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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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. 💕📚

 

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

Watching What I’m Reading

The last Sunday before Christmas, and only one more to go before the end of the year. . .

I have just finished reading

For Better and Worse

5 shimmering stars from me. Watch for my review.

I am currently reading

Willem's Field: A Novel

which I picked up at a library sale some time ago. It just seemed to call to me during the week and so I plucked it from its box. It is more delightfully meandering than slow, and has some very interesting characters.

I am listening to

Watching You

which is promising to be every bit as good as the other novels I have read by this author.

My next read is

The Collector (The Bone Collector, #2)

The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams.

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .

And I also plan on reading

The Girl in the Corner

From bestselling author Amanda Prowse comes the poignant tale of a woman who has always been there for her family. But will they be there for her?

Rae-Valentine and Howard were childhood sweethearts. They’ve shared twenty-five peaceful years since they were brought together by Dolly, Howard’s larger-than-life sister. But now, on the night of their wedding anniversary, Howard reveals a shocking betrayal that leaves Rae reeling.

Heartbroken, she takes Dolly on her would-be anniversary trip to Antigua and the two women drink and dance and talk like they haven’t in years. But in the break from real life, Rae realises her choices have always been made for her, and suddenly she’s questioning not only her fragile marriage but also her one-sided friendships. Is she really the pushover everyone else sees?

When Howard comes looking for reconciliation, Rae has a choice to make: keep the peace, as she always has, or put herself first for once and find out who she really is.

I have 4 new ARCs  approved from NetGalley this week.

The Silent Patient

The Suspect

The Dry Grass of August

Dirty Little Secrets

Have you any of these on your TBR list? Or have you already read them?

Happy reading my friends. 🎅📚💕

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd

The Innocent Wife by Amy  Lloyd

EXCERPT: They sat rigid, unspeaking. Sam unwilling to back down and Dennis confused, possibly wondering what he had got himself into, she thought, disgusted with herself. But it was happening now, the worms inside her were squirming, and she couldn’t stop them.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Twenty years ago, Dennis Danson was arrested and imprisoned for the brutal murder of a young girl. Now he’s the subject of a true-crime documentary that’s whipping up a frenzy online to uncover the truth and free a man who has been wrongly convicted.

A thousand miles away in England, Samantha is obsessed with Dennis’s case. She exchanges letters with him, and is quickly won over by his apparent charm and kindness to her. Soon she has left her old life behind to marry him and campaign for his release.

When the campaign is successful and Dennis is freed, however, Sam begins to discover new details that suggest he may not be quite so innocent after all.

But how do you confront your husband when you don’t want to know the truth?

MY THOUGHTS: I did not request an ARC of this book from NetGalley when I had the chance, mainly because I have never been able to understand why a woman would strike up a relationship with someone in prison, to whom they have been attracted by their notoriety and/or their claims of innocence, would move away from their friends and family to be closer to the prison, and why they would actually marry, when there was little or no hope of ever having anything resembling a normal life with their spouse. I JUST DIDN’T GET IT! And, to a certain extent, I still don’t. But The Innocent Wife has opened my eyes, and my mind, a little. It is still something that I would never contemplate, but I can now see how it could happen.

Sam is needy, and unhappy. We don’t learn too much of her back story, just that she was in an emotionally abusive relationship for a number of years before being unceremoniously dumped. Dan is a safe option. She can have a husband without all the pitfalls of a normal relationship because he is safely out of her reach, and she out of his . . . . until he is freed.

The truth was that Sam had grown used to their relationship as it was, separated by a thick plexiglass wall. Without that wall, Sam worried, there was nothing to stop them hurting each other, as she and Mark had done. Or all the other things people did to each other: walking away, lying, switching off their phones, little cruelties she and Dennis had so far been shielded from. 

And it is from this point on that the book begins to get interesting. . .

🎅🎅🎅.5

THE AUTHOR: Amy Lloyd won the Daily Mail and Penguin Random House First Novel competition in 2016 with her thriller ‘The Innocent Wife’.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Leanne of Little Scissors, Otorohanga, New Zealand, for insisting I read The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd, published by Century, a division of Penguin Random House. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. (Just out of interest, this was a five star read for Leanne.)

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/2621977755

Broken Ground by Val McDermid

Broken Ground by Val McDermid

EXCERPT: What appeared to be a crude sculpture of a motorbike had been propped upright on one side of the hole, looking like a potential entrant for the Turner prize. Beside it, his torso twisted at the waist, making an awkward angle to his legs, lay their victim. The peat had stained his skin the color of weak coffee, but apart from that, he was as perfectly preserved as a shop window mannequin.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Alice Somerville’s inheritance lies six feet under in a Highland peat bog – a pair of valuable vintage motorbikes buried by her grandfather at the end of World War II. But when Alice finally organises their recovery, she finds an unwelcome surprise -a body with a pair of bullet holes . . . and Nike trainers. DCI Karen Pirie of Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit is called in to unravel a case where nothing is quite as it seems.

Meanwhile an overheard conversation in a cafe draws Karen to the heart of a murder she thought she’d already prevented.

As Karen gets closer to the several truths, it becomes clear that not everyone shares her desire for justice. Or even the idea of what justice is.

MY THOUGHTS: I have read a number of books by this author, but this is my first in this particular series. And while it didn’t set my world on fire, it was a good solid read and I do want to read more.

I like Karen’s character. She is in the minority of female detectives for having no major hang-ups/character flaws. She is a nice normal person who has suffered personal tragedy and is now rebuilding her life. She doesn’t like her boss, and the feeling is entirely mutual. But where her boss isn’t above using dirty methods to try and discredit Karen, Karen has morals and scruples.

The story is told over multiple timelines, and from multiple points of view. But this is well executed and doesn’t cause any confusion.

While I have to admit to finding the writing a little slow paced, the plot was intriguing enough to keep me interested and reading. I also felt that the ending left something to be desired, more in execution than plot. It felt rushed and a little incomplete, hence the not quite 4-star rating.

One particular turn of phrase that has stuck in my mind, and perfectly describes Karen’s predicament is ‘a case from the past that has more holes than a box of doughnuts.’

🎅🎅🎅.5

THE AUTHOR: Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Broken Ground by Val McDermid 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/2582684214