Consolation by Garry Disher

EXCERPT: The house was empty. Hirsch didn’t know if the thin trace of dust on the kitchen table indicated abandonment or bad housekeeping. But the UHF equipment in the radio room had been smashed up: violence of some kind had occurred here.

He left by the back door and walked to the jackaroos’ quarters, a pair of squat back to back rooms. Unmade beds and dirty clothes piled on wooden chairs; in one room a guitar, in the other posters of a Tasmanian rainforest, a formula one racing car and a woman in tennis whites scratching her bare bum.

The sheds: a Falcon station wagon, a trailer, tools, ladders, ropes, axles, a blacksmith’s anvil.

Hirsch stood in the yard a while, indecisive. Search a wider area? Call it in right now? The Ayliffes could be anywhere. Maybe they’d drive the Triton down into a sinkhole and the airbag would explode and slice their throats open.

Widening the circle each time, Hirsch circumnavigated the patch of buildings and stockyards. Eventually he caught, faintly but unmistakably, a stench of death borne on the wind that gusted across the rocky ground.

ABOUT ‘CONSOLATION’: Winter in Tiverton.

Constable Paul Hirschhausen has a snowdropper on his patch. Someone is stealing women’s underwear, and Hirsch knows enough about that kind of crime—how it can escalate—not to take it lightly.

But the more immediate concerns are a call from the high school, a teacher worried about a student who may be in danger at home. Another call, a different school: a man enraged about the principal’s treatment of his daughter.

A little girl in harm’s way and an elderly woman in danger. An absent father who isn’t where he’s supposed to be; another who flees to the back country armed with a rifle. Families under pressure. And the cold, seeping feeling that something is very, very wrong.

MY THOUGHTS: Paul Hirschausen is on duty twenty four seven in Tiverton and it’s surrounds. No eight hour day then knock off and put your feet up for him. Rural policing doesn’t work like that. In a typical day he might have a cup of tea and a chat about missing, believed stolen, sheep, or mysterious headlights in the night, or a grown son not taking his meds. He might help a widow start her ute with the police Toyota’s jumper leads, hold a ladder so a man can fish his grandson’s cricket ball out of the gutter, or change a tap washer for an elderly woman. He might also be shot at. . .

Consolation, the third book in the Paul Hirschausen series, initially seems gentler than the previous two, but this is merely an illusion. The crimes are different, perhaps a wider range than we have been treated to previously, but are still full of deadly intent. A farmer and his son turn rogue and go on a rampage, there is a stalker, some Irish conmen, fraud, child abuse, and a kidnapping. Just another police beat in a sleepy outback town where nothing much ever happens… Oh yes, and there’s someone stealing elderly ladies’ underwear from their clothes lines.

Paul’s relationship with Wendy and her daughter Katie continues, not without the odd hiccup, and many of the characters from the previous two novels return in this one. But Disher also introduces some new characters: Clara Ogilvie, a teacher who works with Wendy; Margaret and Amy Groote, an elderly lady and her niece; Quinlan, the stock and station agent; Sophie Flynn, a young bank teller who uncovers some strange goings on in some bank accounts; and the Ayliffes, a family on the brink.

The previous two books in the series were set mid-summer, Christmas; Consolation is set mid-winter and I could feel every blast of that icy wind, see the roads made almost impassable by the relentless rain, feel the frost crunching beneath my feet.

Again, Garry Disher held me spellbound, totally caught up in the lives of the people in this small remote town. I can’t wait for the next installment. In the meantime, I plan on starting on one of the other two series he has written. Can’t get enough of this author!

⭐⭐⭐⭐.6

#Consolation #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Garry Disher was born in 1949 and grew up on his parents’ farm in South Australia.

He gained post graduate degrees from Adelaide and Melbourne Universities. In 1978 he was awarded a creative writing fellowship to Stanford University, where he wrote his first short story collection. He travelled widely overseas, before returning to Australia, where he taught creative writing, finally becoming a full time writer in 1988.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Text Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Consolation by Garry Disher 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 my webpage.

Peace by Garry Disher

EXCERPT: Six-thirty. The sun was above the droughty hills and slanting through the trees now, promising another cloudless, windless, stifling day. Time for his shower and shave, his second breakfast. But first he passed by the shop, quickly confirming that it had been a good idea to bring the garbage bag. Bending, pushing against his aches and pains, he scooped up plastic bottles, scraps of wrapping paper, dead sparklers, paper hats, cigarette butts. He moved further up Kitchener Street, hunting and pecking, and came upon a significant pool of blood.

Hirsch froze for a moment, then knelt. Touched his forefinger to it. Still sticky; spilt recently then.

He gazed along the street. Kitchener was a short street, six homes on either side. He ran a mental checklist: who was capable of violence? Who was likely to be on the receiving end?

None of these people.

Movement alerted him. A shape behind a garden hedge, a disturbance in the sparse leaves. The house belonged to an elderly widower named Cromer. Calling, ‘Mr. Cromer?’ Hirsch approached the driveway entrance.

A cry, just as he stepped onto the footpath. A queer, soft, alien cry, not of warning but of distress. And more blood. Spooked now, Hirsch entered the front yard. Blood new and glistening on the couch-grass lawn. A panicked sound, high-pitched, and Hirsch jumped in fright as one of Nan Washburn’s miniature ponies retreated, trembling, into the corner between the hedge and the side fence. He tried to make sense of what he was seeing.

ABOUT ‘PEACE’: Constable Paul Hirschhausen runs a one-cop station in the dry farming country south of the Flinders Ranges. He’s still new in town but the community work-welfare checks and working bees-is starting to pay off. Now Christmas is here and, apart from a grass fire, two boys stealing a ute and Brenda Flann entering the front bar of the pub without exiting her car, Hirsch’s life has been peaceful.

Until he’s called to a strange, vicious incident in Kitchener Street. And Sydney police ask him to look in on a family living outside town on a forgotten back road.

Suddenly, it doesn’t look like a season of goodwill at all.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘That’s all a cop wants at Christmas,’ he thought. ‘Not heavenly peace, just a general absence of mayhem.’

Eighteen months earlier, Hirsch had been unlucky enough to find himself in a corrupt CIB squad. It had been disbanded, but some of the shit had stuck and he was demoted and stationed in the remote one cop town of Tiverton. Sometimes, it seemed, that as a newcomer to the bush, his job was as much probing the landscape as probing the crimes committed in it. He does regular welfare check runs. Some of the people he calls on are lonely, others vulnerable. Some get into trouble through lack of foresight; a handful are actively dodgy. What he loves most is the variety, the different people, experiences, the fact that he never knows quite who or what he is going to encounter.

And he encounters a lot of the unexpected.

I read the first book in this series, Bitter Wash Road, voraciously. I was, when I started Peace, unsure if it would live up to its predecessor. I needn’t have worried. Peace is every bit as good. Twelve months on, Hirsch has settled into his community, he knows people (some he wishes he didn’t, like the overly officious Martin Gwynn), he has forged relationships. He has also found some old journals written by a landowner in the 1800s, and journal entries are interspersed with the text. WARNING: These journal entries contain racist comments. They need to be read in context of the time at which they were written. We cannot change the way people thought and acted at that time. We can learn from it and ensure it never happens again.

While Hirsch may be wishing for a Christmas free of mayhem, it’s not what he is going to get. A local drunk drives into the pub, a ute is stolen, there are fires, burglaries, a missing dog, and a child left locked in a car in the extreme heat. Not to mention a massacre. These last two incidents kick off a media frenzy that results in tragic consequences.

I could never have foreseen where Garry Disher was heading at the beginning of this book, but it was one hell of a ride and I enjoyed every word, every moment of it. I have book #3, Consolation, ready to start.

This is a top crime series set in rural South Australia. It is atmospheric and beautifully written. Disher’s style is descriptive; the smells, the tastes, the feel. His dialogue is natural, his characters exactly who I would expect to find out bush, often people who have been forced there by circumstance, those unable to leave due to family responsibilities, or those who choose to hide there. Disher has captured and conveyed the essence of a small remote Australian town and its inhabitants. I am keen to get back there.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

THE AUTHOR: Garry Disher was born in 1949 and grew up on his parents’ farm in South Australia.

He gained post graduate degrees from Adelaide and Melbourne Universities. In 1978 he was awarded a creative writing fellowship to Stanford University, where he wrote his first short story collection. He travelled widely overseas, before returning to Australia, where he taught creative writing, finally becoming a full time writer in 1988

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Serpent’s Tail/Profile Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Peace by Garry Disher 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

To all of you still enjoying Sunday make the most of it!

Cheers

Sandy ❤📚

Watching what I’m reading…

Currently I am sitting on the deck enjoying the view and the birdsong. There is a gentle breeze, it’s not overly hot, and I feel very relaxed (lazy!) Peter mowed the lawns and tidied the vegetable garden while I was at work this morning, there is a cake baking in the oven, and my neighbour has dropped over some bok choy which I will use in a stir fry for dinner tonight. My Christmas shopping is all sorted, just the wrapping to do now. Oh yes, and find the Christmas lights, which are who knows where….I haven’t actually seen them in the eighteen months since we moved.

Currently I am reading Consolation by Garry Disher, #3 in the excellent Australian crime series based around country cop Paul Hirschausen.

I am also almost half way through A Dark so Deadly by Stuart MacBride. I love his dark humour.

And I am listening to The Ghost Fields #7 in Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway series.

I only have one read for review due this week, The Birthday Weekend, previously titled Our Little Secret, by Lesley Sanderson. I will read this after I finish Consolation.

Dear Louise. It’s time we all put the past behind us. We’re meeting for my birthday. I want you there. Love, Amy. X

When Louise receives an invitation to her old friend Amy’s birthday weekend in a cottage next to the woods near their old university campus, a chill runs down her spine.

Fifteen years ago, Hannah walked into those same woods and never came back. Her death destroyed her friends. They’ve not met as a group since. Until now.

As the party gets underway and old grudges are uncovered, a game of truth or dare is proposed. It’s clear one person has questions about their friend’s death – and now they want answers. And nothing will stop them.

When everyone has buried secrets, digging for the truth is going to get dangerous.

Time permitting, I will read a few more back titles and get a few more of those overdue ARCs off my Netgalley shelf.

After having a few weeks of only one or two new ARCs, I have seven this week. What can I say? They are my Christmas present to myself! Plus Carla of https://carlalovestoread.wordpress.com and Susan of https://susanlovesbooks.wordpress.com have a lot to answer for. I have my Netgalley search for titles page open ready and waiting as I read their posts!

My new ARCs are: Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

The Last Reunion by Kayte Nunn

A Week to Remember by Esther Campion

The Secret Within by Lucy Dawson

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths, #13 in the Ruth Galloway series

The Art of Death by David Fennell

And, finally, A Caller’s Game by J.D. Barker

That’s my lot for today. I am off to take a look at this cake then take a look in the garage in case the lights are down there. We went away over Christmas and New Year last year, so never put them up…

Have a happy Sunday.

Cheers

Sandy

Exit Wounds – nineteen tales of mystery and crime compiled by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan

EXCERPT: . . . his round head, covered with a shaggy blond pelt, turns slowly toward me and tips that creepy smile my way. He’s not surprised in the least to see me. It means that, oh yeah, he knew I was in the Eagle. Maybe he got off work and happened to see Larry and me stop by for a fast one. Or, also possible and more troubling, he followed me here.

My jaw tightens and heat swells around my face, which often happens whenever I see him. This is so unfair. I’m a twenty-six-year-old successful web designer, a good brother, a good boyfriend, a genial host at parties I throw for my clients and friends, a donor to NPR and animal rescue outfits. Objectively? I’m too old and too nice to have a bully.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A brand-new anthology of crime stories written by masters of the genre. Featuring both original in-universe stories and rarely seen reprints, this collection of nineteen masterful short stories brings together some of the genre’s greatest living authors. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan take on a delightfully twisted killer in Val McDermid’s ‘Happy Holidays’. In Fiona Cummin’s ‘Dead Weight’, an overbearing mother resorts to desperate measures to keep control of her teenage daughter. And in Dean Koontz’s ‘Kittens’, a young girl learns the truth about how her pets have been dying, and devises a horrible revenge. Tense, twisted and disturbing, Exit Wounds is a visceral and thrilling collection showcasing the very best modern crime fiction has to offer.

MY THOUGHTS: Oh this is a goody! This is a collection of stories mainly by authors that I have come to know and to love, about nasty people doing nasty things and, sometimes, getting their comeuppance. There’s a little bit of creepy stuff, but mainly it’s crime and murder all served up in tasty little bite-sized packages. There was only one story that I really disliked, and I enjoyed the majority of them immensely. Definitely recommended.

Exit Wounds is available in paperback, audiobook and kindle format.

🔪🔪🔪🔪.1

THE COMPILERS: Paul Kane is the award-winning and bestselling author/editor of over 90 books, including the Arrowhead trilogy (gathered together in the sellout Hooded Man omnibus, revolving around a post-apocalyptic version of Robin Hood), The Butterfly Man and Other Stories, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell, Before, Arcana and Pain Cages (an Amazon #1 bestseller). He is a respected anthologist, editing books such as Beyond Rue Morgue, The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, Hellbound Hearts and Exit Wounds. His website can be found at www.shadow-writer.co.uk and he tweets @PaulKaneShadow

Marie O’Regan is a British Fantasy Award-nominated writer and editor of horror and dark fantasy fiction. She is the author of four collections, Mirror Mere, Bury Them Deep, In Times of Want and Other Stories and The Last Ghost and Other Stories, and her anthologies include Hellbound Hearts, The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, Carnivale: Dark Tales From the Fairground, The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women, Phantoms, Exit Wounds and Wonderland. She is Co-Chair of the UK chapter of the Horror Writers’ Association and lives in Derbyshire, UK. She tweets @Marie_O_Regan

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Exit Wounds, compiled by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan, narrated by a full cast, and published by Blackstone Audio vis Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are totally 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

Save Her Soul (Detective Josie Quinn #9) by Lisa Regan

EXCERPT: As she put Gretchen’s phone into her pocket, she heard a siren in the distance. Her heart leapt at the thought that backup was so close, but then she realized it was just the fire company’s emergency siren. The river was about to ravage the city again, and Josie and Gretchen were in it’s maw, being shot at while trying to keep a wounded woman alive.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Heavy rain pours on the small town of Denton causing the riverbanks to break and the body of a young girl to float quietly to the surface. With no crime scene to examine, the odds are against Detective Josie Quinn and her team. Mercifully, the victim’s body is perfectly preserved, right down to the baseball patch on the jacket she was wearing. Josie can’t hide her devastation—her dead ex-husband, Ray, owned one just like it.

Following the trail back to her high school, Josie identifies the girl as Beverly Urban, a troubled student rumored to have been dating Ray before she left town for good. It looks like a tragic accident until the autopsy reveals a bullet in her head and the heart-breaking secret she was keeping.

Josie visits the salon where Beverly’s mother used to work, believing she was at the heart of a terrible scandal around the time her daughter’s life was taken. With the Denton wives remaining tight-lipped, Josie’s only hope is a secret meet-up with a terrified woman willing to talk. But she is murdered moments before giving Josie crucial information. It’s clear that someone is prepared to keep on killing to stop the truth from getting out.

Digging deep into memories of her own past with Ray is the only advantage Josie has on this twisted killer… but at what cost?

MY THOUGHTS: I have really loved this series, but there are a lot of things I dislike about this particular book.
1. There is zero character development of the main characters.
2. There is zero relationship development between the characters – any of them.
3. There are too many threads to this story, all of them pretty superficial – less is more, and give what is there more depth.
4. There is no way that this could be read as a stand-alone. If I hadn’t read the previous books in the series I would have been totally lost.
5. There was absolutely no benefit to the plot in using flashbacks. It was ‘filler’.
6. There is a lot of shooting. A lot of fighting. Very little subtlety.
7. I felt like Lisa Regan had taken the song ‘Shame and Scandal’ by Madness, and turned it into a book.
7. Another case of really stretching the credibility factor. In the real world eight stitches in Josie’s leg would have seen her off work, or at least confined to desk duties.

It really pains me to say this, but right now, having just closed the cover on Save Her Soul, I don’t know if I will continue with this series. It had all the ingredients for a great read, but missed my mark by miles.

**.7

#SaveHerSoul #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Lisa Regan is the USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series as well as several other crime fiction titles. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Crime Writers’ Association, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter and Boston Terrier named Mr. Phillip.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Save Her Soul by Lisa Regan for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinion.

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

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

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.

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#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

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