A Tapping at My Door by David Jackson

About this book..

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 horrifyingly 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.

My review..

It takes quite a lot to render me speechless (unfortunately says my family!) but this book did just that. There was a moment near the end that I switched off to everything around me as I wanted to give everything I had as a reader to the final few pages of the book that is definitely going to be in my Top 10 of 2016. There was a highly emotional ending to this crime thriller that I truly did not see coming and my heart literally missed a beat when I saw exactly where this plot had been heading.

This book starts off like one of those creepy horror films that I pretend I don’t mind watching but end up seeing more of the back of a cushion than my tv screen! Terri Latham is at home when she hears a tapping at her door. She dismisses it as a plant blowing in the wind but it keeps going and starts tapping at a different location. Scared, she opens the door to find a large raven and then things get seriously creepy as she realises the raven is not alone….

This book is the first in a new series for author David Jackson. After the success of his Callum Doyle series (which is amazing if you haven’t read it- especially Cry Baby!) he has moved closer to home with DS Nathan Cody, who lives and works in Liverpool. I love the fact that Liverpool has its own detective series now-its a fascinating city that I love visiting-full of character, with many cultural references used by the author here to great effect. Nathan is a fantastically complex character who has a past that is hinted at but doesn’t become clear until later in the book. I have no doubt his relationship with his dysfunctional family will provide us with plenty of drama in future books! As, I’m sure, will his partnership with DC Megan Webley, a former girlfriend now working alongside Nathan as they try to solve the mystery of who is murdering fellow police officers.

This book has been plotted to perfection! The level of tension created by that first chapter was sky high! It introduces us to a main character who is flawed but incredibly likeable. And that is one of the main reasons that this series will work well-we are made to really care about this fictional policeman! I felt very protective of him right from the start, rather like DCI Stella Blunt, and wanted to shout “NOOOOO!” whenever he seemed set on another path of self destruction! I was so totally engrossed in the plot from page one that I didn’t even see where it was going until it slapped me in the face! I found it difficult reading the last few pages, for reasons I won’t go into, and I know that many people will feel the same but it was handled perfectly.

A Tapping at my Door is a fantastic start to this new series and I hope we don’t have too long to wait before the next instalment (I am so impatient-every authors nightmare!) I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to see what scrapes Nathan Cody gets himself into next.

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

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