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.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT DARK FRAGMENTS by @RSinclairAuthor #Thriller

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Dark Fragments by Rob Sinclair

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Ben Stephens’ life has never been the same since he discovered his wife’s body in their bed, although he has subsequently remarried to Gemma, the woman he was having an affair with during his marriage to Alice. Ben works, under sufferance on both sides, for his wife’s father but his career has taken a downturn as well as his marriage to Gemma, and to top it all off he’s involved in a ‘business venture’ with a well known, very dangerous criminal and is in serious debt. Ben visits Alice’s grave regularly and when he’s followed there on one occasion, and his family threatened he desperately considers his options.

Ever since they were children Ben has felt second best to his successful and now estranged twin, Dani, a police detective who was Alice’s best friend. When Dani visits out of the blue with too many uncomfortable questions for Ben, events unfold dramatically and Ben has decisions to make. Whether or not he makes the right ones only time will tell.

The fast paced story is narrated by Ben, so his viewpoint is biased. The chapters are short and sharp, interspersed with sections where Ben is speaking with someone, giving the impression of a psychiatrist or therapist, about his life, dissecting his behaviour and the self-imposed and very dubious events which culminate in his current circumstances.

Initially I felt sympathy for Ben, with the tragedy he suffered and the situation he was in, but as the story progresses his behaviour escalates in a terrifying way, becoming more and more erratic as his rage and weakness control his actions and bounce him from one dire situation to another. His attitude is superior and seemingly without any sense of culpability, blaming everything and everybody but himself for his troubles and expecting support from those around him regardless. His desire for retribution for supposed wrongs fuels his egocentric tendencies. I have to say, sympathy didn’t last very long and I found myself becoming more shocked and disbelieving.

Ben’s disturbing and volatile character is portrayed extremely well….his only redeeming feature is his love for his children. The plot is full of twists and turns and I would never have guessed that ending!

Reviewed for Rosie Amber’s book review team and based on an advanced reader copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.

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

ALONE TRILOGY by @BobSummer5 #Psychological #Thrillers set in #Wales #TuesdayBookBlog

ALONE (The complete trilogy)ALONE by Bob Summer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alone Trilogy are a set of psychological thrillers set in Wales around a small town of Nanteang. Book #1 Alone But Not Lost introduces us to a lonely a very insecure character called Sin. She lives in a house with top security, CCTV cameras, locks and bolts and a safe room, and hovers on the edge of sanity. Her only human contact is with Hawk, an odd-job man she leaves notes for who gets her shopping and tries to become her friend.

News of the release from prison of Glyn Morgan has Sin panicking, and making preparations to run away. This triggers memories from her childhood and fills us in on the story so far. Born to a mother made rich from a song her band once made, Sin is her mother’s mistake and she’s subjected to verbal and physical abuse from a mentally unstable parent. Forced to live in a pit beneath the garage. Later they send Sin to a private school, where she meets Jenna, but it’s a front for a Paedophile ring and the girls run away, successfully at first, but later they’re caught. With no proper schooling or upbringing, Sin is far from streetwise and experiences then and later, when they return to her mother’s house make her insanity no surprise.

Book #2 The Edge. Grown up Sin is on the run. Jenna’s gone, Hawk’s dead and she can’t trust anyone. This book is also more about police officer Sara Jones, who came as a community support policewoman to offer support when Glyn was freed. Sara and Sin had met about twenty years before when Sin and Jenna were on the run. They both have mental health issues, and are alone. Sara is ostracized at work over supporting a rape allegation against a fellow police officer. She’d like to be a part of the current murder investigation, but she has family connections and they keep her out. But she can’t let it rest and follows her own line of inquiries which lead them to Sin.

Book #3 Detective Alan Meadows is also a loner, sent in undercover to sniff out the corruption in the police-force. There’s been a big fall-out because of Sara’s investigations and she’s left the force for a peaceful life, but two cases of arson at Hawk’s properties and kidnapping of her son and his pregnant girlfriend have her back on the case. With few avenues open to her, she asks Alan for help, the kidnappers want Sin because they believe she holds vital information, but Sin is in a top mental hospital. Sarah will stop at nothing to save her family and Alan puts his job on the line to help her.

It was good to read these books one after another, there was just enough detail of the story so far, for readers who will read them singularly, but not too much for those reading them in sequence. I think they work best read one after the other and I enjoyed the level of suspense in each book. As the books evolve they move more into police crime thrillers. There were some good twists at the end of book three which I didn’t see coming. I would recommend these to anyone who enjoys good thrillers.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT BLOOD OF THE SIXTH by @KRRowe #Paranormal #Horror #wwwblogs

Today’s Team Review is from Teri, she blogs at http://teripolen.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Teri has been reading Blood Of The Sixth by K.R Rowe

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In the quaint Southern town of Port Bella Rosa, something sinister lurks beneath the cobblestones. When hunger stirs a centuries-old evil, a demon awakens, releasing its hunters in search of prey. Jackals swarm from the mist, seeking out quarry, sating their master with offerings of human flesh.

Allie Kent catches a glimpse of the first victim: a corpse with its organs, muscle and bone all consumed, leaving nothing more than skin behind. While police work to solve the unexplained murder, more bodies are found mutilated. Finally convinced the killer isn’t human, Detective Phillip Chambers is desperate to shield Allie from harm.

But something haunts Allie: shadows spill through her darkened window; nightmares invade her sleep while visions confuse her waking thoughts. With Phillip her only protection, Allie struggles to keep her independence in check while treading a thin line between reality and insanity. But is the evil dwelling beneath the stones her only true threat—or will the demons in Allie’s head have the strength to destroy them both? – Goodreads.com

I’ve been a horror fan since third grade when I read my first ‘age appropriate’ horror book – then moved on to Stephen King and others soon after, craving more than the ‘appropriate’ books could provide.  Blood of the Sixth is most definitely a horror novel with some cringe-worthy moments – but if you’re not a fan of the genre, don’t let that keep you from giving this a try, because there’s also a sweet romance between some intriguing characters.

Whether it’s an eerie, haunting scene guaranteed to cause goosebumps or the deep, gut-wrenching pull of first love, this author is phenomenal at descriptive writing.  The senses are engaged and the writing flows effortlessly, immersing the reader into a well-paced story – which caused me to lose track of time more than once.

One of the biggest reasons this story is so captivating is the characters – you can’t help but love Allie’s quirkiness and be sympathetic to her horrific past.  Phillip is all business as a detective, but shows a softer side when he feels an attraction to Allie almost immediately when they meet and charms his way into her life.  Maybe Allie is more open to the possibility of the supernatural because of her past, but Phillip needs convincing and soon witnesses some terrifying events that can only explained by paranormal means.

Blood of the Sixth is a spine-chilling read and one I’d highly recommend to horror/paranormal thriller fans.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.

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

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

Today’s Team review is from E.L. Lindley, she blogs at http://lindleyreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

E.L has been reading Face Value by Ian Andrew

Face Value by Ian Andrew is a crime thriller which introduces readers to the Wright and Tran series. It’s an intriguing novel with lots of action, driven by strong, believable female characters.

Kara Wright and Tien Tran are partners in a private investigation agency. They are also best friends who met whilst serving as part of a special ops’ team within the military. They both have their own skill set, Kara is more outgoing and handles the client side of the business whereas Tien is a technological whizz. Both characters however are tough, intelligent and not the kind of women you would want to cross. In fact the novel opens with Kara making short work of a would-be rapist in a quite spectacular fashion, involving little more than a red stiletto heeled shoe.

I have to confess that Andrew had me at the shoe but he kept my interest throughout with his well crafted mystery. The story begins when the adult children of Chris and Brenda Sterling recruit Kara and Tien to track their parents’ whereabouts. The problem is, to all intents and purposes, the Sterlings have simply taken off on a holiday to Florida. As the plot unfolds, however, it becomes increasingly apparent that this is not the case and Kara and Tien find themselves drawn into the murky world of a Russian criminal.

Andrew makes his novel even more exciting by structuring it so that Kara and Tien’s investigation is interspersed with the investigation of the police who are searching for the killer of the aforementioned would-be rapist. The two storylines collide dramatically towards the end in a very satisfying finale.

There is much to recommend this novel, not least the central characters themselves. Kara is no-nonsense and forthright with a sharp sense of humour and whilst Tien may be quieter and happy take a back seat, she is no less ballsy. We learn that her military career ended when she lost her hand during a daring rescue mission. A mission that saw her awarded the military cross for bravery.

The military is very much present in this book as Kara and Tien draw on the support of other former military personnel. They are presented as a tight network and Andrew captures the banter between them perfectly. The way the characters use jokes to counteract the danger make the relationships seem authentic.

My favourite thing about this novel is the way that Andrew allows women to shine in what is traditionally viewed as a man’s world. In addition to Kara and Tien there are lots of strong female characters making up both military and police roles. Even the toughest of the villains is a Russian woman called Emilia. It is telling that whilst interrogating her, Kara calls to mind a maxim from 1970s anti-terrorism training – “Kill the women fighters first for they are the most vicious, the most hard line, the least likely to surrender.”

The way in which Andrew chooses to conclude his novel places Kara and Tien in a position to move into a new and exciting direction in the future. He has set up his series very effectively with lots of likeable characters who I for one want to see more of. If you like action packed crime with a strong military flavour then you should give Face Value a try.

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

 

 

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE MEMORY BOX by @EvaNatiello #Mystery #Thriller #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s Team Review is from Cathy she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.com

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello

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Caroline Thompson, a suburban mother of two, keeps as much distance as she can from the town’s gossipmongers, and their insatiable need to dig into everyone’s lives. The latest craze is googling everyone to see what they can uncover to add fuel to their nasty gossip. They could only find three hits for Caroline, which initially is reassuring, but gives Caroline the idea to google her maiden name, which no-one in town knows. As she scrolls through hit after hit, what she finds terrifies her. How can she not remember such momentous and life changing episodes from her past.

What follows are Caroline’s attempts to piece together the explosive information Google has thrown up. The more she uncovers, the worse it gets. It appears her nice, comfortable life is built on a foundation of shocking lies and deception. As Caroline becomes ever more confused and panic stricken, her behaviour becomes more and more outlandish. I honestly couldn’t see where this was going or how it could be resolved. There’s plenty of suspense and drama from Caroline’s point of view but I couldn’t understand why nobody was picking up on her weird behaviour and the fact she’s unravelling before their eyes. Or why Caroline wasn’t confiding in her husband, her best friend, someone who could offer her support.

All becomes clear in part two! A completely unexpected and unusual twist … and then some, with another surprise development at the very end. This is a very imaginative and unconventional telling of a story within a story. A couple of little niggles for me were over description in parts and Caroline’s thought processes which became quite repetitive, but could, of course, be intentional to show how she is gradually becoming more deeply disturbed. That said, it’s a very unpredictable read with many layers and an obsessive protagonist who has to be in control.

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

#NewRelease THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by @TerryTyler4 #Thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

The Devil You KnowThe Devil You Know by Terry Tyler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Devil You Know is a thriller in a fictitious town in Lincolnshire, England. The book opens with the murder of a young woman by an unknown man. The story-line revolves round the possible perpetrator of a mounting series of murders. I like this author’s style of writing so I jumped at the chance to read an ARC of this book as she takes her writing and her readers on a bold move with this genre.

After the opening scene, events turn back to a year earlier, 2015. We are introduced to key characters who all discover that those close to them have valid suspicious actions which make them all capable of being the one the police are after. Juliet’s husband is a bully and regularly goes out late at night claiming it’s for business meetings. Steve’s friend Dan, is the spitting image of the e-fit photo of the man the police suspect. Tamsin’s liked colleague Jake Fallon for ages and when they finally get together she wants more than a one night stand. But why is Jake giving her the brush off and avoiding her? Maisie’s Mum has a new boyfriend, but just how loyal is he? Dorothy’s routine loving son Orlando, starts staying out late and not attending club meetings he’s always been to.

The plot is character driven, building the layers in delicious anticipation with plenty of red herrings which had me mentally accusing the most obscure characters of the deadly deed, then just when I had convinced myself I’d solved the case a new piece of evidence was dropped into the story-line and off my thoughts went on another tangent. My mind doesn’t work methodically like a police detective, and when the body count began to grow I needed to eagerly read on as I pointed my accusing finger at yet another character.

By the end I wanted to have a cuppa and a chat to Dorothy, who seemed a little lonely and I found Juliet very intriguing, which just shows that even with a dark genre, readers can still empathise with really well written characters. The last fifth of the book had some marvellous twists and complimented the different approach to thriller writing that made this a superb read.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

 

 

 

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

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

#RBRT Review Team

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

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THE DCI JONES CASEBOOK: Ellis Flynn by Kerry J Donovan

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

I’ve read a couple of this author’s other books, and still like On Lucky Shores best, which I recommend highly. This one is a standard sort of British detective crime thriller, generally well planned out. I liked the plot itself, and thought the baddies were suitably horrible, very convincing. From what I can see, Mr Donovan certainly knows his stuff about police procedures, no problems there. Some reviews say the plot is a bit far-fetched, but this is fiction, isn’t it? It wasn’t a problem for me.

I thought where this book fell down was the characterisation/dialogue, which was, at times, almost like a something out of a comic book, or a spoof; Captain Jean-Luc, the French detective (‘Jean-Luc, the same as your Captain Picard in Star Trek’), came across like something out of 1980s comedy series ‘AlloAllo; he and Jones’s sidekick Alex, a Swedish Brigitte Nelson type, preface their English phrases with ‘how do you say‘ every five minutes, not forgetting Alex’s ‘ja‘ at the end of too many sentences, and their misunderstandings of English phrases ‘is this what is called in England being a butter-fingers?’ and something about uncovering ‘the Ring of the Vice‘. We know they’re French and Scandinavian; it’s not necessary to remind the reader every time they open their mouths. I couldn’t decide if it was meant to be spoof-like or not; I just found it irritating.

The book begins with the wonderfully depraved Ellis Flynn’s grooming of young teenager Hollie Jardine; this made for an excellent opening to pull the reader straight in, but was, alas, was let down by poor proofreading, and by the fact that part of the initial detective work hinged on the discovery of some photo booth pictures of Hollie and Ellis. Hollie was so excited about these, persuading Ellis to have them taken. This leapt out at me: do teenagers do the photo booth thing any more? I thought that was more something of 15 or 20 years ago; these days, teenagers take photos and videos on their phones, constantly. I know this is set in 2011, but virtually all teenagers had camera phones/smartphones by then.

I’m sorry not to give a better review, because Mr Donovan is a jolly good writer in so many ways, and I can see by others that this book has been received very well, so perhaps it’s just me! As far as the plot and suspense go it’s fine; it’s just the dialogue and proofreading that let it down—and I’d still read another book by him, especially if he wants to revisit Chet Walker from On Lucky Shores!

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

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE DEAD CITY by @dylanjmorgan #SciFi #wwwblogs

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Cathy has been reading The Dead City by Dylan J Morgan

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Several weeks after the first contingent of soldiers were despatched to Hemera on an ill-fated reconnaissance mission (The Dead Lands), another larger, elite force has travelled from Erebus to Hemera in order to rescue any survivors. Headed by Colonel Paden who couldn’t really care less about his soldiers, and has his sights firmly set on the treasure he believes is buried beneath the presidential palace. The Superior Armed Forces are aware from previous reports that Hemera’s capital, Magna, is overrun by mutants but were unprepared for the magnitude of their task and the swarms of creatures which greeted their disembarkation.

The action is non stop from that moment with terrifying battle scenes and lots of carnage on both sides. Written in the third person, it gives excellent, and sometimes poignant, insights into the characters, as we get to know the dynamics and great mix of personalities and motivations. They all inspire strong emotions and are crafted exceptionally well – those you love and those you love to hate. My favourites are Ryan and his sister, Jayde, along with several others. I know it’s a mistake to get too attached (it took me a while to get over Lane) as Dylan Morgan has no scruples about killing off characters, good as well as bad.

There are so many motivating forces in this story, including hate, greed, love, fear, honour and principles relating to loyalty and conduct. I know from reading previous books there is never a happy ever after, but this finishes with a completely unexpected and terrifically awful twist at the end, which I hope means the story isn’t over just yet, although I think I’ve visualised enough body parts and gore flying around to keep me going for a little while😉

The writing is as descriptive and detailed as always, with well defined characters, and a fast paced plot. If I can use the three Gs again – gritty, gruesome and great! Those words do seem to encapsulate Dylan Morgan’s books.

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

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