Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary

About this book..

You’ll never be out of Harm’s way

The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He’s the head of her new family.

He’s Harm.

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl’s disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she’s about to face.

Because when Harm’s family is threatened, everything tastes like fear…

My review..

I was a bit of a latecomer to this series by Sarah Hilary having started with No Other Darkness last year then having to backtrack to read Someone Else’s Skin, both of which can be read as standalone novels and both of which I loved! So it was with great excitement (and rather a great deal of trepidation-those books had a lot to live up to!) that I got an ARC of Tastes Like Fear.

DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake become involved in a murder investigation when the body of a young girl is found. The girl had been involved in a traffic accident along with another teenager when they caused a fatal collision between two cars as they ran, seemingly terrified, across the road. It leads Marnie and Noah into the world of the teenage runaway, those seeking refuge from the world but what if that safe harbour is more evil than the problems they are running from?

What draws me to these books and this one especially is just how normal they seem. Sarah Hilary really seems to have her finger on the pulse of the social and economic problems in the UK and brings us a main character who feels very real to the reader. Both Marnie and Noah have very interesting back stories which are always there in the background moulding their personalities but never interfering in the main events-just making the way they deal with the job more understandable. The atmospheric backdrop of the towers at Battersea Power Station loomed darkly adding a real touch of menace to the crime scenes and the situation that the girls found themselves in.

This book is intricately plotted, perfectly paced and written with an empathetic understanding of the world in which Marnie finds herself. I think this author has now got into her literary stride and has created a very likeable detective pairing that makes readers look forward expectantly to where they go from here. If this is your first taste of Marnie Rome then you will need to clear some time in your schedule as you will want to read her other cases as soon as you can! A well deserved 5* from me!

I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

Out on April 7th 2016

Available to pre-order here

Bloq by Alan Jones

About this book..

A gritty crime thriller. Glasgow man Bill Ingram waits in the city’s Central Station to meet his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train pulls in, and she doesn’t get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why. His search for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again.

 

My review..

Wow! Although I read this book in an entire day, I decided to wait till morning to write my review as I wasn’t quite ready to let go of it yet! Strange feeling but I’m sure that a lot of you will understand after you have read this book and you do absolutely HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK! It grabbed hold of me from the graphically described “funeral” on the first page and wouldn’t let me go.

Bill, a recent widower, goes to pick his daughter up from the train station in Glasgow on Christmas Eve. She isn’t on her train so he waits and meets every train from London until there are no more. She isn’t answering her mobile phone or house phone so Bill makes the decision to drive to London to try to find out what has happened to her. What happens next is every parents worse nightmare as the search for Carol takes over Bill’s life and leads him into a murky underground world of drugs and organised crime.

This book covers a very real and difficult subject and so is very graphic in its language and descriptions as you would expect. As a parent of adult daughter’s myself, I totally got Bill from the first time I met him. That feeling of wanting to protect your child never goes away, no matter what age they are and as I read it I felt very emotional. It brings to home how you never know what’s round the corner and how one small decision can change your life’s path for ever. And that ending…..!! Made me wish I had never started the book so I could go back and read it all again. It’s one of those where you miss the characters as soon as so finish.

I adored Alan’s writing and the way he developed the storyline, it made me visual the book in a way that rarely happens for me. I’m sure I won’t be the first (or last!!) to say that this would make an absolutely brilliant screenplay for the big screen and I have to admit that I imagined Bill as Liam Neeson the whole of the way through (I know he is Irish not a Scot so apologies now but my mind saw what my mind saw!).

As this was the first of this authors books I have read (this one was very kindly given to me by Alan Jones in return for an unbiased review) I now need to catch up on the others. If you like authentic gritty crime dramas with a side order of emotional suspense and a sympathetic main character then you are going to LOVE this!

🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳 5/5

Out on April 1st 2016

Available to pre-order here

 

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

About this book..

If your husband was murdered, 

And you were a witness,
How do you explain it when he appears on your nanny cam?
You thought you trusted him.
Now you can’t even trust yourself.

Dark secrets and a terrifying hunt for the truth lie at the heart of this gripping new thriller.

 

My review..

Harlan Coben is one of the big name authors that you just know is going to turn out a top notch thriller. A new book from him more or less guarantees I will buy it just from seeing his name on the front cover. So I was very excited to have an ARC of Fool Me Once and oh boy, didn’t he just!!

Captain Maya Stern has returned from active service suffering from PTSD-scared to close her eyes at night for fear of the screams and pictures in her head. Her sisters murder while she was abroad has devastated her but then her husband Joe is also killed during a failed mugging. After a friend gives her a nanny cam for reassurance (now that she is raising her 2 year old daughter Lily on her own) she sees a shocking image on the screen-her apparently dead husband. Maya is forced to leave her daughter in the care of her brother-in-law and day care while she hunts down the truth about the murders that seems to follow her.

Well to be honest when I read the blurb for this my first thought was, haven’t you done this one before Mr Coben?? A dead spouse appearing apparently alive and well on a screen?? For the first third of the book I really wasn’t sure where it was going and was worried that the great Harlan Cohen had lost his touch! Then something just clicked and I couldn’t put it down. The book twisted and turned and then it twisted and turned some more until you had no idea what the truth was. I was well and truly fooled more than once!
I loved the cool and calm Maya who seemed so distant and uncaring at first but we start to realise this is due to her military training kicking in automatically. Her friends Eileen and Shane balanced this well with their affection for their friend and their concern for her well-being. They provide a humanity to their characters that contrasts to the machine like determination from Maya. Her quest was relentless and it really carried you through the story, increasing the tension until your head was spinning!

Although this hasn’t taken over from Tell No One or The Woods which are my favourite reads from this author, it is certainly an enjoyable twisty experience where I defy you to predict the ending! A standalone novel that will delighted fans both old and new.

I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an honest review.

🌳🌳🌳🌳 4/5

Available to buy from March 24th

Available to pre order here

Hold Still by Tim Adler

About this book..

‘I photographed the moment of my husband’s death…’ So begins HOLD STILL, a nerve-twisting thriller from bestselling author Tim Adler. How much do we really know about those we love? Kate is visiting Albania with her husband Paul, a much needed break from Paul’s stressful website business. ‘Hold still,’ says Kate, taking a picture as Paul steps onto the hotel room balcony. ‘We’ll always be together,’ Paul responds. Suddenly there is screaming below and a blaring car horn. Kate stares down from the balcony at the broken body of her husband lying lifeless in the street. Overcome with grief, Kate can’t accept the truth of Paul’s tragic death, and replays the incident over and over again, searching her pictures for a vital clue to what really happened. When she meets the enigmatic Priest at a grief support group, they journey together into a dangerous world of violence and secrets as Kate realises what Paul really meant when he said he would never leave her……

My review..

Having read Surrogate by the same author a while ago (after being recommended it and enjoying it) I was looking forward to Tim Adlers 3rd book Hold Still. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as Surrogate, it was still a fast paced crime thriller that flowed off the page.

Kate Julia and her husband Paul have gone to Albania for Paul’s uncle’s funeral. After the funeral, Paul seems distant and emotional but back at their hotel room Kate and Paul make love. Afterwards, Paul receives a text on his phone and Kate playfully takes a photo of him. When she looks back up she realises he is no longer there and has fallen from their 7th floor balcony.

This is the seed from which this story grows-what would it be like to photograph the exact moment of the death of a loved one? Kate is devastated by her husband’s death but even more so when she realises she captured something unexpected in that last photo.

I think the main reason this novel didn’t quite work for me personally was that I found it rather unbelievable. The coincidences were just a bit too far fetched for me and the time scale seemed very quick as well. Just little things like being able to get a GP appt straight away and finding a support group having a meeting that same night!! Kate seemed rather hysterical at times-too much so to be also conducting her own investigation into her husband’s death. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad book! The backstory of Albania and the crimes taking place such as human trafficking, prostitution and cyber crime are very current and have been well researched. The way the book opens with Paul’s death is shocking and grabs your attention straight away. It drifts off a bit in the middle but the last few chapters are an adrenaline fuelled chase that again gets you turning the pages with an increasing speed to find out what the truth is. Although I had an idea of what had happened there were still a few surprising twists along the way.

A 3 star read for me.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in return for an honest review.

Released on March 17th

Available to pre-order here

 

A Savage Hunger by Claire McGowan

About this book..

The fourth in the crime series featuring forensic psychologist Paula Maguire by Claire McGowan acclaimed as ‘Ireland’s answer to Ruth Rendell’ by Ken Bruen.

Victim: Female. Twenty-two years of age.
Reason for investigation: Missing person.
ID: Alice Morgan. Student. Last seen at a remote religious shrine in Ballyterrin.

Alice Morgan’s disappearance raises immediate questions for forensic psychologist Paula Maguire. Alice, the daughter of a life peer in the Home Office, has vanished along with a holy relic – the bones of a saint – and the only trace is the bloodstains on the altar.

With no body to confirm death, the pressure in this high-profile case is all-consuming, and Paula knows that she will have to put her own life, including her imminent marriage, on hold, if they are to find the truth.

A connection to a decades-old murder immediately indicates that all may not be as it seems; as the summer heat rises and tempers fray, can Alice be found or will they learn that those that are hungry for vengeance may be the most savage of all?

 

My review..

This has been an interesting series so far and this recent addition really stands out for me. Dr Paula Maguire returns in this 4th book- a self contained mystery involving a missing person. It can be read as a standalone novel but to get the full appreciation of Paula’s relationships and history, it’s probably better to read the books in order of publication.

22 year old Alice has gone missing. At the church where she was working as a caretaker and was last seen, there is a lot of blood, an old photo and a missing religious relic. Paula, alongsIde Jane Corry, is brought in to investigate and quickly discovers another woman went missing from the same church nearly 30 years ago. What has happened to Alice and can Paula solve the case while also dealing with her complex personal life?

This is probably the most gripping of all 4 books that I have read so far. Paula is struggling with organising a major family event and overseeing building works while she trys to work out what has happened to Alice. We read snippets from Alice throughout the story. This helps us as we delve deeper into her problems with her family, and also her anorexia, providing us with more clues as to what has happened to her. I found both twisty threads really engrossing and couldn’t wait to see how they were brought to a climax by the author. And boy, talk about an explosive ending!!! The perfect way to leave your readers wanting more!!

If you’ve never read this series before I think you would get way more enjoyment of the plot if you start at book 1 in the series. Then I can guarantee you will want to read the rest pretty quickly to catch up! The background descriptions of the troubles in Northern Ireland make this a very detailed and unique police crime procedural written with a great knowledge and understanding of that time. Bringing a present day missing persons case into the mix but still making it feel relevant to the past is a very clever trick indeed. An intelligent and thought provoking read and I can’t WAIT to see where Paula goes from here!

I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an honest review.

Available.to buy here