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Booked – a criminally good book blog

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October 2016

Somewhere Inside of Happy Anna McPartlin

Somewhere Inside of HappySomewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maisie Bean is a fighter. A survivor. Seventeen years ago, she went on a first date that went so badly it was enough to put the girl off chips. The marriage that followed was hell but it gave her two children: funny, caring Jeremy and bullish but brilliant Valerie. Just as it seems everything might finally start going right, sixteen-year-old Jeremy goes missing. The police descend and a media storm swirls, over five days of searching that hurtle towards an inevitable, terrible conclusion.
This is a heart-wrenching story, cleverly constructed and beautifully written. At times hilarious, at others tear jerking, the author never lets up with the emotion. Each character is drawn through flashbacks, conversations and confrontation. The only thing I would say is that for me there was too much information given as back story. I find this tends to feel too much like ‘info dumping’ and for me took away some of the tension that could have been built within the story. But I understand that this was more of a family saga than crime thriller. The message in the book is one of tolerance and understanding. Firstly, for two adolescent boys trying to find a way through the maelstrom of their hormones and emotions, and secondly the damage that domestic violence does, which goes far deeper than cuts and bruises.
I receive a copy of this novel via Netgalley.

Somewhere Inside of Happy is available from Amazon here.

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Dark Water Robert Bryndza

Dark Water (DCI Erika Foster #3)Dark Water by Robert Bryndza

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child. The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago. As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.
I was so pleased when I realised that Robert Bryndza had another book out and thank goodness I wasn’t disappointed. Rob goes from strength to strength with his writing. Erika continues to be a complex character and in this book faces her greatest challenges to date, not just from work, but in her personal life as well. Moss and Peterson make a welcome return, adding to the tension. Robert is becoming a master of the craft of dark, disturbing crime writing. There are twists and turns a-plenty; lots of conflict; new and interesting characters that we may meet again; and the book is so addictive. I couldn’t wait to get back to reading it and had to force myself to put it down at night and get some sleep. If you are considering reading Robert’s work, then do it! I’m confident you’ll enjoy it. Its a superb, dark, disturbing crime thriller.
I received a copy of the novel from the publisher via Netgalley.

Dark Water is available from Amazon here.

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The Killing Game JS Carol

The Killing Game: A Tense, Gripping Thriller You Don't Want to MissThe Killing Game: A Tense, Gripping Thriller You Don’t Want to Miss by J S Carol

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine you are having lunch at an exclusive restaurant, filled with Hollywood’s hottest stars. And a masked gunman walks in and takes everyone hostage. You must bargain for your life against a twisted individual who knows everything about you. He also has a bomb set to detonate if his heart rate changes. If he dies. You die.You have four hours to stay alive. What would you do?
This is certainly a tense and thrilling book. No doubt about that. I enjoyed every minute of reading it. I was fearful, hopeful and disgusted by turn and I ensured I could continue reading the book by not doing the housework. I needed to get to the end to see who survived. And, for me, that was the only part of the book that let itself down. Don’t worry there are no spoilers here, but why oh why did the author and publisher use that strange epilogue, written in the third party present tense. For me it jarred and I also didn’t feel that all the story threads were pulled together at the end. So I was a little disappointed. But on balance, I really enjoyed the ride!
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a copy of the book.

The Killing Game is available from Amazon here.

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Someone to Save You Paul Pilkington

Someone to Save YouSomeone to Save You by Paul Pilkington

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fifteen years ago, Sam Becker’s sister was killed, a tragedy that haunts him to this day—particularly as his best friend, Marcus, was jailed for her murder. Driving home from the bittersweet celebration of what would have been her thirtieth birthday, Sam is confronted with a terrifying scene, and has just moments to try to save four lives. In the aftermath of this chilling drama, he is hailed as a hero by the press—but to the investigating police, things do not add up. Sam finds himself drawn into a conspiracy of lies and organised crime that puts his own life in danger.
A good solid crime thriller that does what it says on the tin. This was an engrossing read, with a brilliant opening scenario and a solid plot, twisting and turning its way to the end.
I received a review copy of this novel via Netgalley.

Someone to Save You is available from Amazon here.

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The Couple Next Door Shari Lapena

The Couple Next DoorThe Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying. Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour. Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone. You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.
The writing style is different, more of an omnipresent narrator and the first half of the book focuses on the parents Anne and Marco. But slowly but surely the view widens to include the couple next door. The author has a way of imparting small amounts of information, upping the suspense and keeping the reader turning the pages. A great psychological read!
I received a review copy of the novel via Netgalley.

The Couple Next Door is available from Amazon here.

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Try Not to Breathe Holly Seddon

Try Not to BreatheTry Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love – drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy.
Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma…
This is a tale of obsession. Alex is obsessed with alcohol and then becomes obsessed with Amy. All characters are well drawn, even if they are not likeable and I found the medical side of it very interesting. It was a well-paced, enjoyable read. I received a review copy via Netgalley.

Try Not to Breathe is available from Amazon here.

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The Poison Artist Jonathan Moore

The Poison ArtistThe Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dr Caleb Maddox is an expert on pain. A leading San Francisco toxicologist, he is mapping the chemical traces that show how much agony a human body can endure. But now a different kind of pain is distracting him from his life’s work – the violent break-up of his relationship with his artist girlfriend, Bridget. Caleb is plunged into a nightmare where love, madness and murder are clasped in a lethal embrace – and untangling the truth could be the last thing he wants to do.
This book has it all. It’s a twisted, dark, psychological thriller come gothic novel. I was drawn into Caleb’s world in all its horror and really couldn’t put this book down. The characters are exquisitely drawn and the plot provides a twist that you maybe know is coming, but hope it isn’t! I received a review copy via Netgalley.

The Poison Artists is available from Amazon here.

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Family Ties Nicholas Rhea

Family Ties (A Detective Mark Pemberton Mystery Book 1)Family Ties by Nicholas Rhea

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I read this novel I didn’t know that the author was the writer behind the tv series Heartbeat. But now I do I can see the similarities, particularly in terms of pace. This is not a race against time crime thriller, but more of a cozy mystery.
Pembleton is not content with his role in the team protecting the US Vice President and needs more to keep him interested and motivated. As a result he starts to dig into the family ties between the Vice President and the folk of Yorkshire. That, of course, is where the mystery lies. Pembleton himself comes across as rather old fashioned, with morals and a sense of correct behaviour at all times.The author evokes a sense of place through beautiful descriptions of the scenery and towns. I thoroughly enjoyed this very British police procedural.
I received a copy of this novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Family Ties is available from Amazon here.

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Hanover House Brenda Novak

Hanover House (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #0.5)Hanover House by Brenda Novak

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first book by the author Brenda Novak. The premise of the story was very interesting, the opening of a new psychiatric facility in a remote Alaskan town. This short story is a prequel to Whiteout and serves to introduce the lead characters. And there’s the problem. It does indeed introduce the characters but at the expense of plot. The story is clearly a prequel and to be honest I wonder if it was necessary. However, it did keep me reading, but I am much more interested in the forthcoming novel.

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