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Luca Veste "Luca Veste - Guilty Conscience" (Liverpool, England)

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Russian Roulette: The Konstantin Files
Russian Roulette: The Konstantin Files
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!, 29 Nov. 2014
Great collection of stories, featuring the brilliant character of Konstantin. Nixon writes hard-hitting fiction, with a dash of humour, a cast of great characters, and a dollop of violence. Konstantin is a fantastic creation and this collection of novellas is hopefully a taste of bigger things to come.


Long Way Home (Zigic & Ferreira Book 1)
Long Way Home (Zigic & Ferreira Book 1)
Price: £4.88

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Début!!, 3 Feb. 2014
There is an abundance of police procedurals out there right now - a hugely popular genre which is notoriously difficult for a new, début author to make a mark within.

Eva Dolan does so within 10 or so pages.

Whilst the procedural genre is overwhelmed with talent, there are very few doing what Dolan does with Long Way Home. Using an original setting within the police service of the 'Hate Crimes Unit', she manages to bring a spark of "newness" to the genre. Her cop duo of Zigic and Ferreira are fully realised, interesting and quirky in different ways, coming to life quickly from the page. The storyline (well summed up elsewhere) is fast moving, interesting, and more than shocking in some ways. Its realism all too close to home in some ways. Peterborough is an apt setting for the story, bleeding from the page in all its "glory".

However, these elements aren't enough. No. Dolan also happens to be one of the best début writers I've read in a long time. Her use of imagery and ease of dialogue are outstanding for a début novel. If I hadn't known going in, I'd have guessed this was a writer with numerous published novels under her belt. Dolan's sense of pace and knowing how to unravel the storyline in just the right way is a skill often not seen until much later in writer's career.

Long Way Home is a glorious achievement of a début. I cannot wait to read many, many more from Eva Dolan.


The Nefarious deeds of the Holkhorste Gange - 6 tales of Smuggling
The Nefarious deeds of the Holkhorste Gange - 6 tales of Smuggling
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Criminality, 12 Sept. 2013
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A great collection of short stories, telling the tales of smugglers in the eighteenth century. The crimes feel fresh, whilst the characters introduced all burst off the page.

Looking forward to reading more from Millen, especially if he carries on in this genre.

Highly recommended!


The Cry
The Cry
Price: £1.89

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 27 Aug. 2013
This review is from: The Cry (Kindle Edition)
THE CRY follows the story of parents Joanna and Alastair and the fall-out from the disappearance of there baby. The recriminations of increasing media pressure, combined with social media and the way in which an event such as this leads to widespread discussion amongst informed and uninformed equally, and how this ties into those at the centre of these stories.

Comparisons will be made to real-life cases, however FitzGerald is an incredibly gifted writer, creating a story which will stand-alone. However, that is not to say that she doesn't engage with real-life situations and reactions. Her use of technology, in particular social media, is remarkable. Naturalistic dialogue and the incorporation of those platforms adds so much to the narrative, that it's difficult to imagine anyone reading this novel and not considering their own "tweets" or Facebook posts in reaction to events which have occurred in the past. FitzGerald innately understands that aspect of the human condition - the need to explain things/events which aren't easily explainable - delivering a story which is more pertinent in present society than most.

With stunning writing, characterisation, and storytelling, she deftly weaves a tale with unreliability at its heart. The reader is forever unsure about the true feelings of each character, desperately trying to gauge their reactions to events to figure out the reality behind the façades they build up. The long road which leads to utter darkness and woe, the differences between us all, how there's no one RIGHT way to grieve...everything is laid out bare. At the centre, a morality based tale which will stay with you long after finishing.

Heartbreaking, controversial, and absorbing, THE CRY is an important novel for the social media age. More importantly, it explores grief, relationships, and how each of us reacts to what is arguably a parent's worst nightmare. It's guaranteed to create discussion...everyone will have an opinion on this story. Mine is that it's the best novel of 2013, which is no small feat given what has been a bumper year for fiction.


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

57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody Needs Good Neighbours..., 1 April 2013
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Fresh from his success as part of an ace writing duo with Louise Voss, Mark Edwards goes solo with new release 'The Magpies'. Billed as a psychological thriller which raises questions about the depths of despair your neighbours can take you, Edwards manages to provide so much more than just another 'nasty neighbour' story. Creating characters you really feel for from the off, it is the incredible amount of dread which drips off the page which raises this book above its counterparts.

Deftly skilled and excellently plotted 'The Magpies' begins almost sedately, with our heroes Kirsty and Jamie moving into their dream flat, only for that dream to be slowly torn apart across the story. The normality of their lives is in stark contrast to what comes next, with the introduction of Lucy and Chris Newton, their downstairs neighbours. With each day comes just a little more horror, creeping into the narrative forcing you to read on. What Kirsty and Jamie go through is horrendous, and you'll be turning the pages (or clicking that button on your kindle!) quicker and quicker as you reach the horrifying ending.

Absorbing and frighteningly all too real for those who have experienced the nightmare of bad neighbours, 'The Magpies' is a fantastic story, which really shows off the versatility of Edwards. Highly recommended!


The Good Thief's Guide to Berlin (Good Thief's Guides Book 5)
The Good Thief's Guide to Berlin (Good Thief's Guides Book 5)
Price: £3.30

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!, 21 Dec. 2012
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Charlie Howard, the gentleman burglar with a penchant for quick wit and even quicker access through a locked door, is back.

Now shacked up in Berlin, attempting to finish his latest novel, mystery writer Charlie Howard, with his sideline in burglary is summoned to a meeting with what turns out to be someone from the British Embassy. Charlie is hired to recover a top secret item, with two important caveats. One - it could be in one of four different employees homes. And two - he can't be told what that item is. Veronica - Charlie's long suffering literary agent - negotiates a fee for the series of burglaries, with Charlie still struggling to discover how he can steal an item he doesn't have the first clue what it actually is. The intrigue deepens, as whilst he's searching the first apartment for the mystery item, he witnesses what looks like the murder of young woman in a window opposite. As the pace increases, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an international incident, as Russian, French, and American agents all converge on him, attempting to recover the mysterious item he has been hired to steal. Soon, Charlie is not only trying to steal a sensitive item for his government, but also deal with the growing sense of danger which comes from all sides.

I've been a massive fan of the GTG series for a couple of years now, the glorious one-liners, unlocking the mysteries, and the sense of character brought out by Ewan in seemingly familiar major cities worldwide, from Amsterdam to Venice to Las Vegas.

Rhetorical question time...Does Berlin measure up to its predecessors?

Answer...More than you'd guess.

TGTG Berlin (I'm abbreviating) is a remarkable story. Charlie Howard has lost none of his capacity for wicked one-liners, his relationship with Veronica, oft hinted at, is explored further, and the cast of surrounding characters are incredibly well written. What could become caricature in other hands, under Ewan's steady hand becomes a well-rounded cast of nefarious foes, all with their own motivation and story. There's a German character who should have his own series, such is his stand-out turn in this novel - as well as a diplomatic aide named Freddy who is written so well, you can almost smell his sweat dripping off the page.

The plot of the book is gloriously unfolded over just a couple of days in the book, with Charlie's increasing sense of dread as to what he's got himself into becomes apparent. The opening takes a couple of chapters to really take off, slowly guiding us into the real story. Perhaps a little more judicious editing could have been given at that point, but it's a minor quibble in what is an excellent read overall. As a seemingly ordinary series of burglaries becomes so much more, Charlie is forced into some very dangerous situations. However, that spark of wit never leaves him, lifting the novel from the level of "comic caper" into just a damn fine novel. Twists and turns along the way ensure that you keep turning the page, and a wonderful final chapter is arguably the best ending to a book I've read all year, for fans of the series.

An outstanding read, I couldn't recommend this more.


The 50/50 Killer
The 50/50 Killer
by Steve Mosby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, uncompromising, and beautifully horrific., 18 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The 50/50 Killer (Paperback)
A highly original take on the serial killer novel, The 50/50 Killer is Steve Mosby's third novel and his first foray into the the more mainstream crime fiction, following his first two novels 'The Third Person' and 'The Cutting Crew'.

I read it in almost in one sitting. And to this day, it is the only book that I have finished and instantly gone back to the start and read again straight away. It was an outstanding read. I was drawn in so much by this book, that for weeks afterwards, I was talking about the concept of 'How much/far would you do/go for love?' so much, that my wife feels like she's read the book at this point without reading one word of it.

'The 50/50 Killer' is tightly wound, with electrifying pace and fantastically written characters. The prose is what made me a massive Mosby fan though. The way he writes is poetic. The words flow like a river off the page, managing to keep you absorbed in the story, whilst also throwing in enough twists and turns to leave you off-kilter throughout.

Overall though, the one thing that stands out about this book to me is it's core subject matter. It's a story about Love. Not just in intimate relationships, but everyday relationships with others. It's the way humans interact with other humans and how far you would go for your fellow earth dweller. It's a theme that runs through so many of Mosby's novels. At their core, they are about the Love you can have for someone. In 'The 50/50 Killer' that Love is put to the ultimate test. It's harrowing, emotionally draining and satisfying at the same time.

Since releasing 'The 50/50 Killer', Steve Mosby has gone on to write three more excellent novels. His writing is spell-binding, uncompromising and never afraid to show us the dark side of life. One of the most talented writers working today. If you haven't read any of his books, 'The 50/50 Killer' is an excellent starting point.


The Language of Dying
The Language of Dying

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible writing and astounding story., 15 Aug. 2012
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Every now and again, a book will come along and knock me sideways...

I'm sad to say I haven't read any of Sarah Pinborough's novels before now. I've been aware of her (as a writer) for a long time, just never got around to reading her books. A week or so ago, I was browsing the ebooks, as is my want, and happened across The Language of Dying. Read the synopsis, and with interest piqued, bought it.

Started reading it last night, and was instantly transfixed. I'm not sure what it was about that opening chapter...the cold sense of dread, of darkness waiting to devour the voice speaking, there was just something about the opening few pages which struck me still. It's a remarkably simple situation. A woman sitting at the bedside of her dying father. Then there's the hint of some horror lying beyond the window she stares out of.

And I'm hooked.

As it plays out, it becomes apparent the story is being told not to us as a reader, but from a daughter to her father. About her horrific marriage, the relationships between her siblings and how that has affected her as the middle child of five, and the darkness which she seems to carry throughout her life.

It's mostly about death of course. How it not only impacts on those who are dying, but arguably how the process effects those being left behind more. The fragility of life laid bare, as the now grown children come together through death. The interplay between these characters is quite remarkable writing, with the break down of each sibling never overplayed.

However, with all it's excellent character and storytelling attributes, this books main quality is found in its writing. The way in which Pinborough beautifully constructs sentences conveying raw emotion, ripping internally as you read them, is nothing short of astounding.

For a short novella, Pinborough manages to effortlessly draw you in and give you a reading experience not always seen in the shorter novel form. Not since reading Stephen King's 'Different Seasons' have I had such a visceral reading experience of a novella.

This is by far the best novella I've ever read. It's a reading experience like no other. Hours later, and I'm still turning over parts of it in my head. It's incredibly tough to read, especially if you've experienced the death of close loved one. I can't recommend it enough. This is the first of Sarah Pinborough's work I've read, yet with just a novella, she has crowbarred her way into my favourite writers list.

Go buy it!


Safe House
Safe House
by Chris Ewan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

197 of 208 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast paced, thrill ride of a novel!, 2 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Safe House (Hardcover)
Best known for his 'Good Thief's Guide To...' series of comedy/crime novels, Chris Ewan turns his hand to the more serious end of crime fiction with his newest novel, 'Safe House'.

Rob Hale is a plumber on the Isle of Man, called out to repair a boiler in a remote cottage by two mysterious looking men, and a more talkative young woman named Lena. The next day, he takes Lena on a motorcycle ride, which ends in a crash. Waking up in hospital, Rob asks about the woman travelling with him, only to be told she doesn't exist. Rob is discharged from hospital, intent on finding out who the woman was, and how she disappeared. He is aided by Rebecca, a private investigator hired by Rob's parents to look into the suicide of his sister, just weeks previous. However, as they follow the clues and begin to uncover the mystery, Rob starts to wonder who Rebecca is really, and how she knew his sister.

As a huge fan of his earlier work, this change in direction and genre from Chris Ewan immediately piqued my interest. Would a writer more well known for his humorous comedy crime capers, be able to tackle a serious thriller?

Of course he would!

What Ewan accomplishes with his first foray into the world of thriller writing, is nothing short of remarkable. Safe House begins with a great hook...what would you do if you woke up in hospital after an accident, and everyone around you denied the existence of the person you were travelling with?

From there, Safe House travels at high speed throughout. It's a breathless, exciting read, which had me turning the page well into the late nights. That initial hook takes you on a journey into action thriller territory, which is up there with the best writing in the genre.

Ewan also hasn't lost that humorous edge which came with his previous series of books. There are some fantastic dead-pan lines delivered by Rob, but Ewan saves his best work for the character of Rebecca. An incredibly sardonic and tough female character.

You know...tough is the wrong word to use here.

The character of Rebecca is an example of something sadly missing from this genre in some instances. A female character from the pen (or keystroke) of a male writer, which isn't over-thought out. Ewan gives the impression he's created her as he would any other character, giving her aspects of personality which would fit within any other character. In other instances, the opposite can sometimes be true, so this was a refreshing read. I dearly hope this character isn't left behind...

An exciting start, to what promises to be an excellent addition to the genre of thriller reads, Ewan has with Safe House created a fast-paced, excellently written, and superbly plotted novel. With characters which burst off the page from the start, and a new setting in the Isle of Man which I cannot wait to see explored further.


Dark Room
Dark Room
Price: £3.95

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Uncompromising. Excellent British Crime Fiction!, 19 July 2012
This review is from: Dark Room (Kindle Edition)
A seemingly straight forward police procedural opening, perhaps even a little slow, with the introduction of Detective Andy Hicks. He and his partner Detective Laura Fellowes are called out to a murder of a young woman. Hicks sees murder as a straight-forward process. Each murder has its own hallmarks, which can be placed in certain areas or 'rooms'. He immediately suspects a crime of passion, and concentrates on the woman's ex husband. Then, another body is found. And another. Suddenly, Hicks is faced with a killer he cannot pigeon-hole...one who kills randomly and seemingly without reason. Hicks is forced to face up to his inability to provide logic to murder, and the prospect of something he doesn't believe exists...evil.

The first thing I look forward to when reading Mosby's books, is the setting of the story. One aspect of his novels which changes with each book. Dark Room introduces a near-future bleak environment, which pulls in influences from Northern England and Eastern European cities. From my reading anyhow. That's one thing about Mosby's novels, everyone will view it differently. The backdrop is just a part of the overall story, not really important, but also complimenting the story perfectly.

The characters instantly jump off the page. Minor characters steal the show with one chapter. Early on, there is a beautifully written scene where an old man makes a candle. A candle making scene in a thriller. It shouldn't work, but it just does. It absorbs you into the story. Hicks' partner in the police, Fellowes, is an excellent supporting role, never over-bearing, complimenting the main character well.

And so we come to that main character. Hicks. A gloriously drawn character. His partner Rachel is pregnant with their first child. Hicks is not dealing with it at all well, and there's a growing distance between them. There are reasons behind it, yet the reader isn't let into those reasons for much of the book. And then when that is revealed...wow.

The serial killer aspect...I've read tons of them. It takes a lot to shock me now. There is a reveal in this book with a video, which is the most difficult and powerful thing I've ever read in this genre. It's incredible. The puzzles the killer leaves are highly original. In fact the whole concept is unlike anything I've ever read. As the bodies pile up, it never becomes exploitative. It's all about the game being played out between Detective Hicks and a killer unlike he's ever faced before. When the letters begin to arrive, Hicks' reactions mirror the readers. There's a loss of power to be regained, which as a reader you cannot help but become a part of that journey.

There's more a police procedural element to Dark Room, than the more conventional psychological thrillers Mosby has delivered more recently. However, he has done this before with The 50/50 Killer. Dark Room is the older and wiser sibling to this previous work. More confident, more aware of itself.

There are so many parts to this novel, it's difficult to go into the myriad of different aspects of it. The patterns which run throughout, which connects characters and can be seen as metaphors for life and death. It's also difficult to convey the feeling you get as you read. It's intense. It's absorbing. It's horrific. Violent imagery, mixed with the beauty of people and the world. It's heartbreaking in some places, heart-warming in others. Overall, it's a powerful novel, one of the best books I've ever had the pleasure and displeasure to read. It is a massive step up for Mosby, and one which should garner a whole raft of new readers. It's darker than anything he's previously written, but on a far more emotional level than a visceral. He plays with the reader's expectations, giving us a very different idea about how crime fiction usually pans out.

I'm doubtful if there will be a better British crime novel released this year. Extremely doubtful. This is a must read for anyone wanting an excellent example of the talent we have lurking on the outside of the bestsellers. I don't think it will be much longer until Mosby joins them.


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