A Tapping At My Door (DC Nathan Cody #1) by David Jackson

Book Description:

Published: April 7, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

A woman at home in Liverpool is disturbed by a persistent tapping at her back door. She’s disturbed to discover the culprit is a raven, and tries to shoo it away. Which is when the killer strikes.

DS Nathan Cody, still bearing the scars of an undercover mission that went terrifyingly wrong, is put on the case. But the police have no leads, except the body of the bird – and the victim’s missing eyes.

As flashbacks from his past begin to intrude, Cody realises he is battling not just a murderer, but his own inner demons too.

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.

Review –

This is my first time to experience any of David Jackson’s writings and if his others are half as good as this one, he has a fan for life!

The book starts off with a bang and with a spooky and suspenseful murder and the action just keeps going from there.

Someone is horribly  killing policemen and leaving dead birds beside the bodies. Cody, who was previously in UnderCover is now in the Murder Investigation Team,  and is partnered up with an ex-girlfriend – DC Megan Webley and although there is clearly some issues between them relating to their past history, the chemistry works very well and Webley is more than a match for Cody’s unpredictable nature. Although Megan is now engaged to someone else, there seems to be unfinished business between her and Cody.

 It is clear that a previous case has gone horribly wrong and has caused Cody extreme trauma, because during this investigation he loses it many times and at one point has a severe panic attack. He needs help but is afraid to seek out a therapist for fear that word will get back to the police force and he will be suspended or fired, and his job is ALL he has.

He tells Megan what happened to him a year ago and believe me it was HORRIBLE and the men who did it are still out there.

I loved the story, it was well paced and cleverly structured with the twists and turns that you would expect in a crime thriller. The who and the why came as a complete surprise – and will leave your jaw dropping.

It is a suspenseful story with a dramatic finale and with some teasing loose ends that will no doubt be followed up (I hope!) – this is a series that I will happily follow and I look forward to meeting DS Nathan Cody again.

Five stars.

 

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I Let You Go by Clare MackIntosh

Book Description:

Published: May 3, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

Review –

I was about a third of the way into the book and it’s direction took a complete turn around. What I thought I knew wasn’t at all correct. I loved that the author was able to pull the wool over my eyes with subtle misdirection.

I can’t go into much detail because it would give too much away but after the hit and run, Jenna goes into hiding in a secluded Welsh village, though she thinks of it as “starting over”. She’s a very private person and doesn’t trust men, at all, (we find out why later in the book) She’s a very strong person, she has to be in order to survive her past relationship.

There’s more to this storyline than the hit and run killing of a five-year old boy at Christmas time. It’s also the story of Jenna Gray and her hope for survival and of Ean, a maniacal, egotistical sadist.

You will have to read the book to see how these stories all come together and mesh into a cohesive conclusion.

I loved it!!!!

Five stars.

 

The Back Road ( DCI Tom Douglas #2) by Rachel Abbott

Book Description:

Published: March 18, 2013

Format: Audio/Audible

One girl is fighting for her life. One village is struggling to hold tight to its secrets.

When a young girl is knocked over and left for dead at the side of the road, the small community of Little Melham goes into shock. Why was Abbie out so late at night, and why wasn’t she missed?

For Ellie Saunders, the truth about that night could put her marriage and even the safety of her children in jeopardy. She has to protect her family, no matter what the consequences.

Former DCI Tom Douglas thought that Little Melham would offer a peaceful retreat from the daily trauma of his work for the Met. But as he is drawn into the web of deceit, his every instinct tells him that what happened to Abbie was more than a tragic accident.

Only one person knows the whole story – why Abbie was out that night, and who was driving the car. For that person, the accident spells disaster, and somebody has to pay.

Review –

This book is a sequel to Only the Innocent (which I have not read) finds former Chief Inspector Tom Douglas retired to what should be a quiet life of contemplation in Little Melham. As it turns out, the village proves to be a hive of infidelity and betrayal, of tragic histories and old shames.
One night on a back road, Abbie Campbell, a 14-year-old girl fleeing dark revelations of her own, is struck by a car and left for dead. Tom, a supporting character in this sometimes overwrought tale of modern life, suspects there’s more to the accident than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Tom’s neighbor, Ellie Saunders, discovers that a moment of weakness has left her vulnerable to blackmail. She’s being stalked, and feels threatened even when she’s in her own home. The identity of her stalker is carefully withheld, which makes his constant, watchful presence seem all the more menacing. Abbott builds the tension carefully and cleverly, and releases it at just the right time.
This is  a thoroughly modern novel, in that much of the characters’ cruelty and plotting rely on modern inventions such as mobile phones and the internet. Threatening and misleading texts are sent with remarkable regularity, while other characters are trapped and deceived by online stalkers. 

The mystery of the hit and run is kept secret almost to the end of the novel, and then it come as a complete surprise. There are many complexities in the myriad relationships between the residents of the community that will draw the reader into the story.

There are plenty of twists and turns and red herrings here, enough to keep you guessing right to the end.
I really enjoyed this book and would like to read more in the series but haven’t found any that are free or on audio but I will keep looking.

The Death of a Ghost (Hamish MacBeth #32) by M.C. beaton

Book Description:

Published: February 21, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth–Scotland’s most quick-witted but unambitious policeman–returns in M.C. Beaton’s new mystery in her New York Times bestselling seriesDEATH OF A GHOSTWhen Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth hears reports of a haunted castle near Drim, he assumes the eerie noises and lights reported by the villagers are just local teenagers going there to smoke pot or, worse, inject themselves with drugs. Still, Hamish decides that he and his policeman, Charlie “Clumsy” Carson, will spend the night at the ruined castle to get to the bottom of the rumors once and for all.There’s no sign of any ghost…but then Charlie disappears through the floor. It turns out he’s fallen into the cellar. And what Hamish and Charlie find there is worse than a ghost: a dead body propped against the wall. Waiting for help to arrive, Hamish and Charlie leave the castle just for a moment–to eat bacon baps–but when they return, the body is nowhere to be seen. It’s clear something strange–and deadly–is going on at the castle, and Hamish must get to the bottom of it before the “ghost” can strike again…

Review –

I’m afraid this will be the last book in the Hamish MacBeth series that I read or listen to because it was boring and just a rehash on the same plot and conclusion, only with different crimes and characters.

It’s sad that the author can’t find something new to occupy Hamish in the Scottish countryside. Maybe she should have him go TDY to America and see what mischief he could cause.

 

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Book Description:

Published: May 2, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

Review –

Te story starts with a woman, Nel Abbott, who is found dead in a river in a spooky northern English town. It quickly emerges she is not the first person to meet a watery grave in Beckford. The mystery spirals out from this “did she fall or was she pushed” puzzle, and it is to Hawkins’s credit that she attempts to tell the story from multiple viewpoints, too many if you ask me.

The problem is that there are 11 of these characters. This is far too many and it seems the author battles to make these slightly troubled people distinct from one another. If reading the book you would have to keep looking for the name at the top of each page to see whose story you are in. If listening to the audio book version, which I did, it’s not as easy to keep all viewpoints separate and that’s my main complaint.

Paula Hawkins first book, The Girl on the Train, which sold over 15 million copies, had a certain kind of plausibility in its very focused suburban setting, but the whole “death stalks a strange northern-English town” idea feels incredibly hokey.

That being said, I loved it and with all its twists and turns, gave it five stars. It’s well worth reading or listening to just to see if you can manage all the points of view.

The Dry (Aaron Falk #1) by Jane Harper



Book Description:

Published: May 31, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well…

When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret… A secret Falk thought long-buried… A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface…

Review –

Fantastic book! Once I started it-didn’t want to stop.

Twenty years ago a young teenaged girl is found dead in the river with her pockets full of stones so the story of suicide isn’t hard to believe, but when Aaron Falk’s name in found written on a piece of paper in her bedroom the people of the town think he had something to do with death. He didn’t and neither did his best friend, Luke, and they  agreed to alibi each other, but it still didn’t  stop the hateful people of the small remote Australian town to think Aaron guilty. Aaron knew they he and Luke both lied about their alibis  but Luke had told him to go along so he did. The harassment got so bad he and his Dad were forced to pack up and move away and he hadn’t been back since. Not until he heard about the death of Luke, his wife and son. He came back for the funerals and Luke’s parents asks him to look into the deaths because they don’t believe it to be a murder suicide.

Aaron is a Federal Police investigator but deals with crimes involving money but he agrees to look into the matter with a local police detective, Raco,  in a sort of rogue investigation.  The author creates a character out of the parched farming community  within a day’s drive from Melbourne. It is suffering from a severe  drought going on two years and everyone’s tempers are near the breaking point.

I won’t give away the ending but  several secrets from the past are uncovered and leads to the truth behind the deaths of the Luke Hadler family and it’s not what anyone expects. The death of the young girl is also solved, but only we as readers know the true identity of the killer. 

I hated for this book to end but learned that a second in the series will come out next February so I have already listed it on my TBR list.

Fantastic read.

Five stars!!!!!

 

 

 

 

Faceless Enemies (Kurt Wallander #1) by Henning Mankell

Book Description:

Published: January 14, 2003

Format: Audio/OverDrive

It was a senselessly violent crime: on a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn’t present enough problems for the Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman’s last word is “foreign”, leaving the police the one tangible clue they have–and in the process, the match that could inflame Sweden’s already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments.

Unlike the situation with his ex-wife, his estranged daughter, or the beautiful but married young prosecuter who has piqued his interest, in this case, Wallander finds a problem he can handle. He quickly becomes obsessed with solving the crime before the already tense situation explodes, but soon comes to realize that it will require all his reserves of energy and dedication to solve.

Review –

I LOVE foreign crime fiction/drama and I never would have discovered this author if I hadn’t found a series on Netflix called Wallander.

The first disc I received had one show which was ninety minutes long and I WAS NOT impressed. The storyline was convoluted and the acting not very good. The episode was called Sidetracked and in the credits said it was based on a book by Henning Mankell. I jumped on my Overdrive site and searched for this author and his works. I found this book, which is the first in the series. 

This book was very good and just goes to show how a movie or television series can ruin a good book. I loved this version of the main character, he was quirky, dressed slovenly, drank  and needs to lose weight. He is a very good policeman and  once he’s on a case, he’s like a dog with a bone, and will not give up until it is solved.

I will not watch any more of the Netflix series but I will definitely read or listen to more books in the series.

So, Thank You, Netflix for turning me on to another Swedish crime fiction writer.

 

Second Life by S.J. Watson

Book Description:

Published: June 9, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The sensational new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep …She loves her husband. She’s obsessed by a stranger. She’s a devoted mother. She’s prepared to lose everything. She knows what she’s doing. She’s out of control. She’s innocent. She’s guilty as sin. She’s living two lives. She might lose both …

Review –

From what I’ve heard others say about this book – you either hate it or love it. I loved it BUT it wasn’t love at first sight. The first third of the book is dreadfully S L O W, but then picks up momentum.

This story is complex, and it is highly, if not totally, character-driven. My absolute favorite type of book is a strong character-driven crime/suspense/thriller novel. And while I can see Julia turning off a lot of readers, as she certainly isn’t role model material, I felt I understood her and why she did the things she did. A lot of women will connect with her.She  has a good life, yet when her sister was murdered, she could not control her overwhelming need, no matter what, to bring closure to the case, which had become cold in the hands of the French police. This becomes more understandable when we learn she is a recovered/recovering alcoholic. We also find out other things that in context with what I just mentioned clearly demonstrate Julia has an addictive personality. Falling under the control of her addictions, she does things that most reasonable people would not do, given all there is to lose in the process.

There are several provocative themes running through Second Life. We are given an eye-opening look at the dangers of the cyberworld. Really quite frightening. Another prominent subject is whom can we trust implicitly? Our spouse? Our lover? Our best friend? Our siblings? Who? Anyone? No one? And again, we are shown how an addictive personality can take one down a road no one wants to go. It becomes clear that addiction trumps intelligence, addiction trumps judgment.

There are differing opinions on the ending of Second Life. Upon listening to the very end of the book I was dumbfounded. But after thinking about it, I do think Mr. Watson ended the tale the only way it could have ended and that’s all I’ll say about that.

READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!        FIVE STARS.

 

 

 

 

Death of a Liar (Hamish MacBeth #30) by M.C Beaton

Book Description:

Published: February 3, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

Review –

For anyone who hasn’t read or listened to at least one of the Hamish MacBeth series, here is a bit about the likable character.

He lives in Lochdubh’s police station and keeps some sheep and chickens and grows some vegetables. He is occasionally guilty of poaching a salmon, sometimes for himself, but often as a gift or bribe for others.

Hamish has a reputation for laziness. He loves the town of Lochdubh (meaning ‘black lake’ (loch) in Gaelic and pronounced Lokh-DOO) and is content and at peace with his life and lacks ambition. Of great concern to Hamish and his fellow villagers is the threat of possible closure of Lochdubh’s police station,something his superior and archenemy, Chief Inspector Blair, would like to see. Hamish avoids promotion, occasionally even deliberately destroying attempts to give him recognition for his accomplishments. His position as “local bobby,” sees him sometimes left out of official investigations and he must often work outside official channels, as the detectives from neighbouring Strathbane CID do not appreciate his help. Despite this, it is Hamish’s natural “Highland curiosity” and local knowledge and intuition that combine to solve crimes.

All that being said, this book did not hold my interest and I found myself wishing the book would hurry up and be over. There was nothing different from this book to differentiate it from all the others.I like all the characters but I hope the author can come up with more timely and “edge of the seat” plots.

 

The Hypnotist (Joona Linna #1) by Lars Kepler

Book Description:

Published: June 21, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes.

It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.

An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in thirty-seven countries, and it has landed at the top of bestseller lists wherever it’s been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it’s America’s turn. Combining the addictive power of the Stieg Larsson trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first page.

Review –

The novel opens with a horrific crime: A father, mother and their 5-year-old daughter are butchered. The couple’s son, 15-year-old Josef, survives but has been stabbed hundreds of times and is unconscious. He may be able to identify the attacker and thus save other lives, so police summon a hypnotist in the hope that he can communicate with the boy despite his being in a coma.

Erik Maria Bark, the psychiatrist/hypnotist, is a man of many sorrows. He vowed 10 years earlier to give up hypnotism because of a tragedy that is not at first explained. He’s addicted to painkillers, his marriage is falling apart and his 14-year-old son has a blood disease that requires constant treatment. Even worse travails lie ahead once Bark breaks his vow and uses hypnosis to communicate with the survivor of the massacre.

In one of the first of the novel’s many surprises, Josef confesses under hypnosis to killing his family. Of course, the subconscious mind works in strange ways, and the confession may not be true. The boy then escapes from the hospital and may or may not be involved in the next horror, when Bark’s ailing son is kidnapped.

Bark teams up with a detective named Joona Linna to find both youths, one perhaps a mass murderer, the other possibly in the clutches of someone who hates his father. Suspects in the kidnapping include a group of violent criminals whom Bark had treated with hypnosis therapy and who were not always grateful for his efforts. 

The deftly plotted story barrels along in more than a hundred short, swift scenes; it moves about as fast as a 500-page novel can. In one scene, Bark’s wife and her father are about to enter the basement of a house where her son may be held by his kidnapper.  As the woman and her father descend into the darkness — with the reader shrieking “No, no, stop, you fools!” — the beam of their flashlight falls upon “the glass of a framed movie poster.” I take that poster to be homage to Thomas Harris’s landmark thriller, Silence of the Lambs,which as both book and movie was another memorable blending of evil and suspense.

I won’t tell you the ending but it’s worth the reading.

Great on the edge of your seat foreign crime drama. Loved it!