Sunday 28 February 2016

Sycamore Gap - L.J.Ross

Sycamore Gap is the second in the DCI Ryan series and we pick up with Ryan six months after Holy Island.

When human remains are discovered within the stones of Hadrian's Wall it's not long before DCI Ryan is called in to investigate but it soon becomes clear that everything is not as simple as it appears.

As the body count rises, Ryan is caught up in a wild goose chase and it looks like he may have to revisit his previous case despite the official police reports stating that The Circle has disbanded.

Once again LJ Ross has written a gripping novel that will keep you turning the pages to find out who is responsible for the murders, whilst keeping you on the edge of your seat. You might think you know more than Ryan and his colleagues but do you. . . . . really?

I loved getting to know more about DCI Maxwell Ryan and learning more about the demons that haunt him and it's for this reason that I would recommend you read Holy Island  first so that you can  fully understand his character as he develops. There are more than a few other familiar faces that return and play a bigger part and really add to the story as well as being complex and credible. As with her first novel the scenery and surroundings are so wonderfully descriptive you really could be there inside the book.

As much as I enjoyed Holy Island, I enjoyed Sycamore Gap more, maybe because it has a darker feel to it and there were more twists and turns which is something I love in a book as it keeps you on your toes. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for Ryan when he returns in the third book of the series, Heavenfield.

With kind thanks to author LJ Ross for the review copy.

Sunday 21 February 2016

The Dead Club - Kate Rigby

The Dead Club is a contemporary tale about death and suicide and the effects it has on two families.

Marina Reed is a member of "The Dead Club", a group of sixth formers who are obsessed with death and often sit and discuss suicide and fantasise about the ways in which they would do it.

The story is told in the form of sections rather than chapters and it's in these sections that we are introduced to more characters all of which are dealing with life and the prospect of death in their own way.

The first few sections left me feeling slightly confused as I couldn't see anything to link them together but the more I read the more things started to become clearer and I was soon absorbed by the characters lives.

Don't be put off by the subject matter of this book as Kate Rigby has written an engaging story that cleverly knits together the past and present alongside the main characters without being ghoulish, there are some nice touches of humour sprinkled throughout (I loved Topsy the cat's story) and the update on the main players was a lovely touch at the end.

Kate Rigby has been writing for over thirty years and her experience shone through to me in this book. Her descriptions of the Devon coast made me want to hop on a train and see it for myself and I could almost smell the sea breeze. If you're looking for something a little different why not give The Dead Club a try.

You can find out more about Kate and her other books here.

With kind thanks to author Kate Rigby for the review copy.

Saturday 20 February 2016

No Longer Safe - A.J. Waines

We're only a couple of months into the new year and I've already been lucky enough to read some fantastic books and today I'm reviewing another one - No Longer Safe.

Alice was friends with Karen at university but upon leaving they went their separate ways despite promising to stay in touch. When she receives an out-of-the-blue invitation from Karen to go on a two week holiday in Scotland Alice is initially unsure but she eventually decides that it would be just the break she needs after whats been a difficult few months for her.

When she arrives at the cottage Alice is soon disappointed to find that she isn't the only guest when two other old uni friends, Mark and Jodie arrive. Out in the middle of nowhere, with snow falling heavily and barely any phone signal Alice realises that Karen isn't the person she once knew and she finds herself in a situation that's way beyond her control.

The story is told by both Alice and Karen in alternating chapters and it's a chilling one. Just when you think you've got something worked out along comes a twist and turns everything you thought you knew on it's head!

This a tense, atmospheric and dark read that will have you questioning every characters motives at some point and the descriptions are so detailed you can literally feel the chill in the air, both inside and outside of the cottage. The plot is skillfully written so that the tension is built up gradually until I couldn't bear it anymore and then the ending. . . . . . . What the hell! Of all the twisted endings I've read this has to be the best one yet and I definitely didn't see it coming.

No Longer Safe is one of those books that will grab you by the throat and seriously mess with your head but you'll love every page!

Saturday 13 February 2016

Forever Is Over - Calvin Wade

Forever Is Over is one of those books that begins at the end.

We find out right from the outset that Richie has cancer and he's dying but rewind back to his childhood and that's where the story starts.

Told in an almost journal like way, we follow Richie from his teenage years through to adulthood and we meet a wide variety of characters. Each chapter is a story within the main story from a different character and this a great way to get to know each of them and find out more about their lives and share their thoughts.

Despite the fact that the ending is known to the reader, the story in the middle is a wonderful and meandrous one that will bring back memories if you were growing up in the 70's and 80's. A simple story that is many-faceted and will have you laughing out loud one minute and crying the next.

This book has it all. There's murder, gambling addiction, first-love, sibling rivalry and even football! What more could you possibly want?

Calvin Wade is a gifted writer who has a great ability to make all of his characters so believable you could almost touch them, which for me meant that I was fully immersed in their lives and was living every high and low with them. My only criticism, and it really is a small one, is that I felt it was just a little bit too long and wordy in parts. There were a few places where less could have been more. That said I still enjoyed this book immensely and I would highly recommend it to everyone who likes to lose themselves in an excellent, well written and thought provoking book.

Sunday 7 February 2016

Behind Closed Doors - B A Paris

Behind Closed Doors is the kind of book where you know almost straight away that's somethings not quite right but it's nothing that you can put your finger on straight away.

Grace and Jack are, from the outside, the perfect couple with the perfect life and they are the envy of their friends. Jack is a charming and successful lawyer and Grace is always by his side. Always.

The story is told by Grace  and it goes from past to present so that you find out how she met Jack a year previously and see how their relationship develops.

The more you read, the more you are pulled in to Grace's claustrophobic life. Why can't anyone ever reach her on the phone? Why is she never available for lunch out with the girls? How does she stay so thin when she cooks such wonderful food? The answers to all of these questions and more soon become apparent and they are terrifying.

For a debut novel B A Paris has written a breath-taking story which I devoured in an afternoon and a book that I think truly deserves to be classed as a psychological thriller. I loved the way the tension built up and I was filled with trepidation the whole way through and as I was getting near the end I found myself reading faster and faster so that I could find out how it was going to end. As I read the last sentence I could feel a smile coming to my lips but of course I'm not going to tell you why, but what I will say is that if you're a fan of this genre you simply must read this book.

Behind Closed Doors is published on 11th February and you can pre-order your copy here.

With kind thanks to NetGalley and publishers Mira UK for the review copy.