Blog

Key Guide

CTM = Crime, Thriller, Mystery Genre Authors

ROF = Romance and Other Fiction Authors

 RSS Feed

Category: Rating: 4/5

  1. Kat's Review of Shadows by Paul Finch (Lucy Clayburn #2)

    Posted on

    Shadows Synopsis: As a female cop walking the mean streets of Manchester, life can be tough for PC Lucy Clayburn. But when one of the North West’s toughest gangsters is your father, things can be particularly difficult.

    When Lucy's patch is gripped by a spate of murder-robberies, the police are quick to action. Yet when it transpires that the targets are Manchester’s criminal underworld, attitudes change.

    Lucy is soon faced with one of the toughest cases of her life – and one which will prove once and for all whether blood really is thicker than water…

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

    Kat's Review: I was looking forward to the second installment in this series as I loved the first book. This second book was I thought very different to the first. For a start the beginning was a little...sludgy? Is that even a word? I absolutely loved Lucy but couldn't help but feel like she was stuck in a rut? When a spate of Robberies start occurring Lucy of course has to get involved and it seems like there could be crossover with other cases. A few characters in this book I didn't warm to and by the end of the book I discovered why. However I still felt like the beginning was like she was wading in deep mud. 

    Skip forward to maybe the halfway point and it turns into a full on action packed 5 star read. It was literally like reading about a different woman. With Manchester's Underworld leading figures now being targeted it felt like the book ratcheted up the ante and it was every man for themselves. Lucy finds herself in literally more and more hot water as the book continues which just makes it all the more engaging and the second half of the book I read in one sitting, it was absolutely first class. 

    As for the 'Daddy Issue' let's not spoil for others but suffice to say this is a cracking element to the series made all the more interesting with this book. I was almost smiling 'gleefully' at the events that transpired for Lucy on this front. I think for me there was only one element missing and that's a senior figure that is there for Lucy. normally in books like this there is a chain of command but it seems Lucy is almost on her own for most of the time and think that doesn't sit quite right with me. I am a HUGE fan of this series and would highly recommend reading both this and the earlier books in order, another cracker by Finch! 

  2. Kat's Review of Here Come The Boys by Milly Johnson (Short Story)

    Posted on

    Milly Johnson Here Come The Boys Synopsis: Angie Silverton and her husband are taking a much-needed holiday on the cruise ship Mermaidia, so the last person she hopes to bump into is her one-time best friend Selina who stole the love of her life and married him twenty years ago. 

    And what she needs even less is to be marooned in Malaga with Selina when both of them manage to miss boarding the ship in port. 

    It will take three days for them to travel across Europe to catch up with the ship again in Croatia. And in the company of each other twenty-four/seven, a lot of old baggage is going to be unloaded. 

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

    Kat's Review: Considering I don't read short stories this is the second of Milly Johnson's I've read in the same amount of weeks:-) Angie and her very loveable husband Gil are taking their very first trip aboard a cruise ship. From the moment they start their journey on the coach they realise this will be very different to what they are used to. No sooner have they arrived do they start to meet some onboard friends all of whom had their own part to play in this story.

    Both Angie and Gil are such likeable charaters however when Gill is suffering from sea sickness when they dock in Malaga, Angie decides to do some shopping on her own. What she didn't bank of was not making the ship in time and being stranded. Not only that she ends up being stranded with her ex-best friend who went off and married the man she was supposed to end up with.

    This story was a delight to read and as soon as I had finished I checked out whether there was a continuation of sorts andd sure enough the short story named 'Ladies Who Launch' appeared and hey Presto, my next Milly Johnson arrived on my Kindle. It's been far too long since I read this lady's books it certainly put me back in that zone! A great short read... 

  3. BLOG TOUR: Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft

    Posted on

    Kathryn Croft Silent Lies Synopsis: Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter, Freya. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students, Josie Carpenter, vanished. 

    Five years later, and Josie is still missing but Mia has finally found some happiness with new boyfriend Will. 

    Until one day when stranger Alison walks into her life and tells Mia that her husband didn’t kill himself. 

    Desperate to find out what really happened to Zach, Mia is forced to put her trust in Alison. But she soon discovers that Alison has her own agenda behind exposing the details of Zach’s death. Can Mia really believe anything Alison says? 

    Mia must decide how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth – even if she risks losing everything she loves. 

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

    Kat's Review: This book starts off fantastically and alternates between present day with Mia and five years ago with the student Josie. It seems like Mia has moved on after the tragic suicide of her then husband Zach, and subsequent disappearance of student Josie Carpenter on the same night. Mia has her new life with boyfriend Will and it's all going well until Alison appears in Mia's life and tells her that Zach didn't commit suicide.

    This certainly has the traditional feel of a psychological thriller and I certainly enjoyed the writing but I admit I initially struggled to connect with Mia. That aside the story had me gripped and the tension was ratcheted up to the maximum from very early on. As a reader I was questioning everything and it felt like Mia was on a knife-edge as she tries to discover what really happened to Zach and how he came to be dead on that fateful night. 

    I certainly didn't see the outcome as it actually happened and that was a hugely pleasant surprise. I also felt like that last quarter of the book was the best and I read that part of the book in one sitting. I think not connecting with a character was a minor flaw for me because by the halfway mark it didn't even enter my head as I was swept along with the story. Certainly a gripping read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed!

  4. BLOG TOUR: No-one Has Sex on Xmas Day by Tracy Bloom

    Posted on

    Tracy Bloom No One Ever Has Sex on Xmas Day Synopsis: Katy’s been stuck in the office away from her family so she wants it all: snow (fake or real), the Michael Bublé Christmas album, whatever it takes. 

    There’s only one thing missing as far as her husband Ben is concerned: another baby to complete their family. But Katy isn’t so sure she's ready yet…

    Ben may be playing the role of Master Elf in the pre-school nativity but he is struggling to master his own family life. With romantically-challenged friends, an ex who refuses to go away and Katy's mum's 64-year-old toy boy thrown into the mix, Christmas looks like it could be going off the rails… Never mind family planning, can Katy and Ben even plan to make it to the end of Christmas Day? 

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

    Kat's Review: I have really enjoyed some of Tracy Bloom's books and especially since I read the previous book featuring Katy and Ben I was keen to see what had happened to them. Even if you haven't read that book you can certainly read this as a stand alone, but I found it so much more enjoyable to go back and see where they had got to.

  5. BLOG TOUR: Kat's Review of When A Killer Strikes by R C Bridgestock (DI Jack Dylan #8)

    Posted on

    RC Bridgestock

    Synopsis: “Boss, we’ve got a body”.

    Hardly what Detective Inspector Jack Dylan needs to hear on his day off, especially as he’s in the middle of house-hunting with his wife Jen.

    Detective Sergeant Vicky Hardacre greets him at the scene, but what awaits them behind the blood red door of Colonial House is undoubtedly a murder. The approach identifies several prime suspects. But who is telling the truth; and who is lying?

    Before the killer can be caught, another body is discovered, this time in a putrefying mixture of mud and slime, lain among the remnants of decaying food within a waste-bin shelter. Now it’s the task of the man in charge to make the call. 

    Are the two murders connected? 

    There’s only one way to find out, and that’s by working long hours, within strict budgets, and the usual pressure from above to obtain quick results. 

    However, Dylan is distracted by personal matters, with Jen being keen to seal the deal on a renovation project. He suggests they delay finalising the purchase; until he discovers the significance of the house, and that it’s about to be demolished.

    In his absence, Jen’s pleas for help from his estranged siblings are answered, resulting in hidden secrets coming to light, as Dylan continues, through a twisting and turning plot, to ensure justice is done in respect of the murder victims, whose bright hopes for the future were cruelly snatched away.

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

  6. Kat's Review of The Barn on Half Moon Hill by Milly Johnson (Short Story)

    Posted on

    Milly Johnson The Barn on Half Moon Hill Synopsis: Cariad Williams has been writing to Franco Mezzaluna since they were kids. But he has never written back. And now he has become a famous film star. What's more, he is due to visit Winterworld, the Christmas theme park where Cariad works. The only problem is that she has boasted to her friends that he is her boyfriend and now everyone will find out about her lie...
    An exclusive short story from Milly Johnson to raise funds for the Care for Claire charity.

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

    Kat's Review: I'm not that much of a fan of short stories as no sooner have I got into the story it's finishing. However with this book being part of a charity to raise funds for the Car for Claire Charity I figured it was a good enough reason to read it.

    As usual Milly Johnson manages to createe characters I like instantly and Cariad is no different. A lady that spent years writing to Franco Mezzaluna her childhood friend. The only problem is he has never written back and has now become a famous film star.

    With the imminent arrival of Franco to the town where Cariad lives her tension mounts and she has no idea what to expect. A lovely short story with a lovely ending albeit a story I could have continued reading about as I would have loved to have known what happened next for all the characters involved. Although short stories aren't really my thing this was for a great cause and Milly's writing does just the thing and this 80 page treat was perfect to cheer me up one lunch break!

  7. Kat's Review of When The Killing Starts by R C Bridgestock (DI Jack Dylan #7)

    Posted on

    RC Bridgestock when the killing starts Synopsis: Crime is a way of life for the Devlin brothers. Groomed at an early age and trained as criminals by local gangsters, the Devlin brothers get their thrill out of creating fear among their victims. They have a macabre pact; not to be arrested or caged. Brutality hits the town of Harrowfield when the scourge of the community is found dead, his companion slaughtered. The locals react with praise for the killers. The same day firefighters respond to a fire but lose the fight to save Merton Manor. Among the debris two bodies are discovered; executed. As Dylan struggles to cope with the pressure, armed officers await his judgement call. Can he remain professional or will he release his anger?

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

    Kat's Review: I came to the party late with this series and as such the first book in the series I read was the last one which was book 6. I struggled with it a little but only due to the fact that I had no history with these characters (proof enough of why I like to start a series at the beginning). Going in to book 7 I was instantly drawn to the story from the very first page. It was incredibly graphic and violent very early on in the book, and yes I know many people may not like that but I was truly gripped and horrified in equeal measure and for me that's a winning formula. 

    I don't want to delve too much into the storyline as I fear it would spoil the book for somebody new to the book or series. However it results in DI Jack Dylan looking for the person responsible for the murders that occur in the rather grand home that was once Merton Manor. In addition to that Jack and his team are dealing with the death of a local hooligan and although the community aren't sorry the bloke is dead Jack needs to ensure this crime is solved too. There is certainly a lot going on in Jack's career and the book holds a lot of pace very early on. Jack and his team are all incredubly readable and there is a real sense of cameraderie between them. The storyline has plenty of action and a has a true police procedural feel to it. 

    What I loved about this book was the depth we see Jack and his wife Jen's personal situation develop. Although a truly terrible time that Jack and Jen are having, the situations the book touches on are done with sensitivity and I felt incredibly drawn to them as characters. I have to be honest and say I was a little blown away with this book. The reason being I just wasn't expecting it to be as good as this (meant in a non-rude way). Where I struggled to connect in the last (and my first) book in the series this book made up for all of that and some more on top!

    The fact that both the writers (RC Bridgestock are a husband and wife writing team) have 50 years experince between them on the Force is blatantly obvious. The book is done incredibly well with the finer details looked at when it comes to Police work and less of the dramatic and flair we sometimes see in fiction (nowt wrong with that either just pointing out what I see). I can truly say I was thrilled with this book and even more so because I stupidly made the assumption I would struggle with it. This is now a series I would love to keep up with! Luckily for me book 8 is ready to go and for the rest of you book 8 is due for release Thursday 19th October 2017!

  8. Kat's Review of The Hit by Anna Smith (Rosie Gilmour #9)

    Posted on

    Anna Smith - The HitSynopsis: Rosie Gilmour is hot on the trail of a ring of baby-sellers and people-traffickers. The problem is, her main suspect is a dead man. Or is he?

    A money-laundering accountant disappears in Romania. The hitman hired to disappear him is found dead in a Glasgow flat. And the owner of the flat, the accountant's widow, claims she knows nothing about it.

    Crime reporter Rosie Gilmour isn't convinced by Helen Lewis's innocent facade - she is convinced Helen was the one who ordered the hit on her husband, and she's going to prove it. But when she discovers that Helen's husband worked for a ring of gangsters selling babies from Romanian orphanages, her focus shifts. Now she has two sets of criminals to bring to justice - she'd better pray they don't catch up with her first.

    Kat's Rating: 4/5