Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray

Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray
Her Best Friend 
by Sarah Wray

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: As I step back inside, I see it on the mat and acidic saliva forces itself up my throat.

Another brown envelope.

This time I don’t wait. I rip the envelope straight open and shove my hand inside. It’s cold, metal; a thin chain. When I pull it out and hold it up, the room feels as if it spins like a fun house. It’s the gold chain with the heart shaped locket, the one they said Victoria was missing that night, that never turned up.

My fingers are shaking but I am eventually able to turn it over – the ‘VP’ engraving is there like I knew it would be.

Before I wasn’t sure. Now I am certain. Someone knows what happened to Victoria that night and this is a message.

THE BLURB: Two girls. A murder. And a secret that binds them forever.
As a teenager, Sylvie Armstrong’s life was shattered when her best friend, Victoria Bland, was murdered. The killer has never been caught – and Sylvie has never spoken about what happened that day.

Now, two decades have gone by and after the death of her mother, Sylvie is forced to return to her home town, along with her newborn daughter – only to be confronted by the secrets that she has been running from for twenty years.

But then Sylvie receives the locket Victoria was wearing on the night she died – and it becomes clear that somebody knows what really happened to Victoria.

As Sylvie struggles to discover the truth behind the lies, she finds herself in increasing danger from those who will stop at nothing to keep their secrets. Someone who threatens not only Sylvie, but everything she loves…

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.’

Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray is deceptive. For around the first third of the book, I thought it was okay, but nothing really special. But what it actually is, is a cleverly crafted, slow burning read. Like one of those fireworks that appears to be fizzing, gives a couple of experimental spurts, then bursts into a beautiful technicolor display of pyrotechnics. The second third of the book had me reading avidly, and the final third? You couldn’t have paid me to put the book down.

You may not like the characters, but they are well drawn and realistic. The story takes place over two timelines, now and twenty years previous. Sylvie, the pivotal character, is no more self assured now than she was then. She revolved in Victoria’s orbit, followed her lead, was her acolyte.

Relationships between the characters are more complex than they first appear. I had several suspects in mind for the death of Victoria. I changed my mind several times throughout the read. I settled on two, but couldn’t make my mind up which of them it was, and was wrong. Completely and utterly way off base. Which pleases me greatly.

4.5 sparkling stars for Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray which came to me in the form of a digital ARC from Bookouture via Netgalley, for which I thank them. 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/2185446623

Dying Breath (Detective Lucy Harwin #2) by Helen Phifer

Dying Breath by Helen Phifer
Dying Breath (Detective Lucy Harwin, #2) 
by Helen Phifer (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: Right there and then he’d known that he was different to most kids, probably most people. They were all scared of death and dead people, whereas he was fascinated with them and couldn’t get enough. He needed to see a real dead person – he wanted to see if they looked as beautiful as his girls had. He wanted to touch one, stroke their skin, run his fingers through their hair. He wouldn’t think twice about kissing one; he wanted to know what it would feel like to put his lips on theirs. He thought about Carrie. He would have kissed her.

THE BLURB: Take a breath. Pray it’s not your last.
Just a few months after a terrifying case that nearly took her life, Detective Lucy Harwin is back with her squad in the coastal town of Brooklyn Bay – and this time, she’s faced with a case more horrifying than anything she’s encountered.

Along with her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy is investigating what appears to be a vicious but isolated murder; a woman found bludgeoned to death on a lonely patch of wasteland.

But when a second victim is discovered strangled in an alleyway, then a young family shot in their own home, Lucy and the team must face the unthinkable reality – a killer is walking the streets of their town.

While Lucy and the team try to find the link between these seemingly unconnected murders, they uncover a disturbing truth – these murders are replicating those carried out by infamous serial killers.

Lucy must get to the killer before he strikes again. But he’s got his sights on her, and is getting ever closer… Can she save herself, before she becomes the final piece in his twisted game?

MY THOUGHTS: There are some absolutely chilling moments in Dying Breath by Helen Phifer. “He turned to take one last look at the man who had changed from a monster into his hero, and he grinned at him.” is one of them. It may not seem like much on its own, but when read in context you will feel chills up your spine.

Dark and twisty, Dying Breath had me wondering just who this child had grown up to become, because we never knew his name. . .but we knew what he had become and his life ambition. There are several people he could be, all of whom have some type of fixation on Lucy.

Dying Breath is deliciously suspenseful. Highly recommended ☆☆☆☆

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Dying Breath by Helen Phifer 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/2199969913

Friday Favorite – Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen (Charlie Cameron #2)

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

We first met Charlie Cameron in  Games People Play, which featured in an earlier Friday Favorite blog. Old Friends and New Enemies, the second book in the Charlie Cameron series, is the third book by Scottish novelist Owen Mullen that I have featured on my blog, an honor so far only awarded to one other author, Susan Hill.

But I think that Owen Mullen has a spectacular writing style, and is a name you are going to be hearing a lot of in the future, right up there with Stuart MacBride and Val McDermid. Of the other two books by Mullen that I have featured, Games People Play was long-listed for Bloody Scotland McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year 2017, and And So It Began, book #1 in the Delaney series, was awarded ⭐Star Pick from the Sunday Times Crime Club.

So, you see, you’re onto a good thing here . . .

Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen
Old Friends and New Enemies (Charlie Cameron, #2) 
by Owen Mullen (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: They dragged him from the boot of the car, down an embankment to the shore; gagged, bound and blindfolded. His feet scraped grass and stones, a shoe came off and was left behind. At the jetty, Kevin Rafferty waited in the boat. In a long career of violent persuasion, this guy had been the hardest to break. But it wouldn’t last, when the blindfold came off he’d realise the loch was to be his grave.

THE BLURB: The body on the mortuary slab wasn’t who Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron was looking for.
But it wasn’t a stranger.
Suddenly, a routine missing persons investigation becomes a fight for survival. As Charlie is dragged deeper into Glasgow’s underbelly he goes up against notorious gangster Jimmy Rafferty and discovers what fear really is.
Rafferty is so ruthless even his own sons are terrified of him.
Now he wants Charlie to find something. And Jimmy Rafferty always gets what he wants.
There is only one problem… Charlie doesn’t know where it is.

MY THOUGHTS: Old Friends and New Enemies: A tense and gripping Scottish Crime Thriller – all true, but neither tense nor gripping does this book justice.

This book follows on from Games People Play and again we meet with Charlie Cameron, who specialises in locating missing people; Jackie, the Manager of New York Blues, Charlies ‘local’ for want of a better word; Pat Logue, Charlie’s sidekick and husband of the long-suffering Gail; and DS Andrew Geddes, sometimes friend of Charlie who has been known to push the limits on what he unofficially reveals to Charlie.

Charlie is looking for a man who went missing after his teenage son committed suicide. There is an unidentified body in the morgue who just may be the man Charlie is trying to locate. Instead he finds an old friend, Ian Selkirk, whom he hasn’t seen for years. Ian has been tortured. Whoever killed him wanted something. And now they think Charlie may have it……

I have never before read an author who can pack so much meaning and imagery into so few words. His writing style could almost be called terse. It is also refreshing, dynamic and (as I have said previously) totally unputdownable.

Gripping? Yes. Thrilling? Yes. But both these words pale in the face of Owen Mullen’s talent. Here is a new writer with a brilliant future.

Thank you to author Owen Mullen for a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased 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/1575855828



Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

(Kate Burkholder series #3)

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo
Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder, #3) 
by Linda Castillo (Goodreads Author)


Reviewed by

EXCERPT: Pickles was midway to his cruiser when his radio cracked to life. “What now?” he growled.

“Pickles, I got a ten-fifty-two out at the Slabaugh farm. David Troyer just called, said they got three people down in the manure pit.”

“Shit.” Pickles fumbled for his lapel mike. Back in the day, a cop had a radio in his cruiser. If he chose to ignore a call, he could. Now, you carried the damn thing around like some weird body part, one end clipped to your belt, one end stuck in your ear, and a microphone pinned to your chest like some damn medal. “You call EMS?”

“They’re en route. Thought you might want to get out there.”

Pickles heaved another sigh; he’d just about had all the mud and shit he could handle for one night. But he knew a manure pit could be a dangerous place. There were all sorts of nasty gases that would do you in faster than a gas chamber if you weren’t careful. “What’s the twenty on that?”

“Three six four Township Road Two.”

Pickles knew the area. It was a dirt track south of town that would be hell to traverse without a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Figuring this was the end of his Lucchese boots, he cursed. “You might want to call the chief.”

“Roger that.”

“I’m ten-seventy-six,” he said, and forced his old legs into a run.

THE BLURB: Police Chief Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a horrific tragedy on a peaceful Amish farm.
The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers that one of the victims suffered a head wound before death—clearly, foul play was involved. But who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs’ children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish?

Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. Because the other series of attacks are designated hate crimes, the state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship. Together, they search for the link between the crimes—and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community.

MY THOUGHTS: I knew Castillo was good, but this is the best of the Kate Burkholder series yet. Breaking Silence is a real page turner.

There are multiple themes running through Breaking Silence, hate crimes, incest, psycological manipulation, bullying. There are no graphic descriptions, nothing to cause alarm for those for whom one or more of these subjects may be triggers. Everything is dealt with with a great deal of sensitivity. And yet Castillo still manages to deliver a riveting read.

I don’t even begin to understand those who commit hate crimes. What do the perpetrators hope to achieve? It seems to me to be a pointless waste of time on all fronts. I was no closer to understanding it at the end of the book.

The end of the book . . . Just when I thought everything was solved and sorted, Castillo turned in upside down and inside out, and we were off in pursuit of the criminal again. There are lots of twists and turns and plenty of action in this read. Highly recommended. ☆☆☆☆☆

I listened to the audio book version of Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, published by MacMillan Audio 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/1238890701

Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson

I don’t normally post reviews for books well before publication date, but I am going to make an exception for Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson, which is due to be published by Sourcebooks  February 2018. That gives you plenty of time to pre-order your copy because this is a book that is not going to sit around on the shelves,  and the way time flies, February will be here before we know where we are.

But don’t worry, I will refresh my review and repost it around the time of publication.

Mister Tender's Girl by Carter   Wilson
Mister Tender’s Girl 
by Carter Wilson (Goodreads Author)


Reviewed by

EXCERPT: …..I catch his stare, and his gaze is locked on me. There’s an endless longing to it, as if I’m the ghost of someone he once loved. . .

Sometimes I meet a person and my paranoia insists they already know me. Know everything. Where I live. How many scars I have. My real last name. It’s a game my mind likes to play when it thinks I’m getting complacent, or cured.

THE BLURB: How far are you willing to go for Mister Tender?

At fourteen, Alice Hill was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender doesn’t exist. His sinister character is pop-culture fiction, created by Alice’s own father in a series of popular graphic novels.

Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger could: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. She can try to escape her past, but Mister Tender is never far behind. He will come with a smile that seduces, and a dark whisper in her ear…

Inspired by a true story, this gripping thriller plunges you into a world of haunting memories and unseen threats, leaving you guessing until the harrowing end.

MY THOUGHTS: I savoured every word in Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson. It was a book I read slowly, afraid to miss even one word. I wanted to know what happened, but I wanted it never to end. It was with very mixed feelings that I turned the last page and closed the cover. I was sad because it was over, and excited because it was so damned good! Better than good.

The suspense is insidious. I was reading along, and slowly became aware that I was gripping the book tightly, holding my breath, eyes wide, not blinking. And that became my default pose.

When I was just 20% into the book, I made the following comment- “OMG! With just one click of her mouse, Alice has tumbled down the rabbit hole. But it’s not Wonderland she finds herself in. . .”

I will never forget the phrase ‘Alice, what did the penguin always tell you?’ And I ‘m not giving you the answer. For that you’ll have to read the book for yourself.

Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson will be published by Source books February 2018. Reserve your copy now. This is not a book that is going to hang around on the shelves.

Thank you to author Carter Wilson for providing an ARC of Mister Tender’s Girl 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/2192373734

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright
The House on Foster Hill 
by Jaime Jo Wright (Goodreads Author)


Reviewed by

EXCERPT: It was long rumored that the Foster Hill oak tree was not only the largest but also the oldest tree in Oakwood. While its top rose to a marvelous height, it was still dead and its branches never blossomed. The trunk was very wide at the base and split open to reveal a hollow inside. Many a child had hidden there during a rambunctious game of hide-and-seek. They wouldn’t hide there any more. Not after today.

The petite body was curled into the position of a babe, inside the tree’s womb. Blonde hair hung free over her cold, bare shoulders and floated out on the wind. Her torso was covered in a paper-thin dress of grey calico. It was nowhere enough to keep her warm, but it was more than the cold that tinted the young woman’s skin blue. It was death.

THE BLURB: Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost?

MY THOUGHTS: 3 stars for The House on Foster Hill from me.

I was excited by the first few chapters of this book. Their tone was insidiously creepy and hinted at great things to come, but for me, they never quite materialised.

I loved the character of Ivy, author of the book of deaths, where she recorded her thoughts and memories of the people of her town who passed away so that they would not be forgotten. She is a strong willed, unconventional young woman who has not recovered from the tragedy that robbed her of her beloved brother Andrew.

I found it harder to relate to Kaine, whose story is interspersed with Ivy’s, but occurring a century later. I could not warm to her and found her decisions and actions hard to understand.

Ultimately, I think that the author of The House on Foster Hill tried to make this book too many things, all being given equal billing, and as a result it all becomes slightly muddied. We have in Ivy’s story, a historical, Christian, romantic-suspense, people trafficking, murder mystery. With Kaine, we have a contemporary, Christian, romantic-suspense, stalker, murder-mystery. And then there is the family connection between the two women, voila! A genealogical mystery to boot!

I applaud Jaime Jo Wright’s intentions in her debut novel. If I have one piece of advice for her, it is this. Make one aspect of the novel the main thread, the star if you like, and the other aspects become side stories feeding into and supporting the main story, acting as the supporting cast, instead of all battling with one another to reign supreme.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright 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 v

Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith

Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith
Jazz Funeral (Skip Langdon, #3) 
by Julie Smith (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: “At $250 a pop,” fumed a red-faced man, “you’d think we’d at least get a drink.”

The shrill, uncertain buzz they’d noticed was developing a hysterical note. This was a party that wasn’t fun. Bemused, Skip and Steve worked their way back around to the front.

“Ham I could see,” said Skip. “He could have had to work late—it’s his busiest time. But where’s Ti-Belle?”

“Oh, ‘bout two houses away, I’d say. Approaching at a dead run, having just parked a Thunderbird with a squeal of wheels.”

Skip had heard the squeal, but had paid it no mind. Now she saw a very thin woman coming towards them, hair flying, long legs shining brown, sticking out from a white silk shorts suit. Over one shoulder she carried a lightweight flight bag. Golden-throated Ti-Belle Thiebaud, the fastest-rising star on the New Orleans music scene.

Steve said, “I’d know those legs anywhere.”

She never performed in any garment that wasn’t short, split, slit, or halfway missing. Some said the whole country would know those legs soon. They said she was going to be bigger than large, larger than huge.

Thiebaud was approaching at a dead trot, fast giving way to a gallop. She was wearing huge hoop earrings. She had giant black eyes and shining olive skin, flyaway blond hair that looked utterly smashing with her dark complexion. Her skin clung to her bones, hanging gently, as naturally as hide on a horse.

“How’d Ham get her?” she blurted.

A black man waved at the singer, tried to slow her progress, pretend it was a party: “Hey, Ti-Belle.”

Thiebaud paid him no mind but cast a look at the crowd in general. Skip saw twin wrinkles at the sides of her nose—one day they’d be there permanently if she worried a lot in the meantime.

“Hi, y’all.” She was trying to smile, but it wasn’t working. “Excuse me a minute.” She let herself in and closed the door behind her.

Almost immediately, a scream that could have come from anyone—the hottest Cajun R&B singer in America or any terrified woman—ripped through the nervous buzz.

THE BLURB: Smack in the middle of the summer, Skip finds herself investigating the stabbling death of the universally beloved producer of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Then the victim’s sixteen-year-old sister disappears, and Skip suspects that if the young woman isn’t herself the murderer, she’s in mortal danger from the person who is. And with her long-distance love, Steve Steinman, and her landlord, Jimmy Dee, to assist her, Skip trails an elusive killer through the delirium of a city caught up in the world’s most famous music bash….

MY THOUGHTS: 2 stars from me for Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith. This book really missed the mark with me, and was barely an okay read.

I love books set in the south. I have a fascination for New Orleans. And as y’all know I love a good murder-mystery/Detective story. But even with all these things going for it, Jazz Funeral failed to ignite my reading senses. At times, with its lack of atmosphere and lack of suspense,I considered dnf’ing it, and in retrospect, I should have. But I persevered as it did not take a great deal of effort or concentration to read. But then it gave about the same amount of satisfaction – not a great deal.

Yes,I know that this is #3 in a series of which I have not read the first two books. Would reading them have added to my enjoyment of Jazz Funeral? I think not. And no, I am not going to continue with the series.

The Kindle edition of Jazz Funeral I read was full of very basic typo errors which did nothing to endear it to me, and I really can’t recommend this read to anyone.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Just because I didn’t enjoy this book, doesn’t mean that you won’t. If you enjoyed the excerpt above, and like the sound of the blurb, then go ahead and read Jazz Funeral. I enjoy the fact that we all have such diverse reading tastes.

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/2047340889

Friday Favorite – The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I started off by rereading the earlier books in the Simon Serrailler series, and then catching up on the latest book, The Soul of Discretion, which I read this week. WOW!!! I think my review says it all. ….

The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill
The Soul of Discretion (Simon Serrailler, #8) 
by Susan Hill

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: He went through the gate and stopped. Later, he said that he would never forget the child’s face until his dying day. Later, he could not sleep because the face was in front of him. Later, he was haunted during his waking hours by sudden flashbacks to the child’s face as it looked up at him. . .

It was a girl. She was perhaps four years old. She was filthy, she had smears of blood on her arms and legs. Her long, fine, fair hair was matted to her scalp. She was completely naked.

THE BLURB: The cathedral town of Lafferton seems idyllic, but in many ways it is just like any other place. As part of the same rapidly changing world, it shares the same hopes and fears, and the same kinds of crime, as any number of towns up and down the land.

When one day DC Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton’s new Chief Constable, Kieron Bright, he is met by four plainclothes officers. He is asked to take the lead role in a complex, potentially dangerous undercover operation and must leave town immediately, without telling anyone – not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him.

Meanwhile, Simon’s sister Cat is facing difficult choices at work that will test her dedication to the NHS. But an urgent call about her and Simon’s father, Richard, soon presents her with a far greater challenge much closer to home.

To complete his special op, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. As the op unfolds, Lafferton is dragged into the sort of case every town dreads. And Simon faces the fight of his life.

MY THOUGHTS: OMG!!!!! This is the most compelling, gut wrenching book I have read by this author.

Over the previous seven books in the Simon Serrailler series Susan Hill, while holding me spellbound with her writing and storytelling skills, has lulled me almost into a sense of complacency, of security. Then she goes and turns everything upside down and gives it a shake for good measure.

I am almost speechless. I never saw any of this coming. I read The Soul of Discretion in one sitting. And now, the next morning, I am still shell-shocked. Still reeling.

I have only one more thing to say. Susan Hill, I hope you are already hard at work on book #9. You can’t leave Simon there!

☆☆☆☆☆ bright, bouncy, shining stars for The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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


The Hanged Man by Simon Kernick

The Hanged Man by Simon Kernick
The Hanged Man (The Bone Field #2) 
by Simon Kernick (Goodreads Author)


Reviewed by

EXCERPT: Picture the scene. You’re at an isolated farm in the middle of the Welsh countryside. You know a young woman has been taken there by men who are going to rape and kill her. You’re certain you know who these men are. You’re also certain that they’ve killed women like this before a number of times, and yet you have no real evidence against them.

In one of the farm’s outhouses you discover huge vats of acid that will be used to dissolve her body when they’ve finished with her, just as they’ve dissolved the bodies of others. You investigate further and discover a windowless cellar with occult signs on the walls that you’ve seen at other crime scenes associated with these men.

Like a modern day night in shining armour, you rescue the young woman in a blaze of glory, arrest the perpetrators, and now, thanks to your detective work and personal bravery, you have enough evidence to put them away for mass murder for the rest of their miserable lives.

End of story.

Except, of course, that wasn’t how it happened.

THE BLURB: A house deep in the countryside where the remains of seven unidentified women have just been discovered.

A cop ready to risk everything in the hunt for their killers.

A man who has seen the murders and is now on the run in fear of his life.

So begins the race to track down this witness before the killers do.

For Ray Mason and PI Tina Boyd, the road ahead is a dangerous one, with bodies and betrayal at every turn…

MY THOUGHTS: This is a crime thriller. It contains a lot of shooting. And fighting. Action man stuff. Not usually my forte. I usually prefer something a little more subtle. But I couldn’t have not finished Simon Kernick’s The Hanged Man had you paid me.

However, I do recommend that you read #1 in the series, Bone Field, before you embark on The Hanged Man. It will answer a lot of questions, fill in the blanks. I didn’t. I am reading them in the wrong order, but read Bone Field I must.

Thank you Mr Kernick for an unexpectedly good read. I am sure that my husband will enjoy it immensely. After he has read Bone Field.

Thank you to Random House UK, Cornerstone via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Hanged Man by Simon Kernick for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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 Goodreads.com https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34322571-the-hanged-man

Shadows on the Street by Susan Hill

The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill
The Shadows in the Street (Simon Serrailler, #5) 
by Susan Hill


Reviewed by

EXCERPT: They could never quite decide if he was OK or not. He wasn’t weird. He wasn’t anything. All the same. . .

‘Say what you like,’ Hayley had said, ‘not normal.’

Only he seemed normal, watching them eat the sandwiches he’d made for them, pocket the chocolate bars he’d bought out of his own money, finish off the hot tea or coffee. He had a normal coat, normal blue wool scarf. Normal black shoes. Normal. He was clean, he shaved, he hadn’t got anything special about him or anything peculiar either. Just normal.

Only not.

THE BLURB: Simon Serrailler is on sabbatical on a Scottish island, recovering from an exhausting murder investigation, when he is urgently summoned back to Lafferton. Two local prostitutes have been found strangled. By the time Serrailer has reached the town, another girl has vanished. Is this a vendetta against prostitutes by someone with a warped mind? Or a series of killings by an angry punter? Then the wife of the new Dean at the Cathedral goes missing – has the killer widened their net or is there more than one murderer at large?

MY THOUGHTS: Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler series is one of my favorite series, for many reasons. It is about so much more than a detective. It encompasses the story of a family, three generations of it, their struggles with their lives, their jobs, and each other. Disappointments, expectations, petty jealousies, health problems, deaths, remarriage, and the joys and problems of raising families. Moral dilemmas. Faith. Loss. Love. Grief. Adjustment. Belonging, or being on the outside looking in.

But there is always a crime to solve, and nothing is ever straightforward. Simon Serrailler, DCI, artist, loner, does not always feature hugely in the plot, but is a presence all the same. In the Shadows in the Street, he doesn’t feature in his police role until quite well into the book. And yet this doesn’t detract from the story at all, instead we get to see a side of Simon rarely shown to us, the recluse, the loner, the artist very much at home on a remote island.

There is always so much more to her books than is at first apparent. And discovering the hidden depths is always a pleasure for me.

A very fond ☆☆☆☆☆ for The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill, published by Chatto and Windus, a division of Random House. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/963823954