Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #WomensFiction Gift Horse by @JanRuthAuthor #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Gift Horse by Jan Ruth

42090387

The story is told in chapters alternating between the present and the past, following Caroline Walker’s story over an eighteen year period. Married to Ian with one daughter, Mollie, Caroline’s seemingly perfect life begins to unravel as her worst fears materialise when Mollie suffers a terrible accident during a show jumping competition. Ian has some devastating news when he offers a blood donation at the hospital, in case of emergencies.

Travelling back in time to the millennium, we get a good understanding of the events that influence the present, and the involvement of Niamh, Caroline’s best friend, and her attractive rock star brother. Niamh is planning a New Year’s weekend long party at her parents’ house.

She and Caroline are total opposites. Niamh is part of a large Irish family, which includes brothers, sisters and numerous cousins, and isn’t backwards in coming forwards when it comes to expressing her opinions. Her meddling, albeit with the best intentions, can often make a situation worse than it need be. Caroline is an only child who likes her privacy and is much more self-contained. She and Ian are in an established relationship but are unalike in so many ways, and there’s already a serious issue which troubles Caroline.

‘Ian always knew how to handle Niamh. In fact he knew how to handle the majority of awkward situations. Except for one. It played on her mind from time to time but Caroline had high hopes for their weekend away and watched the passing scenery with a mixture of anticipation and awe.’

Mollie’s accident is the catalyst for the secrets and ill-advised choices from the past to resurface and impact on everyone’s lives. Caroline realises that when it comes down to it, possessions and wealth mean nothing if happiness is the cost. She’s desperate to help with Mollie’s recovery and her hopes are raised when she discovers an equine therapy centre. She believes this could be the answer. The centre reminds her painfully of something and someone she’s never forgotten but also soothes her, thanks to the peaceful setting and Connor (my favourite character) and his sensitivity.

The plot is crisp and concise and the cast of interesting, fully formed and diverse characters, who we get to know through their backstories, are an introduction to the intriguingly involved storyline which unfolds. Emotional issues, human and animal, are treated sensitively and are true to life. An unexpected twist leads to a very satisfying conclusion. Characterisations and relationships are always realistic and identifiable, the locations evocative with engaging storylines. I always enjoy Jan Ruth’s books and this is no exception.

Book description

Imagine living eighteen years of your life around a mistake…

Caroline Walker’s daughter suffers a horrific riding accident. Her distraught parents wonder if she’ll ever walk again, let alone ride. And when Mollie’s blood group is discovered as rare, her husband offers to donate blood. Except Ian is not a match. In fact, it’s unlikely he’s Mollie’s father.
Eighteen years previously, Caroline had a one-night stand with Irish rock star, Rory O’Connor. Caroline fell pregnant. Deeply flawed boyfriend, Ian, was overjoyed. And Caroline’s parents were simply grateful that their daughter was to marry into the rich, influential Walker family.
Caroline turns to Rory’s friend Connor; and although his almost spiritual connection with his horses appears to be the balm she needs, Caroline cannot forget Rory, or her youth – both lost to a man she never loved. Eighteen years on and after surviving cancer Rory lives as a virtual recluse in the Welsh mountains. Through his well-meaning but interfering sister, he is shocked to discover he has a teenage daughter. Or does he?

Someone has made a terrible mistake… someone is going to get hurt…

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

Advertisements

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Victorian #Mystery Fear & Phantoms by @carolJhedges

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Fear & Phantoms by Carol J Hedges

Fear & Phantoms is another very enjoyable addition to the excellent Victorian Detectives series. The story opens in the early hours of a snowy winter morning, as an injured man is left to freeze to death. And as Helena Trigg wakes to a bright white, silent world she discovers her twin brother Lambert’s bedroom neat, tidy and empty. Assuming he has left early for work she doesn’t worry until she returns at the end of the work day to empty lodgings and an accusatory letter.

Detective Inspector Stride and Detective Sergeant Cully are dealing with sightings of a supposed apparition in railway tunnels and the ensuing media frenzy. Which is nothing compared to the crime they will investigate very shortly. A con man is defrauding banks, masquerading as several different people, and killing those who get in his way.

Lucy Landseer, a budding novelist, journalist and very purposeful young lady who is determined to pursue her dream of a writing career in London, keeps her eyes and ears open at all times in search of articles and stories, which comes in very useful along the way.

‘A train going in the opposite direction arrives, and they board it. Now, Lucy is highly intrigued. What is going on? Feeling more like a detective than a writer, she follows them, placing herself in an inconspicuous seat.’

What I love about these books, apart from the colourful, well defined characters (with sometimes very apt names…Tom Scallywagg MP), be they good, bad or downright evil, are the evocative descriptions of Victorian London. The dark, menacing back streets contrasting sharply with the more affluent areas, and the opulence of the wealthy set against the often terrible lives of the poorer classes, particularly the children. Two of these children play a small but significant part in the plot and are portrayed brilliantly.

I enjoyed meeting again the characters who have been constants throughout, as well as new ones, witnessing their development and experiencing Carol Hedges’ wonderful way with words and distinct narrative style. Stride and Cully along with Inspector Greig have their work cut out to make sense of the financial dirty dealings and murders, in addition to bringing the perpetrator to justice. The proverbial thorn in their side, chief reporter Richard Dandy, makes the job harder than necessary with his scurrilous newspaper articles. Plot and sub plots are woven together expertly, bringing the story to a very satisfactory conclusion.

Book description

When a young man’s body is discovered buried deep beneath the winter snow, Detectives Stride and Cully little realise where the discovery will take them. Is his murder a random, one-off event, or could the death be linked to the mysteriously elusive individual who has already brought down one of the City’s long-standing private banks?

Mishap, misunderstanding and mystery dog their footsteps, as the Scotland Yard detectives find themselves in very murky territory indeed, struggling to keep their heads above water in the umbrous underworld of murder and  financial fraud.

Can they unmask the dark brutal mastermind lurking at the centre of it all, before he strikes again?

A taut, gripping historical crime novel that lays bare the dubious practices of the Victorian banking businesses and entices the reader into the shady world of high-class gambling houses, where fortunes can be made or lost on the luck of the cards.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Vintage #Mystery The Riviera Affair by @newwrites #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Riviera Affair by J New

41142915

When Ella Bridges takes a frantic phone call for help from her mother Elspeth, who lives on Cap Ferrat in France, she and her aunt Margaret waste no time in travelling to the French Riviera accompanied by Margaret’s dear but eccentric friend, Pierre DuPont. Pierre is a renowned artist, master forger and, despite his name and French manner, a cockney. It seems Elspeth’s friend, Colonel Summerfield, has gone missing and, because she was the last person to see him, the unpleasant detective in charge has implied she must have something to do with his disappearance. With the threat of prison hanging over her and worry about her friend, Elspeth needs all the help she can get.

Ella was glad of the company, she didn’t relish the idea of travelling to France alone. Pierre could speak fluent French and knew a good number of people and Aunt Margaret saw to all the travel arrangements. Travelling by aeroplane was a first for Ella and she was undeniably nervous, but once on board she pleased to note it was very civilised, similar to a first class train carriage. When they arrived on French soil and left the plane Ella saw a man she’d noticed on board.

[As we pulled away and started out along the coast road I glimpsed a man standing in the shade of a tree opposite, staring at the car. My stomach twisted and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up; it was the stranger from the aeroplane and at his feet was a black cat, my black cat in actual fact. It could only mean one thing; there had been a suspicious death. I only hoped it wasn’t the colonel.]

I’ve enjoyed each book in this period cosy mystery series and The Riviera Affair is no exception. The characters are very well drawn. Ella is extremely likeable, Aunt Margaret and particularly Pierre are unconventional and quirky, and judging by the hints dropped have an intriguing back story. They soon discover there’s more to the disappearance of the colonel than meets the eye and become involved in a dangerous and complex investigation. Ella is without the back up of Detective Sergeant Baxter this time, although she is able to correspond with him, but joins forces with the handsome Captain Jacques Robillard, who isn’t quite what he seems.

The plot is skilfully put together, the narrative well detailed. In this episode we get an idea of what it was like to travel by air when in its infancy, getting weighed before embarking to make sure the aeroplane isn’t too heavy, which makes Ella even more nervous. Aunt Margaret describes it as ‘like having tea at the Ritz only up in the air.’ If only! The Riviera Affair is an excellent addition to the series.

Book description

The glamour of the French Riviera quickly turns sour as Ella is caught up in an investigation which will have repercussions on both sides of the channel. But has she finally met her match?

When her mother telephones from France with news of her imminent arrest, Ella along with her aunt and an eccentric friend rush to her aid. But what starts as a simple disappearance quickly turns to murder and Ella finds herself embroiled in a mystery which is far more complex than she’d anticipated.

In a foreign land where she doesn’t speak the language, has no jurisdiction and doesn’t know who to trust, Ella has to call upon all her usual skills and devise new ones in order to flush out the adversary in their midst.

But will she be in time to save the life of the man she came to find?

‘The Riviera Affair’ is set in 1930’s England, and is the fourth of The Yellow Cottage Vintage Mystery series.

AmazonUK | AmazoonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery Finders, Not Keepers by @dehaggerty

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Finders, Not Keepers by D.E. Haggerty

40545654

Terri is in the process of sorting through the boxes in the attic for something her ex husband wants, annoyed with herself for not forcing him to take his stuff when he moved out. When her friend, Melanie arrives she helps Terri get the boxes downstairs. Later, as Terri is cleaning the now box free attic she makes an astonishing discovery. Hidden in a corner is a necklace. A large pear shaped diamond on a platinum/white gold chain. Terri is understandably utterly astounded.

Terri is determined to find the previous owners of her house and return the diamond. Luckily her super hot next door neighbour Ryder, is a private investigator – the perfect person to ask for advice. Even though it was easy to find the previous owners, a Mr and Mrs Collins, returning the necklace proved trickier as they didn’t want it. It transpired the necklace had belonged to their niece, Jessica.

‘Mr Collins cleared his throat. “Our niece Jessica was only twenty-five when she was killed.”

Terri gasped. “Killed? Oh no! What happened?” She leaned forward, her coffee and pie forgotten.

“That’s what we’d like to know,” Mrs Collins snapped. Her husband reached over and grasped her hand.

“She was murdered three years ago,” he explained.’

Both parties come to the decision Terri should check out local charities to try and find the one that meant most to Jessica, and donate the diamond. Terri’s research, and Melanie’s wanting to solve Jessica’s murder, lead them both into danger and Terri is (very) occasionally glad Ryder is so protective, however he does have some anger issues when it comes to Terri getting herself into trouble. Maybe a touch too much alpha male but he’s genuinely worried for Terri. However it’s soon apparent that Ryder wants much more than a neighbourly kind of relationship with Terri, but is willing to wait and take things at her pace. A definite point in his favour.

Terri and Melanie are total opposites, and it’s usually Melanie doing the instigating with Terri going along with whatever crackpot idea Melanie dreams up. They’re a great foil for each other. I loved the fact that Terri is a librarian and each chapter heading is a librarian related quote. Well written in the third person from Terri’s perspective, there’s a good dynamic between the characters.

An entertaining cosy murder/mystery with an interesting cast of characters.

Book description

What do you do with a diamond no one wants? You can’t keep it. Or can you?

While cleaning her ex-husband’s effects out of the attic, Terri finds an exquisite diamond pendant necklace. She’s determined to return the necklace to its proper owner, but the owner was brutally killed, a murder which remains unsolved, and her heirs want nothing to do with the diamond. Terri embarks upon a journey researching charities to which she can donate the diamond. When her research becomes dangerous, Terri contemplates solving the murder herself. Her best friend, Melanie, jumps feet first into investigating the murder, but her neighbor, Ryder, doesn’t want Terri exposed to any danger. Ryder, to Terri’s surprise, also wants to be more than neighbors with Terri. Luckily, he’s prepared to take any measure necessary to keep her safe because someone is determined to stop her inquiries.

Join Terri on her quest to find a home for the diamond, which may result in the unveiling of a murderer – if she survives long enough.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT vintage #mystery Fatal Finds In Nuala by @harrietsteel1

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.com

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Fatal Finds In Nuala by Harriet Steel

40614500

Inspector Shanti de Silva is already regretting the whim that made him arrange a visit to see his colleague Inspector Singh in Hatton during the monsoon season. A fallen tree had blocked the road since he passed through earlier on, which necessitated de Silva taking the old road back to Nuala. Before he’d gone very far his beloved Morris gave up the ghost and coasted to a stop. De Silva had two choices—walk into town or stay with the car in the jungle. He decided on the first option. After a little while he heard something that stopped him in his tracks.

~~’It came again, fading against the howl of the wind. He squared his shoulders. Perhaps he was imagining things and it was just the wind. Briskly he stepped out once more.
Then his heart started to pound. A pinpoint of white light was emerging from the darkness, dipping and swaying, emitting an inhuman wail that froze his blood.’~~

After his escapade in the jungle de Silva awakened the next morning feeling distinctly under the weather. Jane, his wife, tried to persuade him to take the day off but he didn’t want to miss his regular appointment with Archie Clutterbuck, the assistant government agent in Nuala and de Silva’s superior. On de Silva’s return to the police station there’s a report of a missing man from one of the villages and Sergeant Prasanna asks permission to search the area with Constable Nadar. Recalling the noises he heard the previous night, de Silva joins the search. They find more than they bargained for.

The investigation gains momentum, despite the monsoon making everything much more difficult. Jane and Clutterbuck, who is home alone while his wife is cruising, join in the search for artefacts in the jungle, bringing about what turns out to be a hazardous train journey to Colombo for De Silva and Jane.

It was lovely to be able to have a return visit to colonial 1930s Ceylon and catch up with the colourful, engaging and well-rounded characters peopling this series. It’s written well, incorporating the complexities of the social structure, the local dishes and vividly descriptive prose together with quite a fast moving and well thought through plot. De Silva and Jane moved from Colombo to Nuala for a slower, less fraught lifestyle but in this episode de Silva finds himself in some desperate situations, not helped by the dreadful weather conditions. I think he, and Jane, deserve the holiday they discussed.

Book description

In this fourth instalment of the Inspector de Silva mysteries, it is monsoon season in the Hill Country. One stormy night, a ghostly encounter on a lonely road leads de Silva into a case of murder, and a mystery that stretches back to Ceylon’s distant past. To uncover the truth, he will have to face death and his inner demons.
Fatal Finds in Nuala is another absorbing and colourful mystery in this series that vividly portrays Sri Lanka’s Colonial past.

About the author

Harriet Steel wrote four historical novels before turning to crime with the Inspector de Silva mysteries, inspired by time spent in Sri Lanka (the former Ceylon)). Her work has also appeared in national newspapers and magazines. Visit her blog to sign up to her monthly newsletter for news of new releases and great offers, harrietsteel.blogspot.co.uk/
She’s married with two daughters and lives in Surrey. When she’s not writing, she likes reading, long walks and visiting art galleries and museums.

Harriet Steel

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #crimefiction #TuesdayBookBlog One Step Ahead by @DenverAuthor

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading One Step Ahead (Gamekeeper Turned Poacher #1) by Denver Murphy

40596668

Detective Inspector Jeffrey Brandt retires after a long and very successful career with one aim in mind. He has always been able to understand what drives people to kill and was therefore able to find motives even in cases that didn’t follow a pattern or plan. The more offenders who were found not guilty as the years went by made Brandt wonder what it was all for. He decided to take action in order to make the British public wake up and change their attitude towards the justice system.

‘Over time the crimes he was investigating, the affronts to decency and humanity, now only seemed viewed as unpleasant and inconvenient by-products of the modern age. Society had become so desensitised to violence, be it real or fictional, that what he was doing hardly seemed to matter anymore.’

Detective Chief Inspector Stella Johnson doesn’t believe in the perfect murder. There’s always a clue, you just have to look hard enough. Nobody is infallible. Together with the newest member of the team, her protégé PC McNeil, the team work to uncover the identity of the murderer.

As stated in the description, this takes the classic cat and mouse scenario and flips it on its head. Brandt’s moral decline pitted against Johnson’s single minded sense of purpose makes this a plot based police procedural, which comes from both Brandt’s and Johnson’s perspectives. This works well giving a rounded view of what’s happening.

Brandt is an unusual and quite scary character to say the least, going from a highly regarded police officer to a serial killer who believes he’s doing something for the greater good. What a skewed mindset…. but it definitely gives the story an edge.

I liked that I didn’t know where the plot was taking me….and what a twist at the end. Given that, and the fact there’s a follow on, it’s anyone’s guess where the story will go next.

Book description

Detective Superintendent Brandt has found the perfect murderer.

Himself.

And he will use his unparalleled knowledge of how to escape detection to kill; again and again, because the people of Britain need awakening from their slumber of indifference, having been desensitised by the violence that is gripping the country.

Brandt’s going to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end when you hear footsteps behind you. He’s going to make you look twice at that stranger walking towards you.

He’s going to make you afraid for your own safety and those around you.

Or he’s going to kill you.

But DCI Stella Johnson believes she can catch him. There is no such thing as a perfect murderer; everyone makes mistakes. The crime scenes may be lacking evidence, but each one tells its own story.

Aided by her young protege PC McNeil, and with their personal chemistry growing as fast as their working relationship, can she separate the murders’ facts from Brandt’s fiction to uncover the person behind these killings?

One Step Ahead takes the classic cat and mouse tale and flips it on its head. The intrigue behind Brandt’s dramatic descent into criminality, and Johnson’s determination to change the game, has captivated readers with its fascinating characters and compelling plot.

About the author

I’m an independent author trying to chart my own course in the vast sea of self-published works. My novels cover a variety of genres but one thing links them all: concerns with the humanity. Whether it’s the greed of individuals, happy to risk what they have in the pursuit of more, or people’s indifference to the ills that blight society, so long as they are not directly affected themselves, each of my books has a dark undertone.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Thriller Twisted Truth (Peter Hatherall Mystery) by @DianaJFebry

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Twisted Truth by Diana J Febry

40396345

Megan Roach is a journalist working with her University photographer friend, Rob, for a local newspaper. Not quite what Megan had envisaged as a career. Their present brief is to show care homes in a good light after the recent scandals. While packing up the equipment, Megan’s attention is caught by an elderly man in a wheelchair. She was amazed when the man jumped out of the wheelchair and shut the door, before handing her a package, saying he had evidence of a murder. Megan was skeptical but the man was insistent, and Megan was still searching for her big break. What could she lose by taking a look at the package?

DCI Peter Hatherall is very reluctantly attending a pagan wedding with his wife and partner DI Fiona Williams. The description of the wedding is fabulous and, judging by the one I watched at Glastonbury Abbey, it’s pretty spot on and although there wasn’t a maypole it was a sight to behold. Peter is approached by the groom, who’s worried because two of the guests who apparently possess some disturbing information, hadn’t made it to the wedding. He believes they are in terrible danger and wants Peter to investigate.

As Megan tries to make sense of the contents of the package, she begins asking questions about the evidence contained in the included notes, not realising she is at risk of losing her job…even her life. The deeper she digs the more she loses her grip on reality and the more her life spirals out of control.

Megan is portrayed very well as an unreliable character, her credibility is compromised fairly quickly. An incident outside a shop when an elderly man is being tormented by a group of youths seems to be the catalyst for Megan’s instability. She sometimes appears quite unappealing and quite often I found myself rolling my eyes at her questionable behaviour, sometimes wanting to give her a good shake. Given her upbringing it was understandable up to a point, she is quite vulnerable and seems very immature. I did find myself sympathising with her a little more as the narrative progresses.

Meanwhile Peter and Fiona are investing reports of a runaway, as well as the disappearance of Dick’s friends. The plot is well constructed and told from various perspectives, tying the threads up neatly in the end. I enjoyed learning more about Peter and Fiona’s personal circumstances. Both are having personal issues, and Fiona’s final decision really surprised me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed catching up with them both and look forward to more.

Book description

It’s hard to defend yourself when you have memory lapses, and everyone thinks you are crazy.
Journalist, Megan Roach, is given a story by an old man in a nursing home that could make her famous. When her carefully constructed life starts to unravel, she is forced to confront her childhood demons and the possibility she could be a murderer.
DCI Peter Hatherall uncovers a conspiracy that confronts his own beliefs and goes far deeper than Megan Roach imagined. But can he believe anything she says?

AmazonUk | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reviews #crimefiction Brand New Friend by @k8vane

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.com

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Brand New Friend by Kate Vane

39963730

BBC journalist/reporter Paolo Bennet was recording a report when his phone rang. The caller was Mark, an old friend from his student days, with an urgent appeal for him to come to Leeds. Scenting a story and curious, Paolo agrees. On the train journey north Paolo scours the internet for anything he can find out about Mark. He wants to find out the truth—about Mark, his handler and about who caused a fire and unexplained death on campus back in the 80s. Paolo knew Mark Benson as an animal rights activist but he has now been exposed as undercover policeman Mark Swift. Paolo is conflicted after learning the truth about Mark and is unsure about his one time friend’s motives. Nevertheless, he travels to Leeds and meets Mark, only to learn Mark’s former police handler, Sid, has been murdered.

‘Paolo had so many questions he didn’t know where to start. On the train he had started to make notes, like he was preparing for an interview, structuring questions to establish a narrative arc — the political context, how Mark got involved, why he didn’t go back.

What it felt like to betray his friends.’

The narrative alternates between Paolo’s time at university and the present and it wasn’t quite what I was expecting and that threw me a bit. I’d assumed it would be primarily a murder mystery, but that aspect was very much in the background. The story’s main focus is the characters, their pasts and present and how everything connects. That made it quite a slow starter for me and I found some of the passages were a little too dialogue heavy. Once I’d changed mindset from a murder mystery to a character driven story I was able to get into it more.

Paolo has obvious doubts about someone who had influenced him so much as a young man but the promise of a story spurs him on to chase leads and look up his old university friends. Could Mark have killed Sid? If so, why? Paolo knows now Mark is a liar but does he really believe Mark could be a killer. And what, if anything, has any of this to do with what happened on campus.

It was interesting to witness the perceptively described and played out dynamics between the diverse group of students. How the characters and their attitudes and principles, seemingly all but Mark’s, had changed in the years between university and present day. And as it happens, Mark wasn’t the only one who was sparing with the truth. Paolo started life as the more ordinary Paul Bennett. Some serious issues were tackled in the story, including animal testing and fracking, without being prejudicial either way. I would have enjoyed a little more exploration into the murder case but that’s just my personal preference. What makes this stand out are the extremely good character studies.

Book description

Friend. Liar. Killer?

BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered.

Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s murder might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?

Paolo wants the truth – and the story. He chases up new leads and old friends. From benefit gigs and peace protests, to Whatsapp groups and mocktail bars, the world has changed, but Mark still seems the same.

Is Mark the spy who never went back – who liked his undercover life better than his own? Or is he lying now? Is Paolo’s friend a murderer?

About the author

I’m an author of (mostly) crime and suspense, living in Devon.

My crime novel, Brand New Friend, will be published on 5 June 2018.

I have written for BBC drama Doctors and have had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday.

I mainly read crime and literary fiction with some non-fiction and am a recent convert to audiobooks.

Kate Vane

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

 

#familysaga #womensfiction #adoption Connectedness by @SandraDanby #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Connectedness by Sandra Danby

39801595

Beginning with a short, intriguing prologue, we become acquainted with Justine King as she attends her mother’s funeral in Yorkshire. Justine is a very successful artist and her story unfolds through present and past narratives. Justine’s return to her childhood home kindled memories, and thoughts on the path her life had taken after learning of her friend’s betrayal when they were teenagers. Turning emotions into art she created a collage which paved her way into art college and a subsequent year of study in Malaga.

Justine’s time in Spain was difficult, financially and emotionally, made worse by having no support. On her return to England, just as she thought things might work out, she faces a devastating choice. All of Justine’s migraine pain and sorrow are reflected in her art, which brings her acclaim as a best-selling artist.

Eventually Justine contacts Rose Haldane, journalist and identity detective, and asks for her help. So many years of keeping secrets makes it very hard for Justine, she isn’t at all sure she’s strong enough to cope with the distress and uncertainty of laying bare her past and all the hurt that would entail.

A beautifully written story encompassing love, loss, regret, adoption and art, taking place in Yorkshire, London and Spain over three decades. Evocative and description prose brings places to life with sights, sounds and scents. Justine becomes a very sympathetic character as layers are peeled away and more and more of her past is revealed. Her need to know despite the doubts and reservations is realistic, understandable and handled extremely well. Certain sections brought tears to my eyes, the scenes are so well described. The secondary characters are also well defined and the details throughout show the amount of research it must have taken to make the narrative entirely believable. A very engaging read.

Book description

TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALWAYS HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING
Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.
Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?
This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.
A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.

About the author

Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, IGNORING GRAVITY and CONNECTEDNESS, Sandra is not adopted.
In the ‘Identity Detective’ series, Rose Haldane, journalist and identity detective, reunites the people lost through adoption. They are the stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever.

Sandra Danby

AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #thriller The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne @Abigail_Author

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne

31422186

The story, set out in three parts, beginning in the present day, followed by flashback chapters from the past, before returning again to the present.  Chapters alternate between Billie’s and Adam’s perspectives, with the occasional diary entry from an anonymous, shadowy figure who obviously knows Billie and is stalking her. This approach defines the characters and their innermost feelings, building the suspense. Billie lives alone, with only her cat for company, avoiding contact with other people as much as possible. Something terrible has happened to her in the past which has had huge repercussions on her life.

‘Billie stole down the street avoiding all eye contact and people. Once a week, on Sunday, she braved the world to visit the bookstore not far from her flat. One Upon a Time had thousands of books and a quaint little cafe; it was her haven.’

Adam is a journalist, determined to expose Billie and exact revenge for the lives he believes she ruined. He seizes his chance when an unexpected opportunity arises and sets about trying to win her confidence, using all his charm to break down the barriers and gain her friendship. It’s an uphill struggle, Billie is very vulnerable and terrified of forming any sort of relationship. Very little information is disclosed about either of their backgrounds at this point in the narrative and the reader is kept in the dark for quite a while, which works well. I wondered what on earth Billie had done to cause such a reaction in Adam.

‘As he walked towards her, a plan formulated in his mind. His instinct for a story was awakened and he knew he had the opportunity of a lifetime.This could be his ticket to a better career and, more importantly, he could get justice.’

Billie suffered through a traumatic childhood with little to no support from her family. The lasting effects are her self-imposed isolation and panic attacks. Young Adam was devastated when he lost his mother. His father was unable to cope, neglected Adam and started drinking heavily. Adam was raised by his uncle, who became the young boy’s role model.

This is a story which revolves around the power of manipulation, how the manipulator controls by either friendliness, fear and/or deviousness, and sometimes leading by example. The debilitating effect on Billie and her conflicting emotions as she becomes closer to Adam are portrayed very well. The middle section of the narrative was less engaging and not quite as believable as the beginning, even as it shows how the chilling unscrupulousness of the manipulator breeds fear and repulsion and the reason for Adam’s fixation on Billie begins to become clear. It picks up again towards the end and I enjoyed how it plays out. The lack of suspects, twists and false leads, means it’s not hard to realise who the antagonist is. The book does convey very well how children can be betrayed by those they should be able to trust implicitly and disturbing subjects are covered without being gratuitous. I’ll be interested to see what the author tackles in her next book.

Book description

Manipulated by fear and love…could you cut the strings and take back control?

Billie’s hiding from the world, believing it to be the only way to take control of her life as she lives in fear of the man who nearly destroyed her. But what she doesn’t realise is that she’s exactly where he wants her; isolated and afraid. A chance meeting with budding journalist Adam sparks a relationship that could free her from the terror that controls her. But will Adam be able to see the real Billie buried under her terror and pain?

Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives she ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him but as unwanted attraction and feelings blossom between them, Adam is forced to realise that all is not as it seems.

Most of their lives have been unknowingly governed by the desires and needs of someone who considers himself their master. He has influenced and shaped them for years, meticulously weaving a web of lies and control around them. Can Billie and Adam survive the betrayals in store and cut the strings that bind them?

One thing is for sure. The master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter