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Booked – a criminally good book blog

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November 2016

The Deadline Ron Franscell

The DeadlineThe Deadline by Ron Franscell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A dying convict’s last request thrusts small-town newspaperman Jefferson Morgan into a deadly maelstrom as he explores a fifty-year-old case of child murder — a wound his town still isn’t ready to scrape open. Under the heaviest deadline of his life, and amid threats from unexpected foes, Morgan must struggle with his own conscience to tell a story no matter the consequences, dig deep into the town’s past, and unveil a killer who’s managed to remain hidden in plain sight for almost 50 years.
This book is, at its heart, a great story, really well told. Each character is finely drawn and believable. The reader roots for Jeff as he struggles to keep his newspaper going, cope with the death of his young son and keep his beleaguered wife happy. Ron Franscell is a great story teller. The pace is excellent, the twists believable and the plot sweeps you onward from beginning to end. A great read from a great author.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley.

The Deadline is available from Amazon here.

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The Taken Alice Clark-Platts

The Taken (DI Erica Martin, #2)The Taken by Alice Clark-Platts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In a Durham hotel at dawn, celebrated preacher Tristan Snow is murdered as he prays. None of the other guests – not even his daughter, his wife, or her sister – saw or heard anything. But then again, they all had a motive for murder. Detective Inspector Erica Martin is confronted by secrets and lies, lost in a case where nothing is what it seems. With no answers, DI Martin is consumed by questions: Is anyone in this family innocent? When the victim might have been a monster – is there such a thing as justice? And does anyone deserve to die?
This is a cleverly written, cleverly plotted novel. There are multiple suspects and multiple motives when DI Martin begins her investigation. But this is no whitewash novel. Beautifully written it evokes the location of Durham, but also she reveals, little by little, something of the characters in each chapter. I was fascinated by this novel and it was one of those that I wanted to keep reading to get to the twist at the end, but on the other hand I didn’t want it to finish it either. This is the second DI Martin novel, and I hadn’t read the first, but in no way did this detract from the story, it being a standalone novel in its own right. A great read, compulsive and compelling.

Available from Amazon here.
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In the Clearing Robert Dugoni

In the Clearing (Tracy Crosswhite, #3)In the Clearing by Robert Dugoni

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Detective Tracy Crosswhite has a skill, and a soft spot, for tackling unsolved crimes. Having lost her own sister to murder at a young age, Tracy has dedicated her career to bringing justice and closure to the families and friends of victims of crime. So when Jenny, a former police academy classmate and protégé, asks Tracy to help solve a cold case that involves the suspicious suicide of a Native American high school girl forty years earlier, Tracy agrees. Following up on evidence Jenny’s detective father collected when he was the investigating deputy, Tracy probes one small town’s memory and finds dark, well-concealed secrets hidden within the community’s fabric. Can Tracy uphold the promise she’s made to the dead girl’s family and deliver the truth of what happened to their daughter? Or will she become the next victim?
Robert Dugoni is a master storyteller alongside Jeffrey Archer, John Grisham and Stephen King. His characters and so well drawn you feel like you are revisiting old friends. Tracy Crosswhite is sharp and edgy in her approach to her work. In her personal life however, she is more vulnerable and still feels keenly the death of her sister. Whatever is thrown up against her she battles through and will never take ‘no’ for an answer. The plot is excellent with twists and turns aplenty and the writing is taut, with hardly an excess word. Robert Dugoni is a great writer and all his books are a great read.
I received a copy of this novel via Netgalley.
In the Clearing is available from  Amazon here.

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Dear Amy Helen Callaghan

Dear AmyDear Amy by Helen Callaghan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In her guise as ‘Dear Amy’, agony aunt for a local newspaper, Margot Lewis has dealt with all sorts of letters – but never one like this…Dear Amy, I’ve been kidnapped by a strange man. I don’t know where I am. Please help me, Bethan Avery. This must be a cruel hoax. Because Bethan Avery has been missing for nearly two decades.
A very interesting premise that didn’t live up to its billing, nor its very high cover price. The problem with the book for me was the monologue type of meandering through Margot’s life and introspection. The is a danger that the reader gets really annoyed with this and stops caring and stops reading. To be the first class psychological suspense novel it claims to be, for me it would have to be much tighter, have lots more suspense and a believable plot.
I received a copy of this novel via Netgalley.

Dear Amy is available from Amazon here.

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All is Not Forgotten Wendy Walker

All Is Not ForgottenAll Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jenny’s wounds have healed. An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack. She is moving on with her life. That was the plan. Except it’s not working out.
This is a fascinating psychological novel, that deals with memories, almost a different take on repressed memories. Jenny’s memories have been erased, but they won’t go away. I loved the way the story was told and was riveted by the subject matter. A very thought proving and mesmerising story, particularly well told.
I received a review copy of the book via Netgalley.

All is Not Forgotten is available from Amazon here.

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The Loving Husband Christobel Kent

The Loving Husband: You'd trust him with your life, wouldn't you...?The Loving Husband: You’d trust him with your life, wouldn’t you…? by Christobel Kent

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fran Hall and her husband Nathan have moved with their two children to a farmhouse on the edge of the Fens – a chance to get away from London and have a fresh start. But when Fran wakes one night to find Nathan gone, she makes a devastating discovery. As questions about her husband and her relationships start to mount, Fran’s life begins to spiral out of control. What is she hiding from the police about her marriage, and does she really know the man she shared her bed with?
The trouble with writing about an ordinary woman and an ordinary marriage is that the book can become exactly that – ordinary. This book was in danger of being just that, but I persevered and the twists and turns towards the end made it worthwhile. The isolation of the farmhouse and the inhospitable house are reflected in the views of the villagers and their reaction to Fran. But I didn’t feel any great emotional connection with Fran, nor with her husband and that was something that made the reading experience somewhat lacking.
I received a copy of this novel via Netgalley.

The Loving Husband is available on Amazon here.

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I’m Travelling Alone Samuel Bjork

I'm Traveling Alone (Holger Munch & Mia Kruger, #1)I’m Traveling Alone by Samuel Bjørk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When the body of a young girl is found hanging from a tree, the only clue the police have is an airline tag around her neck. It reads ‘I’m travelling alone’.In response, police investigator Holger Munch is immediately charged with assembling a special homicide unit. But to complete the team, he must track down his former partner, Mia Krüger – a brilliant but troubled detective – who has retreated to a solitary island with plans to kill herself.
This novel has many of the traits of other Scandinavian novels so therefore feels safe and comfortable. But the plot soon dispels this with complex characters, twists and turns. The icy cold of the region permeates the book and the crimes also reflect this cold theme. A good read for its type.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

I’m Travelling Alone is available from Amazon here.

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Black Magic Series Dennis Wheatley

Black Magic Series Starter, theBlack Magic Series Starter, the by Dennis Wheatley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read the first three novels in Dennis Wheatley’s thrilling Black Magic series including The Devil Rides Out, Strange Conflict and The Haunting of Toby Jugg. If you’ve not yet read Dennis Wheatley, or wish to revisit three of his best known books, this series starter provides the perfect introduction to the complete Black Magic Series of eleven titles. The Black Magic series features one of Dennis Wheatley’s best known characters, the Duke de Richleau, and deals with themes for which Wheatley is arguably most renowned, Satanism and the occult.
I read these books originally many years ago and I have to say I enjoyed them hugely once again. For anyone new to Wheatley’s work, this is an ideal starting place. Thrills and chills abound.
I received a copy of this novel via Netgalley.

Available from Amazon here.

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The Fire Child SK Tremayne

The Fire ChildThe Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie. But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought? As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago?
This is a slow burning psychological thriller that at times makes you think there are elements of the supernatural in it. The premise for the book (which I won’t explain due to spoilers) is very interesting, making Rachel doubt her sanity numerous times in the book. We see how she is manipulated by her husband and his cohorts but Rachel always fights back. The relationship between Rachel and Jamie is strong, if strange and there are several twists and turns in the plot before we get to the twist and the conclusion. I found this to be haunting and evocative. The setting of deepest darkest Cornwall works really well as do the descriptions of the long abandoned tin mines.
A great read on many levels that I emotionally connected with.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.
Available from Amazon here.

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