I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Book Description:

Published: February 21, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her…

It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.

Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target.

And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…

Review –

Fantastic read!  Five stars!

Commuting. It’s a daily chore for so many and something you don’t much think about, you just do what you can to get through it: iPad perhaps, paper, seat by the window – if you’re lucky. What we don’t imagine, in all that sweaty, claustrophobic tedium, is that someone is watching us, making notes.

The author, Clare Mackintosh, has picked exactly this creepy scenario as the context for her second psychological thriller I See You.

Where I live people do their commuting by driving instead of trains, subways or “tubes”. Driving or city bus is what we do here. I no longer work so I don’t commute but I still do plenty of driving and after reading this book it makes me want to totally change-up my routes to the places where I run the most errands.

This is one creepy thriller and it also shows how vulnerable we are due to our social media sites and apps. How would you feel if you saw your picture in an advert (advertisement) for a dating site in the local paper? Zoe was shocked at first and then became more and more concerned. The police got involved and found out men could buy women’s profile which included a complete layout of her daily commute, also her description and what she would be wearing. Some of these men just wanted to”date” these women but others were looking for their next victim to torture, rape or kill.

The book is fast-paced and keeps you on the edge of your seat.  The person behind the web site is found out and dealt with but at the very end there is a GIANT shocker (although I wondered about this myself and sure enough I was right)

Just what it is you will have to read or listen to the book  to find out and it’s not a long book so it won’t take long to devour; because that’s what you’ll do once you start!

Fantastic!!!!!

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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.

 

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.

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.

 

Box 21 (Grens and Sundkvist #2) by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom

Book Description:

Published: April 1, 2010

Format: Audio

Three years ago, Lydia and Alena were two hopeful girls from Lithuania. Now they are sex slaves, lured to Sweden with the promise of better jobs and then trapped in a Stockholm brothel, forced to repay their “debt.” Suddenly they are given an unexpected chance at freedom, and with it the opportunity to take revenge on their enslavers and reclaim the lives and dignity they once had. What will happen now that the tables are turned and the victims fight back?
In this masterful thriller, the celebrated team of Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström delve into the seedy underbelly of Stockholm. There we meet Lydia and Alena as they embark on a desperate plan to expose their captor and demand justice; police officers Sundkvist and Grens, on the trail of both Lydia’s enslavers and Jochum Lang, a notorious mob enforcer; and Hilding Oldéus, a junkie on what might be his last—and most destructive—bender. At the Söder Hospital, their destinies begin to converge in unexpected and explosive ways.
Box 21 is a Scandinavian thriller of the highest order: a mind-blowing psychological drama written with powerful intensity. When it was published in Sweden, Solo called it “suspenseful, gripping, and intelligently written . . . Almost impossible to put down,” while SVT exclaimed: “Forget crime literature; this is, simply put, great literature!”
Review –
When a severely wounded woman is brought to a hospital in Stockholm, doctors are horrified to learn that her injuries are the result of a brutal whipping. She is Lydia, a victim of human-trafficking, a young girl from Lithuania sold by her boyfriend and now trapped in a Stockholm brothel, forced to repay her “debt” by serving twelve different men every day.  In the same hospital, police officer Sven Sundkvist and senior officer Ewert Grens are chasing a lead that may just expose a notorious mafia boss, a dangerous man Grens hates with a vengeance because of the connection to the death of his wife. Two stories of passionate reprisal twist together, ending in a dramatic climax,two bullet-riddled bodies and a room full of hostages in the hospital’s basement.  Ewert Grans discovers the truth about Lydia and his best friend, Bankt, who is also on the police force. He destroys evidence to save his widow from learning the horrible things he has done. Sven, finds out that his boss has covered up things and destroyed evidence to protect his friends reputation. But in the cold light of day, will Sven protect the senior officer he so admires, even from his own corruption? 
You’ll have to read the book to find out and there is also a HUGE twist at the very end that left my mouth wide open.
The only other book I have read/listened to in this series is Cell 8 which is number three. I loved it but wished I had read or listened to this one first because it would have given me a better insight into the characters of Grens and Sundkvist and their dynamic.
Fantastic book.
Five stars!

The Blood Split (Rebecca Martinsson #2) by Asa Larsson

Book Description:

Published: January 30, 2007

Format: Audio/Library Book

It’s midsummer in Sweden—when the light lingers through dawn and a long, isolating winter finally comes to an end. In this magical time, a brutal killer has chosen to strike. A female priest—who made enemies and acolytes in equal number—has been found hanging in her church. And a big-city lawyer quite acquainted with death enters the scene as police and parishioners try to pick up the pieces….

Not long ago, attorney Rebecka Martinsson had to kill three men in order to stop an eerily similar murder spree—one that also involved a priest. Now she is back in Kiruna, the region of her birth, while a determined policewoman gnaws on the case and people who loved or loathed the victim mourn or revel in her demise. The further Rebecka is drawn into the mystery—a mystery that will soon take another victim—the more the dead woman’s world clutches her: a world of hurt and healing, sin and sexuality, and, above all, of sacrifice.

Review –

Again, I hadn’t read the first book in this series so I didn’t know all the background of the character of Rebecka Martinsson and in this book she is severely damaged so I think I need to stop reading or listening to books out-of-order.

The plot/storyline was okay but a bit convoluted and there was a LOT of deaths in the book and not all were murders. This was not my favorite foreign crime drama but what really ruined it for me was the narrator.  For some reason her voice was like nails on a chalkboard for me. 

While Rebecka Martinsson was a very complex character and this book ended in a cliffhanger – I don’t plan to reading any more of this series.

 

 

The Stranger(Patrik Hedstrom #4) by Camilla Lackberg

Book Description:

Published: May 1, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A string of suspicious deaths points to a potential serial killer who has turned his eye toward Fjällbacka and her dark forests, where two children vanished decades before.

A local woman is killed in a tragic car crash, but it isn’t a clear-cut drunk driving case. The victim’s blood contains high alcohol levels, yet she rarely drank a drop. Meanwhile, a new television series begins shooting in Fjällbacka, and as cameras shadow the stars’ every move, tempers start to flare. When a drunken party ends with an unpopular contestant’s murder, all eyes turn to the cast and crew. Could there be a murderer among them? The ratings spike as the country tunes in to a real life murder mystery.

Detective Patrik Hedstrom finds himself increasingly unable to focus on the strange circumstances of the first case, but what if that holds the key to a series of other unsolved cases across Sweden? Under the unforgiving media spotlight, Patrik tackles his most challenging investigation yet.

Review –

This is the fourth in the Patrik Hedstrom series and since I’ve only read the first one, I was a little lost on some of the background.  Overlooking that, this was a great read/listen with a great story line straight from today’s reality television and a twist or two. It just goes to show that an act, though  accidental, can have far-reaching consequences .

I’m really loving this series but it’s hard to find the books or audiobooks but I’ll keep looking.