The Descent by Matt Brolly

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EXCERPT: From her spot on the dry grass of the churchyard, Amy glanced at Jay,trying not to make it look obvious. He was older than everyone else in the group and certainly more relaxed. There was an easiness to his long-limbed body; a sense of grace that belonged to a dancer. He sat on the other side of the fire, his arms wrapped around Claire. This in itself didn’t mean that Claire would be chosen tonight, but if last month’s events were anything to go by then she would be the one. The thought brought with it a mixture of jealousy and relief. Amy’s time would come, but sitting here overlooking the town with its glittering lights, the sea for once at full tide, she began to doubt herself.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In the quiet coastal town of Weston-super-Mare, a body is discovered at the foot of a cliff just months after a near-identical tragedy—and Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell can’t believe it could be a coincidence.

Next to the body, she discovers a note that echoes one found beside the first: Death is not the end. Louise is certain that behind these desperate acts someone is pulling the strings, but how many more will plunge to their demise before she can find out who—and why?

Struggling to stay focused under the strain of her troubled brother’s disappearance with his young daughter, Louise hits a much-needed breakthrough when a third tragedy points to the involvement of a charismatic cult leader. The suspect is within her sights, but he knows she’s on to him…

Short on proof and with the body count rising, can Louise intercept his deadly mission—or has she taken on an unbeatable foe?

MY THOUGHTS: The Descent by Matt Brolly is the second book in his Detective Louise Blackstock series. I have read the majority of Brolly’s books and loved his DI Michael Lambert series. Unfortunately I was not so impressed by The Crossing, the first in the Louise Blackstock series, and I am even less impressed with the Descent.

The story is told by Louise, struggling with both family issues and her career. I made the comment in my review of The Crossing that I didn’t find the characters well depicted. I felt no connection to any of them and Louise’s whining inner monologue on Finch and his past treatment of her quickly became wearing. In fact, she is pretty stereotypical of the current trend in female detectives… I see no reason to change one word of that comment in regards to The Descent.

Louise spends a lot of time engaging in ‘naval gazing’ and ‘if only I had/hadn’t….’ which quickly becomes tiresome in its repetitiveness. There’s no development of any of the supporting characters, and even the thread involving her family is repetitive. Now I am becoming repetitive. It must be catching!

Despite the claim on the cover, this is definitely not a thriller. I found it slow moving and lacking in suspense.
I expected more from Matt Brolly, and I won’t be reading any more of this particular series. Which doesn’t mean that I won’t be reading other books by this author.

🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️.6

THE AUTHOR: Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Descent by Matt Brolly for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading…

Chilly, overcast and windy here in my little patch of New Zealand. But at least the washing on the line is drying! I’ve had a lovely day, with my son and grandson calling in for lunch. They had been away for the weekend. They went to Rotorua and saw the boiling mud (it’s stinky, Nana.), and went on the luge and the gondola. They spent the night in Taupo with friends and were to go to the prawn farm this morning but it was simply too cold. They went to Huka Falls (I didn’t like the waterfall Nana. There was too much water and it was too noisy), and drove around Lake Taupo. Unfortunately the cloud was a little too low to get a good view of the mountains. We had a lovely vegetable curry with Indian spiced rice for lunch. Then Luke and I kicked the ball around the back yard for a while, then we pulled some carrots and picked mandarins for them to take home. Luke wasn’t very happy about going home, he wanted a sleepover. So I have promised that he can come and stay once we are through our AGM and first committee meeting. He was also disappointed that Nana hadn’t done any baking for him, but Nana just hasn’t had time. He didn’t like my lemon drizzle cake. But a packet of snack packs of smarties soon made up for the lack of cookies. And I have promised I will bake and bring cookies up when I next visit. And while he was here he discovered his Christmas presents that I thought I had hidden so carefully.🤦‍♀️ I had to do some very fast talking! I did let him have one of the two books in the box. It was a Little Golden Book in the Sesame Street series called The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone. This was a great favourite with both my boys when they were little.

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Now, on to my books! Currently I am reading The Silent Dolls by Rita Herron.

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And I am about to start listening to Long Lost (#4.5 in the Kate Burkholder series)

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This week I am planning on reading The Shore House by Heidi Hotstetter

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When the Bennett family arrive at the shore house to spend the summer together, they bring more baggage than just suitcases…

When Kaye Bennett, matriarch of the Bennett family, summons her adult children to the shore house, she anticipates a vacation full of nostalgia. It’s a chance to relive the carefree joy of summers past: basking in the hot sun, cooling off in the surf and enjoying long, relaxing evenings watching fireflies on the deck. But when Kaye’s son and daughter arrive, late and uncooperative, it becomes clear the family desperately need to reconnect.

Kaye and her daughter Stacy have been quietly at odds for years and resentment has grown around words unsaid. Faced with spending the summer months in such close quarters, Kaye is determined to remind Stacy of happier times and why she once loved their beautiful beachside home.

But both Kaye and Stacy are holding something back… and only when a heart-stopping moment on the beach puts what Stacy most loves at risk are the two women finally able to set free the secrets in their shared past.

And, South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber

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Blue Bishop has a knack for finding lost things. While growing up in charming small-town Buttonwood, Alabama, she’s happened across lost wallets, jewelry, pets, her wandering neighbor, and sometimes, trouble. No one is more surprised than Blue, however, when she comes across an abandoned newborn baby in the woods, just south of a very special buttonwood tree.

Sarah Grace Landreneau Fulton is at a crossroads. She has always tried so hard to do the right thing, but her own mother would disown her if she ever learned half of Sarah Grace’s secrets.

The unexpected discovery of the newborn baby girl will alter Blue’s and Sarah Grace’s lives forever. Both women must fight for what they truly want in life and for who they love. In doing so, they uncover long-held secrets that reveal exactly who they really are–and what they’re willing to sacrifice in the name of family.

Six new ARCs from Netgalley this week…that’s a movement of two in the wrong direction 🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️ and no doubt there will be more after I have read Susan’s, Carla’s, and Tina’s posts.

This week I received – Winter Honeymoon: Stories by Jacob M. Appel

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The Next Widow by C.J. Lyons, #1 in the Jericho and Wright series.

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Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall

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Nothing Good Happens After Midnight, a Suspense Magazine anthology

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Close to the Bone by Susan Wilkins, the second book in the Detective Megan Thomas series

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and finally The Push by Claire McGowan

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Happy reading everyone.

Stay calm and read.

Cheers
Sandy

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Unusual for me, I am currently not reading anything, well, anything that I can tell you about! All I can say is that it is a manuscript by an, as yet, unpublished author and I am very excited by it. Her writing is as natural as breathing…. Watch this space!

I am listening to The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean by Mira Robertson. Set in rural Victoria in 1944, it’s a charming coming of age story.

For some reason the cover photo is refusing to download, so moving on…

This week I am planning on reading To Tell You the Truth by Gilly MacMillan

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Lucy Harper has a talent for invention…

She was nine years old when her brother vanished in the woods near home. As the only witness, Lucy’s story of that night became crucial to the police investigation. Thirty years on, her brother’s whereabouts are still unknown.

Now Lucy is a bestselling thriller writer. Her talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring fans. But her husband, Dan, has started keeping secrets of his own, and a sudden change of scene forces Lucy to confront some dark, unwelcome memories. Then Dan goes missing and Lucy’s past and present begin to collide. Did she kill her husband? Would she remember if she did?

Finally, Lucy Harper is going to tell us the truth.

Cross her heart.
And hope to die.

And The Stepdaughter by Debbie Howells

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“I live in a village of stone walls and tall trees, a place of cold hearts and secrets . . .”

When Elise Buckley moved with her family to Abingworth, it was supposed to be a new start. She hoped the little English village, with its scattering of houses, pub, and village church, wouldn’t offer enough opportunity for her doctor husband, Andrew, to continue having affairs. Apparently, she was wrong. Now Elise’s only goal is to maintain the façade of a happy homelife for their teenage daughter, Niamh.

When the body of Niamh’s best friend, Hollie, is found, the entire village is rocked. Elise, though generally distrustful since Andrew’s infidelity, believed that Hollie was loved by her father and stepmother. Yet there was something unsettling beneath the girl’s smile. As the police investigation stalls amid disjointed evidence, it’s Niamh who unknowingly holds the key . . .

Flitting between the villagers’ lives, silent and unseen, Elise is learning about the relationships and secrets that surround her—including those close to home. And as her daughter edges closer to a killer, Elise realizes that the truth may eclipse even her worst suspicions . . .

It was too much to hope for that I could stick with my target of 2 new ARCs for a second week in a row. I have eight this week. At least it’s not in double figures 🤣😂

So, this week I have received Seven Days in Summer by Marcia Willett

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Pianos and Flowers by Alexander McCall Smith

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The Child Across the Street by Kerry Wilkinson

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Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie

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The Life She Left Behind by Nicole Trope

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The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

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Dead Wicked by Helen H. Durrant

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And, finally, House of Correction by Nicci French

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Enjoy howevermuch remains of your weekend. I am going to settle back down with my ‘secret’ read.

Happy reading my friends
❤😍📚☕🍪

Second hand heaven!

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Saturday, on the way up to my son’s, I stopped at Kihi Kihi, a small village about half an hour north of where I live. There is a large second hand bookstore there that I am always intending to visit, but because I usually go through there at silly o’clock in the morning before anything is open, and return at late o’clock, long after they’ve closed, I have never been able to. But on Saturday, I travelled at a civilised time and stopped in. I thought I had bought 16 books, but it was actually 18 for $60.00, and I got a free book bag with them. A lovely sea blue one with little white stars. And after I left, I kept thinking, ‘Oh! I forgot to look for this author, and that author…’ So I can see that I am going to have to make a return trip some time soon.

But in the meantime, I am all set up for my winter reads. My bookshelves are overflowing…may have to knock a wall out and put up more shelving! 🤣😂❤😍📚☕🍪

Happy reading my friends.

The Red, Red Snow by Caro Ramsay

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EXCERPT: Eric Callaghan paused as co-worker Simon chucked some ketchup and salt sachets on top of the fries,then picked a Santa balloon from the display behind him and tucked the string under Geraldine’s diet coke.

Simon wished him a happy Christmas.

Eric wished him a better career.

He could see Geraldine through the Santa balloons and light sabres. Suddenly, he coughed, balancing the tray on one arm as his body jerked. He tried to resist another cough; his mouth tasted blood. Leaving the crush at the counter, he needed fresh air. The heat in the food court was oppressive, making him feel dizzy, even a little faint. He leaned against a bin, catching his breath. The small snakes of potato wriggled across the tray, turning his stomach. He bumped into a grey-haired woman holding onto two Santa balloons, thinking that the mild collusion in such a tight space did not merit the look of alarm on her face. She asked him if he was okay, a gloved hand touching his arm, the kindness of a stranger, and then Geraldine was at his side as his eldest daughter lifted the tray from him. It all went rather colourful and pretty as the Santa balloons danced around the room.

‘I’m fine.’ He looked around him, lifted up his jacket, his black T-shirt wet with sweat. The tail of his peacock tattoo wound round his lower ribs, curving to his abdomen. The tail feathers were blue and purple, their tips turning crimson as the blood ran and dripped.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A family man is stabbed to death at a crowded Christmas Ice Show. Murdered in plain sight. No clues, no witnesses, no known motive.

A week later, two bodies are discovered at a holiday cottage in a remote highland glen: one in the kitchen; the other sprawled outside on the icy lawn. The killer would appear to have arrived and left without leaving a trace, not even a footprint in the snow.

What secrets are lurking within this isolated, superstitious community? As the snow piles higher, detectives Anderson and Costello put their wits to solving a seemingly impossible crime, and gradually uncover a twisted tale of greed, obsession – and cold-blooded murder.

MY THOUGHTS: I haven’t been hiding in the salt mines of Siberia, or even in remote parts of the Scottish highlands, so how come this is the first ever Caro Ramsay book that I have read, and #11 in the series at that?

I loved this complex and atmospheric mystery/police procedural. Even starting this series at #11 didn’t diminish my pleasure.

There are multiple mysteries in The Red, Red Snow. Why would anyone take the risk of stabbing a family man in plain sight in a crowded food court? Why would anyone stab him anyway?

And the elderly German couple in a holiday cottage in the remote Scottish Riske Glen, who would want them dead?

How did the killer get in? There are no footprints in the snow…

There is talk of Skirfin and nuckelavee, which are by no means the creepiest things in this book. No, that honour goes to the coffin bridge, a remarkable contraption that has you lay inside a coffin and, using an arrangement of ropes and pulleys, pull yourself across the river. No way would I ever climb inside that thing!

The characters are very real, their lives as complex as this case. But in no way do their private lives overshadow the main storyline, indeed it complements it. There is obviously a bit of back history between some of the characters of which I am unaware, and this has piqued my curiosity. Amongst the characters is a bad-tempered DI, a lovestruck forensic scientist, a pathologist obsessed with choosing her new curtains, and a woman called Suzette and, I quote, ‘I do apologise for my horrible daughter. I wish I could blame it on some disorder, but I’m afraid she is just an evil little cow.’ There is even a character called Arthur ‘Conman’ Doyle, and a wonderful Staffie (I love Staffies) called Nesbit.

Ramsay writes with a lightness of touch, a sensitivity to the situation, and a wry sense of humour.

I now have another series to add to my list to read from the beginning. And rest assured, I will be first in line for the next Caro Ramsay book.

🤩🤩🤩🤩

#TheRedRedSnow #NetGalley

‘She wondered vaguely what had happened to the rise of feminism, and if it applied in adverse weather conditions.’

‘It’s Christmas. People fight about everything.’

‘I can read you like a book. Just not a very good book.’

THE AUTHOR: Caro Ramsay was born and educated in Glasgow. She has been writing stories since she was five years old, developing a keen interest in crime fiction and a passion for the genre that lead her to write Absolution, her first novel.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Red,Red Snow by Caro Ramsay for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

In the Dark by Cara Hunter

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EXCERPT: She opens her eyes to darkness as close as a blindfold. To the heaviness of cold dank air that hadn’t been breathed in a long time.

Her other senses lurch awake. The dripping silence, the cold, the smell. Mildew and something else she can’t yet place, something animal and fetid. She moves her fingers, feeling grit and wet under her jeans. It’s coming back to her – how she got here, why this happened.

How could she have been so stupid?

She stifles the acrid rush of panic and tries to sit up, but the movement defeats her. She fills her lungs and shouts, flinging echoes across the walls. Shouts and shouts and shouts until her throat is raw.

But no one comes. Because no one can hear.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive.

No one knows who they are — the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

And that no one is as innocent as they seem .

MY THOUGHTS: This is number two in the DI Adam Fawley series of which there are currently four books and which, I must admit, I have read in reverse order. Has it impacted on my enjoyment? Definitely not and, yes, I have #1 on order.

This was an exciting read, one which twisted and turned, and one where I would never in a million years have predicted the outcome.

There is a compelling blend of police procedural, mystery, crime and psychological thriller. The characterization is superb. Fawley is very perceptive and knows his team very well. He may not know quite what they’re up to, but he knows that something’s up. He has enough trust in them to let them run with their theories, but savvy enough to keep an eye on them. Quinn and Gislingham (Gis) feature prominently. We get enough of the private lives of the team to satisfy my curiosity, but not enough to overpower the main storyline although, interestingly, they are linked.

Unreservedly recommended.

❤❤❤❤❤

THE AUTHOR: Cara Hunter is a writer who lives in Oxford, in a street not unlike those featured in her series of crime books.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of In The Dark (DI Adam Fawley #2) written by Cara Hunter, narrated by Lee Ingleby and Emma Cunliffe, published by Penguin. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.com

It must be time to read!

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I dropped in to see a friend who was working in one of the charity shops in town on my way to work this morning…and look what I scored.

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan,#1 in the Cormac Reilly series.

It’s been twenty years since Cormac Reilly discovered the body of Hilaria Blake in her crumbling Georgian home. But he’s never forgotten the two children she left behind…

When Aisling Conroy’s boyfriend Jack is found in the freezing black waters of the river Corrib, the police tell her it was suicide. A surgical resident, she throws herself into study and work, trying to forget – until Jack’s sister Maude shows up. Maude suspects foul play, and she is determined to prove it.

DI Cormac Reilly is the detective assigned with the re-investigation of an ‘accidental’ overdose twenty years ago – of Jack and Maude’s drug- and alcohol-addled mother. Cormac is under increasing pressure to charge Maude for murder when his colleague Danny uncovers a piece of evidence that will change everything…

This unsettling crime debut draws us deep into the dark heart of Ireland and asks who will protect you when the authorities can’t – or won’t.

The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith, an author I haven’t read before, but about whom I have heard only good things.

Behind Edinburgh’s regimented Georgian facades, its moral compasses are spinning with greed, dishonesty, lust and murderous intent. Isabel Dalhousie knows this. Isabel, in fact, rather relishes it. An accomplished philosopher and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, she knows all about the difference between good and bad. Which is probably why, by instinct, she is an amateur sleuth. And instinct tells her the man who tumbled to his death in front of her eyes after a concert in the Usher Hall didn’t fall. He was pushed…. The Sunday Philosophy Club marks new territory — but familiar moral ground — from the author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. With Isabel Dalhousie, Alexander McCall Smith introduces a new and waspish female sleuth to tackle murder, mayhem — and the mysteries of life.

And Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by the same author, the second book in the Isabel Dalhousie series, of which The Sunday Philosophy Club is the first.

Isabel Dalhousie thinks often of friends, sometimes of lovers, and on occasion of chocolate. As an Edinburgh philosopher she is certain of where she stands. She can review a book called ‘In Praise of Sin’ with panache and conviction, but real life is . . . well, perhaps a bit more challenging – particularly when it comes to her feelings for Jamie, a younger man who should have married her niece, Cat. Jamie’s handsomeness leaves Isabel feeling distinctly uneasy and ethically disturbed. I am a philosopher, she thinks, but I am also a woman.

And more disturbance is in store. When Cat takes a break in Italy, Isabel agrees to run her delicatessen. One of the customers, she discovers, has recently had a heart transplant and is now being plagued by memories that cannot be rationally explained and which he feels do not belong to him.

Isabel is intrigued. So intrigued that she finds herself rushing headlong into a dangerous investigation. But she still has time to think about the things that possess her – things like love and friendship and, of course, temptation. The last of these comes in many forms – chocolate, for example, or seductive Italians.

Have you read any of these? If you did, what did you think?

Cheers and happy reading
Sandy

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

New Zealand is certainly living up to its Maori name of Aotearoa this week. Translated, it means land of the long white cloud. It has been cloudy or raining all week. I am making a point, as part of my mindfulness routine, to watch the sunrise each morning. I have been photographing it each day and posting to my Instagram page which, if you would  like to take a look, goes by the same name as my webpage @sandysbookaday

My three year old grandson came on his own for a sleepover weekend and has just gone home with his Dad. He was so very good, but he certainly kept me busy. He has added two new books to his collection here and I will review those during the week.

I have just started reading Her Perfect Life by Rebecca Taylor

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and I am a little more than halfway through listening to In the Dark by Cara Hunter

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This week I am planning on reading The Red,Red Snow by Caro Ramsey

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A family  man is stabbed to death at a crowded Christmas Ice Show. Murdered in plain sight. No clues, no witnesses, no known motive.

A week later, two bodies are discovered at a holiday cottage in a remote highland glen: one in the kitchen; the other sprawled outside on the icy lawn. The killer would appear to have arrived and left without leaving a trace, not even a footprint in the snow.

What secrets are lurking within this isolated, superstitious community? As the snow piles higher, detectives Anderson and Costello put their wits to solving a seemingly impossible crime, and gradually uncover a twisted tale of greed, obsession – and cold-blooded murder.

And The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

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Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Rose Carrigan built the small retirement village of Safe Harbor years ago—just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Now she runs a tight ship, making sure the residents follow her strict rules. Rose keeps everyone at arm’s length, including her own family. But when Lily shows up asking for a job and a place to live, Rose’s cold exterior begins to thaw.

Lily and Rose form an unlikely friendship, and Lily’s salon soon becomes the place where residents share town gossip, as well as a few secrets. Lily soon finds herself drawn to Rose’s nephew, Rawlins—a single dad and shrimper who’s had some practice at starting over—and one of the residents may be carrying a torch for Rose as well.

Neither Lily nor Rose is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far. The Summer House weaves Lauren K. Denton’s inviting Southern charm around a woman’s journey to find herself.

This week I received five new ARCs from NetGalley, including The Summer House, above.

The other four are The Gilded Cage by Camilla Lackberg

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It Started With A Secret by Jill Mansell

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The Last Piece by Imogen Clark

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The Descent (Detective Louise Blackwell #2) by Matt Brolly

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I have a big crockpot of Pumpkin and Coconut Cream soup simmering away and some nice crusty garlic bread to heat up, so that is dinner taken care of. The remainder of the afternoon is for reading.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Happy reading!

Cheers,

Sandy ❤😍📚☕🍪

 

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

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EXCERPT: … once you catch sight of him, it’s the boy on the far left who grabs the viewer’s attention. He isn’t tall for his age. Not as developed as the other boys, in fact, and his clothes are scruffy and down at heel. But his eyes are piercing. He’s staring straight into the camera with an expressionless face, and it’s as though he’s the only one who hasn’t heard the joke.

Hess stares at him. Hair, cheekbones, nose, chin, lips. All the features that change so radically during adolescence. Hess recognizes him, yet at the same time he doesn’t; and it is only when he zooms in and covers the boy’s face so only his eyes are visible that he can see who it is. He can see it, but it is as impossible as it is obvious. When comprehension dawns, his first thought is that it’s too late to fight back.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.

And no one is safe.

MY THOUGHTS: I once tried roasted chestnuts, and must say I didn’t like them. I did, however, like The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup.

I liked the friction between Hess and Thulin, the lead investigators on the case of a brutally murdered mother. Neither of them want to be on this case. Thulin feels like she is treading water in Homicide and desperately wants to transfer to NC3, on track to become the best cyber crime unit in Europe. Hess has blotted his copybook with Europol so he has been sent back to Copenhagen to cool his heels.

I didn’t like Hess at the outset, as anyone who read my updates could tell. But he kept surprising me. I made unflattering comments about his commitment to the case several times, and had to eat my words. Thulin seemed more committed, but didn’t have Hess’s flair for analytical and lateral thinking. Together they made a good, if somewhat resentful, team. And Thulin isn’t above denigrating Hess to Nylander, the very conservative head of major crimes division, in order to advance her own agenda.

This is a dark and twisty read. It is graphic and gruesome in parts. Typical Nordic noir. I had no idea who the murderer was nor, initially, the motivation. But when the motivation was revealed, it sent me off on completely the wrong track. Very clever writing Mr Sveistrup.

Several people have commented that The Chestnut Man read more like a play than a novel. I didn’t get that feeling, but I did sometimes feel that the writing was quite dispassionate and lacking in suspense. Don’t get me wrong, I liked this book a lot; it is intriguing but not, to me, particularly suspenseful.

There are some beautiful touches, like the wreath of chestnut men, and compelling characters, strong characters, but rather a lot of characters, almost too many.

Definitely a read I recommend, and an author I will follow.

😱😱😱😱

#TheChestnutMan

THE AUTHOR: Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed scriptwriter of the Danish television phenomenon The Killing which won various international awards and sold in more than a hundred countries. More recently, Sveistrup wrote the screenplay for Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman.

Sveistrup obtained a Master in Literature and in History from the University of Copenhagen and studied at the Danish Film School. He has won countless prizes, including an Emmy for Nikolaj and Julie and a BAFTA for The Killing.

DISCLOSURE: I read The Chestnut Man written by Soren Sveistrup, published by Penguin, for the Goodreads Mystery, Crime and Thriller group read. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Killing Mind by Angela Marsons

Published 13 May 2020

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EXCERPT: I will not feel the fear. I will not feel the fear.

I repeat the words to myself over and over in my mind. The fabric that cuts a tight line across my mouth prevents me from saying it out loud.

My hands and feet are numb, caused either by the cold or the ties that bind me tightly to the chair, I’m not sure which.

The goose bumps on my skin are raised and my breathing is shallow. I know how to control these physical reactions to the fear that is running around my brain. I have been taught.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When Detective Kim Stone is called to the home of Samantha Brown, she finds the young woman lying in bed with her throat cut and a knife in her hand. With no sign of forced entry or struggle, Kim rules her death a tragic suicide.

But a visit to Samantha’s parents rings alarm bells for Kim – there’s something they’re not telling her. And, when she spots a clue in a photograph, Kim realises she’s made a huge mistake. Samantha didn’t take her own life, she was murdered.

Then a young man’s body is found in a local lake with his throat cut and Kim makes a link between the victim and Samantha. They both spent time at Unity Farm, a retreat for people seeking an alternative way of life.

Beneath the retreat’s cosy façade, Kim and her team uncover a sinister community preying on the emotionally vulnerable.

Sending one of her own undercover into Unity Farm is high risk but it’s Kim’s only hope if she is to catch a killer – someone Kim is convinced the victims knew and trusted.

With Bryant distracted by the emergence of a harrowing case close to his heart, and an undercover officer in way over her head, Kim’s neck is on the line like never before. Can she protect those closest to her before another life is taken?

MY THOUGHTS: D.I. Kim Stone loses vital evidence at the beginning of Killing Mind, the 12th exciting installment of Angela Marsons series. Not something I can ever remember Kim doing previously . . . This certainly makes for a brilliant start to the book.

Kim is dedicated, single minded, doesn’t have a life beyond her dog and her motorbikes, neither of which get much of a look in here, because bodies keep appearing. Or rather, Kim takes the bit between her teeth and finds more bodies. And every one is connected in some way to Unity Farm, a retreat with a charismatic leader. A retreat, or a cult?

My one ripple of discontent with Killing Mind is that I felt that I was being (over) educated about cults. A lot of the information was repeated, more than once. But while I felt that the amount of information may have been overkill, it was also quite frightening to see it explicitly laid out just how they target the vulnerable.

The characters were interesting. Bryant is not running at full throttle, his attention diverted by an old case. Stacey and Penn are there, but aren’t as prominent as usual. Even Kim didn’t seem to be as ‘in your face’ as usual. It was good to see Tinks back. I enjoy her character and we get to know her quite a lot better in Killing Mind. I am looking forward to seeing more of her in the future. And then there was the man dressed in black driving the white SUV. He was a revelation.

Overall, Killing Mind seemed a little more muted than previous books in the series. That is not a criticism, just a personal observation. I enjoyed this book, as always, and am eagerly awaiting the next. Well, the next 4 really. Get writing Angela.

❤❤❤❤

#KillingMindDetectiveKimStone #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Killing Mind by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

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