Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHO KILLED VIVIEN MORSE? by @DianaJFebry #Thriller

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Who Killed Vivien Morse by Diana J Febry

Who Killed Vivien Morse (DCI Hatherall Book 4) by [Febry, Diana J]

Although I haven’t read the preceding books in the series, this wasn’t too difficult to settle into. DCI Hatherall is waylaid by the local, loves to complain, busybody, Glenys Pitman, who is well known at the police station. She has seen a man dressed in Druid robes behaving suspiciously in the woods. A humorous exchange follows before DCI Hatherall is able to usher Glenys on her way. Returning to his office, his partner DI Fiona Williams informs him the body of a young social worker, Vivien Morse, has been discovered in Silver Lady Woods.

Vivien’s estranged husband, Nigel, is the most likely suspect for her murder initially. That is, until Vivien’s supervisor goes missing and a prison inmate along with his paranoid and obviously disturbed erstwhile girlfriend, are thrown into the mix. The list of suspects grows. Although Fiona is still convinced there’s something off about Nigel, it seems the client Vivien visited before her death could be linked to the murder and missing supervisor.

This is a well thought through and tightly woven mystery with a twisty, somewhat convoluted plot, requiring plenty of concentration, and unconventional characters. I particularly enjoyed the Druid, Dick Death (or Dee-ath as he likes to pronounce it), his (female) dog, Colin and over the top Gladys. There’s a feeling of some sort of history between Peter and Fiona, but not having read the previous books, I’m not sure how accurate that is. And it seems Fiona’s current relationship might not be all hearts and flowers.

The humour and banter offset the darker side of the story extremely well. Vivid and atmospheric descriptions convey a real sense of the locations and characters. From the start I could picture Peter Hatherall – a man approaching middle age, with a younger, second wife, resenting the fact he had to work at keeping in shape but proud of his full head of dark hair. He is purposeful and determined to find the murderer, and won’t run with an obvious theory until he has explored every avenue. There are plenty of threads to unravel and needless to say, I didn’t guess the outcome.

Well written with sharp, witty dialogue, a fast paced, intricate plot and a mix of quirky and interesting characters makes for a very enjoyable read.

I chose to read and review Who Killed Vivien Morse? for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy from the author.

Book Description

Vivien Morse, a young social worker is discovered battered to death in Silver Lady Woods. Everyone assumes she was attacked by her estranged husband until her supervisor disappears. The connection appears to be Vivien’s last client. A damaged and disturbed girl who believes a bundle of rags is her lost baby and never leaves the family farm while she awaits the return of her lover.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

HINGSTON’S BOX by @Decima_Blake police #crime with a #paranormal twist partly set in #Devon

Hingston's BoxHingston’s Box by Decima Blake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hingston’s Box is a quick read police drama with a paranormal twist. Det Sgt Hingston can’t sleep and is suffering night terrors, all starting at the same time that twin boys have gone missing. With police scrabbling to find even the thinnest of threads they can use to move their investigation forward, Hingston is put on medical leave by occupational health.

He travels to Devon to stay with his uncle Zach and in Dartmouth he meets a mysterious old women, he also discovers an old musical box in a junk store. His visions and night terrors continue as if they are trying to send him a message and eerily the music box plays the exact same music he’s been dreaming about.

Research into the history of the box and its contents reveal connections to a gruesome murder in the 1800’s and Hingston’s sleuthing into the past opens his eyes to lines of enquiry they could use in the current missing persons case.

I enjoy a bit of paranormal and it gave this book a refreshing touch to the police crime storyline. An ideal read for anyone wanting a quick dip into a police drama.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Since investigating the disappearance of fifteen-year-old twin boys, Hingston – a young, talented Detective Sergeant, has been tormented by night terrors. On waking, he remembers a vast, golden meadow that glows with warmth and carries the sound of rapid footfalls and trouser legs pushing through grasses. A curly haired boy runs tirelessly through the meadow. The promise of adventure is lost when the sickening ache of death seeps into Hingston’s bones. Feeling suffocated and tortured, melodic chimes calm him and his panic subsides.

Signed off and leaving the office, a key inexplicably falls from Hingston’s investigation file. Intrigued, he takes it with him, escaping London for Dartmouth where his investigative race begins. Stalked by a challenging elderly woman and hindered by his boss, his determination to solve the case draws him into the supernatural world that connects a murderous past to the present.

About the author

Decima Blake

Decima Blake, aged thirty-two, has a long-standing interest in child protection having worked with teenagers, she is deeply passionate about child victims of crime. In writing Hingston’s Box, Decima drew on her love of classic English murder mysteries and ghost stories. Her interest in English Literature was ignited by two highly motivational teachers who made her A Level studies enjoyable, character forming and invaluable to her future endeavours.
Hingston’s Box raises awareness of the vulnerability of all children to exploitation. A percentage of royalties will be donated to the charity Embrace Child Victims of Crime

AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Goodreads | Twitter

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A LONG WAYS FROM HOME by @Mike54Martin #Cosy #Mystery

Today’s Team Review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading A Long Ways From Home by Mike Martin

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This is the first Sgt. Windflower book I have read, and I was curious about a book with a Native American member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as the protagonist. The series takes place in Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada. Sgt. Winston Windflower is an RCMP officer and a Cree from Northern Alberta, who is stationed in the small town of Grand Bank.

The story is fairly straightforward with a few twists: A large crew of outlaw bikers terrorizing the town of Grand Falls leaves behind the bodies of two people, a man and a woman, shot execution style in the head. The bodies are believed to be linked to the Bacchus Motorcycle Club, whose members are professional criminals who deal in prostitution, drugs, and brutality. The club is not only the nexus for a large drug distribution ring but is fighting another club for the territory. Sgt. Windflower, whose wedding to Sheila Hillier is rapidly approaching, is called to the town to clean up the mess. Budget cuts, meaning fewer officers to cover the territory, means trouble not only in Grand Falls but also at home, where his future wife is the mayor. A complication arises when the motorcycle belonging to Sheila’s cousin, Carol Jackson, is found abandoned by the side of the road outside of Grand Bank. Windflower learns from Sheila that Carole has been a member of motorcycle gangs in the past.

Windflower has to rely on his fellow Mounties to assist him in solving the crime and neutralizing Bacchus and its leader. He is supported by Sheila and his dog Lady, who is sensitive to his feelings and who is an important part of his life. Windflower’s Cree background also figures into his emotional support – helping him interpret his dreams through his uncle and aunt who are dreamwalkers, and beginning each day with the smoke of his smudge pot to remind him to be kind, strong, and determined.

The one word I can think of to describe this book is ‘nice.’ Such an overworked word, but it means good and enjoyable, kind, polite, and friendly. The characters in the book who are not part of the biker gang are believable, well drawn and, well, nice. The story moves along at a sedate pace, serene in its descriptions, and detailed in the police procedures. Even the tension-filled scenes are not high octane, and the dialogue is almost stately. The lives of the police are realistically portrayed in this way with lots of detail and even the occasionally boring parts. Most significantly, their contributions to helping people and communities overcome new and very difficult challenges is emphasized.

There is food in this book – delicious, mouth-watering in its description – and I am a sucker for food. I was introduced to bakeapples, another term for cloudberries, which are somewhat similar to raspberries of strawberries, but found in cool temperate, alpine climates, arctic tundra and boreal forests. I can’t wait to try them.

One other character that has to be mentioned is Newfoundland itself, an island whose natural beauty the author describes so well that I want to visit.

This was a slow read, but a ‘nice’ one.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT TROUBLE IN NUALA by @HarrietSteel1 #Historical #Crime #SriLanka

Today’s team review is from Liz she blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Trouble In Nuala by Harriet Steel

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Trouble in Nuala by Harriet Steel

Trouble in Nuala is the first in a series of investigations by Inspector Shanti de Silva in colonial Ceylon. Although a Sri Lankan himself, Shanti is married to Jane, an Englishwoman whom he had met after she came to the island as a governess. They mix in the “best” social circles of Nuala, up in the hills far from the busy city of Colombo. An experienced policeman, he may feel frustrated by his junior police officers and by the patronising attitude of Clutterbuck, the assistant government agent, but he is determined to investigate all cases without preference.

Although mainly concerned with minor offences such as neglected horses running wild, the sudden death of a bombastic, unpopular tea planter strikes de Silva as being suspicious, so he quietly makes inquiries into all the circumstances. The lonely widow and the planter’s stepson were not happy, the plantation was making a loss and a young lawyer had recently accused the planter of mistreating his workers.

Interspersed with the gradual investigation is a delightful description of the beauty of Sri Lanka and of the pretentious social life of the British community living there in the 1930s. Shanti and Jane have a respectful relationship based on love and consideration, so he willingly eats cucumber sandwiches when he would much prefer a spicier snack.

This gentle, intelligent policemen could well become renowned for his careful and thoughtful approach to crime in an enthralling environment. A very enjoyable and relaxing book to read. I look forward to his next investigation.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com available free from Kindle Unlimited

 

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT FACE VALUE by @IanAndrewAuthor #crime #fridayreads

Today’s Team Review is from Georgia, she blogs at http://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading Face Value by Ian Andrew

The Wright of the subtitle of this book is Kara Wright and the Tran is Tien Tran. They are now private investigators having been combat veterans for an elite intelligence unit and I found that this is an action, rather than character, led tale. The story opens with a killing and a brutally efficient one at that and it is this part of the story, and the ongoing police investigation into the death, that takes place in Huntingdon.

Wright and Tran are hired by siblings Michael and Zoe to look into the disappearance of their parents and as a consequence they get to use their former training and while there is much to like about this book I think it was this that interested me most.

Wright and Tran have an extensive network of skilled help they can call on and I really enjoyed the detailed description of how they went about their investigation. There is extreme military precision at play here, a solid knowledge of correct procedure for covert surveillance, following suspects and obtaining the information needed to lay a trap to expose a network of crime and corruption. Clearly Andrew is an author who knows what he is talking about.

Alongside all of this the reader is kept abreast of the ongoing police investigation back in Huntingdon as the net tightens on the killer and I kept wondering all the way through how the first death was going to tie into the rest of the story as it seemed a little abstract but it did all eventually fit together and I thought the ending worked well. Although this is the first in the series be assured that there is a satisfying dénouement here along with a perfect set up for the following book(s).

This story would be enjoyed by all those who like plenty of realistic action along with well-written military style investigation that exposes a seedy world of crime and this author has done a great job.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com also available free from Kindle Unlimited

Rosie’s Team #RBRT THE DCI JONES CASEBOOK: ELLIS FLYNN by @KerryJDonovan #Crime #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The DCI Jones Casebook: Ellis Flynn by Kerry Donovan

The DCI Jones Casebook: Ellis Flynn by [Donovan, Kerry J]

Another excellent instalment in the DCI Jones Casebook series. When young Hollie Jardine goes missing DCI David Jones, head of the Midlands Police Serious Crime Unit, is on the case along with his partner DC Alexandra Olganski. Jones is near to retirement, but his determination to find Hollie is absolute, although he finds missing child cases very difficult. His friend and colleague, Phil Cryer, has a daughter who could look just like Hollie when she reached her teens and that makes the case hit home even more so.

Luckily CCTV caught some footage and he and Alex risk more than their jobs when they follow Hollie’s trail over the channel. What they discover there defies description. Both their lives will be affected.

Hollie has been groomed and persuaded to go away for a holiday by the loathsome Ellis Flynn. When Hollie arrives to meet Flynn and sees another man with him she becomes suspicious, having second thoughts, and is taken by force. From the start the indication is there’s a paedophile ring at work. These characters are portrayed brilliantly, even though they’re hateful, and the beginning of the story, coming from Flynn’s point of view is chilling. More so because it’s a scenario that could be all too real.

The procedural was fascinating to follow and David Jones is a compassionate and very likeable protagonist, regardless of his almost OCD tendencies. He hates mess anywhere but most especially in his own space. A sad past is hinted at and with his time as a father cut cruelly short, he has a solitary air, although certain of his colleagues are good friends. Kerry Donovan has given a good balance between the logistics of working the case and the individuals’ thoughts and feelings. It’s a multilayered story with a great cast of characters. I really enjoyed the interaction and working relationship between Jones and his French counterpart, Colonel Jean-Luc Coué, a great character. Both of them are firmly on the same page regarding the abduction, and worse, of young girls and the way the offenders should be dealt with.

This is a compelling and tension filled read, the timelines at the beginning of each chapter adding to the ‘race against time’ feel of the storyline. Just when it looks like the case is almost wrapped up, the plot escalates again with a completely unexpected twist. Then again, when it seems like everything has been in vain, another surprise. There’s one question left unanswered for which I have my own, hopefully right, guess. I’ll have to wait and see!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE BLUE RIDGE PROJECT by @NeilRochford #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Blue Ridge Project by Neil Rochford

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THE BLUE RIDGE PROJECT by Neil Rochford

4 out of 5 stars

This is a complicated and cleverly thought out thriller with three main strands that come together smoothly; it’s a jolly good plot, original and unusual. Murders, evil politicians, psychosis, mind control, dark secrets from the past—it’s got the lot. I wasn’t quite sure at first, it just seemed like another forgettable crime suspense thriller type book, fairly readable but not that memorable, but then at about 25% it suddenly got more interesting, and I started to get seriously into it about half way through. There’s a well placed ‘before’ section that explains how all the situations you read about first have come about; the planning gets a tick from me.

Two things made this book not work as well as it might have done, for me. One was the characterisation, or lack of it. Most of the characters remained one dimensional, their dialogue mostly used as a vehicle for the plot, and with little insight into their heads. The exception to this is main character Robert, who I could ‘see’ a bit more than the others (and psycho Lyons was good, too), but female cop Andrea was a man in all but name (why is it that women writers can usually write men better than male writers can write women?). Because there were so many characters and they didn’t walk out of the page and into my imagination, I sometimes got confused with who each one was. Even when the plot is the star of the show, if you don’t connect with the characters you don’t care what happens to them. I’d also be tempted to trim the cast list down.

My other minor complaint is that I thought the book could do with final proofread, and another edit. Example: ‘She pushed open a door to reveal a spacious lounge. There were two comfortable-looking brown-leather chairs across from each other with a small, round, wooden table held up by a wooden sphere, instead of legs, that had been carved and polished with great care, and a round, flat piece of wood for the table top.’ This would have been much more succinctly written as ‘In the spacious lounge stood two comfortable looking brown leather chairs separated by a small, immaculately carved and polished, wooden table.’ You don’t need to know that the doctor pushed open the door before she and Andrea walked into the room (let it be presumed), and maybe we don’t need to know about the plinth, either.   This one just jumped out at me but there were a few similar. I only put this in detail because at the end of the book the author has expressed the desire for feedback via reviews.

Having said all this, I would still recommend The Blue Ridge Project, and the author has a good handle on suspense; it kept me interested and I wasn’t tempted to abandon or skip read. I gather this is Rochford’s first novel; I am sure he will iron out his debut novelist dodgy bits, as most do.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT TRUST ME I LIE by @LouiseMarley #Crime #Mystery #wwwblogs

Today’s second team review is from Suraya, find her at http://www.thestorymint.com

#RBRT Review Team

Suraya has been reading Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley

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Trust Me I lie

Louise Marley

Five Stars

This review is written as part of Rosie’s review team and I received the book for free.

This novel starts predictably when the hero, policeman Ben, and heroine, heiress Milla stumble across each other on a stormy night. She is on the road, wet and bedraggled.

‘He hit the brakes and then he hit her.’ (11)

This is policeman Ben’s first encounter with Milla.

He was fuming over his tense meeting with his ex-wife and distracted. It all sounds familiar right down to his seeing through Milla’s lies and not trusting her. And as always the case in these scenarios the feeling is mutual.

She steals from him and disappears. Meantime, he is called to investigate the murder of Camilla Graham who is laid out in a four poster bed dressed in a gown by Dior. When he is told the victim is Camilla Graham, he knows this is not true, or is it? If this is Camilla Graham who was the woman he met on the road and took in for the night? The story twists and turns as Ben tries to unravel the true identities of Camilla, Kiran and Milla. They are related but how?

The plot twists and turns, drawing on events eighteen years before and weaving them into the present raising questions about Camilla Graham’s family as it does. It has pace and the characters are well drawn.

And of course the right two people get together at the end although at times it seems this could never happen, giving the reader a reason to keep turning the page.

I recommend it as a read to escape life’s mundane realities. After all who can resist a troubled but fully independent heiress who does not do a thing she is told and in doing so takes big risks all in the name of finding out who killed her mother and family.

She is sharp witted, intelligent and a match for senior police officer Ben Taylor.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com available free from Kindle Unlimited

 

The #MysteryNovember Book Tour Day 7 – Robert Leigh @ScreamingMagpie #WeekendBlogShare

Welcome to Day 7 of the #MysteryNovember book tour.

Mystery Book Tour Bus copyright

Today our guest is Robert Leigh and his book Any Man Joe.

ANY MAN JOE COMPLETE

Before Shaun, there was Joe. 

DI Edwards was called to the scene of a shooting. Four of the deceased were well known to him. The fifth man remained a mystery.
Until he woke up.
His name was Joe, a misfit shelf stacker living on the crime ravaged Forest Estate. As the investigation continues, DI Edwards finds himself being drawn deeper into Joe’s world of vigilante revenge. But will the truth of Joe’s actions ever fully be revealed?

Robert Leigh

 

Where is your home town?

Liverpool. UK

What do you like about writing in the mystery genre?

Well, I didn’t set out with the intension of writing a mystery novel – it became one of those fortunate accidents. I had a draft, which needed a lot of work. I took the storyline to pieces and then rearranged the entire book so it made for a more interesting project. I have experimented with the cut-up style in the past. This was the same, but on a story scale, not just paragraph to paragraph, page to page.

What sub-genre of mystery does your book fit?

I would say police detective woven with corruption and vigilantism.

Where is your book set?

Somewhere in the UK. The Forest Estate, where the story takes place, is based on three estates I lived on, or near, whilst growing up in Liverpool.

Can you introduce us to the main characters?

So, there’s Joe – around thirty, a shelf stacker in Greenways supermarket. Joe hasn’t had the easiest of upbringings, but he’s putting his head down and getting on with life – until his best friend is murdered. This turning point sees a new Joe who wants to avenge his friend, but also make the estate safe for the other people who live there.The pair of them get around, and around and around and….

DI Edwards is the detective investigating what Joe has done, been up to, got involved in… Edwards has to deal with police corruption, mental health practitioners, journalists and his own apathy.

Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/RLeigh78

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Robert-Leigh/e/B00JRD2FJA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Twitter @ScreamingMagpie

Where can readers find your book?

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Any-Man-Retribution-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00YJBKZ9M/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Any-Man-Retribution-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00YJBKZ9M/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/any-man-joe/id1012055160?mt=11

 

 

 

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Luccia reviews Cleaver Square by Sean & Daniel Campbell

Today’s book review comes from Luccia, she blogs at http://lucciagray.wordpress.com

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Luccia chose to read and review Cleaver Square by Sean Campbell

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Cleaver Square: A Plot-driven Detective Novel

Cleaver Square is a well-plotted detective novel. I enjoyed travelling around London with Detective Morton, I also liked the detailed police procedural and scientific information, including autopsy reports and legal issues. At times it was like watching an entertaining crime film, with all the intricacies of a complex investigation.

The plot was cleverly designed and well developed until the final surprising twist is revealed. It’s narrated in third person, although the narrator is sometimes omniscient and sometimes, takes the point of view of one of the characters, such as Morton or Charlie Mathews, a young boy in a foster family, who is an essential component of the plot which will gradually develop throughout the novel (I don’t want to add any spoilers). The prose was mostly easy and pleasant to read.

It’s definitely a plot-driven novel, because the emphasis is clearly on an external conflict, in this case a murder, and its solution through a specific sequence of events, in this case tracking down the criminal. There is a great deal of action involved, and both the dialogue and the action are mainly concerned with unveiling the plot and solving the issue at hand. In this aspect there is no objection, the plot was correctly and smoothly conveyed.

On the other hand, there is an aspect which made it hard for me to enjoy the novel as much as I would have liked. I felt it lacked character development. I personally prefer character-driven novels where the emphasis is on personal conflict and the relationships between the characters. Character driven novels do not have a tangible or specific outcome. They are more concerned with how the characters cope with conflict, how they make decisions, and how these decisions affect their relationships with each other and their lives in general. The outcome is often a change of attitude, or a new situation in the characters’ lives. There is often no specific or definite solution or conclusion. I like to meet people when I read a novel, and I enjoy it when the characters to stay with me after I finish reading.

Most novels combine engaging characters and a compelling plot to varying degrees, but in this case, I felt that the lack of character development made it difficult for me to connect with the story itself, because I wasn’t interested in the characters themselves and what happened to them. As a result, I almost lost interest in the solution of the crime. I would have liked to feel more involved with the people in the novel. I felt like they were saying their lines and playing their part, but I couldn’t relate to them on a personal level.

Overall I’d say that if you enjoy a well-plotted detective novel, set in London, with an unexpected final twist, you’ll enjoy Cleaver Square.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com