Fatal Witness by Robert Bryndza – Review

4 Stars

On the very evening Detective Erika Foster moves into a new house in Blackheath, London she stumbles on a the scene of a brutal murder. Assigned the case she discovers that the victim was a true-crime podcaster, about to reveal the identity of a local stalker who preys on young female students. All her notes and recordings have been stolen so Erika concludes the victims was about to reveal the stalker’s identity to the world. She was murdered to prevent this happening so the detective has a race against time to prevent further murders.

This is the seventh book in this series and the first that I have read. It works well as a stand-alone novel though. I like the way it’s written and the descriptions are very detailed. Might be too detailed for some. It’s a pacey story with plenty of twists. Perfect for those who like a police procedural with lots of action. On the whole, it’s an excellent read with a great twist at the end. A definite recommendation.

My thanks to #NetGalley, #RavenStreetPublishing and #RobertBryndza for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Truly, Darkly, Deeply by Victoria Selman – Review

Twelve-year-old Sophie moves with her mother, Amelia-Rose, from Massachusetts to London where they meet Matty Melgren. He soon becomes a big part of their lives but the adult’s relationship sours. At the same time, a serial killer begins targeting women who look like Amelia-Rose. Matty is convicted of the multiple murders but there are questions as to his guilt. Twenty years later Sophie is summoned to his prison as he is dying. Will her questions finally be answered?

This is a great story, well-written which I dived into right from the beginning. The believable characters resonate with truth but there is always something going on just outside that is hard to pin down. The pace of the tale is good making it difficult to put down before reading ‘just one more chapter.’ The story does flit back and forth in time but is easy to follow. A definite for Whodunnit fans and those who like easy-to-read mysteries. Plus, it’s got a great ending.

My thanks to #NetGalley, #QuercusBooks and #VictoriaSelman for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Chernobyl by Ian Fitzgerald- Review

Whenever there are arguments about the safety of nuclear energy, the name Chernobyl is raised. This book is a fascinating history of the USSR and the place of Ukraine in its hierarchy. It also goes some way to explaining how important Ukraine is to modern-day Russia.
This is an extremely in-depth look at what was, later discovered to be, an accident waiting to happen. Lack of knowledge, untrained staff and political pressure conspired together to cause this catastrophe.
This is a well-researched and written book, interspersed with illustrations. The level of detail is astonishing but never boring. It is a testament to how little was known about the effects of radiation on humans and the mistakes which were made. It highlights the fascinating change from focusing on nuclear weapons to harnessing it to create energy.

I enjoyed reading it, crammed with facts and interesting information. Having read other books and watched documentaries on the subject, I would place this book as one of the definitive works on this topic.

My thanks to #NetGalley, #ArcturusPublishing and #IanFitzgerald for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review

The Day We Died by Wendy Owens – Review

4 Stars

At ten years of age, Rachel discovers that the father she loves is a murderer known as “The Lipstick Killer” and her whole life is turned upside down. Her family decide to leave the persecution of their neighbourhood and start a new life in Chicago. They change their names and so Rachel becomes Sydney and she trains and becomes a crime scene technician. She is called to attend a homicide scene and is shocked to find the female victim wearing the same shade of lipstick her executed father used on his victims. Called Fire in the Sky, but it was discontinued years before. Then the bodies start mounting up.

This is a really easy book to read. Its straightforward language and steady pace draws the story along nicely. The pressure mounts as the story progresses making it one if those books that aren’t easy to put down. So don’t start reading it before bed! Several times I thought I had guessed the ending but then it twisted again. It has a brilliant ending too.

My thanks to #NetGalley, #VictoryEditingNetGalleyCo-op and #WendyOwens for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Devil’s Chimney by Adam Lyndon – Review

5 Stars

A prolific burglar is causing mayhem for the residents of sleepy Eastbourne. He breaks into houses in the early hours and if confronted threatens the occupants with a knife. That is until young police officer Rutherford Barnes and his partner Harriet Holden capture him in the act outside her house. The place is ransacked and a note is painted on a wall saying ‘DEAD COPS SLEEP LONG.’
A few days later Harriet’s battered body is found and Rutherford vows to discover who killed his partner and why?

This story is a police procedural, written by a serving police officer and you can tell that immediately. It starts well with twists and turns from the very beginning. Its descriptions are excellent, drawing the reader deeper into the story which progresses at a good even pace. I found it exceptionally well written with the twists continuing throughout the story, resulting in a breathtaking climax. Good characters and story make it a great read.

My thanks to #NetGalley, #JoffeBooks and #AdamLyndon for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stories Of My Life by James Patterson – Review

4 stars

As the title suggests this is the story of one of the most productive writers of our age. It pulls you in immediately. Although I have read several of his novels I knew nothing about the man himself, apart from the fact that he is prolific.
It’s quite refreshing to read an autobiography which highlights failures as well as successes. The book has lots of short scenes, which I like, but may not appeal to everyone. By short I mean a page and a half and it does flit about a bit.
He relates his life story as though you, the reader, are a friend with whom he is having a conversation. It works very well and being in an interesting conversation you want more.
It’s a well-written story, as you would expect from a writer of his calibre.
One thing that stuck with me as I read it was that he, even to this day, writes with a pencil. I find that unusual but most of his story is quite unusual too, so why not?

My thanks to #NetGalley, #JamesPatterson and #RandomHouseUK for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Facemaker by Lindsey Fitzharris – Review

This is the story of Harold Gillies, a gifted surgeon who, with his team, set about the task of rebuilding the faces of soldiers damaged during the First World War. Whilst servicemen who lost limbs were looked upon with sympathy, the others, with facial wounds, were shunned as to look at them was difficult. Which in turn, often made them shy away from normal society.

I like the way this book is written. Its well-researched facts are presented in an interesting and easy to read way. Some non-fiction books become dry and stale in places but this maintained my interest throughout.

It also serves as a history of some of the disastrous events of WWI. Using eyewitness accounts interspersed with facts makes for a better reading experience, in my opinion.
This is a book I would recommend to anyone with an interest in the period.

My thanks to #NetGalley, #PenguinPressUK and #LindseyFitzharris for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Mirror Man by Lars Kepler – Review

5 Stars

I have read several books in the Detective Joona Linna series and this is the eighth and does not disappoint. Although part of a series it can be read as a stand-alone story. The action begins immediately with the abduction of a young girl, who is later found murdered. It ramps up quickly as Joona links another case with the same MO. He is relentless and will stop at nothing to catch the perpetrator, including going against the orders of his superiors.
Lars Kepler writes so well it’s a pleasure to read his stories. The constant descriptions keep you right in the story, allowing you to see what he sees. At times, the action is so fast it’s breathtaking. It’s one of those books you find impossible to put down.
The book is quite graphic at times so it won’t be for everyone, although I really enjoyed reading it. Oh, and it’s a terrific ending.

Many thanks to #NetGalley, #LarsKepler and #BonnierBooksUK for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Carry on Regardless by Caroline Frost – Review

Firstly, I’m a huge fan of the Carry On films and their actors. I never tire of the bawdy not-politically-correct humour, filled with risque elements, double entendre comments and saucy seaside postcard gags. A British institution for many years, still watched by generation after generation for its raw, sometimes slapstick but always funny humour.

As the book relates, it was a very different world sixty years ago when the first film arrived in our cinemas. The space race had begun as Sputnik 1 fell to earth and Elvis Presley joined the Army.

The book delves into the personal lives beyond the public and theatrical personas of the actors. Sometimes sad and sometimes happy but always interesting.
It is a beautiful tribute to post-war comedy cinema, well researched and written. Making it a joy to read for anyone interested in this series of comedic adventures.

In many ways, this is quite a sad tale as many of the actors who provided their audiences with so many laughs were quite sad and lonely in their personal lives. Definitely a recommended read.

Thanks to #NetGalley, #PenandSwordBooks and #CarolineFrost for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Final Nail by Stefan Ahnhem – Review

This book is number five of a series involving Detective Fabian Risk; a man who has been to hell and back. It’s one of those books where the action grabs you immediately and never relents, which I love. I haven’t read any of the previous books but that did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying this work. There were plenty of recaps to ensure I knew who was who and what their back story was but it was cleverly done.

I love Scandinavian noir so this book fitted my reading taste straight away. The story does flit about a bit and, I thought, more than necessary but it is well written and flows well. A lot is going on though. It all comes together beautifully at the climax, however, to make a gripping and exciting ending.

I will look out for previous books in the series.

My thanks to #NetGalley and #HeadofZeus for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review