2013
This review is from: DEAD GONE (Kindle Edition)
It was only a matter of time before this happened.....and I am so pleased that it has - the debut novel from Luca Veste is out!

He has been a regular name on the crime fiction scene for some time now, well known to other crime fans and authors through his excellent blog, Guilty Conscience, his sterling work on charity anthologies to raise money for literacy trusts and his overriding passion for the genre.

As a student of Psychology and Criminology, you can expect something complex and darkly twisted - and that's just the author. His debut novel is a stunning piece of serial killer noir that'll have you praying for daylight as you turn the pages quickly into the long night. Luca Veste presents a clear and present danger to the crime writing community and to its fans (well, certainly to their wallets) as this marks the first stepping stone in what I am sure will be a long series of successful novels.

With a slow burn and cleverly handled reveal of his central character's (Murphy) past and his own demons, and using his own Italian roots through Rossi, I loved the interaction between the characters. These are real cops not super cops, they are vulnerable, they make mistakes.

Each `experiment' that the killer produces for them seems to `out-Se7en' Se7en - creating some cringeworthy scenes that I'm sure Val McDermid would be proud of.

Every character is well-rounded and there are no cardboard cut-outs here - making identifying and caring for them all paramount. You will want to know what is in store for every one of them - good or bad. As a first in the series, it did make me think of Mark Billingham's `Sleepyhead' at times - but, let's face it, that can be no bad thing at all - he's done alright hasn't he. With Dead Gone, I think you can be Dead Sure that Luca Veste is a name to watch - and 2014 is looking brighter already for his darkness.

Out of the Black
Out of the Black
by John Rector
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.64

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be John Rector's breakout novel, 10 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Out of the Black (Paperback)
If there is any justice in the world, then John Rector will very soon get the notice and recognition he deserves for his thrilling tales of mainly ordinary folk thrown into deadly circumstances.

Almost poetic in his prose at times, I cite him up there with Ryan David Jahn, Aric Davis and Michael Koryta as authors who sorely deserve a push another rung up the ladder to crime fiction super-stardom - and I'm confident that they will all get there - the word just needs to be spread that bit further.

Out of the Black is probably Rector's most mainstream novel to date and one likely to appeal a lot to first time readers. Seasoned readers of his work might find themselves harking back to the darker and more unpredictable qualities of The Cold Kiss and The Grove, but this sits very nicely indeed as the latest edition to the author's canon of work.

About the Author
John Rector is the bestselling author of the novels Lost Things, The Grove, The Cold Kiss, and the 2012 International Thriller Award nominated Already Gone. He resides in Omaha, Nebraska.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2013 8:49 AM GMT

Scare Me
Scare Me
by Richard Parker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.28

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrill-Fest !, 8 May 2013
This review is from: Scare Me (Paperback)
If SCARE ME is anything to go by, then this first release from Angry Robot's new crime imprint `Exhibit A' will be the first in a long line of fresh and exciting crime thrillers.

From the opening it's a plot that will have its readers gripped and pulled headfirst into its globe-trotting internet-controlled macabre treasure hunt as Will Frost rushes from one crime scene to the next, his sole desire to rescue two people who he holds dear to his heart, whilst his life around him begins to shred and tatter. With the same style of an everyman thrown into a desperate situation that makes other crime authors like Harlan Coben so successful and readable, Parker has cleverly paced Scare Me to have sufficient thrills and do or die moments, whilst maintaining the other factor that makes for great crime fiction - a compassion for its victims and, above all, heart in its centre.

The constant use of GPS and ipads to keep in touch and to try to stay ahead of the game could have resulted in this becoming almost a spy-like mess of a novel, but its handled very well and never allows the tech when it appears to get in the way of the fast moving narrative. It's of little surprise that the book has gained praise from king of the high octane high stakes thriller Simon Kernick.

With a sadistic and creative killer in its midst and the nagging fear throughout as to what in the Frost's family's world could have brought the events upon them, Scare Me is a thrilling ride.

If I dare quote Lady Penelope here: `Parker...Well done!'

The Magpies: A Psychological Thriller
The Magpies: A Psychological Thriller

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fear is here - far too close for comfort, 1 April 2013
Any fears about Mark Edwards going solo for this book were quickly put to one side, but they were replaced by all new fears – those of what were certainly looking like becoming the neighbours from hell.

I wasn’t disappointed.

The Magpies is a cunningly crafted piece of psychological crime fiction which burrows into the brain with a plentiful supply of ‘what if’ moments that’ll have you concerned about your own closest neighbours, whilst also (hopefully) giving you some assurance that you’re probably much better off than the central characters in this tale.

Often with this genre of novel, or indeed film of this type (of which this would make a great one), the tales suffer from those moments where little is happening, when the reader/viewer is left to ponder what the next set piece might be coming along.

With The Magpies, Edwards has built the tension and the elements of the unknown sufficiently well enough that, even in those quieter moments, you’ll be clutching your e-reader tightly with concern about just what is to unfold on the next page click.

Keep the keys to your home in sight, check your letterbox, monitor your emails – like the best in crime fiction the fact this could happen to any of us will keep those pages turning.

Marked (Callum Doyle)
Marked (Callum Doyle)
by David Jackson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.27

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marked for criminally huge success, 13 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Marked (Callum Doyle) (Paperback)
I have to admit to being a little apprehensive about approaching `Marked`, the third in David Jackson's New York set series featuring Detective Callum Doyle. The only reason for my concern was that I loved the first two books `Pariah` and `The Helper` so much I was dreading a fall or, at the least, a stumble on the sidewalk this time round.

When the jacket image was released, expectations were very high indeed - the previous two novels read like great movies and this one looked like one straight away too, with its very cinematic and striking image.

I closed the book just over an hour ago having started it this weekend for an 80 page session, followed by a tea and biscuits fuelled 290 pages marathon today (coffee and donuts were sadly unavailable) and I'm happy to report that Marked has definitely done its job: A top read, a great addition to the series and one that has left me desperate to read the next in the series to see just what Mr Jackson has in store for Doyle next.

The character of Cal Doyle was pretty well drawn in the first novel and the follow up but, in Marked, the combination of his skills of sometimes unorthodox investigation and negotiation work, a killer sense of humour and his unshifting humanity towards victims and their kin, are all taken to the max - this is a crime fiction character who, as long as his creator allows, has a long future ahead of him.

Background for the earlier novels is well woven into the book - new readers will have no real issue jumping in at this point but, if you do, you'll be certain to then rush out and buy the first two anyway - so, go on, treat yourself to all three.

I found the plotting within Marked incredibly well handled and played out, with a reveal sequence that was something Keyser Soze would be proud of. If I felt anything was missing in Marked it would have been that I got so caught up with the story and the characters that one of the other main characters, that of New York itself, seemed to step back from the spotlight a little - but I'm sure that it'll all come to forefront again when we get to see Callum Doyle on the silver screen (come on - make it happen!).

I took the day off from DIY at home today to read Marked but, after closing the book, it may be a while before I can look at my electric drill in the same way again.

It's with no irony that David Jackson has clearly `Marked' his place firmly on the `crime writers to watch' list with this one. Go get yourself in that New York State of Mind and soon.

All Fall Down
All Fall Down
Price: £4.45

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grab a dose of this viral thrillfest and quick!, 20 Dec. 2012
This review is from: All Fall Down (Kindle Edition)
Any fears I had that the ground-breaking and kindle-smashing writing duo of Voss & Edwards might drop the ball after the tremendous success of Killing Cupid and Catch Your Death were squashed quickly like a virus spreading mosquito within the opening pages of this new novel.

Opening with a powerful prologue which I found akin to Stephen King's The Stand, the scene is set for a new tale of the heroine from Catch Your Death, Kate Maddox, as she strives to battle a new and horrifying strain of a virus she has faced before. But this is anything but a retread of that previous book. With All Fall Down the writing team have upped the ante on every level with a juggernaut of a thriller, packing action into every page throughout its just over 450 page running time (and I do mean `running' along with jumping, fighting, racing, shooting etc). Imagine that Outbreak movie from a few years back, turned into a road movie, with the action of Die Hard and you'd be about there.

Voss and Edwards manage to juggle multiple scenes of peril, splitting their main character from her partner, Paul, and son, Jack, and placing each one of them in their own adventure in parallel - all facing different dangers, all racing against the same clock.

It's a timely tale too, with ebook launch on 20th December, just one day before the Mayan prophecy advises we're all bound for oblivion, as the novel features a cult-like band who are set on a re-start of sorts to the world, believing they will be the only ones immune to the virus and who will do anything to stop anyone with the powers or knowledge to possibly prevent the spread or to find a cure.

With most of the UK currently experiencing symptoms of the annual winter virus at this very moment - it's also a novel that will have you taking note whenever someone near you on the tube sneezes - will give you that niggling doubt in your mind...

...but don't doubt for a moment that Voss and Edwards are clearly here to stay and, with such strong writing and stories, they have just unleashed a viral product for which I really hope there is no cure.

Dose yourself up - you won't regret it for a moment.

Keith ([...])

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