Need You Dead by Peter James

Need You Dead by Peter James

EXCERPT: At the first salon she worked in after qualifying as a hairdresser, Lorna had a client who was an anthropologist at Sussex University. He’d told her his theory, and it intrigued her. That early human beings communicated entirely by telepathy, and we only learned to speak so that we could lie.

Over the subsequent fifteen years she’d come to realize there really might be some truth in this. There’s the side of us we show, and the side we keep private, hidden. The truth. And the lies. That’s how the world rolls.

She got that.

Boy, did she.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.

MY THOUGHTS: I love this series, and I enjoyed Need You Dead. What should have been a straightforward murder investigation turns into a twisty cat and mouse hunt, with surprising results.

James strikes a good balance between the professional and personal sides of Roy Grace’s life, each enhancing the other. In Need You Dead, Grace meets his ten year old son for the first time. Bruno’s addition to the Grace family unit is sure to inspire some great storylines in future books.

In the penultimate chapter, there is an incident which may be nothing, or it may presage something very sinister indeed. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to find out.

While thebooks in this series may easily be read as stand-alones, you will reap the full benefit of the back-story and character development if you read them as a series.

Definitely recommended.

💕💖💕💖.5

THE AUTHOR: Peter James is a UK No. 1 bestselling author, best known for writing crime and thriller novels, and the creator of the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. With a total of 13 Sunday Times No. 1s under his belt, he has achieved global book sales of over 19 million copies to date, and has been translated into 37 languages.

Synonymous with plot-twisting page-turners, Peter has garnered an army of loyal fans throughout his storytelling career – which also included stints writing for TV and producing films. He has won over 40 awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award, Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger and a BAFTA nomination for The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons for which he was an Executive Producer. Many of Peter’s novels have been adapted for film, TV and stage.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Need You Dead by Peter James, published by MacMillan, thanks to my husband who gave me this copy for Christmas. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2628440576

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One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

One of Us Is Lying


EXCERPT: Bronwyn, Monday September 24th, 2.55 pm

A sex tape. A pregnancy scare. Two cheating scandals. And that’s just this week’s update. If all you knew of Bayview High was Simon Kelleher’s gossip app, you’d wonder how anyone found time to go to class.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

MY THOUGHTS: High School. . . I hated it, and this book reminded me why. McManus has perfectly depicted the bitchy machinations of the high school elite, those super cool, oh-so-confidant kids that everyone despises, but aspires to be. Those kids who are just as insecure as everyone else, just much better at hiding it.

I loved this book. It started out with me wondering why I was reading this. . . it was reminiscent of those ‘reality’ TV programs that I detest. I thought that I would give it a couple of chapters, then ditch it and move onto something else. But a couple of chapters in, and I was hooked. The plot, along with the characters, matured as I read and, although I correctly guessed the outcome, there were a few neat little twists along the way that threw me off kilter.

One of Us Is Lying is an intriguing take on the classic locked room mystery, one that had my little grey cells working overtime until things clicked into place, and then I simply had to finish the read to see if I was right.

😊😊😊😊

THE AUTHOR: Karen M. McManus is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult thriller One of Us Is Lying, which has been translated into 37 languages worldwide. Her second book, Two Can Keep a Secret, will be released in January 2019. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus, narrated by Kim Mai Guest, McLeod Andrews, Robbie Daymond and Shannon McManus, published by Audible Audiobooks, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2194698847

The Man With No Face by Peter May

The Man With No Face

EXCERPT: She gave a slight start as a door slammed somewhere in the depths of the building. Not everyone was asleep. A light came on downstairs, throwing a broad wedge of light out across the snow on the terrace. Something was moving down there, something dark and huddled that froze as it was caught in the sudden light. The shadow of a man fell away from the house, long and thin. A face turned up towards the window, sickly pale, whiter than snow. Tania did not move. It was a face she knew, a face in which she saw a reflection of her own fear. Eyes in which she recognized the same hunted look she had seen in the Rue de Pavie. Then the light went out and she could no longer see him, but knew he was still there. And knew, too, that he had come for her.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: There are two men on their way to Brussels from the UK: Neil Bannerman, an iconoclastic journalist for Scotland’s Daily Standard whose irate editor wants him out of the way, and Kale–a professional assassin.

Expecting to find only a difficult, dreary political investigation in Belgium, Bannerman has barely settled in when tragedy strikes. His host, a fellow journalist, along with a British Cabinet minister, are discovered dead in the minister’s elegant Brussels townhouse. It appears that they have shot each other. But the dead journalist’s young autistic daughter, Tania, was hidden in a closet during the killings, and when she draws a chilling picture of a third party–a man with no face–Bannerman suddenly finds himself a reluctant participant in a desperate murder investigation.

As the facts slowly begin to emerge under Bannerman’s scrutiny, he comes to suspect that the shootings may have a deep and foul link with the rotten politics that brought him to Brussels in the first place. And as Kale threatens to strike again, Bannerman begins to feel a change within himself. His jaded professionalism is transforming into a growing concern for the lonely and frightened Tania, and a strong attraction to a courageous woman named Sally–drawing him out of himself and into the very heart of a profound, cold-blooded, and infinitely dangerous conspiracy.

MY THOUGHTS: This is the second book I have read by this author in a short period of time. Peter May is a man who paints pictures, gloriously detailed pictures, with words. I could ‘see’ as I read. And although I did not enjoy this story as much as my previous read by this author, the writing remains superb.

This book was first published in 1981 as Hidden Faces but, having read it, I think The Man With No Face a far better title.

It seems odd to me to classify The Man With No Face, set in the winter of 1979 in Brussels, as historical fiction, but it is set in very different times from which we live today. There are no mobile phones, or computers, much less Internet. Airport security is lax compared with present times. Milk bottles are still put out on doorsteps, and secretaries use typewriters, take messages and make coffee. South Africa is still in the grip of apartheid, and Zimbabwe is still known as Rhodesia.

This story kept me turning pages for the most part until almost the end, when my interest waned a little. But only a little.

😊😊😊😊

THE AUTHOR: Peter May (born 20 December 1951) is a Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer. He is the recipient of writing awards in Europe and America. The Blackhouse won the U.S. Barry Award for Crime Novel of the Year and the national literature award in France, the CEZAM Prix Litteraire. The Lewis Man won the French daily newspaper Le Télégramme’s 10,000-euro Grand Prix des Lecteurs. In 2014, Entry Island won both the Deanston’s Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and the UK’s ITV Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year Award. May’s books have sold more than two million copies in the UK and several million internationally. (WIKIPEDIA)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Man With No Face by Peter May for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2619713217

The Lost Traveller by Sheila Connolly

Happy publication day Sheila Connolly!

The Lost Traveller (County Cork, #7)

EXCERPT: ” You have a picture?” Maura slid his coffee across the bar.

Sean slumped. “And there’s the next problem: when the man fell, he landed on his face, on the rocks below. Or the bridge footings. Or for all we know, someone worked hard to bash his face in before dropping him in. His own mother wouldn’t know him in his current state.”

“Ew. ” Maura grimaced. “So it was the fall that killed him?”

“Uh, no. A couple of bloody great gashes in his chest did the job.”

“So it was murder?”

Sean nodded. “Unless he stabbed himself and then flung himself over the six-foot fence, I’d say so. ”

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Danger comes to Cork in the seventh County Cork mystery from New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly, and it’s up to Maura Donovan to find a way to protect all she’s worked for.

Pub owner Maura Donovan is settling into a charmed life in Ireland—until a mutilated body on her property ends her lucky streak.

Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork—much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever—but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck.

It begins with Maura’s discovery of a body in the ravine behind the pub. And then, the Irish gardaí reveal that the victim’s face has been battered beyond recognition. Who is the faceless victim? Who wanted him dead? And why was his body dumped in the backyard of Sullivan’s Pub? Even after the dead man is finally given a name, nobody admits to knowing him. In the tight-knit world of Leap, no one is talking—and now it’s up to Maura to uncover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly quiet town.

MY THOUGHTS: I really quite enjoyed the early parts of this book, getting to know the characters, and learning how Maura came to have moved from Boston to County Cork, Ireland. But then it started getting repetitive. The same information was chewed over, and rehashed, and nothing much happened other than Maura blithering on about lack of staff, and should she be doing food, which meant installing a kitchen, and what about the rooms….. over, and over, and over.

In the end, she did my head in. And what had originally felt like a 4-star read, slid down to a tenuous 2.5 stars.

Although this is the seventh book in the series, it is easily read as a stand-alone as there is plenty of background information provided. This is a quick and undemanding read, but didn’t really hold my interest past the halfway point.

😕😕.5

THE AUTHOR: Sheila Connolly has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in Crime, and the fabulous on-line SinC chapter, the Guppies. She also belongs to Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.

Sheila is Regent of her local DAR chapter, and a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She’s also the grandchild of Irish immigrants (in case you’re worried that she’s a snob). In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. She is married, and has one daughter and two cats.

She blogs with Poe’s Deadly Daughters and Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen on Fridays, and Killer Characters the 25th of each month.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Crooked Lane Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Lost Traveller by Sheila Connolly for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2619714375

 

Watching What I’m Reading

Well here we are, the first Sunday of 2019, and I am sure you will be pleased to hear that my reading is going better than my eating! I have to admit that I have very little self control with either and so I have lost almost no weight for my son’s wedding in 4 weeks. . Oh well, it is what it is.

I am currently reading

The Lost Traveller (County Cork, #7)

a lovely cosy murder mystery set in County Cork and due to be published next week. I am half way through, and while I am enjoying it, I wouldn’t be telling Agatha Christie to move over as suggested on the cover.

Pub owner Maura Donovan is settling into a charmed life in Ireland—until a mutilated body on her property ends her lucky streak. 

Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork—much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever—but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck.

It begins with Maura’s discovery of a body in the ravine behind the pub. And then, the Irish gardaí reveal that the victim’s face has been battered beyond recognition. Who is the faceless victim? Who wanted him dead? And why was his body dumped in the backyard of Sullivan’s Pub? Even after the dead man is finally given a name, nobody admits to knowing him. In the tight-knit world of Leap, no one is talking—and now it’s up to Maura to uncover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly quiet town.

Although this is the seventh book in the series, I am having no trouble in picking up the back story.

I am currently listening to

One of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Intriguing. . . I have my suspicions. I hope I am wrong.

This week I am planning on reading

The Man With No Face

I read my first book by this author last year, and wondered how I had missed reading him before.

There are two men on their way to Brussels from the UK: Neil Bannerman, an iconoclastic journalist for Scotland’s Daily Standard whose irate editor wants him out of the way, and Kale–a professional assassin.
Expecting to find only a difficult, dreary political investigation in Belgium, Bannerman has barely settled in when tragedy strikes. His host, a fellow journalist, along with a British Cabinet minister, are discovered dead in the minister’s elegant Brussels townhouse. It appears that they have shot each other. But the dead journalist’s young autistic daughter, Tania, was hidden in a closet during the killings, and when she draws a chilling picture of a third party–a man with no face–Bannerman suddenly finds himself a reluctant participant in a desperate murder investigation.

As the facts slowly begin to emerge under Bannerman’s scrutiny, he comes to suspect that the shootings may have a deep and foul link with the rotten politics that brought him to Brussels in the first place. And as Kale threatens to strike again, Bannerman begins to feel a change within himself. His jaded professionalism is transforming into a growing concern for the lonely and frightened Tania, and a strong attraction to a courageous woman named Sally–drawing him out of himself and into the very heart of a profound, cold-blooded, and infinitely dangerous conspiracy.

Watching You

Ewan Galbreith is out of prison.

Libby Owen is scared.

Fifteen years earlier she saw Ewan murder her aunt and uncle with their own shotgun, and now he’s coming for her.

This book marks a change of direction in Lynda’s writing, which I have always enjoyed, and I am looking forward to this read.

I haven’t requested any books over the holiday period, and none of my pending requests have been approved. I know I say this every year, but I am going to make a concerted effort not to schedule more than 2 reads in any one week so that I can make some progress with reading my backlog of titles. Also, hopefully, this will leave me some room for discretionary reads, books not available on Netgalley that I want to read.

Happy reading my friends. 💕📚

 

The Rumour by Lesley Kara

The Rumour by Lesley Kara

EXCERPT: It’s happening again. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do. I see it in the roll of the waves, the way they’re bearing in at a slant. Fast. Restless. I feel it in the nip of the air on my skin, smell it in the rotting leaves and damp earth, hear it in the silence of the watching crows. You’re coming for me again and there’s nothing I can do to stop you.

This is how it happens. One night I go to bed and everything’s fine. Everything’s under control. The story has ceased to be a story. It’s real. Solid. Unbreakable. Then I wake up and it’s changed. Cracks have appeared overnight and I realize that I’ve been fooling myself all this time, that I’ve only ever been the most fragile of constructions.

I ‘m the hunted. I’ll always be the hunted.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .
Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?

MY THOUGHTS: We have all been guilty of gossip, of spreading unsubstantiated rumours, with little thought of the lives we might be disrupting. ‘One casual remark. One whispered confidence. That’s all it takes to set the wheels in motion and change the course of a life.’ We may not intend to hurt anyone, we may just be desperate to fit in, as Joanna is. After all, they are only words, and if the person is guilty, then aren’t they getting their just desserts?

I have often been loud and vocal in my opposition to name suppression and the creation of new identities for criminals being released into an unsuspecting community. The Rumour gave me pause to reconsider my views but, ultimately, I have stood by them. I do love a book that makes me stop and think while still being a good entertaining read.

This is an incredibly well written debut novel that sucked me in and kept me captivated until it spat me out at the last page. I suspected everyone of being the child killer, everyone that is except the person who it actually was. . . And even then, it wasn’t over. Lesley Kara wasn’t finished with me. She had one final surprise that left me with my jaw dropped and wanting more.

Definitely an author I will be following closely.

💖💕💖💕💖

THE AUTHOR: Lesley Kara is the author of THE RUMOUR, published in December 2018.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Bantam Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Rumour for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2597740754

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Watching You by Lisa Jewell


EXCERPT: My Diary, September 20, 1996
I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to feel. Is this normal? He’s an adult. He’s twice my age. There’s no way … No. There’s no way. But, OH GOD. I wish there was.

Dear diary, I think I’m in love with my English teacher. . .

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

MY THOUGHTS: This was such a good read, a great read. Lisa Jewell always manages to suck me in, plays with my mind, has me suspecting everyone but the right one, and she has done it again with Watching You, which turned into something very different from what I was expecting.

There is a wonderful cast of characters – Tom Fitzwilliam, the man everyone loves, except for one or two crazy ladies. . . His wife Nicola who never quite fits in, anywhere. . . their son Freddie, in training to be a spy and who chronicles the movements of all the neighbours; Josephine who feels that perhaps she wasn’t quite ready for the marriage she made to Alfie and who develops a crush on Tom; her brother Jack, eminently successful surgeon and expecting his first child with wife Rebecca, and with whom Joey and Alfie live. Then there’s Tom’s pupils, Beth who also has a huge crush on Tom, and her best friend Jenna who may just be showing signs of the paranoia that afflicts her mum. What a wonderful melting pot!

If there was ever a case to be built for the adage ‘until you have seen it with your own eyes, don’t believe it’, it is here. Jewell has, as always, written a superb page turner that kept me hooked from beginning to end.

💖💕💖💕💖

THE AUTHOR: Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Atria Books via Netgalley for providing me with a digital extract ARC of Watching You by Lisa Jewell. I was so engaged in the story I acquired the audiobook version narrated by Gabrielle Glaister, published by Random House Audiobooks, which I listened to via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2604601353