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Aurora (Yorkshire, UK)
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White Bones (Katie Maguire Book 1)
White Bones (Katie Maguire Book 1)
Price: £0.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warning - Gruesome scenes of gratuitous, sadistic behaviour., 26 Feb. 2015
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No matter how bad your week has been, there is now way it can be as bad as Katie's has been, this is just about as bad as it gets - isn't it? Perhaps not.

At first glance one could be forgiven for thinking that this is one of those fantasy novels, full of the battles between the forces of good and evil, witches, demons and a beautiful female to fight against them. It isn't one of those books, but we have a character who believes in such things and will take extreme measures to invoke the incarnation of other-worldly powers to achieve their desired goal.

There is another plot line running parallel to the main thrust of the story as Katie's marriage disintegrates around her in the face of her husband's unreliability which oversteps the line into criminality and pushes Katie into action which goes against all she believes in. Whilst all of this seems incidental to the main storyline, it does serve to lower Katie's natural defences and perhaps she does not see things which she might otherwise have done.

I could have done without the graphic and very detailed descriptions of the horrific way in which the victims died, very slowly and excruciatingly painfully. To have heard of how they died, after the fact, would have been bad enough, but this was just too much, and it was then repeated later in the book. I had forgotten just how much Graham Masterton appears to revel in scenes of pain and torture. I agree with other reviewers who suggest that perhaps there should be a warning of the explicit nature of the gruesome violence in this book.

That the above paragraph needs to be included at all is sad as this was otherwise an extremely good book, with enough suspense to keep the reader gripped. I found myself trusting no-one, with the exception of Katie. I suspected everyone, including the police and all who were connected to them. The author kept some surprises for the end of the book and although I had got who I thought to be one of the perpetrators, there was one last shock in store. Without the gratuitous, sadistic violence this could have been worthy of 5 stars - what a shame.


Smoke and Mirrors (The Acer Sansom Novels Book 3)
Smoke and Mirrors (The Acer Sansom Novels Book 3)
Price: £1.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Masterpiece, 28 Dec. 2014
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Mr Tidy you are giving me great company on sleepless nights. How much of my insomnia was of unknown origin and how much was because the story was incessantly and determinedly running round my head is debatable, but ultimately irrelevant as my wakefulness allowed me to continue reading this book. I was totally engrossed and utterly caught up in the story. We know that Acer is being manipulated but do not know how, why or by who. I had a suspicion that one of the people concerned was involved but vacillated about who it actually was. The story is stamped with the hallmark of a good mystery novel in the way in which it leads the reader to suspect almost everyone in it of having ulterior motives.

Once again Acer uses his intelligent perception to outwit his adversary, but only after he has realised the depth of deceit he has been subjected to. His loyalty has been part of the manipulation process but he isn't one to let that put him off. His humanitarian instincts are deep rooted and overtake his logical thinking when danger arises, he simply goes into action. At the point of direst need however, his intelligence kicks in and enables him to talk his way out of a potentially catastrophic situation.

I was delighted to see that Acer has a glimmer of hope for the future which sets the foundations for another gripping story.

You have produced yet another masterpiece Oliver - I do hope there is more in the pipeline.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2015 2:18 PM GMT


Chimera (A Kate Redman Mystery: Book 5) (The Kate Redman Mysteries)
Chimera (A Kate Redman Mystery: Book 5) (The Kate Redman Mysteries)
Price: £3.17

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eminently Readable, 18 Dec. 2014
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Having enjoyed all the previous Kate Redman books I was looking forward to this one and it did not disappoint. The opening chapter tells of an incident so shocking in nature that, although the author kindly spares us the details , it will linger in the mind for a very long time. Indeed the lack (thankfully) of description adds something to the impact of the narrative.
This was very nearly a perfect murder - except for the number of other people who got caught up in it. Just one tiny detail brought the whole thing out into the open. The clues are there from a very early stage, the motive is laid out clearly, if we could but see it. The method of murder here is different, not immediately obvious, but the motive is actually quite predictable when it is finally revealed
Kate is once again balancing too many things and messing up too many of them, but at least she is on top of the job - most of the time anyway. Kate's life is like a slow motion collision, and in this story I was left wondering if she is heading for a breakdown. The consequences of a decision she took in her teens have been increasingly evident in each successive book and now appear to be overwhelming her. There is a dichotomy to Kate as she is struggling to make and maintain relationships, although at least she now has a good relationship with her brother, but even as she is damaging social and professional friendships, she is showing compassion to those affected by the tragedies around them, even attending a funeral because she thinks that no-one else will.

Like all the books in this series, Chimera is eminently readable and time passed unnoticed as I became engrossed.


The Child Taker Book 1 Detective Alec Ramsay Series
The Child Taker Book 1 Detective Alec Ramsay Series
Price: £1.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific story despite the subject matter, 15 Dec. 2014
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This is a very graphic tale, with scenes which will make the reader very uncomfortable, but will at the same time make them think about the cruelties and perversions inflicted on many in the pursuit of profit and sick pleasure, and by no means are all of them fictional.

The end of a marriage sets off a chain of events, shocking in its brutality and disregard of human life. We come across characters starkly contrasting as they reflect the best and the worst of humanity. From those who break the law and live as strangers to any moral code, lacking in compassion and decency, to those who also break the rules, but only to seek to protect the innocent and the vulnerable, putting themselves on considerable danger without stopping to count the cost.

This, despite its subject, is a terrific story which draws the reader in, imparting a sense of urgency as the quest to find two missing children is frustrated time and again.

I was immensely disappointed to see a glaring error in the final paragraphs, which slipped through the proofreading stage. I am sure that a WREATH of white roses was sent to the funeral rather than the REEF of white roses the text tells us of. There may well have been other grammatical/typographical errors prior to this, but they didn't stand out and slap me in the face as this one did.

Sometimes it doesn't feel right to say I enjoyed a book, this is one of those times -purely because of the subject matter, but I enjoyed the bad guys getting their come-uppance, and the sheer determination which led to that. I was absorbed and distracted by the story.


HABIT: a gripping detective thriller
HABIT: a gripping detective thriller
Price: £1.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Read at a Rattling Pace, 11 Dec. 2014
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Wow, this is a very dark book, but it is also filled with twists and turns which you definitely don't see coming, the suspense grows as the book progresses, until the point comes where you want to shake some sense into Brendan. This is Brendan's first murder case and he is incredibly lucky to get through it. He builds strong relationships with most of the team very quickly. All but one of them, and I have to confess that I did suspect that that person would turn out to have some involvement in the events running through this book, my suspicion was however unfounded. Having said that, this is most definitely a case where it isn't over until the end.
Brendan is the stereotypical flawed detective, with demons of his own to fight; addictions to alcohol and drugs being just two of the daily battles he has to fight. His adversaries in this case are clever, they know a great deal about his history and use it to taunt him but he is stronger than either they, or even he, think. Apart from those flaws, Brendan is not stereotypical in any other way. His background and education are as far removed from law as can be imagined. What possible connection can a neurobiologist have with law enforcement? None immediately springs to mind, but it does affect the way he thinks and processes information, it even enables him to handle pain and, bizarrely, a near death experience

This was a different take on this genre. There was plenty of action to keep the attention, even during the times when Brendan was slobbing out, indulging his vices in a world of self pity, it felt as though there was action going on as his incredible thought processes rolled on.

For me there were a couple of unanswered questions at the end of the book i.e. where did certain substances come from, what was so vital about the connection between Kevin and another character and most importantly, who was really behind it all? These are the only reason I haven't given this book a 5* rating. It is a great read with a rattling pace and I do recommend it.


Forever Watching You: A DI Miranda Carr thriller
Forever Watching You: A DI Miranda Carr thriller
Price: £0.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the Accomplice, 9 Dec. 2014
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This is a shorter book than I anticipated, but that isn't necessarily a negative point. Everything was said which needed to be said and the detectives not only caught their suspect but got him to court too. In a neat plot twist the accomplice to the killer was not the person the killer thought them to be and I enjoyed the moment the killer understood that as much as the DCI and the DI did, and, like them, I would also have made a special trip to the courtroom just to witness that moment.
Although the perpetrator makes a monumental mistake which indicates guilt quite early on, I was not convinced that this wasn't going to turn out to be a red herring and was suspecting several other people for a while, especially within the family It seemed that so many people had something to gain from this death, and I simply didn't take to the parents.
Being the first book in a series, I was unsure of who the main partnership will consist of. Although there are some good interactions between Miranda and Johnny, it seemed that the bulk of the action concerned Miranda and Caroline. I also liked the extension of the characters beyond their police personas, although I felt that, given the time and pages dedicated to Miranda's wedding plans, the actual wedding was more or less relegated to a footnote. Whilst a full account of the event would not have added to the story, a little more was needed to balance things out slightly. I am also not sure about Miranda and Caroline's matey relationship at work. There were nods to the protocols from time to time, but having acknowledged them, they were then completely ignored.
Whilst I wasn't sure what the purpose of having Anneka hanging around as a ghost was, I did like the idea that she would take revenge by following him around and watching him for eternity even though he could neither see nor hear her.
This was a good introduction to a new series and I will look for further books in this series


Death by Deceit (Caribbean Murder Series, Book 5)
Death by Deceit (Caribbean Murder Series, Book 5)
Price: £3.83

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dysfunctional Detectives, 1 Dec. 2014
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This was an interesting take on a detective pairing. What we are led to believe was once a highly effective team is now totally dysfunctional because the partners allowed their relationship to spill over into a personal and romantic one, and then it all went wrong. Within a few days they realised that they wanted different things and had different approaches to their problem. Of course it can't have helped when they found rhemselves investigating the recent murder of his wife. Mattheus thought his wife had died six years ago when she first went missing, now he has to come to terms with the fact that she just left without a word, created a new life for herself, told an entirely different story of their life together - one far from flattering to him, and proved to be a very different person from the one he thought he knew. He also has to grieve for her loss all over again. Cindy realises that he is unable to be objective about this case, but too often she finds herself fighting him over it.

They both believe that not only do the police have the wrong person in custody, but that they are also fixated on their suspect as he is the most obvious and also the most convenient person, but are Cindy and Mattheus at risk of falling into the same trap? Can they overcome their differences enough to get to the truth of the situation before the situation gets to them?

I found the relationship between Cindy and Mattheus quite credible, they would not be unusual in allowing their close working relationship to become more than it should be and then have to face the consequences when it all falls apart. For me it added another layer to the storyline. It can all seem too neat, or even contrived, when an investigative team becomes romantically involved.


Tahoe Deathfall (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller Book 1)
Tahoe Deathfall (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller Book 1)
Price: £0.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An ethical detective, 30 Nov. 2014
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We are not told how successful Owen McKenna is as a detective, but we do know that he is a man with scruples. When a young girl offers him a cheque for a large amount of money to investigate the death of her sister many years ago, along with a notarised statement of indemnity and a promise of a lot more money in the future, he tells her clearly that he is unable to take her money and she cannot hire him. He does eventually agree to do some investigating for her, but on a purely voluntary basis. His instincts are aroused when he notices her being followed as she leaves his office. Why then does no-one else want him to take on this investigation? Her grandmother insists that the girl has psychological problems, and has suggested throughout the years that Jenny killed her sister herself.
The plot is complicated by the possibility that the main suspect may well have killed two of his wives, is another woman in danger? Is Owen in danger from the same person? The grandmother is convinced that Owen is a potential paedophile and demands that he stays away from her granddaughter, threatening to call down the weight of the law upon his head.

That Owen is a trustworthy person is laid out for us in his relationships, both personal and professional. He is in a long-term relationship with a woman whose own history makes commitment difficult for her, although Owen is as committed to her as she will let him be. He is obviously trusted by his contact in the Police department, as is evidenced in the phone calls he receives warning him to back off from the investigation as the grandmother is stirring up trouble. He even warns when an arrest warrant is about to be served. Through all of this however, Owen knows that Jenny is in imminent danger and cannot leave it alone. He risks his life many times to save the child, but as the final pieces of the puzzle fall into place, will he be in time or is he just too late? Owen charms people into co-operating with his investigation but doesn't promise anything in return, his professionalism remaining intact.

This isn't a straightforward puzzle, the characters do not do what you expect them to and the author keeps us guessing throughout the book. The end, when it comes, is not what the book has led the reader to believe but does not stretch the bounds of credibilty.


Brass in Pocket (Inspector Ian Drake Murder Mystery Series Book 1) (Inspector Drake)
Brass in Pocket (Inspector Ian Drake Murder Mystery Series Book 1) (Inspector Drake)
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book but gives you an ear worm, 15 Nov. 2014
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This book pulled me in and held me most of the day. The puzzle over the song lyrics was the defining factor of the investigation, but the team were constantly led up blind alleys as the red herrings piled up high. The problem was that in the nature of the thing, no-one knew what was a red herring and the team chased every lead, and spent hours trawling through CCTV, and sifting through historical records. Although part of the story is told in the killer's voice, we were not told what the motive was although the clues were there, and we knew the emotional reasoning, we just didn't have sufficient information to put it all together. Even though the DI was obsessive about many things, and constantly read and re-read all the paperwork, knowing that there was something very obvious that he was missing but hejust couldn't put his finger on what was bugging him. It took a throwaway remark from his sergeant to set the cogs of his brain in the right motion to bring it together. Once he had pieced it together, and brought himself to believe the unbelievable, he then had to find proof to back up his theory. I did briefly consider the person who was eventually revealed to be the killer as a suspect but I didn't really believe it, although as the story came towards its climax I began to revive those suspicions but couldn't come up with a motive.

The DI's OCD was a distraction at times, and I assume that the constant repetition of his habits and compulsions is part of the creation of his character for future books. The relationship between him and his DS was rather good, not matey but not totally hierarchical either. There is much about Caren which irritates Ian but he knows that she is an excellent foil to his character and they balance each other very well. It was a very pleasant change to find police officers who do not have a dysfunctional home life, yes there are occasional problems, and this case intruded very deeply into Ian's family life, but overall his marriage and family are surviving the pressures of the job, the same appears to be true of his sergeant's home life.

I found this a good read which kept my attention and held me to the end. I was also diverted by the song lyrics (I even looked some of them up on the internet to see if they would give me any clues - they didn't) I thought that I had never heard of the song in the title but was very surprised to discover that it is in fact a well known song which I know very well despite not knowing what it was called. I now have the song going round and round in my head endlessly!!! I would gladly read more by this author and have in fact downloaded the next book in the series which I am looking forward to getting started on..


Race to Death: (The Second DI Ian Peterson Mystery) (A DS Ian Peterson Murder Investigation Book 2)
Race to Death: (The Second DI Ian Peterson Mystery) (A DS Ian Peterson Murder Investigation Book 2)
Price: £2.84

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good pace, plenty of action and suspense, 11 Nov. 2014
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I found myself with very divided emotions about Ian & Bev Peterson. I can understand Ian's anxiety to do a good job and prove himself worthy of his promotion as he starts a new job in a new city. I can understand that he is driven to find a murderer before more people die, I can even understand that his loyalties are divided between the new job and Bev's cloying misery and unpredictable temperament, BUT he married her, knowing that she was clingy and not totally supportive of his career choice. He also took the decision to apply for a promotion in another force area hundreds of miles from her family and friends. He cannot then just leave her to get on with life, mostly on her own in a city where she knows no-one and has no social structure to fall back on and expect her not to be miserable or needy. It's just NOT ON Ian!! Just saying.

Leigh Russell has taken the time to get to know York and describes the area very well, indeed the Tourist Information Board in the city should be selling her books in their offices. I loved the description of how Jocelyn felt when walking on the city walls, it can be a very dizzying experience even for those who are not phobic about heights.

That everyone has something in their lives which they wouldn't want the rest of the world to know about is a given, and those things are well exploited in this book. Illicit relationships, a temper which is too quick to arouse, guilt, remorse, anxiety, - all play a part here. There are many contenders to be the villain but all we can be sure of is who it isn't - but can we? I made the necessary connection fairly early on, but didn't understand why. There are one or two questions which I would ideally want answered but cannot go into them here as to do so may reveal more than I should. The important thing for readers of this book to understand is that nothing can be taken at face value.

This being his first case in York, Ian is obviously in the early stages of building good working relationships and it will be interesting to see how those develop, especially in light of the last question asked in the story. This was a solidly built and researched story with a good pace, plenty of action and a generous amount of suspense which I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to more books featuring DI Peterson, but for goodness sake Leigh Russell - will you please find an interest for Bev, otherwise I could be the next killer Ian is searching for.


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