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Booked – a criminally good book blog

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January 2017

Untouchable Eva Marsh

UntouchableUntouchable by Ava Marsh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stella is an escort, immersed in a world of desire, betrayal and secrets. It’s exactly where she wants to be. Stella used to be someone else: respectable, loved, safe. But one mistake changed all that. When a fellow call girl is murdered, Stella has a choice: forget what she’s seen, or risk everything to get justice for her friend. In her line of work, she’s never far from the edge, but pursuing the truth could take her past the point of no return.
This was a different kind of read for me, following the exploits of Stella and her colleagues as they are dragged into a sordid world for the sole reason of fulfilling their client’s worst, debased desires. Dragged into this world of sex and drugs, firstly for the money and then later to try and avenge her friend’s death, Stella begins to see herself for what she is becoming and she doesn’t like what she sees. But can she really extradite herself? Will she be allowed to? Stella was a confusing character, teetering on the edge of right and wrong. Most of the characters in the book were unlikeable but I began to have a grudging respect for Stella, a woman who knows what she wants, or at least she thinks she does! An intriguing read.

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Her Final Breath Robert Dugoni

Her Final Breath (Tracy Crosswhite, #2)Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite has returned to the police force after the sensational retrial of her sister’s killer. Still scarred from that ordeal, Tracy is pulled into an investigation that threatens to end her career, if not her life. A serial killer known as the Cowboy is killing young women in cheap motels in North Seattle. Even after a stalker leaves a menacing message for Crosswhite, suggesting the killer or a copycat could be targeting her personally, she is charged with bringing the murderer to justice. With clues scarce and more victims dying, Tracy realizes the key to solving the murders may lie in a decade-old homicide investigation that others, including her captain, Johnny Nolasco, would prefer to keep buried.
Okay, I admit it, I’m a huge fan of Robert Dugoni! And this book hasn’t done anything to change that opinion. He is a wonderful storyteller with just the right blend of personal angst of the detectives and unusual mysteries that they have to unpick the threads of. Tracy is far from liked in the department, especially by her Captain, who does all he can to discredit her and out manoeuvre her. But Tracy is nothing if not determined and will fight to her own final breath to bring justice for the victims of the Cowboy.

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A Tapping at my Door David Jackson

A Tapping at my Door (DS Nathan Cody, #1)A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When police are called to a murder scene in the Liverpool suburbs, even the most jaded officers are disturbed by what they find. DS Nathan Cody, still bearing the scars of an undercover mission that went horrifyingly wrong, is put on the case. But the police have no leads, except the body of the bird – and the victim’s missing eyes. And then the killer strikes again, and Cody realises the threat isn’t to the people of Liverpool after all – it’s to the police.
I found this book languishing at the bottom of my TBR pile and now I wonder how on earth I missed it! What a gem of a book, a great read that sucks you in and only spits you out at the end of the book suitably exhausted and fulfilled. Gritty, dark, determined Cody reflects the backdrop of Liverpool against which the book is set. I see the second book in the series is to be released in April and I for one can’t wait!

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The Sound of Rain Greg Olsen

The Sound of RainThe Sound of Rain by Gregg Olsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Former homicide detective Nicole Foster has hit rock bottom. Driven off the force by her treacherous partner and lover, she’s flat broke and struggling with a gambling addiction. All Nicole has left is the dream of a warm bed at a homeless shelter and the haunting memories of three-year-old Kelsey Chase—whose murder case ended her career.
As Nicole obsesses over the old facts, she realizes everything about that case felt off: a disinterested mom, a suicidal pedophile, and too many questions left unanswered. When the little girl’s grieving father begs Nicole for help, she’s drawn back into the investigation…and given one shot at redemption.
But the deeper Nicole digs, the more evil she uncovers, including betrayals that hit painfully close to home. Will a shocking discovery be the key to finally getting justice for Kelsey and resurrecting her own life?
This was a fascinating look into gambling addiction and also into human nature. All the characters have flaws, some greater than others and to be honest it was a wonder how Nicole survived her boyfriend and her sister. As a result this book became more about the characters and less about the mystery and ended up being a cross between a psychological thriller and a crime thriller. That said, it was entertaining and an enjoyable read.

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Not Just Evil David George Wilson

Not Just Evil: Murder, Hollywood, and California's First Insanity PleaNot Just Evil: Murder, Hollywood, and California’s First Insanity Plea by David George Wilson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twelve-year-old Marion Parker was kidnapped from her Los Angeles school by an unknown assailant on December 15, 1927. Her body appeared days later, delivered to her father by the killer, who fled with the ransom money. When William Hickman was hunted down and charged with the killing, he admitted to all of it, in terrifying detail, but that was only the start. Hickman’s insanity plea was the first of its kind in the history of California, and the nature of the crime led to a media frenzy unlike any the country had seen.
There are two important elements in this book. One is the account of the true crime and the second is the social aspect where the author explores the reaction to the trial by the movie makers in Hollywood, as well as the general public. Did our modern media set monsters loose among us, or merely bring them out into the open? As the author points out this is still something that we grapple with today. The latest craze being put under the microscope are the bloody and violent computer games and a large part of society blame them for the disruptive youth of today.
At times the book read like a university dissertation, making it rather dry, but on the whole it was really interesting to read a well-balanced, factual account of a true crime and its effect on society.

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Good Me, Bad Me

Good Me, Bad MeGood Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Annie’s mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly. A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water. Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother’s daughter.
This is one hell of a novel. I was compelled to keep reading until the early hours of the morning. The tension ratchets up as Millie/Annie gets closer to the time of her mother’s trial. But it’s not just that that Millie is battling with. It’s her upbringing and her genes that make her doubt herself, miss her mother while at the same time hating her. She feels guilty for not doing more sooner, if she had perhaps less children would have died. But she also realises that mother taught her lessons that she can now use to her advantage. By turns emotional and shocking, this really is a tour de force of a psychological novel. I loved the short, sharp writing style. In fact I loved everything about this novel. A fantastic read!

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