Kisscut by Karin Slaughter

Kisscut by Karin Slaughter
Kisscut (Grant County, #2) 
by Karin Slaughter (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: At twenty-eight weeks old, Jenny Weaver’s child might have been viable outside the womb had its mother not tried to flush it down the toilet. The foetus was well developed and well nourished. The brain stem was intact and, with medical intervention, the lungs would have matured over time. The hands would have learned to grasp, the feet to flex, the eyes to blink. Eventually, the mouth would have learned to speak of something other than the horrors it spoke to Sara of now. The lungs had taken breath, the mouth gasped for life. And then it had been killed.
For the past three-and-a-half hours, Sara had tried to reassemble the baby from the parts Jenny Weaver had left in the bathroom and in the red book bag they found in the trash by the video game room. Using tiny sutures instead of the usual baseball stitches, Sara had sewn the paper thin flesh back together into the semblance of a child. Her hands shook, and Sara had redone some of the knots because her fingers were not nimble enough on the first try.
Still, it was not enough. Working on the child, tying the tiny sutures, was like pulling a thread on a sweater. For every area repaired, there was another that could not be concealed. There was no disguising the trauma the child had been through. In the end, Sara had finally accepted that her self-appointed task was an exercise in futility. The baby would go to the grave looking much the way it had looked the last time her mother had seen her.

THE BLURB: Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton–the town’s pediatrician and medical examiner–finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy.

What seemed at first to be a horrific but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self -mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.

The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister’s death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it’s going to happen again . . .

MY THOUGHTS: Grant County is a series that needs to be read in order, from the beginning, to get the full benefit from the storyline.
Kisscut by Karin Slaughter is not a pretty story. It is not a pleasant read. It contains references to child abuse, and while it doesn’t go into specific detail, we all know enough to fill in the blanks. But Kisscut is compelling reading. Even though this is a reread for me, I found myself totally embroiled in the plot and the fates of the characters.
This is Slaughter at her best, and I still love the Grant County series best of all.
I listened to Kisscut by Karin Slaughter,narrated by Kathleen Early, on audiobook via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2177382184

Friday Favorite – Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

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

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

I am currently reading Broken Bones by Angela Marsons, #7 in the DI. Stone series, and newly published just this week. It is not often that an author can maintain their focus and momentum through a series of seven books, but Marsons has done just that.

So while I am up in the middle of the New Zealand night devouring Marsons latest offering, I thought I would introduce you to the first in the series, Silent Scream.

WARNING: Unless you are planning on a sleepless night, don’t start this when you are going to bed, otherwise you will find yourself doing as I am, sitting up all night reading because you are going to read just one more chapter before you turn out the light. ..

Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1) 
by Angela Marsons (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT:
PROLOGUE
Rowley Regis, Black Country, 2004
Five figures formed a pentagram around a freshly dug mound.
Only they knew it was a grave.
Digging the frozen earth beneath the layers of ice and snow had been like trying to carve stone but they’d taken turns.
All of them.
An adult-sized hole would have taken longer.
The shovel had passed from grip to grip. Some were hesitant, tentative. Others more assured. No one resisted and no one spoke.
The innocence of the life taken was known to them all but the pact had been made.
Their secrets would be buried.
Five heads bowed towards the dirt, visualising the body beneath soil that already glistened with fresh ice. As the first flakes dusted the top of the grave, a shudder threaded through the group. The five figures dispersed, their footprints treading the trail of a star into the fresh, crisp snow.
It was done.

THE BLURB: Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Val McDermid and Mark Billingham will be gripped by this exceptional new voice in British crime fiction.

Watch out for more from D.I. Kim Stone
A Detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent. Silent Scream is the first book in the series – watch out for EVIL GAMES coming soon.

MY THOUGHTS: The cover states that this is an edge of the seat serial killer thriller – and yes, it does deliver what it promises!
A headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.
Then human remains are discovered buried in the grounds of a former children’s home, threatening to bring to light a legacy of disturbing secrets.
How far will the killer go to protect these secrets?
The characters, some of whom are quite horrifying, are all well portrayed and well rounded.
This book had me gasping in shock, then shedding tears at moments of extreme compassion and tenderness.
Strongly recommended. But beware – this book is almost impossible to put down.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Silent Scream by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1180418128

Bloodline by Mark Billingham

Bloodline by Mark Billingham
Bloodline (Tom Thorne, #8) 
by Mark Billingham

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: The woman was face down, arms by her sides. Her shirt had been lifted, or had ridden up, showing purplish patches on her skin just above her waist where the liver mortis had started and revealing that her bra had not been removed.

“Something, I suppose,” said a female CSI as she walked past.

Thorne raised his eyes from the body and looked towards the single window. There were plates and mugs on the draining board next to the sink. A light was flashing on the front of the washing machine to let somebody know that the cycle had finished.

There was still a trace of normality.

THE BLURB: DI Tom Thorne is back…

It seems like a straightforward domestic murder until a bloodstained sliver of X-ray is found clutched in the dead woman’s fist – and it quickly becomes clear that this case is anything but ordinary.

Thorne discovers that the victim’s mother had herself been murdered fifteen years before by infamous serial killer Raymond Garvey. The hunt to catch Garvey was one of the biggest in the history of the Met, and ended with seven women dead.

When more bodies and more fragments of X-ray are discovered, Thorne has a macabre jigsaw to piece together until the horrifying picture finally emerges. A killer is targeting the children of Raymond Garvey’s victims.

Thorne must move quickly to protect those still on the murderer’s list, but nothing and nobody are what they seem. Not when Thorne is dealing with one of the most twisted killers he has ever hunted…

A chilling, relentlessly paced thriller, Bloodline is the most gripping Tom Thorne novel yet.

MY THOUGHTS: I absolutely agree with the final sentence in the blurb. Bloodline is chilling. The pace is relentless. And this is the most gripping of the Tom Thorne series yet.

The killer is twisted, and very clever. He has laid his plans and prepared his ground meticulously. He leaves a trail for the police to follow, and he sits back and waits…

Meanwhile, Thorne is dealing with a personal crisis, or perhaps not dealing with it might be more accurate.

Billingham’s characters are ordinary people. They have likes and dislikes, bills to pay, meals to plan, children to get to school. I think this is one of the reasons I enjoy Billingham’s books so much. These people could be your neighbors, your friends, could even be you.

I like the matter of fact way Billingham writes, and his little injections of black humor.

An exciting and thrilling read. Although these are best read in order of the series to gain the most out of the character development, Bloodline will work as a stand alone book. 4.5☆

Bloodline was narrated by Paul Thornley and I listened to the audio version via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/942705195

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo
Reviewed by
Nov 02, 2017  
EXCERPT: I haven’t seen or heard from Joseph King in twenty years, but I heard the stories. Not only from the Amish, but from law enforcement as well. Evidently, King was a troubled man with a marriage on the rocks, a litter of kids he didn’t want, and a loose interpretation of his marital vows.

I vividly recall the day I learned his wife had been found dead—and Joseph was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. I couldn’t believe the kid I’d known—the one with the toothy grin and big laugh—could do something so horrific. But no one knows better than me how profoundly life can change people—and that too often those changes are not for the best.

I’d wanted to talk to him, ask him myself if he’d done it. But I knew it was only that tiny part of my heart that remembered what it was like to be thirteen years old and in the throes of my first crush. The part of me that was loyal to a fault and still believed people were fundamentally good. I never went to see him.

I did, however, follow the investigation and trial. Joseph King, his wife, and their five children lived on a small farm near Middlefield, Ohio, which is about two hours northeast of Painters Mill. The night of the murder, King claimed to have gone fishing on Lake Erie. Since his destination was too far to travel via buggy, he’d paid a local Yoder toter to drive him to a cabin. During the night, someone walked into his unlocked home, picked up his shotgun, and shot his wife in her bed while their five children slept across the hall. Come morning, the children discovered their mother’s body. Two days later, Joseph was arrested and charged with murder.

THE BLURB: In this electrifying new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series, a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.

Eight years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and, according to local law enforcement, a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire and putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. A nightmare scenario becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and kidnaps his five children from their Amish uncle’s house. He’s armed and desperate with nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate leaps into action, but her frantic search for a killer leads her into an ambush. When King releases her unharmed, asking her to prove his innocence, she begins to wonder whether the police are hiding something, and she embarks on her own investigation to discover the truth.

MY THOUGHTS: I hadn’t read a Linda Castillo book in a while, so I was excited to find Down a Dark Road in the audio section of my library service. Her books, and I admit to only having read some of her Kate Burkholder series and out of order at that, are fast paced, gripping and realistic.

There is a great blend of police procedure with Kate’s personal life. I particularly like the way she still has respect for the Amish way of life, although she has left it behind, and the conflict she feels about the lack of relationship with her brother and sister and their families, who have remained in the Amish community.

In Down A Dark Road, Kate follows her heart rather than her head, putting her position as Chief of Police in jeopardy. We get to take a look at her childhood through flashbacks, and we learn a lot more about what makes Kate the woman she is.

An extremely satisfying reading/listening experience.

I listened to the audio version of Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1997736515

Friday Favorites

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

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

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

I have long been a fan of Susan Hill, especially her Simon Serrailler series, which she began in 2004. Working in and around Lafferton, a fictional cathedral town somewhere in the south of England, Serrailler is the Chief Inspector for the region. He is portrayed as an aloof loner who has not much luck with his love life, and is closest to his sister Cat, a physician who lives with her husband and children in a sprawling farmhouse, which Simon uses as a bolthole when he feels the need to retreat. Even with his family, his relationships tend to be rather one sided. His parents, also physicians, live locally and although he has a reasonably good relationship with his mother, he believes his father has never quite forgiven him for not following in the family footsteps  career wise.

Hill’s writing is both intelligent and intricate. I hope she never stops writing this series.

It might seemrather odd to start by reviewing the seventh book in the series, but that is the one freshest in my mind. …

A Question of Identity by Susan Hill
A Question of Identity
by Susan Hill

Reviewed by
EXCERPT: ‘It seems like your brain’s bursting. It doesn’t happen all at once, it builds up. And then your brain’s going to burst until you do something about it. You do it. You have to do it. Then it’s all right again for a bit, ’til it starts again.’
THE BLURB: A particularly unpleasant murder, that of a very old woman in a housing project, rocks the town of Lafferton. The murderer has left a distinctive “sign” on the body and at the scene of crime. A couple of weeks later, a similar murder occurs, and a month or so later, so does another.

Initial investigations discover that the mysterious “sign” left on the body was the calling card of a suspect who was charged with several murders in the northwest of the country, tried but acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence. All indications suggest that this person has simply vanished. Or is he right under their noses? Simon Serrailler is obliged to make delve deeper and scratch out answers, in this addictive mystery of surpassing darkness by the bestselling Susan Hill.


MY COMMENTS: As always, Susan Hill held me captive throughout this, the seventh Simon Serrailler book.

No one in their right mind would break into the bedrooms of frail old ladies who are alone at night and terrify them, drag them out of their beds, shove them down in a chair in front of a mirror so they could see themselves, see the killer standing behind them, watch him get out the electrical flex, watch him uncoil it and raise his hands to loop it around their necks, watch while he starts to tighten it, watch themselves fight for breath, turn blue, start to choke. …

Yet this is precisely what is happening. But it’s not the first time. It had happened ten years earlier. A man was arrested and charged and subsequently acquitted. So where is he now? They can find no trace of him, no record that he ever existed. So just how do you find a killer who doesn’t exist?

Another edge of your seat crime thriller/ police procedural from Susan Hill.

 

 

Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza

Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza

 

EXCERPT: ‘The fingers poking through the hole in the brown material were swollen, with blackened fingernails. Moss gently worked the sand away from the seams, and exposed the rusted zipper. It took Erika several gentle tugs, but it yielded, and the suitcase sagged open as she unzipped. Moss moved to help, and they slowly lifted it open. A little water spilled out, and the naked body of a man was crammed inside. Moss stepped backwards, putting her arm up to her nose. The smell of rotting flesh and stagnant water hit the back of their throats. Erika closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them. The limbs were white and muscular. The flesh had the appearance of raw suet and was starting to flake away, in places exposing the bone. Erika gently lifted the torso. Tucked underneath was a head, with black wispy hair.’

THE BLURB: She fell in love with a killer, now she’s one too.

The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would find inside…

When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before.

As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago.

Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack.

But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery…there’s more than one killer.

MY COMMENTS: The question begs to be asked – how could a young girl with so much promise stumble down such a dark path?

#5 in Robert Bryndza’s Detective Erika Foster series, Cold Blood is based on a vulnerable young woman’s need to be loved. Her Dad has died, her Mum has a new man in her life, her friends have all gone off to university, while Nina is working a dead end job in a fish and chip shop because she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. Nina is isolated by her own circumstances and Max spots her vulnerability and uses it to his own advantage. And we all know from experience that the nice but needy girl falling under the spell of the bad boy story is never going to end well. And this one certainly doesn’t. But even I certainly didn’t predict just how badly it was all going to end.

I have read all of this series, and to be honest, this is the least favorite installment. It just doesn’t seem to flow like the previous books did. It didn’t leave me breathless with anticipation. It actually took me four days to read it. I’m not saying it is a bad read, because it definitely isn’t. It is a good read, as evidenced by my 4☆ rating, just not as good as the rest of the series, which for me have all been 5☆ Am I looking forward to the next installment? Hell yes! Get writing Rob!

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page for an explanation of my ratings. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2123260533