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Aurora (Yorkshire, UK)
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No More Tears (The Dead Trilogy Book 3)
No More Tears (The Dead Trilogy Book 3)
Price: £1.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling and never boring, 22 April 2015
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This book picks up almost exactly where the previous one in the serious finishes. A man who is virtually out of his mind in grief vows to find and kill the person who created that grief, and is careless enough to repeat it in company he had no business being in, let alone saying those sort of things to. This creates a whole lot of trouble for the man, and draws several other people into all kinds of problems.

This book explores the psychological issues faced by those involved in a fatal incident, even those who are used to dealing with violent death, but not in any clinical manner. It affects different people in differing ways, for some it is coming to terms with the loss of a loved one and with guilt and their inability to keep them safe. For others there is simply the feeling of failure, and yet others are afraid of the consequences of their actions which led directly or indirectly to the outcome. Those who feel guilty seek to take actions to rectify their shortcomings whilst those who should feel guilty seek to justify their actions and shift the blame onto other shoulders. Throw an ambitious and unscrupulous woman into the mix and we have a cracking storyline. That isn't enough of a mix for this author however, we have a few criminals left desperate by the failure of their last venture, forced together by circumstance but unable to trust each other. The numbers gradually diminish as the story progresses and we are ultimately left with the most desperate of them, but there is a stranger looking for two people and you just know that when he finds them it isn't going to be a social occasion. The tension is built gradually through several different scenarios, we don't stay at any one scene for too long. For me that really was not a problem as I found that it worked well to slip from a potentially dangerous situation to an entirely different one, and then when we came back to the first situation it packed more of a punch because it was a sudden reminder of the nature of the peril.

Roger Conniston is something of a superhero - as he is recovering from a serious knee injury (incredibly painful) he takes on a whole new investigation, he gets himself into, and out of, impossible situations. He has to walk into a situation where he knows that in the normal course of events, he cannot come out of it alive, but to refuse to do so will cause another death. He has to fight his way out of more situations than a man in his condition (or any condition) really should. When he faces his nemesis, he finds reserves of courage and strength he obviously didn't know he had. Although part of your head is telling you that Roger is the protagonist and therefore he HAS to survive, part of you is constantly wondering how he can. I can't help but feel sorry for Roger, whatever his failings, he really doesn't deserve the rubbish life has thrown at him. He just wants to get on and do his job, he's not desperately ambitious, he doesn't normally go looking for trouble but it certainly seems to come looking for him and in this book, one of his troubles bears a very familiar name.

Although the scene of crime work isn't quite as prominent in this book as it was in the previous ones, it is still the framework on which the story hangs, and the author neatly points up the differences between good and bad SOCO work without lecturing or giving a Forensics 101. I liked the detail given in this regard, and particularly at a gruesome scene where someone has gone to great trouble to hinder proper identification of the body, not only detailing the difference between a fastidious approach to crime scene management and a desire to make a hasty job of it and then try to make the evidence fit the theory, but then showing how this affected relationships in the team.

This is another well presented story with many facets, which will in turn repel (because of the thoroughly reprehensible characters involved) and enthrall but will never bore the reader.


Stealing Elgar (The Dead Trilogy Book 2)
Stealing Elgar (The Dead Trilogy Book 2)
Price: £1.94

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and Enthralling, 18 April 2015
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This is an intensely gripping book, though very dark in tone. Being told from the viewpoint of a Scenes of Crime Officer it offers an entirely different focus on crimes and other events. The author's own experience in this field brings a breath of fresh air to the genre and helps us to see much more about each event than we normally would. Scene of crime evidence is generally treated as an adjunct to detective investigations and appears to be added as an afterthought to make the story fit, in this series however, the evidence comes first and the detectives draw their conclusions based upon that evidence. The crime scene evidence is described so well that it is at times necessary to remind oneself that this is a novel and not a report of a crime scene.

This book is strong on action and moves smoothly from scene to scene, taking the story forward as it does. There are no unproductive scenes and no chances to turn up the tension are missed. I found myself torn between wanting to plough on with the story to see how it ended but needing to put it down from time to time to catch my breath as I saw characters charging headlong into dangerous situations, some in the full knowledge of what they were doing and some unwittingly. I did enjoy little vignettes such as a particularly despicable character who thought he was too clever to be caught out, not realising that he was in fact rumbled by someone cleverer than he, who chose not to let on about what they knew, giving him to chance to incriminate himself.

There were several clues throughout the book with regard to the "big job" which was to be undertaken, but I was too caught up in the various strands and tensions to pick up on them, and needed to give myself a good kicking when it was revealed - especially as I have worked, albeit briefly, for an associated company!

This author is not only skilled in the examination of crime scenes, but he puts it all into words beautifully. He seems to have the complete package - the expertise in his field, the great imagination to weave a story together and the ability to write it all in a compelling and enthralling way. He also has the great good sense to set it in the Wakefield area of God's own county, which gives him great scope for spreading the story over cities and countryside, and my hometown even got a mention in this one. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.; I try to make it a rule not to start a new book until I have reviewed the one I have just written (if I am going to review it) so that I don't forget what I wanted to say about it, but this time it was a hard rule to stick to as I am itching to get to the next one to see where it takes us.

I heartily recommend this series, but would suggest starting with the first one A Long Time Dead (The Dead Trilogy Book 1) as it will help you to understand some of the references in this one but it isn't absolutely necessary.


Swansong (The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series)
Swansong (The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series)
by Damien Boyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and hard to leave, 11 April 2015
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I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Damien Boyd's Nick Dixon series and hope for more before too long. This was a well paced book with a good array of characters to choose a suspect (or six) from. There was also a good mixture of busy activity and the necessary but tedious background work of an investigation. The author set up several characters who would eventually be potential suspects and he described their circumstances just enough to cast a shadow of suspicion upon them. I enjoyed the added flesh on the bones of the recurring characters, the progression of the relationship between Nick and Jane Winter, the reaction of their DCI to the news of their relationship and the undisciplined grumpiness Nick was ready to display to a different DCI whom he obviously considered incompetent, thank goodness for Jane's timely interventions. To be fair to that DCI, Nick was in possession of knowledge which he was not privy to. Once again Nick was taking risks with his career, this time by going into an investigation which was linked to a previous crime which he had been closely affected by, without telling his senior officers about it.

Don't be fooled by an admission of guilt halfway through the story, into thinking that the rest of it would be tedious tidying up of loose ends. There is so much more to find out and the investigation is only part way through. It is a good job Nick Dixon was investigating this rather than me because although I identified the killer about half way through, it was for all the wrong reasons, none of which were ever mentioned in the story and as it progressed, became less and less likely. This does however lead me to my only quibble with this story; in the modern world the killer would never have been allowed anywhere near any pupils unaccompanied, as his DBS check is very unlikely to have stood up to scrutiny. The quality of this book is such however that I will not let that mar my enjoyment of it.

One often hears about crimes being solved by the tiniest of clues and this is very much a case in point; the clues don't get much smaller than the one which clicked everything into place for Nick Dixon.

All together this was an entertaining read, and one which was hard to put down. I do hope Mr Boyd has more in store for us


Wrongful Death (A Detective Jackson Mystery)
Wrongful Death (A Detective Jackson Mystery)
Price: £3.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hope there will be more books in this series, 7 April 2015
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There are two ongoing investigations in this book and you just know from the outset that they will prove to be connected in the end, although it takes a considerable length of time before the detectives work that out. This book makes far more use of some of the more peripheral characters this time around, bringing them into sharper focus. This gives not just this book, but the whole series a more rounded feel. We begin to get inside Sophie Speranza's head and understand a little of what makes her tick, and why she is willing to take the risks that she does. There is even some exploration of her relationship with Jasmine, but just how long can Jasmine keep feeding Sophie information without getting found out? In previous books there has been more focus on Lara Evans, especially in how she relates to Wade Jackson. There might have been a possibility of something between the two of them but they were both in other relationships and Wade definitely has too much integrity to take that route. This book takes a deeper look at Wade's boss, Sgt Lammers, and much more at his colleague, Schak. They all have to face the possibility that one of them is capable of a horrible crime and that doesn't sit easily with any of them. Schak also has to work out who is most important to him and it takes a tragedy to help him realise that. I love the way that LJ Sellers is putting flesh on more and more of her characters. We have known a great deal about Wade from the outset and have watched him go through highs and lows of incredible contrast, seeing him dig out his strength and integrity, wearing both well, but in a single book there isn't space to present a full portrait of more than one or at most, two, characters, but this bringing to life of other characters is part of the reason this series works so well. At long last in this book Wade's personal life is beginning to work itself out in a positive manner, there is hope for the future and things are definitely looking brighter. I found myself checking throughout that he hadn't forgotten about the court date to settle a custody issue, as he has a habit of getting too caught up in a case to even remember what day it is. It turned out to be me who was getting the days mixed up though but it shows how the books draw the reader in and involve them. Wade especially, is a character we care about and do not want to make the mistakes that the rest of us make, so we are willing him not to.

Having two detectives leading the same case could be a recipe for disaster, but for once, it isn't, especially as we see both detectives coming to the same conclusions, at the same time, but from different clues. As usual, the Eugene police get their perpetrator and, for once, Wade gets a whole lot more!!

Despite the unpleasant nature of the crimes in this book, it is, as usual from this author, a great read and will keep the reader absorbed. It certainly held me rapt for some hours, I didn't want to put it down to do other, necessary, chores, but was glad to have any opportunity to pick it up again and get back into it. I feel as though I have been waiting for a long time for this book to be published and am now despondent that I have a long wait for the author to write and publish the next in the series. I really do hope that there is going to be a next one . . .


Cold Lake (David Wolf Book 5)
Cold Lake (David Wolf Book 5)
Price: £3.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 6 April 2015
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This is the first book in this series that I have read so I am not very familiar with the character of David Wolf, but I do see a lot of potential for him. He is a thinker and a planner, not that these things help him much in this investigation. He is also intuitive and eventually works out the right questions to ask, although to be fair, the solving of this crime owes more to his well trained team gathering the information from which he can then sift out the vital clues, than to his own deductive abilities alone. He is a man with flaws and makes mistakes, one of the biggest in this story, being to get drunk in the wrong place at the wrong time, with all the consequences that entailed. Indeed, it could have caused him to miss something vital and would almost certainly have called his judgement and evidence into question in a trial. Although I wasn't totally convinced by the opening chapter of this story, the reason for its inclusion became clear much later.
There are a number of twists before the end this book, one of which it appears, is the basis for the next book in the series and one of which, although something of a cliche, brings the story together and makes many details fit together in a cohesive manner.
I was less than comfortable with the ending, as it seemed out of character for Wolf to just -apparently - give up, despite his disinclination to get involved in politics.
Overall this was a good read which absorbed me for a few hours.


Wolf: Jack Caffery series 7
Wolf: Jack Caffery series 7
Price: £5.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite menacing, 29 Mar. 2015
I found that the violence in this book is more alluded to than explicit. Yes there are gory details of the murders of two teenagers 15 years ago, but expressed in a somewhat detached, almost clinical, manner. I felt that the author could, had she chosen to do so, have described a great deal more violence and horror than she did, although the description of a later murder was quite chilling in its laid back approach. The violence which did then ensue came from an entirely unexpected source. Perhaps I should have seen it coming, but I didn't. There were in fact, a number of twists in this story which took us in unexpected directions, and caused me to gasp a little.
The story is imbued with a chilling sense of menace, and I was aware of a sense of urgency which DI Caffery obviously was not aware of. I wanted him to make haste with his investigations but he of course, was unaware that the survival of a family depended on him finding them. Although the parallel story of Caffery's search for the killer of his brother was important, it was an irritating distraction at times, but without it, he would not have discovered the people who so needed his help. The answer to Caffery's search is as shocking as it is unexpected.

I bought this book almost by accident, being caught in a situation where I had quite a long wait for something, but I have not regretted it. The story is quite compelling but I made a point of not reading it at night because of the potential for nightmares it gives.


Fatal Flowers (The Serial Killer Chronicles Book 1)
Fatal Flowers (The Serial Killer Chronicles Book 1)
Price: £2.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An uneasy journey, brilliantly written, 24 Mar. 2015
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Oh my gosh - this man is a master of suspense. He appears to break unwritten rules of crime/suspense fiction, but to terrific effect. For me what other people have called "spoilers" are an incredibly effective way of ratcheting up the tension. Certain phrases, which would be mundane in the hands of other writers, convey a sense of fear and apprehension. I believe this writer could make the words "He made a cup of coffee" sound menacing. There was a lot I didn't really understand, but again, it helped to describe the twisted thinking of a mentally disturbed (a mild phrase to describe this man) killer, to whom, all that he was doing was perfectly logical. Meredith on the other hand took actions which were anything but logical, but then again, he was playing catch up for most of the time.

This book took longer than usual to read, for the very good reason that I knew I couldn't read it in bed, or at any time in the evening if I wanted to have any chance of getting a decent night's sleep. Additionally there were times when I had to put it down and catch my breath because the tension was rising. A reader generally knows that the hero will survive but that isn't something which can be taken for granted. Mr Smith had made it clear from very early on that not all the good guys would still be there at the end of the book. Although we knew who wouldn't be, the reader could only know for certain who would be there, by getting to the end.

The author's powerful descriptions draw the reader into the situations the characters are facing; in this story, I could almost feel the rain and the wind as I climbed the hill through the trees with Ellie and Meredith. I was in a tunnel with some of the characters, glancing nervously at the roof, wondering if it was going to come down on top of us.

I was astonished to find that this was Enes Smith's debut novel, it is so well written and plotted that I would have thought him a seasoned writer by this point. I have enjoyed all that I have read by this author, including Cold River Rising (Cold River Series, Book 1) and Cold River Resurrection (Cold River Series, Book 2) although none of them have been easy reads. He just takes the reader and plays with our emotions, taking us to highs and lows and all points in between. I would recommend this book, but - you will be taken on a journey which may not be easy - much like Ellie in fact.


Wake
Wake
by Anna Hope
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wake, 19 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Wake (Paperback)
I bought this book on the strength of a glowing review I had seen pinned up in a bookshop, whilst I wouldn't go as far as that reviewer, I certainly liked it. The author had clearly done a great deal of research to get her details and time sequences right. It cleverly mingles the experience of three different women whose lives are affected by the wartime experiences of the men in their lives, be they brothers, lovers or sons. Throughout the story there is an awareness that there is some shocking event which no-one connected wants to speak about but there is a need that it should be spoken of. Once it has been, there is space for healing to begin. The events the book is primarily concerned with are contained within a very short time span, which coincides the choosing of the unknown soldier and the journey of his remains from a French battlefield to the funeral service and interment in Westminster Abbey. During those five days, tensions are raised and psychological wounds are cleansed as events conspire to bring secrets long hidden to light. For some, it is better not to know, and they have to come to terms with loss and the lack of information in order to live again. Much of the story relates to the mundane activities of daily life, but in places the truth causes more grief and shockingly violent reactions. By the end of the story, the ceremonial funeral of the unknown soldier does indeed help to bring the beginnings of peace and restoration.

As a debut novel this shows great promise and I look forward to seeing many more books from this author.


Holy Murder (A Detective Inspector Paul Amos Lincolnshire Mystery)
Holy Murder (A Detective Inspector Paul Amos Lincolnshire Mystery)
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Holy Murder, 6 Mar. 2015
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For me, the descriptions of the area and especially of the view from the top of Boston Stump add a great deal to the story, but perhaps that has a lot to do with having lived in the area for a good many years, although I never made it to the top of the Stump.

The foundation of the story is good and the author maintains the mystery for most of the book. There are several potential suspects and he manages to divert the attention from the culprit (or culprits) throughout most of the book. As so often happens in this genre, it is a chance remark which sets his mind on the right track, leading him to finding the perpetrator.

There is scope for development of the characters of both DI Paul Amos and DS Juliet Swift. Amos is only partially drawn for us, although at times it seems his marriage is in trouble, he is reluctant to face that possibility, perhaps that is because if he did, he would have to do something about it but can't seem to make up his mind what that something would be. I find his preference for a regular morning routine to be quite realistic, and understand his dismay when it is disrupted. Many people have a timed schedule in the mornings designed to get everything done in the least possible time to allow them to rise as late as possible but still get to work on time - even if they are not conscious of the fact. Small deviations from a plan which works can put the whole day out of kilter as happened for the DI. Juliet is quite a different story - she is decisive and confident at work, but seems willing to put up with a shiftless boyfriend who seems only to be good for playing rugby and there is some doubt about that! A bit of background would give more dimension to both characters. What is the story between Juliet and Gerry Burnside, the detective from Boston whose repeated attempts to get close to Juliet are making her increasingly uncomfortable? Why doesn't she tell him to back off? She doesn't seem like any kind of shrinking violet so why does she just edge away from him?
The Chief Constable is another two dimensional character, and a bit stereotypical I'm afraid. It is obvious that he doesn't care for DI Amos and expects him to fail, despite the evidence from the previous two books that he gets his villain in the end, but why is that?

These areas for development give the author a great deal of potential material for further books and I hope he does take the series further as I have enjoyed reading them. I was glad that Simeon proved to be a man with many facets which he showed to the world when, and if, it suited him. He certainly held the interest of the reader as we saw him transformed from saint to rogue before our eyes. . Many people think of Lincolnshire as "flat and boring" but it is neither, and just like the county it is set in, there is more to this story than initially meets the eye. Perhaps Cadwell Park would be an appropriate setting for the next novel as it offers the opportunity to bring in a lot of people from outside the area, although the locals are colourful enough to populate a good many novels.

Overall I did enjoy this book and had to discipline myself to leave it alone long enough to get other things done, but it was a struggle to do so..


Elizabeth is Missing
Elizabeth is Missing
Price: £3.66

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written insightful book, 3 Mar. 2015
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I loved this book even though I found it very difficult to read at times. The sense of Maud's confusion and bewilderment is almost overwhelming at times, and I found myself drawn in and sharing in Maud's confusion, it was at those times that I had to stop reading until I had shaken it off. Like many people with dementia, Maud cannot remember things from one sentence to the next, she is constantly asking the same questions over and over, but her memory of events of long ago is clear. In her confusion Maud sometimes muddles the events she is striving to make sense of in the present day with those memories of historical events. It becomes clear that she has been told what has happened to Elizabeth, but she cannot remember either what it is or that she has been told. Her search for Elizabeth has become entangled with her search for her sister who went missing in 1946, although she doesn't realise that. The reason for the intertwining of the two becomes clearer as the story develops. Maud's confusion is increased as her circumstances change; her home is sold but she can't remember that, and when she moves in with her daughter she is lost and frightened by the change, especially as she cannot find her way around the house - nothing is in the right place. Someone has stuck little notes on the walls giving directions to rooms such as kitchen and bathroom There are lighter touches too, a lovely moment when Maud is struck by the realisation that the stairs are not straight as they used to be. "Who has moved the stairs? How did they do it?" "they point in the wrong direction"

This book has been written with great sympathy for the suffering of those with dementia, it captures the anxiety and bewilderment perfectly - I think this is what affected me so much. It also captures some of the frustration of the those who care for sufferers, although I didn't find Helen quite as sympathetic a character as she might have been; there was a little too much eye-rolling and tutting, but she was off-set very well by her teenaged daughter Katy who finds the humour of whole thing and is lovely with her grandmother, despite being taken for a thief by her.

Perhaps this should be on the required reading list for carers who work with sufferers of dementia, it really does help to gain some insight into the frailties of the way their minds make connections, or don't. I really recommend this beautifully written, insightful book.


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