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Aurora (Yorkshire, UK)
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The Scars Beneath the Soul (Archer and Baines Book 1)
The Scars Beneath the Soul (Archer and Baines Book 1)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good story - looking forward to more., 29 Aug 2014
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The scars of the title afflict the different people who bear them in various ways, some are physical, some emotional and some psychological. Some characters bear more than one kind of scar, and are affected in many ways. Two characters with the most obvious scars are brought together to form a new investigation team. Before they have even had a chance to become properly acquainted they are thrown into an intense investigation of a series of brutal murders. The nature of the murders also suggests a culprit bearing deep psychological scars. The author handles all of this with subtlety drawing out the strands of the story piece by piece and feeding the reader just as much as they need at each step. The violence is not graphic, and is kept to a minimum although the overall effect is very powerful. I was hopeful that a certain unappealing personality might fall victim to the killer, but sadly I was aware that he couldn't succumb to any injuries as he appeared in the subsequent book - Dead In Deep Water (Archer and Baines Book 2) Some characters evoked a great deal more sympathy than others, and their demise was sad, but one couldn't help but think that for some people, their own vanity contributed to their downfall. The concurrent investigations feed into the story well and provide stepping stones into the main investigation. That the new teaming of Inspector and Sergeant got off to an awkward start, but gradually learned to work together and begin to trust one another felt very realistic and added to the story. This is a well plotted and well worked novel which lays the framework for the series of which it is the first. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to more.


Deadly Bonds (A Detective Jackson Mystery)
Deadly Bonds (A Detective Jackson Mystery)
Price: 3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Waiting for the next one, 27 Aug 2014
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I have been waiting for the publication date of this book with great anticipation and it did not disappoint!
Relationships have moved on since the last book, but the relationship between Sgt Wade Jackson and his daughter hasn't improved much and she is still causing him a good deal of concern. His girlfriend, Kera, should be well on her way to beatification as she is the most forbearing partner in the history of police and crime novels, although there are odd hints here that Wade could be pushing his luck just a little too far now. She was exceptionally understanding when he had to cut short their holiday after just three days in Rules of Crime (A Detective Jackson Mystery), she has taken his daughter into her home and care on several occasions, but when she needs a shoulder to lean on here, where is Wade? Working of course. The problem is that they are both caring people with a highly developed social conscience. She cares for people in her work as a community nurse, in addition to the waifs and strays she (or Wade) picks up along the way. Wade is not just a police officer in order to earn a living, he cares deeply about the victims he comes across, wanting justice, not just for them, but for the family and friends they leave behind. In this case, the family left behind is a little closer than professional ethics would normally stand for but Wade is a man in whom compassion and humanity wins out over bureaucracy every time. That leaves him with a dilemma; he can take care of the victim's family or of Kera. What ought to be a choice isn't really any choice at all but will Kera understand this time?

We have a number of deaths to contend with here but budget retrenchment means that there is insufficient manpower to investigate as speedily or, sometimes, as thoroughly, as the detectives would like. Forensics are also much slower than they ought to be so evidence which would help the detectives to make the necessary connections, or eliminate them is not available at the optimum time. Wade, Lara and the rest of the team have to work out which deaths are suspicious and which, if any, are natural. That there is something else going on simultaneously affects their judgement and leads them in the wrong direction although they really have no choice but to follow that particular path. Ultimately the author presents her killers almost with a flourish - it really was a triumph; I could almost hear her call out Ta da. If you are alert there is a tiny, tiny clue given, but it is so small you could miss it, after all, the relevant people did. I kept it in mind but it didn't help me to work anything out.

This is yet another brilliant story from L J Sellers, my only complaint is that I finished it far too quickly and am now sad that it is over. I hope she goes on writing Wade Jackson stories for a long time to come. I am impatiently awaiting the next one already


Dead In Deep Water (Archer and Baines Book 2)
Dead In Deep Water (Archer and Baines Book 2)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written with a good plot., 26 Aug 2014
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I appreciated the twists and tangles in this investigation, including the crossovers of personnel between the teams. I particularly enjoyed the distractions and red herrings the teams faced. I found myself getting a little irritated by Archer's focus on one person as the main suspect, even though there was insufficient evidence to substantiate her theory; she was in danger of mentally convicting him and then seeking the evidence to prove it. I did get a notion of the identity of the killer fairly early on, but didn't follow it through as the author offered up so many other possibilities. That notion did niggle at me however and caused me to think laterally, leading me up the same garden path as the police. I found the characterisation not only credible but also very helpful.

This is a well written murder mystery with plenty going on and although it isn't tense enough to keep the reader awake, it has sufficient intrigue to hold the attention well. It certainly held on to my attention sufficiently for me to finish it despite today being the long anticipated publication date of a book by one of my favourite authors. I wiil look for more from this author.


The Murders of Mrs Austin and Mrs Beale (Lloyd and Hill 4) (Bello)
The Murders of Mrs Austin and Mrs Beale (Lloyd and Hill 4) (Bello)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wholeheartedly recommended, 22 Aug 2014
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if you can solve the mysteries in this book, you shouldn't be reading detective novels, you should be writing them. The clues are there to be found, but the author has woven all the aspects of the story so skilfully together that it is like looking for the deliberate flaw in a Persian carpet. Once the killer is revealed, you think "of course - he fits the picture" or "that accounts for .. ." Suddenly so much becomes clearer and you realise that it has been hiding in plain sight.
Jill McGown was a master of the crime fiction genre. Her characters always work well, her plots are excellent, the violence is implied rather than graphic and her writing style clear and straightforward. There are no bells and whistles here, not even police issue ones, just hardworking police investigation and all the better for it.

I can wholeheartedly recommend losing yourself in this book for its duration.


Blue Molly (Danny Logan Mystery #5)
Blue Molly (Danny Logan Mystery #5)
Price: 3.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Credible, Logical but with a surprise, 17 Aug 2014
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Being a fan of M D Grayson's Danny Logan Mysteries I was thrilled to find a new one on Amazon yesterday. Although the team remains the same throughout, and why wouldn't they - the author manages to come up with very different dilemmas for them on each outing. The plotting is tight and usually credible, and the development of the story is logical, but he always pulls a surprise out of the bag somewhere. As in this case, things are never quite what they seem to be. In Blue Molly, the aphorism that it's not over till the fat lady sings is true enough, although she isn't fat and she doesn't sing.
The characters we have grown to know over the series remain congruent and consistent. We know what they would or wouldn't do in a given situation, although I can see the time coming when perhaps the author may have to look again at how certain people might react to dangerous situations; but perhaps I am getting ahead of things there!! The relationships between the characters have grown and developed; the Seattle Police Department don't even feel the need to make excuses for including Logan Investigations in their case conferences, it is a fait accompli. There may be a brief explanation to outside agencies, just as a courtesy, not in a serious permission seeking way. Despite the fact that they now live together, Danny doesn't dare to make allowances for Toni being a woman, he knows how she would react to that!

As I started out by saying - I was thrilled to find a new Danny Logan Mystery on Amazon yesterday, but now I am looking forward to the next one!


After the Execution
After the Execution
Price: 2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and Compelling, 15 Aug 2014
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What an intriguing premise for a book, it really doesn't stretch credibility too far to believe that an execution could be faked for a variety of reasons. We cannot always be sure that those whose purpose is to protect us will always do it in ways which the rest of us would find acceptable, nor that they won't resort to dirty tricks to cover up their misdeeds.

It was always obvious who the original killer was, and what the motive for that killing might have been, but the emphasis of this book is more on the survival of the protagonist than it is on putting wrongs to rights. Our protagonist is obviously a credible and personable man with a strong streak of decency, despite his living arrangements for the last ten years. His integrity is sufficiently obvious to persuade a vulnerable young woman to trust him enough to save him in difficult situations and to hold onto his confidences.

For most of the book we feel Lee's confusion over what has happened to him. He cannot understand any of it and as it has cost a number of lives he is determined to find the reasons and people behind it all. Once he gets that information he can ensure both his safety and that of Kate and Anna, but only after he has confronted the original killer who has cost him so much, his liberty, his family life, and even his life.

I found this an intriguing and compelling read.


The Nothing Girl
The Nothing Girl
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and entertaining, 13 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Nothing Girl (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded this book as I had really enjoyed the St Mary's Chronicles. This is a very different type of book, whilst quirky it is not laugh out loud funny as those stories are. The quirkiness is simply the imaginary friend, in the form of a golden horse, of a mature woman. The horse tells Jenny the things she needs to know, he guides her in making the right decisions in any given situation, and helps her to work through problems until she comes to a rational conclusion. He is portrayed as a separate entity and although not visible to anyone other than Jenny, he does almost seem to be her alter ego, and encourages her to be brave and bold.
This is very much the story of Jenny's blossoming from a young woman who is kept in a childlike, dependent condition to an independent, even feisty woman, with a number of pitfalls and unpleasant incidents along the way. As she takes steps to assert her right to a life of her own, lived in accordance with her own wishes rather than in the way which other people have planned for her she faces dangers and challenges along the way and soon comes to the point of wondering why, and how, certain things are happening, her conclusions are surprising, but not when she finally gets a glimpse of the bigger picture, at that point many things become dreadfully clear.

This is a totally different genre of book from the St Mary's Chronicles but no less readable for that. It is an emotional account of the empowering of a woman who is wresting back control of her own life. It is witty and entertaining and an enjoyable read.


Finding Mother (The Guernsey Novels Book 2)
Finding Mother (The Guernsey Novels Book 2)
Price: 1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finding Mother, 11 Aug 2014
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This book works well as an exploration of the definitions of family. An adopted woman, facing the breakdown of her own marriage, feels the need to understand the circumstances of her birth and what led her mother to place her for adoption, she isn't sure where this will lead or how she will feel about it. She has the obvious qualms about whether she will be dismayed by what she learns, and if she will be able to cope with it. She is well aware that her adoptive parents, her mother particularly, will not be enthusiastic about her search, but she is determined to go ahead anyway. Once she finds her mother, she learns that she has more family than she ever hoped for and although prepared to dislike her mother and consequentially the rest of the family, she discovers that she likes them very much, and in a very short time comes to love them.

That she is innately kind, and warm hearted is obvious in the development of the relationships with her natural mother and grandmother, she demonstrates her compassion in caring for her grandmother and in her encouragement of her mother's new relationship. This is a little at odds with her treatment of her adoptive parents who she keeps at a distance, not phoning them until several weeks after she has moved in with her natural mother, although she does come to a realisation that they may be finding the situation difficult. At that point she does make the effort to ensure that they know that she loves them and considers them her real parents.

The island of Guernsey once again steals the limelight and is a wonderfully evocative setting, although not perhaps as much as it did in the previous novel Dangerous Waters (The Guernsey Novels Book 1). I do hope that the Tourist Information Centres on Guernsey have stocks of these books, as they do much to promote the island. Once again, I enjoyed escaping to the island and losing myself in a delightful story.


Between the Lies (Book One - The Northern Lights Series)
Between the Lies (Book One - The Northern Lights Series)
Price: 3.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, 10 Aug 2014
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Don't be put off by the beginning of this book, it isn't an airhead chick-lit and most definitely isn't a romance. This one of the cleverest mysteries I have read for some time. A murder is committed and all the evidence there is points to Olivia. It doesn't help when having denied all knowledge of the victim's identity she then learns that he is her closest childhood friend. To be fair, she hasn't seen him for over 10 years and she just didn't recognise him. All the evidence is circumstantial but the FBI agent in charge of the investigation makes it clear that he thinks Olivia murdered him and he is going to prove it one or another. Olivia is reluctant to engage a lawyer as being innocent, she doesn't think she needs one, but she is eventually persuaded that it is a necessary evil. What does surprise her is the person who steps up and announces herself as her lawyer!

The plot in this is tight and well written, there are many surprises and twists along the way. There are people whom you will like and some will leave a very bad taste in the mouth. Some things which are on the face of it, very unpleasant, eventually yield a great deal of satisfaction, for example, the man who likes to control every aspect of the lives of the women in his life, who is eventually reined in and controlled by his need of his wife's money - deliciously so, especially as he fights it at every step. The ultimate identity of the killer is not obvious, although certain people hover around the periphery of the story like a bad smell. I began to work out what the relationship of the killer to the other people in the story had to be, but I had no idea of how that would work, or why.

This was an absorbing read, which has kept my attention for most of the day. I really enjoyed it, with all its intricacies of plot and characterisation.


Murder! Too Close To Home (The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic Book 1)
Murder! Too Close To Home (The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic Book 1)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Story, 9 Aug 2014
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I enjoyed this story, despite its rather grim narrative. It was well plotted although we never really found out why the Mentor needed The Ghost to do her dirty work, but then, in the end she decided that she didn't need him either. The fact that I realised very early on who the Mentor had to be didn't detract from the story for me, I was keen to see if my suspicions were right (they were) and what the reason behind it all was. I particularly liked the plodding police work necessary in the attempt to come up with clues which would lead the investigation team to the perpetrator. The Mentor always appeared to be one step ahead of the police at every stage which puzzled them greatly, although I had worked out why that was. Having kept everything crossed in the hope that everyone would survive the end is as sad as it is shocking.

This was a really good book but was marred slightly by clumsy mistakes, indeed it would have benefited greatly from a good proofreader. Despite those errors I enjoyed it and have no hesitation in recommending it.


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