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CTM = Crime, Thriller, Mystery Genre Authors

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Category: CTM - Sean Black

  1. Kat's Review of Second Chance by Sean Black (Ryan Lock #8)

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    Sean bLack Second Chance

    Synopsis: Soldier turned bodyguard, Ryan Lock, and retired US Marine, Ty Johnson, are back for the eighth book in this action-packed series.

    A frantic gun battle in downtown Los Angeles. A young defense attorney violently abducted from her office. A brutal murder in California's highest-security prison for women. A series of apparently random events that are anything but. Someone is out for revenge, and their target's name is Ryan Lock.

    Kat's Rating: 5/5

    Kat's Review: My favourite characters are back with the 8th instalment in this series. This time out the scene is set with Ryan Lock and Carmen Lazaro, his new girlfriend (*faints in shock*). The opening few chapters were jam packed with action and it felt a little like revisiting the earlier books in this series. Prison fights, kidnappings and plenty of shooting. It seems that the story kicks off right from the get go and there is a frenetic energy about the story. In addition to Lock and Carmen the reader meets Freya Vaden who is better known in prison as Chance. She is vicious, and ruthless and she is up to something.

  2. Kat's Review of The Edge of Alone by Sean Black (Ryan Lock #7)

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    Synopsis: An isolated school for troubled teens. A series of mysterious deaths. A father frantically trying to rescue his daughter before it's too late. But when the law won't listen, who can he turn to? 

    Kat's Rating: 4.5/5

    Kat's Review: Okay so I know that a half star is being finicky but hey, I can be as finicky as I like I guess. Many of you will know I am a HUGE fan of the Ryan Lock books by Sean Black. This latest instalment is absolutely no different and if anything the series is getting better with each book. So why the loss of half a star? Well it's simply too short for my liking. At only 275 pages, it's certainly not his longest instalment and I felt a little bit like it should have been longer. That minor gripe aside, Sean Black has done a superb job at once again taking us on Ryan Lock and Ty Johnson's latest job. 

    For those that maybe aren't familiar Ryan Lock an ex-soldier turned Bodyguard and his partner Tyrone Johnson have their own firm where they take on all sorts of jobs, from minding Rock Stars, to more sedate jobs like locating people. In this case a father is trying to locate his daughter and ensure her well-being. I don't want to go into too much detail for fear of plot spoiling, but suffice to say I knew nothing of the practices that occur in this book. Sean Black has an ability to tune into areas that are maybe not as known or talked about in mainstream Britain (or if they are it's not something I have read a lot about). 

    Shockingly, Ryan and Ty don't even make an appearance until a third of the way in, but it makes sense as the story builds giving you an idea of what the characters are going through. The story reeled me in immediately and the writing is as flawless as ever. The pace is hefty and for once we see Ty being the focus of the story as Ryan takes somewhat of a back seat. There is plenty of action, and even if you haven't read the other books in the series this could easily be read as a standalone. The pages flew by and I read this in one sitting! It seems like Sean Black only gets better with each book he produces. One of THE most underrated authors in my opinion. I truly feel like he is up there at the top with the best of them and his fans will LOVE this latest book.

    The only thing I can hope for is the next book is a bit longer as I feel like my outings with Ty and Lock at probably once a year are certainly not frequent enough to give me my 'fix'. Sean Blacks books are my drug of choice and as much as I am not a 'pusher' EVERYBODY who reads this genre should be trying these bad boys. Believe me, once you start you won't want to stop! 

  3. Kat's Top Ten Books from 2015 - Crime, Thriller, Mystery

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    As ever the time has come again to pick my ten favourite books in this genre from the previous year. I've read over 120 books this year, but surprisingly there were 10 very clear stand out books for me. They are not in any particular order, but all ten would be highly recommended by me and as ever I can't wait to see what else these authors are going to release this year! What makes this list even better is that 3 of these authors I had read for the first time too!

     

     

        

        

    Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham

    Synopsis: A mother and her teenage daughter are found murdered in a remote farmhouse, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other left lying like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince. Reluctantly, clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin is drawn into the investigation when a former student, calling himself 'the Mindhunter', jeopardises the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger. With no shortage of suspects and tempers beginning to fray, Joe discover links between these murders and a series of brutal attacks where his victims have been choked unconscious and had the letter 'A' carved into their foreheads. As the case becomes ever more complex, nothing is quite what it seems and soon Joe's fate, and that of those closest to him, become intertwined with a merciless, unpredictable killer. 

    Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

    Synopsis: When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping. And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad. Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour. Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price? 

    Blood Country by Sean Black

    Synopsis: The second novel in the award-nominated Byron Tibor series. 

    Having fled his home in New York, and still hunted by the Federal government, special forces veteran Byron is forced to intervene when he stumbles across unsettling events in a small Texas border town. The first novel in the series, Post, is nominated for the 2015 International Thriller Writers' Awards to be held in New York on July 11th. 

    Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

    Synopsis: Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father's temper. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. As events spiral out of control they find themselves in a horrifying situation and are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives. Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened to them. But when one of the sisters goes missing, followed closely by her niece, they are pulled back into the past. And this time there's nowhere left to run. 

    Liar, Liar by M J Arlidge

    Synopsis: In the dead of night, three raging fires light up the city skies. It's more than a tragic coincidence. For DI Helen Grace the flames announce the arrival of an evil she has never encountered before. Because this is no firestarter seeking sick thrills, but something more chilling: a series of careful, calculating acts of murder. But why were the victims chosen? What's driving the killer? And who will be next? A powder keg of fear, suspicion and dread has been laid. Now all it needs is a spark to set it off. 

    The Lie by C L Taylor

    Synopsis: This was no accident…I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes . . .Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist. Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women. Jane has tried to put the past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves. 

    Hunted by Paul Finch

    Synopsis: Heck needs to watch his back. Because someone’s watching him…Across the south of England, a series of bizarre but fatal accidents are taking place. So when a local businessman survives a near-drowning but is found burnt alive in his car just weeks later, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is brought in to investigate. Soon it appears that other recent deaths might be linked: two thieves that were bitten to death by poisonous spiders, and a driver impaled through the chest with scaffolding. Accidents do happen but as the body count rises it’s clear that something far more sinister is at play, and it’s coming for Heck too. 

    Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville

    Synopsis: When 12-year-old Ciaran Devine confessed to murdering his foster father it sent shock waves through the nation. DCI Serena Flanagan, then an ambitious Detective Sergeant, took Ciaran's confession after days spent earning his trust. He hasn’t forgotten the kindness she showed him – in fact, she hasn't left his thoughts in the seven years he’s been locked away. Probation officer Paula Cunningham, now tasked with helping Ciaran re-enter society, suspects there was more to this case than the police uncovered. Ciaran’s confession saved his brother Thomas from a far lengthier sentence, and Cunningham can see the unnatural hold Thomas still has over his vulnerable younger brother. When she brings her fears to DCI Flanagan, the years of lies begin to unravel, setting a deadly chain of events in motion. 

    The Wronged by Kimberley Chambers

    Synopsis: With family like this, who needs enemies. There are some families that welcome newcomers with open arms, then there are the Butlers. An East End family no good girl wants to marry into. Jo fell for Vinny Butler’s good looks but when she buried her little daughter, she buried her heart as well. Michael Butler was always the nice one, until he started running the family business. Nancy is desperate to leave, and though she would never turn her back on her children, every step they take in their father’s footsteps destroys her a little more. As the old saying goes – you keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. But you keep your family right where you can see them. 

    Born In A Burial Gown by Mike Craven

    Synopsis: Detective Inspector Avison Fluke is a man on the edge. He has committed a crime to get back to work, concealed a debilitating illness and is about to be made homeless. Just as he thinks things can’t get any worse, the body of a young woman is found buried on a wet, Cumbrian building site. Shot once in the back of the head, execution style, it is a cold, calculated murder. When the post-mortem reveals she has gone to significant expense in disguising her appearance, and the only clue to her identity is a strange series of numbers, Fluke knows this is no ordinary murder. With the help of a psychotic ex-Para, a gangland leader and a woman more interested in maggots than people, Fluke must find out who she was and why she was murdered before he can even think about finding her killer. As the body count rises and his investigation takes him from poverty stricken estates to picture perfect Lake District villages, he realises his troubles are only just beginning. Because someone, somewhere has a plan and if Fluke can’t figure out what’s happening, he may just be next. 

  4. Kat's Review of A is For Asshat by Rebecca Cantrell and Sean Black

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    Synopsis: The first novel in a fast-paced, funny new series that's perfect for fans of Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton. 

    After a decade spent in the glare of the Hollywood spotlight as the star of kids’ TV show Half Pint Detective, Sofia Salgado has had enough. Desperate to build a life outside showbiz, she quits acting to do something that everyone around her– including her family – thinks is plain nuts. Get a real job. 

    They think she’s even crazier when she announces that she’s going to become a real detective, instead of playing one on TV. She’s convinced the technical consultant from her TV show, Brendan Maloney, to take her on in his detective agency, but can accident-prone Sofia hack it?

    Kat’s Rating: 4/5

  5. Kat's Review of Blood Country by Sean Black (Byron Tibor #2)

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    Synopsis: Having fled his home in New York, and still hunted by the Federal government, special forces veteran Byron is forced to intervene when he stumbles across unsettling events in a small Texas border town. 

    The first novel in the series, Post, is nominated for the 2015 International Thriller Writers' Awards to be held in New York on July 11th.

    Kat’s Rating: 5/5

    Kat’s Review: First off if you haven’t read the first book featuring Byron Tibor I really think you should. Yes, you could read this as a standalone, but reading the first book gives you a real feel for Byron as a character and what he has been through. We start off watching as Byron makes his way across Texas still on the run from the Federal Government. When he reaches a small town in Kelson County things start to take a very strange turn.

    When I read the first book in this series I really had my reservations, however once I’d read the first book I was hooked. Byron Tibor is not an ordinary ex-veteran; he is one that underwent an a programme which involved the US Government inserting an implant into their best soldiers to create a ‘guilt free and enhanced’ soldier. No doubt some will be rolling their eyes (as I was when I read the synopsis to Post, Book 1) however there is so much more to these stories and the character that you are compelled to keep reading. This element of the story hasn’t been overdone and is balanced with fantastic writing and characters you like. It also helps that Sean Black has come up with a particularly cool name for a lead, Byron Tibor just has that ring about it!

    When Byron reaches Kelson County he is put into a situation that even he can’t get out of. The whole thing had a surreal kind of ‘Truman Show’ feel to it and I couldn’t help but feel a little ‘weirded out’ at all the goings on in this small Texas town. To be honest I can’t really say any more about the actual storyline because I think it will ruin it for people. What I did find was that, once again SB has written a book that I didn’t want to leave alone. Byron is a fantastic character and the friendship he makes and decisions he comes to make you empathise with his situation all the more.

    I have been an avid fan of the Ryan Lock series that Sean Black writes but Byron Tibor is practically matching it for the love of the series now. I think what makes this refreshing is that Byron doesn’t always make the right choices, and in this latest instalment we see even the toughest lead characters in situations even they can’t fix. The different plot threads that unravel are intriguing and full of tension and I just wanted to read on and see what happens next top Byron.

    I know that many well-known writers have their loyal fans such as Peter James, Lee Child, Mark Billingham and the like. However, I truly think that Sean Black is one of THE most underrated authors out there. He continues to write brilliant book after brilliant book (no I’m not on his Payroll!). I just think it’s a shame that people automatically choose the more mainstream authors and never glance outside of that. I truly hope that if you haven’t read a Sean Black before you debate picking one up, I don’t think anybody would be disappointed!

  6. Kat's Review of Budapest by Sean Black (Ryan Lock Novella)

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    My Rating: 4/5

    Available: Released on Kindle, Audio, Nook and Kobo 15 March 2015

    Synopsis: It sounds like easy money. Fly into Budapest. Handle the exchange in a straightforward kidnap for ransom case. Fly back home.

    Total time involved: 48 hours.

    But as private security operators Ryan Lock and Ty Johnson are about to find out, there is no such thing as easy money.

     Please note that Budapest/48 is a standalone story of approximately 19,000 words. To give regular readers a point of comparison, the full-length Lock novels average around 70,000 words.


    My Review: Some of you may know I am a huge Lock fan and although this isn’t a full book, it’s certainly better than a short story. It’s about a third of the length of a normal Lock novel, which is enough to whet the appetite. Meeting up with Ryan and Ty is like seeing old friends and I feel like I read about them only yesterday. This time they are on their way to do a job extracting a guy in a straightforward kidnap for ransom case.

    As ever with these two, nothing is that straightforward. Typically the case has its own issued and Ryan and Ty find themselves at one point in a rather precarious position. I wasn’t that amused to see a potential love interest for Ryan, especially as her name was not Kat! The story, although not full length, had the exact same style and flair that has made me a fan of this series in the first place. The only downside is that there just wasn’t enough. I could read about these two endlessly.

    With two fantastic characters in Ty and Lock, along with some black humour they are the perfect combination for me and I have yet to be let down by a Lock book. Another great read by Mr Black, and as always I will be waiting with baited breath for the next instalment.

  7. Kat's Top Ten books from 2014 - Crime, Thriller & Mystery

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    As with last year I wanted to pick my top ten reads from all of last year. This doesn't mean they were published in 2014 (just that I read them in that year). There is no way I can put them in any kind of order (that's just TOO difficult) but these are definitely the best of the bunch last year for me.

    One Kick by Chelsea Cain

    Payback by Kimberley Chambers

    Bad Blood by Casey Kelleher

    An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

    Broken Dolls by James Carol

    Betrayed by Anna Smith

    Stalkers by Paul Finch

    Flare by Paul Grzegorzek

    Post by Sean Black

    Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton

     

         

     

        

  8. Kat's Review of Fire Point by Sean Black (Ryan Lock #6)

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    My Rating: 4/5

    Availability: Kindle, Kobo and Nook (Available 18.12.14), 

    Synopsis: The sixth novel in the Ryan Lock series. Ryan Lock and Ty Johnson are in Los Angeles and on the trail of an unlikely cult who are planning on taking their message to the world and settling some old scores at the same time. 

    My Review: My favourite character crush is back! Ryan Lock and his partner in crime Ty Johnson are back for the sixth book in the series. This time around the pair of them are involved in what seems to be a simple request. A wealthy mum asks them to ‘keep an eye’ on her son Marcus following an ‘incident’ at college. Lock’s reluctance to take the case is cast aside when he starts to try to track down Marcus. 

    Marcus and his ‘friends’ are slightly disturbing and before long it’s pretty clear that this case involves more than Lock and Ty ‘babysitting’. Ryan Lock is a character that I love, but in this latest instalment he feels a little bit more detached than usual. I think he needs a good woman in his life! Ty is just about the coolest damn character you can read. He and Ryan work well together and this series just wouldn’t work unless they both feature in it. The tension and drama as always takes a step up as ‘Krank’ and his friends start carrying out their work.

    There are plenty of high tension and action scenes packed into this book so fear not, you certainly won’t be bored. There was a disturbing element of truth with the storyline, which won’t go unnoticed by many, but is sadly a result of the world we live in today. Having read every book in this series from the beginning, I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite but it’s once again a solid and intriguing read that will keep you hooked from the beginning to the end.

    As always I will eagerly await the next instalment, and hopefully I will get to read about Sean Blacks other amazing character Byron Tibor in the meantime. Certainly one the fans will love and a series I would highly recommend not just this book but all the ones prior to it. Sean is an author that is not well known enough for my liking and deserves to be up there with every other bestseller out there. I only have one criticism though, I truly think that Ryan Lock needs to hook up with an amazing woman and I think her name will be Kat!!!