Dark Lies by Nick Hollin

Dark Lies by Nick Hollin
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: He stands in quiet contemplation of his work, the warm glow of satisfaction lingering as the body ahead of him starts to cool. There is frustration there, too; she’d deserved better, deserved him to be at the top of his game, but instead he’d stumbled and very nearly missed her throat with the knife. He’d gone a little too deep, and the blood had sprayed to places he hadn’t intended, like onto the corner of a child’s painting pinned by a magnet to the fridge door. It looks like a signature, he thinks. But that crude little picture is not his art. His masterpiece will be something far more ambitious.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Don’t trust your friends. Don’t trust your family. Don’t trust yourself…

The people of London fear for their lives when a twisted serial killer called The Cartoonist starts targeting young mothers, leaving their bodies on display in their homes with speech bubbles drawn from their lips. He has a terrifying story to tell, but first, the right people need to be listening…

Nathan Radley has a brilliant and dangerous talent. Formerly one of the best criminal psychologists on the police force he’s renowned for getting deep into the minds of the murderers he hunts. But for the past year he has lived in isolation, haunted by this gift and his own dark desires.

DI Katie Rhodes’ career is spinning out of control. She’d sworn never to knock on her old partner Nathan’s door again, but when she sees his distinctive birthmark drawn in chocolate on one of the victims, she knows she doesn’t have a choice.
As the body count rises and the clues become more and more personal, Katie and Nathan join forces for one final case together.

Why is The Cartoonist using Katie and Nathan’s own dark secrets as calling cards on his victims? What does he want, and how many more innocent lives will be taken before they can crack his disturbing riddle?

To find a murderer, first you need to think like a murderer. The Cartoonist doesn’t just know this, he’s counting on it…

MY THOUGHTS: I have a love-hate-love relationship with Dark Lies by Nick Hollin. I loved the prologue. It drew me in and reminded me of Richard Montanari’s writing. Then, for me, the book became an absolute nightmare. The writing was disjointed, choppy, I couldn’t make sense of it. It was like someone in the grip of a manic psychotic episode had jotted down their random crazy thoughts. I became frustrated, disappointed, almost angry – where had this great read gone? – and was on the cusp of dnf’ing it, when everything changed again.

Suddenly I was being gripped by a still strange, but very compelling (and gruesome) serial killer thriller that in no way could I second guess. The story swept me along, buffeting me from all sides. It is wild, and crazy. But it works. Mostly. Things that made no sense to me from the ‘manic writing phase’ slowly matured, the relevance revealed. At times it is a little OTT. But, my recommendation is ‘stick with it.’

The two main characters in Dark Lies can in no way be considered ‘traditional’. Katie is damaged. Self-destructive. Within a whisker of having no job. Nathan is damaged. Disliked. Distrusted. Trying desperately to save himself.

I can’t say I ‘liked’ this book. Not in the traditional sense. But once I got past the first 30%, I became glued to it. Desperate to see where it was going. By the time I was finished, I felt like I had been white water rafting on a grade 5 run. Without the raft. Exhausted, battered, bruised but exhilarated. And definitely in line for the next in the series.

3.5 stars

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Dark Lies by Nick Hollin 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/2323363222

Friday Favorite – Hunted by Paul Finch

Hunted by Paul Finch
Hunted 
by Paul Finch (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: Neither lad noticed as the car mounted an embankment, engine yowling, smoke and tattered grass pouring from its tyres. It smashed through the wooden palings at the top, and then crashed down through shrubs and undergrowth, turning over and over in the process, and landing upside down in a deep-cut country lane.

For quite a few seconds there was almost no sound: the odd groan of twisted metal, steam hissing from numerous vents in mangled bodywork.

The two concussed shapes inside, while still breathing, were barely alive in any conventional sense: torn, bloody and battered, locked in contorted paralysis. They were still aware of their surroundings, but unable to resist as various miniature forms, having ridden out the collision in niches and crevices, now re-emerged to scurry over their warm, tortured flesh. Deggsy’s jaw was fixed rigid; he could voice no complaint – neither as a mumble nor a scream – when the pale shelled scorpion reacquainted itself with him, creeping slowly up his body on its jointed stick legs and finally settling on his face, where, with great deliberation it seemed, it snared his nose and left ear in its pincers, arched its tail again – and embedded its stinger deep into his goggling eyeball.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Heck needs to watch his back. Because someone’s watching him…

Across the south of England, a series of bizarre but fatal accidents are taking place. So when a local businessman survives a near-drowning but is found burnt alive in his car just weeks later, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is brought in to investigate.

Soon it appears that other recent deaths might be linked: two thieves that were bitten to death by poisonous spiders, and a driver impaled through the chest with scaffolding.

Accidents do happen but as the body count rises it’s clear that something far more sinister is at play, and it’s coming for Heck too…

MY THOUGHTS: This is #5 in a series but it does equally well as a standalone read. I have never read any of the previous books, but it in no way affected my enjoyment of this one.

There are some very innovative killings in this book. I don’t think I would ever like to wrongfoot Mr Finch!

DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg has just caught the brutal killer of several elderly women, and now there are a series of bizarre accidental deaths, including by inflation, slow roasting and exotic poisonous spider, occurring in Surrey. After his boss’s mother asks her to investigate the untimely death of a multi-millionaire following a narrow escape only weeks earlier, she sends Heck off to investigate something that will probably turn out to be nothing. Only, of course, it doesn’t.

There is nothing predictable about this book – an exciting and fast-paced read that left me gasping in many places.

I will be going back to the beginning to read the others in this series.

Thank you to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK, Avon and author Paul Finch for providing an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest 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/1396336467

 

 

The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries – A Man Lay Dead, and A Surfeit of Lampreys by Ngaio Marsh

The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries by Ngaio Marsh
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: (From ‘A Man Lay Dead’) He had heard much of Sir Hubert Handesley’s ‘unique and delightfully original’ house-parties from a brother journalist who had returned from one of them, if the truth be told, somewhat persistently enthusiastic. Charles Rankin, himself a connoisseur of house-parties, had refused many enviable invitations in favour of these unpretentious weekends. And now, as a result of a dinner party at old Charles’s flat, here was Nigel himself about to be initiated.

(From A Surfeit of Lampreys) …for Roberta the invitation broke like a fabulous rocket, that Roberta’s mother, when Lady Charles Lamprey telephoned, was thrown into a frenzy of sewing that lasted until two o’clock in the morning, that Roberta’s father bicycled four miles before eight o’clock in order to leave at Te Moana a strange parcel, a letter of introduction on behavior, and five shillings to give the housemaid. Frid always sympathised when Roberta said her people were poor, as though they were all in the same boat, but the poverty of the Lampreys, as Roberta was to discover, was a queer and baffling condition understood by nobody, not even their creditors, and certainly not by poor Lord Charles with his eyeglass, his smile and his vagueness.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A Man Lay Dead:

A game of ‘murders’ at Sir Hubert Handesley’s country house party becomes far too realistic for anyone’s liking. First a guest arrives with a dangerously lethal dagger and then, when the gong sounds to announce the start of the game, the victim plays dead in a very convincing manner. Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn believes the unusual dagger is a vital clue to the real-life murder, and soon he’s on the trail of a Russian secret society.

A Surfeit of Lampreys:

Like all good aristocrats, the Lampreys are charming but penniless – so a visit from the wealthy head of their family is greatly anticipated. However, their Uncle Gabriel isn’t persuaded to part with his money and a row ensues. When a body is found in the lift leading to the Lampreys’ flat, Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn finds a family immersed in hidden secrets and intrigue.

Jeremy Clyde stars as Chief Inspector Alleyn in these BBC Radio dramatisations of two of Ngaio Marsh’s much-loved mysteries.

MY THOUGHTS: I came late unto the pleasure of Ngaio Marsh, a Dame here in her native New Zealand. But although I have only recently begun to read her work, I rank her up there with, or perhaps even slightly above, Agatha Christie.

She has a great gift for placing the reader in the moment, of carrying them along on a pleasant, meandering, but purposeful ride of discovery. She captures the nuances and atmosphere of the era, and has the great knack both of getting her characters absolutely perfect and of setting the perfect scene, creating the perfect atmosphere.

Ngaio Marsh’s murder-mysteries are fun, good jolly rollicking fun. And this BBC Radio rendition is first class. It brought back fond memories of listening to plays on the radio with my grandmother when I was a child.

Although the BBC audio productions of Marsh’s books are somewhat abridged, the sheer quality of the production makes this well worth listening to.

I listened to the audiobook of The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries containing A Man Lay Dead and A Surfeit of Lampreys by Ngaio Marsh, starring Jeremy Clyde as Inspector Alleyn, produced by BBC Radio 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/2336177040

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Here we are at Sunday again, and time, once again, to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have been approved for from NetGalley this week.

I don’t know where in the world you are, but here in New Zealand we have a beautiful autumn day after a wet and stormy night. Wherever you are, may you be having the day you desire.

I am currently reading

The Friend

And, from one of my favorite authors

The Amazing Mr. Morality: Stories

And listening to

The Dead of Winter

This week, I am planning on reading

Anything For Her

You’d do anything for the one that got away . . . wouldn’t you?

When Billy Orr returns home to spend time with his dying sister, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Aimi, the love of his life. He might not have seen her in eleven years, but Billy’s never forgotten her. He’d do anything for her then, and he’d do anything for her now.

When Aimi tells him that she wants to escape her abusive husband, Billy agrees to help her fake her own death. But is she still the Aimi that Billy remembers from all those years ago?

Once Aimi disappears, Billy has to face the possibility that perhaps she had different reasons for disappearing – reasons that might be more dangerous than she’s led him to believe . . .

Sometimes trusting the one you love is the wrong thing to do.

Dark Lies (Detective Rhodes and Radley #1)

Don’t trust your friends. Don’t trust your family. Don’t trust yourself… 

The people of London fear for their lives when a twisted serial killer called The Cartoonist starts targeting young mothers, leaving their bodies on display in their homes with speech bubbles drawn from their lips. He has a terrifying story to tell, but first, the right people need to be listening…

Nathan Radley has a brilliant and dangerous talent. Formerly one of the best criminal psychologists on the police force he’s renowned for getting deep into the minds of the murderers he hunts. But for the past year he has lived in isolation, haunted by this gift and his own dark desires.

DI Katie Rhodes’ career is spinning out of control. She’d sworn never to knock on her old partner Nathan’s door again, but when she sees his distinctive birthmark drawn in chocolate on one of the victims, she knows she doesn’t have a choice.
As the body count rises and the clues become more and more personal, Katie and Nathan join forces for one final case together.

Why is The Cartoonist using Katie and Nathan’s own dark secrets as calling cards on his victims? What does he want, and how many more innocent lives will be taken before they can crack his disturbing riddle?

To find a murderer, first you need to think like a murderer. The Cartoonist doesn’t just know this, he’s counting on it…

Last Night

It’s the early hours of the morning and Rose Denton wakes up behind the steering wheel of her car. She’s off the road, through a hedge and in a field.

There’s blood on the windscreen and bonnet – but it’s not hers and there’s no sign of anything or anyone she might have hit. The last thing she remembers is being in a hotel on a business trip but now she’s miles away.

Back home and her daughter’s boyfriend is missing. The last thing he did was argue with Rose over money. He left no note, no text, no clue as to his whereabouts.

The police have questions – and so does Rose’s family. But those are little compared to the ones she has for herself.

What happened last night? And, perhaps more importantly, does she really want to know the answer?

And my haul of ARCs from NetGalley this week  –

Cross Your Heart (Detective Jess Bishop, #2)

Deadly Secrets (Detective Erika Foster, #6)

The Family at Number 13: An absolutely gripping psychological thriller

That’s my week all mapped out. What is yours looking like? Have you read any of the books I have lined up for the week? Have you requested any ARCs that you think I would enjoy?

Have a wonderful reading week my friends.

The Murder List by Chris Merritt

The Murder List by Chris Merritt
The Murder List (Detective Zac Boateng #1) 
by Chris Merritt

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: This day will change him forever, though he doesn’t know it yet. . .

Tilting her head, for a second she’s with him. Then lost again. She draws a long breath.

His hands are soaked, slippery. Leaning over, he turns a cheek to her mouth and looks down her chest. Waits. Counts to ten. No air, no movement.

Puts two fingers on her carotid artery.

No pulse.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The lifeless body sat, hands bound, silver tape over his mouth. Patches of blood had soaked into the cheap carpet around him. Zac had spent years gaining scientific insight into the mind: human motivation and behaviour. And this scene wasn’t right…

It’s been five years since Detective Zac Boateng’s daughter was murdered and her killer was never found. Now Zac is back working for the Metropolitan Police and is more determined than ever to bring the city’s killers to justice.

When a man is found brutally murdered in a rundown south London shop, all fingers point to the highly intelligent and manipulative Darian Wallace. Two years ago, the victim helped send him to prison. And he’s just been released.

Still grieving, Zac knows it will take everything he’s got to catch this dangerously clever killer. But just as he feels he’s getting closer, he realises all is not quite as it seems and he makes a devastating personal discovery.

Zac has a choice to make – risk letting this killer escape or watch his daughter’s murderer get away again…

MY THOUGHTS: There are some books that, the moment you start reading them, you know are going to be an excellent read. The Murder List by Chris Merritt is one such book. I have tweeted as I was reading that I was excited to be in right at the beginning of this great new series, and I am. Usually when I discover a really good series, I pick up on it several books in then have to go back and read the earlier installments, but not this time. This time I am in from the very beginning.

This is no bog-standard detective series. It has a depth to both the characters and plot that is unusual, especially from a first time author, but is perhaps explained by the author’s background. Chris Merritt is a Psychologist in the NHS who has worked with both the victims and perpetrators of crime. He has taken what he has learned in his work environment and applied it to his writing with great success.

Merritt has created a detective who runs contrary to the “deeply disturbed loner/renegade” that seems to currently be de riguer in detective fiction. That’s not to say he doesn’t have issues. No man who has seen his daughter gunned down and die in his arms could escape having issues. But Zac has a strong relationship with both his wife and son, with the occasional hiccup of course as happens in real life, and is both liked and respected by his work colleagues. He doesn’t always make the best or wisest decisions, but who does? He is a strong and interesting character, and one whose journey I am committed to following.

The cover of this book promises ‘An utterly gripping crime thriller with edge of your seat suspense’, and believe me, that’s exactly what you get. 4.5 very bright stars

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Murder List by Chris Merritt 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/2291637078

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: … there was something unnatural about the Manoir Bellechasse from the very beginning. It was staggeringly beautiful, the stripped logs golden and glowing. It was made of wood and wattle and sat right at the water’s edge. It commanded Lake Massawippi, as the Robber Barons commanded everything. These captains of industry couldn’t seem to help it.

And once a year, men with names like Andrew and Douglas and Charles would leave their rail and whiskey empires, trade their spats for chewed leather moccasins and trek by canoe to the lodge on the shore of the isolated lake. They’d grown weary of robbery and needed another distraction.

TheManoir Bellechasse was created and conceived to allow these men to do one thing. Kill.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: “What happened here last night isn’t allowed,” said Madame Dubois.
It was such an extraordinary thing to say it stopped the ravenous Inspector Beauvoir from taking another bite of his roast beef on baguette.
“You have a rule against murder?” he asked.
“I do. When my husband and I bought the Bellechasse we made a pact….Everything that stepped foot on this land would be safe.”

It is the height of summer, and Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village of Three Pines. But they’re not alone. The Finney family—rich, cultured, and respectable—has also arrived for a celebration of their own.
The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural looming. As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the family reunion, and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth secrets long buried and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles. The chase takes him to Three Pines, into the dark corners of his own life, and finally to a harrowing climax.

MY THOUGHTS: Louise Penny’s murders are always just a little ‘off the wall’, and the murder in A Rule Against Murder is no exception. There is nothing so mundane as a shooting or stabbing for Chief Inspector Gamache to solve, and while it seems impossible for the death to have been murder, it is also equally impossible for it to have been accidental. And why? Why this particular member of a mainly obnoxious family?

I think that is really what I love most about Penny’s writing; she takes the unusual and crafts it into a compelling mystery peppered with well crafted, totally believeable characters. And while we may love to dislike the detestable (with the exception of Bean) Morrow-Finney clan, they are all instantly recognisable as people we know or know of. Penny creates interesting dynamics in this family who reluctantly gather each year for a reunion at their wealthy and autocratic mother’s behest, who have no contact with each other at any other time, and who are waiting only for their mother to die so as to collect their inheritance.

Of all the books in the series that I have read so far, this is my favorite.

I listened to A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny, narrated by Adam Sims and published by Hachette Audio UK 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/1902047276

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Has anyone noticed how fast the weeks are flashing by again? For me, time slowed somewhat in January, but once we hit February it has been insidiously increasing pace,  so that now it is just galloping by. And here we are at Sunday again, and time, once again, to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have been approved for from NetGalley this week.

I am about to start reading

The Fortunate Brother (Sylvanus Now #3)

And about to start listening to

A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4)

I love Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series.

So these two reads set me very firmly in Canada this week! I enjoy traveling via books.

This week I am planning on reading  –

The Murder List (Detective Zac Boateng #1)

The lifeless body sat, hands bound, silver tape over his mouth. Patches of blood had soaked into the cheap carpet around him. Zac had spent years gaining scientific insight into the mind: human motivation and behaviour. And this scene wasn’t right…

It’s been five years since Detective Zac Boateng’s daughter was murdered and her killer was never found. Now Zac is back working for the Metropolitan Police and is more determined than ever to bring the city’s killers to justice.

When a man is found brutally murdered in a rundown south London shop, all fingers point to the highly intelligent and manipulative Darian Wallace. Two years ago, the victim helped send him to prison. And he’s just been released.

Still grieving, Zac knows it will take everything he’s got to catch this dangerously clever killer. But just as he feels he’s getting closer, he realises all is not quite as it seems and he makes a devastating personal discovery.

Zac has a choice to make – risk letting this killer escape or watch his daughter’s murderer get away again…

The Friend

On a train with her husband, miles from home and their four-year-old son, Ben, Sophie receives a chilling phone call. Two boys are in hospital after a tragic accident. One of them is Ben.

She thought she could trust Emma, her new friend, to look after her little boy. After all, Emma’s a kindred spirit—someone Sophie was sure she could bare her soul to, despite the village rumours. But Sophie can’t shake the feeling that she’s made an unforgivable mistake and now her whole family is in danger.

Because how well does she know Emma, really? Should she have trusted her at all?

Time is running out. Powerless to help her child, still hours from home, Sophie is about to discover the truth. And her life will never be the same.

Anything For Her

You’d do anything for the one that got away . . . wouldn’t you?

When Billy Orr returns home to spend time with his dying sister, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Aimi, the love of his life. He might not have seen her in eleven years, but Billy’s never forgotten her. He’d do anything for her then, and he’d do anything for her now.

When Aimi tells him that she wants to escape her abusive husband, Billy agrees to help her fake her own death. But is she still the Aimi that Billy remembers from all those years ago?

Once Aimi disappears, Billy has to face the possibility that perhaps she had different reasons for disappearing – reasons that might be more dangerous than she’s led him to believe . . .

Sometimes trusting the one you love is the wrong thing to do.

And now to my Netgalley haul for the week. .. I was, once again, full of good intentions, but still managed to get approved for three ARCs.

Don't Believe It

The Girl With No Name (Detective Josie Quinn, #2)

and

The Key to Death's Door

That’s my week all mapped out. What is yours looking like? Have you read any of the books I have lined up for the week? Have you requested any ARCs that you think I would enjoy?

Have a wonderful reading week my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

22 Dead Little Bodies by Stuart MacBride

22 Dead Little Bodies by Stuart MacBride
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: Why couldn’t jumpers leap off bungalows? Why did the selfish sods always threaten to throw themselves off bloody huge buildings?

Logan edged closer to the man standing at the far edge of the roof. ‘You. . .’ he cleared his throat but it didn’t shift the taste. ‘You don’t have to do this.’

The man didn’t look around. One hand gripped the railing beside him, the skin stained dark red. Blood. It spread up his sleeve – turning the grey suit jacket almost black.

His other hand was just as bad. The sticky scarlet fingers were curled around a carving knife, the blade glinting against the pale grey sky. Black handle, eight inch blade, the handle streaked with more red.

Great.

Because what was the point of slitting your wrists in the privacy of your own home when you could do it on top of a dirty big building in the east end of Aberdeen instead? With a nice big audience to watch you jump.

And it was a long way down.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A short novel from the number one best selling author of CLOSE TO THE BONE and A SONG FOR THE DYING, featuring his most popular characters, Acting DI Logan McRae and DCI Robert Steel.

CID isn’t what it used to be.

It’s been a bad week for Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae. Every time his unit turns up anything interesting, DCI Steel’s Major Investigation Team waltzes in and takes over, leaving CID with all the dull and horrible jobs.

Like dealing with Mrs Black – who hates her neighbour, the police, and everyone else. Or identifying the homeless man who drank himself to death behind some bins. Or tracking down the wife and kids of someone who has just committed suicide.

But when the dead bodies start turning up, one thing’s certain – Logan’s week is about to get a whole lot worse.

MY THOUGHTS: I love Stuart MacBride’s books, but wasn’t sure how a novella by this author featuring the mismatched duo of McRae and Steel would fare. Shouldn’t have given it a second thought. 22 Dead Little Bodies is written with the same humour and attention to detail as his full length novels. It may only be short, but it still packs a punch!

MacBride’s writing leaves nothing to the imagination. His characters are gritty and realistic. And yet he is always able to inject a little wry or dark humour into a bleak situation. There is a depth to his writing that draws the reader in, and keeps the pages turning late into the night.

This is a great little addition to the Logan and McRae series. If you haven’t yet read anything from this series, it pays to start from the beginning as this is not a series that will work well when read out of order. If you are already a reader of this series, you will find this a tasty little snack between meals.

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/2045818787

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Time, once again, to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have been approved for from NetGalley this week.

Again, it hasn’t been a big reading week. I have had my younger son home from Australia, so we have spent the week catching up with each other, family, friends and going to the beach. He has gone back to Australia now, but will be home again next February for his brother’s wedding.

I am reading

The Girlfriend

which I am really enjoying. I am about to start listening to

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

This week, I plan on reading

The Babysitter

You trust her with your family. Would you trust her with your life?

Mark and Melissa Cain are thrilled to have found Jade, a babysitter who is brilliant with their young children. Having seen her own house burn to the ground, Jade needs them as much as they need her. Moving Jade into the family home can only be a good thing, can’t it?

As Mark works long hours as a police officer and Melissa struggles with running a business, the family become ever more reliant on their babysitter, who is only too happy to help. And as Melissa begins to slip into depression, it’s Jade who is left picking up the pieces.

But Mark soon notices things aren’t quite as they seem. Things at home feel wrong, and as Mark begins to investigate their seemingly perfect sitter, what he discovers shocks him to his core. He’s met Jade before. And now he suspects he might know what she wants …

Mark is in a race against time to protect his family. But what will he find as he goes back to his family home?

I know this was on my list to be read last week but, as I said, I had a very quiet reading week.

Cold Heart (Detective Kate Matthews, #3)

It has been a week since anyone last saw fifteen-year-old Daisy, after she left her best friend’s house and started her short walk home. Detective Kate Matthews and her team have been looking for her ever since.

When a tip-off leads Kate to a disused gymnasium at Daisy’s school, she is shocked to find evidence linking to the murder of a different girl.

Working the two cases side by side, Kate’s blood runs cold when a gift-wrapped box containing a human heart is delivered to her at the station. The heart belongs to yet another unknown victim, but the message is clear: there will be more, and Daisy could be one of them.

When activity on Daisy’s Facebook account indicates she is still alive, the race is on for Kate and her team. Will Daisy be the killer’s next victim? Is Kate prepared to risk everything to stop another innocent life from being taken?

I read another of Edger’s books earlier this year and was really impressed by it,so am looking forward to reading this.

Bitter

It’s 1969, and while the summer of love lingers in London, Gilda is consumed by the mistakes of her past. She walked out on her beloved son Reuben when he was just a boy and fears he’ll never forgive her.

When Reuben marries a petite blonde gentile, Gilda takes it as the ultimate rejection. Her cold, distant son seems transformed by love – a love she’s craved his entire adult life. What does his new wife have that she doesn’t? And how far will she go to find out?

It’s an obsession that will bring shocking truths about the past to light . . .

Bitter is a beautiful and devastating novel about the decisions that define our lives, the fragility of love and the bond between mother and son.

And… my Netgalley haul this week. I was full of good intentions, but. . .

Dark Lies (Detective Rhodes and Radley #1)

Her Name Was Rose

L’Anglaise by Helen E. Mundler, for which I don’t yet have a cover image.

The Last Thing I Saw

and, finally

Sold on a Monday

I hope you had a wonderful week of reading, and that you have another to come.

Please let me know what you are reading, if you have read any of my upcoming reads and what you thought of them.

Happy reading 💕💕💕

 

Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh

Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh
Reviewed by

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EXCERPT: Probably the alarming entrance into this village has saved it from becoming another Clovelly or Polpero. Ladies with ‘ye olde shoppe’ ambitions would hesitate to drive through Coombe Tunnel and very large cars are unable to do so. Moreover, the village is not too picturesque. It is merely a group of houses whose whitewash is tarnished by the sea. There are no secret stairs in any of them, no ghosts walk Ottercombe Steps, no smugglers cave looks out from Coombe Rock. For all that, the place has a history of grog-running and wrecking. There is a story of a fight in the tunnel between excisemen and the men of Coombe, and there are traces of the gate that closed the tunnel every night at sunset. The whole of Ottercombe is the property of an irascible eccentric who keeps the houses in good repair, won’t let one of them to a strange shopkeeper and breathes venom on the word ‘publicity’. If a stranger cares to stay in Ottercombe he must put up at the Plume of Feathers, where Abel Pomeroy has four guest rooms, and Mrs Ives does the housekeeping and cooking. If the Coombe men like him, they will take him out in their boats and play darts with him in the evening. He may walk around the cliffs, fish off the rocks, or drive seven miles to Islington where there is a golf course and a three-star hotel. These are the amenities of Ottercombe.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A classic Ngaio Marsh novel in which a game of darts in an English pub has gruesome consequences.

At the Plume of Feathers in south Devon one midsummer evening, eight people are gathered together in the tap-room. They are in the habit of playing darts, but on this occasion an experiment takes the place of the usual game – a fatal experiment which calls for investigation.

A distinguished painter, a celebrated actor, a woman graduate, a plump lady from County Clare, and a Devonshire farmer all play their parts in the unravelling of the problem…

MY THOUGHTS: I am embarrassed to admit that this is the first book I have read by New Zealand author Ngaio Marsh, and I was quite surprised to find it set in South Devon rather than in New Zealand. I am also ashamed to admit that I knew very little about this author, and had to look her up.

Marsh has written an atmospheric ‘whodunit’, a little reminiscent of Christie’s work, but somewhat ‘fuller’ in both character and atmosphere. I like that her main character, Detective Roderick Alleyn, doesn’t exhibit all the idiosyncrasies and affectations so commonly found in lead characters of this era. He is a relatively normal, if somewhat laid back, character with keen powers of observation.

There is plenty of misdirection, and red herrings abound in Death at the Bar. It kept my brain whirring and my interest levels high. I have found a new alternative to re-rereading Christie and Ngaio Marsh has a new fan.

I listened to Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh, narrated by Nadia May and published by Blackstone 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/1539928512