book reviews · Bookish

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb (Review)

Greetings! Today I am chuffed to be on the Orenda tour for Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb. Orenda just have so many awesome releases recently! This one is available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook formats. I was sent a copy for free for review purposes. Be sure to check out the other tour stops!

Deep Dark Night is the fourth installment in the award winning Lori Anderson series. I haven’t read the previous installments, but this reads perfectly fine as a standalone.

Lori is a single mother and bounty hunter, working for the FBI with her partner, JT. Specifically, an Agent Monroe, an absolute git of a bloke who really left a bad taste in my mouth. He’s a really well-written and unlikable character, especially compared to Lori, our protagonist, whose pretty awesome and relateably human. Her and JT have an excellent dynamic and you can’t help but cheer for the pair of them, both in their work and personal lives.

The book starts off as a fairly slow burn, luring you in as Lori prepares for a high stakes poker game in a penthouse at one of the cities tallest buildings; against a mob boss named Cabressa in a bid to entrap him for the FBI, using a very high valued chess set to lure him.

Things seem worrisome as Lori doesn’t seem to excel at poker, however, she walks in like she owns the place and seems to put on a convincing act. Things seem to go to plan until something entirely unexpected occurs. The entire city is plunged in to darkness, the penthouses panic room system is triggered and Lori, JT and the other players are locked inside. It turns out, they’re being held hostage by a voice over the speaker system. But who is it, and what’s their true agenda?

It turns out, none of the players are who they say they are, except for maybe Cabressa. They’re instructed to find out which one of them is Heron – someone who seems to be muscling in on Cabressa’s turf. The person over the speaker seems to already know, so why does he want them to find it out? The drama ramps up at a steady pace while the players and the reader, try to figure out what on earth is going on, while slowly, they get picked off and “Heron” is no closer to being found.

Perfectly balanced suspense, drama and action, Deep Dark Night is a tense ride with a perfect female protaganist whom I found myself really hoping came out on top of the whole situation. Realistic and relatable as opposed to some superhero that defies mortal limits; Lori Anderson is a believable and interesting character.

Far more complex than anticipated, this book really kept me on my toes and I couldn’t deduce the outcome until nearer it being revealed which was awesome. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

About the Book

A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

About the Author

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts.
My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.
Follow Steph on Twitter @CrimeThrillGirl and on Facebook facebook.com/CrimeThrillerGirl or visit her website: crimerthrillergirl.com

book reviews · Bookish

Finding Milly by Nathan Burrows (Review)

Happy Weekend! Today I am on the BOTBS tour for Finding Milly by Nathan Burrows. It’s out now in both Paperback and Kindle Formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited. I received a copy for my participation in the tour.

About the Book

Jimmy Tucker is dying. There’s only one person he wants to tell. His daughter—Milly. But when he gets home from the hospital, she’s vanished without a trace.

The inoperable brain aneurysm deep within Jimmy’s head could burst at any time—a cough, a sneeze, or a blow to the head could kill him instantly. With the police not interested in Milly’s disappearance, Jimmy takes things into his own hands and begins to look for his only daughter. But it doesn’t take him long to realise that his daughter is not the woman he thinks she is.

As he gradually discovers Milly’s shocking private life, Jimmy enlists the help of Gareth Dawson, an ex-crook with a big heart. But Gareth can only help Jimmy up to a point.

As the pressure mounts, can Jimmy uncover the truth about Milly’s disappearance before it’s too late—for either of them?

Finding Milly hooks you right off that bat. Jimmy Tucker has an appointment at the hospital, only to learn that the cause of his recent headaches are an untreatable anyeurism and he doesn’t have long left. He wants to tell his daughter Milly, but she isn’t about when he gets home – not unusual, but she doesn’t turn up later either. His wife, Milly’s mother, passed away ten years prior. Milly is all he has left and his love for her is prevalent throughout the book. So where is Milly?

Jimmy uncovers some strange things about his daughter. He’s reported her missing to the police, but he’s not one to just sit and wait for them to do their thing. With the help of some other people, he gets to the bottom of things, racing against his remaining time on the ticking time bomb in his head.

This book is a kind of a slow burn but very steadily paced and you’ll have read half of it before you even realise. Well written, Finding Milly really draws you in with it’s well balanced plot and immersive locale. It has a constant level of tension and excellent character development and dynamic between them. Really fantastic read.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Till Morning is Nigh by Rob Parker (Review)

Bracken is back on a whole new adventure! I’m so pleased to be on the blog tour for “Till Morning Is Nigh” by Rob Parker, the latest Ben Bracken Thriller. Following The Penny Black, Bracken is set to get himself into a whole heap of trouble… again. Read on for my thoughts! Till Morning is Nigh is available now in eBook and Paperback formats and is available on Kindle Unlimited.

It’s no secret that Bracken is one of my favourite protagonists to date. He’s not your typical “hero” and he’s plenty flawed. In Rob Parker’s latest offering, Bracken has a chance at a whole new life. More.. legally this time, though all still very questionable. He’s not hiding off-the-grid. He’s been given a chance. He’s got a family now and a new job consulting with the NCA.

He’s now part of a team, something different to what we’re used to from this lone wolf. However, will he play the part or will he go off and do what he wants? Does his new family effect his decisions? He has a newborn son with his partner, Carolyn, whom already has two children from her previous relationship. That’s a whole interesting story there, but it’s a spoiler for previous books, so if you’ve not read them, I’d recommend you do. 😉 It’s noticeably softened Bracken but you’ll have to find out for yourself what it means for his adventure.

A race against time with a topical, political theme, Till Morning Is Nigh is unsettling and tense throughout as Bracken goes above and beyond – as per usual, gets himself to a whole heap of trouble – as usual and puts himself firmly amongst the grey.

A little slower of a pace than his other books, this is an excellent thriller with well-built tension that had me genuinely unable to put it down – I wasn’t kidding when I say it’s unsettling and tense. While a work of fiction, the topical theme hits close to home with the current political tensions and the threats of extremism and only led to a more immersive read. I had to follow it through to the end for my own sanity. The ending didn’t fully sit with me, some of the action elements didn’t feel totally believable but I put it down to adrenaline and went with it, I’m totally fine with that, that’s literally my only criticism and it’s barely a criticism. I really enjoyed the book as a whole and I can’t get enough of Bracken. So I am pleased to say this is yet another excellent offering from Rob Parker.

About the Book

Dragged half dead from a river, Ben Bracken, fugitive ex-soldier, is in a bad way.

But, too valuable to discard and too dangerous to set free, an old friend offers him a choice: abandon his identity and become a desk-bound advisor to the National Crime Agency, or go back to the prison he broke out of – a place where he is extremely unpopular.

Bracken is forced to accept – and he’s becoming a different man.

But all this changes when, days before Christmas, an undercover narcotics officer is murdered in horrific circumstances, and only Bracken has the inside track on the key suspect. Throwing himself into the fray, Bracken finds himself in a very present-day ideological conflict, uncovering a plot which has huge implications for both Manchester’s political, socio-economic landscape, and the nation at large – coming to an explosive conclusion amidst the twinkling fairy lights and frost-tipped boughs of Christmas Eve…

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Kult by Stefan Malmström (Review)

Happy Friday! Looking for something to read over the weekend? Today I am on the blog tour for Kult by Stefan Malmström and am bringing you a review. Kult is available now in both Kindle and Paperback formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited. I received a copy of the book for free as part of the tour.

Luke is an American former criminal who went with his girlfriend, to check on his friend Viktor and Viktor’s daughter, Agnes, only to find Viktor dead and arriving just in time to see Agnes breathe her last. It appears to be a murder suicide, but Luke is convinced that isn’t the case and decides to investigate things himself, getting himself in to trouble along the way, although he appears to be on to something and notices a link between his friends death and past as a part of the Church of Scientology.

Kult utilises the authors own experiences to present the reader an insight to Scientology, creating an.. intriguing history to the present day events within the book. You can understand why some people may have found Scientology alluring, and just how “convincing” they could be. However, as someone on the outside, looking in, it seems bizarre, messed up and absurd.

Who was taking out these former members of the Church of Scientology and why? Stefan did a great job at building a creepy and chilling environment, mixing reality and fiction, creating a world that made my skin crawl but I couldn’t exit until I found answers. Dark, gritty and disturbing, Kult makes for a compelling read.

About the Book

THE PAST WILL NEVER LET YOU GO…

When a four-year-old girl and her father are found dead in the Swedish city of Karlskrona, the police quickly conclude it was a murder-suicide, a tragedy requiring no further investigation.

But Luke Bergmann, a reformed criminal still haunted by his violent past, believes they are wrong. The dead man, Viktor, was his best friend, and Luke knows he would never commit such a horrific crime.

When more bodies turn up, Luke is certain the same killer has struck again. Alone, he embarks on an investigation which reaches back through decades to his friend’s involvement with a sinister cult and dark secrets are exposed as Luke struggles to keep his own long-buried demons hidden away.

And when Luke finds himself in a killer’s sights, his search for the truth becomes the fight of his life.

Can Luke get justice for Viktor and his daughter and prove his best friend was not a murderer, or will the shadows of the past overwhelm him?

Fans of The Killing, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jo Nesbø and Will Dean will love this dark and gripping début thriller.

NOTE: KULT is inspired by shocking and tragic real events.

Uncategorized · Bookish · book reviews

The Penny Black by Rob Parker (Review)

Happy weekend! Today, it’s my pleasure to bring you a review of The Penny Black by Rob Parker. This is the third installment in his Ben Bracken thriller series and is available now on Kindle and as part of Kindle Unlimited. Rob very kindly sent me an ARC of his book. Thanks, Rob!

The Penny Black is the third installment in the Ben Bracken thriller series, and while you can read it alone, I feel it may feel a little lacking if you’ve not read the previous books as it makes reference to past events without spending a whole lot of time going back over them. (I was actually on the tour for his previous book – Morte Point and hosted a fab guest post if you fancy a peek after you’re done here!)

Bracken is on the run and has bunkered down in the small town of Horning, with an unsavoury job at a boatyard and living a fairly minimalist lifestyle, under a new identity, going by the name of James, keeping his head down and cracking after his escape from prison during the riot and after the events of the previous book. All in all, he seems pretty contented – that is, until his past catches up to him.

Ben is a good guy whose done bad things, in my view. His ego gets him in to quite a few pickles, he could fill an entire jar. What seems like just deterring some youth’s from breaking in to someones boat, turns in to being a part of a much bigger situation – one Bracken hadn’t accounted for. Big things are happening in that little town, and Bracken just can’t help himself.

The Penny Black is the name of Bracken’s new local. It’s also the title of this well written, fast paced thriller, that just keeps you guessing. I figured his past would come back, but I had no idea what was in store. I was unable to put it down as the action unfolded. Bracken isn’t a clear cut “good guy” or “hero” or whatever you call him, he’s a murky sort and to date, is one of my favourite characters in a thriller.

The book ends in action and pretty abruptly. There’s no frilly ending, just a resolution to the conflict/obstacle and it’s over. Some people might not like that sort of ending, but for me, it just feels like it’s an invitation to read the next installment (Til morning is nigh) coming later this year. I’m very much looking forward to it. I am a fan of series where one book runs in to the next and I find myself most invested in their protaganists. Rob has me as a fan for life.

About the Book

I’m dead, for all intents and purposes. Nobody knows I’m alive…

Ben Bracken is on the run for his life. Keeping a low profile from the agencies seeking to silence him, he finds refuge in the quiet town of Horning. Working in a boat yard and lodging with an older couple, Eric and Dot, Ben uses this time to plan. He needs to escape, and realising his only chance will reveal his whereabouts to some unsavoury characters, he plans every detail. Little does he know, even that won’t be enough…

Just before he walks away, murder strikes the quiet town. Ben cannot leave until he is sure that he has not brought any further trouble to the townsfolk. Will he be able to exact revenge? One thing is certain, there is a lot more going on in the town of Horning than meets the eye…

The Penny Black is action packed from beginning to end, keeping you guessing right the way through.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Hidden by Roger A. Price (Review)

Happy weekend! Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Hidden by Roger A. Price which is out now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. It’s also available as part of kindle unlimited. I was sent a copy of this book as part of the tour.

Vinnie is on holiday with his journalist girlfriend, Christine, when they witness an assault and are advised by local police to return home. As soon as they do, Vinnie is thrown in to a new case and has to deal with some questionable people – on both sides of the law and a blurry line between morality and legality.

Hidden is the third book in Roger’s The Badge and the Pen series, but can be read perfectly fine as a standalone and I didn’t feel like I got caught out by not knowing events from previous books.

The author starts off with action right off the bat, so I was immediately interested. From there on out, it just dives right in, no fluff. I was really tense throughout and when I thought I knew what the situation was, it went in a different direction. I had to know what would happen next – to use the cliche, it was a real page-turner for me and right up my alley. The author talks about human-trafficking and exploitation, not an easy subject and it all felt well researched and had the right level of shock-factor without over-dramatising so it felt pretty authentic. I felt strongly about getting justice and having the culprits of these horrible crimes get punished.

Hidden is a fantastic, well paced and tense crime thriller. If you like police procedurals that won’t let you put the book down, this one may be for you!

About the Book

Vinnie’s romantic holiday did not go as planned. There was an assault, his companion was threatened and the police asked them to leave.

And when Vinnie returns to his police job in Manchester, things don’t get much better, as he finds himself at the heart of an investigation that stretches from Manchester to all corners of Europe. Women are being trafficked into the UK and forced into prostitution, and while the police are diligent in their enquiries, they seem to have a rogue in their midst.

As events unravel, the lines between good and bad, police and criminals, seem to become more and more blurred… and the stakes for all involved are getting higher.

Hidden is Book 3 in Roger Price’s the badge and the pen series, but it can equally be read as a novel in its own right. Existing fans of Vinnie and Christine are bound to love it, but Hidden is also perfect for crime and police fiction lovers, and anybody who loves a fast-paced, gripping story.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Gone by Leona Deakin (Review)

Happy Wednesday! Today I am on the blog tour for Gone by Leona Deakin which is out on the 9th of August in eBook format and will be available as a paperback at the start of October. I received a copy of this book for my participation in the tour. If you would like to find out more about the book, check out the other tour spots on the poster below!

Four people receive a birthday card, then seemingly disappear from the face of the earth. Dr Augusta Bloom is pulled in by her investigative, former MI6 partner, who knows one of the missing people. Bloom is hesitant to take the case at first, but can’t help but be pulled in by the lure of the mystery and so down the rabbit hole she goes and discovers things are not at all as they seem. In the meanwhile, she sees an interesting patient, a young teenager named Seraphine, who attacked her schools caretaker…

Gone is an interesting psychological thriller which is well written with an excellent protagonist and her relationship with Marcus, the former MI6 guy was a fantastic dynamic. The book has a pretty slow-burn pace, which builds up the tension and intrigue nicely, though it does start off with a WOAH moment that grabs your attention.

There’s a lot of psychological elements, but they are explained simply enough that you don’t feel you need a degree to understand them. I was concerned early on that it would feel like it portrays people with mental health issues as dangerous but I didn’t feel as though it did that as I read on. I feel the authors expertise really shone through here as Leona has experience in psychology and working as a police psychologist.

I felt a little confused at times, though I’m not sure if that was just myself being tired but wanting to find out what happens next – but all in all, a really interesting thriller that has a stand-out premise, different from your typical psych-thriller and it’ll be interesting to see Dr Bloom’s next case.

About the Book

Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the blog tour for The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland and I am bringing you a review! This book is out on July 11th 2019 and will be available in paperback and kindle editions. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Finella, better known as Ellie, couldn’t wait to leave home. She was half way across the world when she received a phone call. Her mother is missing, presumed dead. Out walking with her Ellie’s brother, River, nearby a local waterfall, their mother suddenly vanished. They believed her to have fallen in and died, but with no body and no real answers, Ellie is not satisfied, however, her dad wants to plod on like normal and brushes over the entire thing.

It turns out, Finella is named after a huntress from folklore, and her mothers disappearance bears striking resemblance. Nobody seems to really know the truth about what happened.

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is a tense and dramatic story with parallels to folklore, the like of which inspired Finella’s name and had a significant presence in her life growing up. There’s a significant theme of water throughout the book which I really liked. Water represents the life cycle, if I recall correctly, and so it seemed quite relevant. There is some wonderful imagery in this book! Nothing is completely clear cut and laid out, it’s like real life. It’s complex. The author really builds up the tension so beautifully right up to it’s crescendo, and I couldn’t put it down.

I wasn’t prepared for the truth about what happened to Ellie’s mum, it had me on tenterhooks wanting to see how things would play out. It’s kind of hard to explain it without spoilers, so I’ll just say this – it was incredible. The ending? It was not at all what I was expecting. It was fast and dramatic and I was loving it! Incredibly well written, this shorter read (200-ish pages) is perfect for this summer.

About the Book

A single phone call from halfway across the world is all it takes to bring her home . . . ‘Ellie, something bad has happened.’

Desperate to escape her ‘kid from the scrapyard’ reputation, Ellie Rook has forged a new life for herself abroad, but tragedy strikes when her mother, Imelda, falls from a notorious waterfall. Here, according to local legend, the warrior queen Finella jumped to her death after killing a king. In the wake of her mother’s disappearance, Ellie is forced to confront some disturbing truths about the family she left behind and the woman she has become. Can a long-dead queen hold the key to Ellie’s survival? And how far will she go to right a wrong?

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch (Review)

Today I am on the tour for Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch and bringing you a review. The book is available now on Kindle. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Nova has upped and left her husband, fleeing domestic violence, with her daughter Lily in tow. She moves to the middle of nowhere but is still anxious he will find her and Lily. When she wakes up and goes to check on her daughter one morning, it appears that may be exactly what had happened. Lily is gone. Naturally, she calls the police in hysterics.

Officer Ellie James is on the case upon investigating, it appears that Lily doesn’t even exist and Nova is the one with the criminal record, but to officer James, things don’t feel right and she’s determined to get to the truth. However, her job is made more difficult by uncooperative work colleagues who seem generally incompetent, but are also prejudiced against Ellie for a previous incident.

Clara is Nova’s new neighbour and landlady. She lives on a farm and owns the land and the building that Nova is renting. Things aren’t all they seem on the farm, and Clara is clearly hiding something.

Without a Trace is a fast-paced, psychological thriller which had me glued to its pages. The drama didn’t let up, and just when I thought I knew what was going on, the author would throw a curveball. I hate to use the common “twists and turns” trope but this book was it. So many twists. The outcome was not what I was expecting at all. I really really enjoyed this book. The only thing was the ending felt a little rushed and I found it a little unsatisfying, though I was pleased to get to the end of the case and find out the truth! This book really build up the tension and I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed it.

About the Book

Lily’s gone.
Someone took her.
Unless she was she never there…

A little girl has gone missing.

Lily was last seen being tucked into bed by her adoring mother, Nova. But the next morning, the bed is empty except for a creepy toy rabbit.

Has Nova’s abusive ex stolen his “little bunny” back for good?

At first, Officer Ellie James assumes this is a clear custody battle. Until she discovers that there are no pictures of the girl and her drawers are full of unused toys and brand new clothes that have never been worn…

Is Ellie searching for a missing child who doesn’t actually exist?

About the Author

Carissa Ann Lynch is a USA Today bestselling author. She resides in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with her husband, children, and collection of books. She’s always loved to read and never considered herself a “writer” until a few years ago when she couldn’t find a book to read and decided to try writing her own story. With a background in psychology, she’s always been a little obsessed with the darker areas of the mind and social problems.

book reviews · Bookish

The Silver Sting by Angela Dandy (Review)

Today I am on the Random Things tour for The Silver Sting by Angela Dandy which is available now in Kindle and Paperback formats. I am pleased to be bringing you a review. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Gabby has divorced her (ex)husband and gone to visit her aunt and uncle at Magnolia Court – a would-be gorgeous retirement complex with cottages for the residents and public amenities – had they not been badly wronged with the developer doing a bunk with all of their money, half way through the project, scamming the residents of Magnolia Court.

Aghast at the situation, her family and their friends in cottages falling apart, Gabby is determined to get justice for them. The residents are wary as they had tried, to no avail, to trace the man who put them in this situation – much to their expense, with nothing to show for it; but Gabby isn’t easily deterred.

I really enjoyed this book. Every element of it was fantastic. I enjoyed the characters, the setting, the pacing, the plot, the conclusion. It was a warm, satisfying conclusion after following Gabby and a group of wonderful, strong characters and their “Silver Sting” as the plotted to right the wrongs done to them. I really liked how the author gave a little background story to each of the residents and made them that little bit more interesting. There is a moment later on in the book (I won’t go in to details, because it’d be a spoiler) which really made me root for them even more than I already was. I felt hopeful for their plan but frustrated it was needed in the first place. I felt invested in their cause and was cheering for them.

I really enjoyed this book and the quirky characters. I’d absolutely recommend cozying up with this. I found myself unable to put it down!

About the Book

It has been thirteen years since the elderly residents of Magnolia Court were scammed out of a comfortable retirement by an unscrupulous developer who took their money and ran.

A twist of fate leads Gabby, Uncle Max and Aunt Hetty’s niece to uncover the developer’s whereabouts.

Pointed in the right direction by Gabby, the residents draw on their life skills to overcome one obstacle after another in order to recover what is theirs by right.

No one should underestimate the tenacity and ingenuity of this charming and endearing bunch of senior citizens. Age and infirmity are set aside as they set out on their quest to seek retribution.

About the Author

Angela Dandy is the author of thriller Lakeside and several published short stories. A retired project manager, Angela has travelled widely and enjoys spending time with people of all ages and walks of life. Angela’s aim in writing thrillers is to aspire and capture the imagination of her readers by weaving colourful and resourceful characters into her carefully crafted plots. Most importantly she aims to entertain!