Watching what I’m reading . . .

Good Sunday afternoon. We’ve had a lazy weekend and have accomplished very little. I don’t even have to think about dinner tonight as we’re off to a friend’s later this afternoon to watch the Supercar racing out of Australia and staying for dinner. I’m really looking forward to it.

I didn’t manage to accomplish much reading wise over the past week either. I have only managed to finish one of my six reads for review for the week, but will probably finish the second tonight.

Currently I am reading The Summer

And a book by a new to me New Zealand author, Vanda Symon. Loving it!

A killer targeting pregnant women.

A detective expecting her first baby…


The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave.

Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’ s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy.

For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that no one is safe and the clock is ticking…

I am listening to The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

I am hoping to catch up on the reads I didn’t get to last week as I have only one read for review due this week. It is Murder at the Willows by Jane Adams.

Meet Rina Martin, a retired actress with a taste for tea, gardening and crime solving.

She played a TV sleuth for years, but now she has to do it for real.

There’s something strange about the scene . . . Famous artist Elaine appears to have passed peacefully in her sleep as she rested against a tree in the garden of her home, the Willows. Her legs are outstretched, hands tenderly clutching a small blue flower.

But upon closer inspection, things don’t add up. Where is Elaine’s trusty walking stick? Why did she choose to slumber on the ground when there is a comfortable lounge chair nearby? Where did that blue flower come from? . . . not from her garden, that’s for sure.

The clues soon point to murder. Elaine was beloved by the community, who would do such a thing? Her grandson is determined to uncover the truth and hires Rina to investigate.

The trail leads Rina to a series of shocking secrets, stretching back over twenty years. And a murderer who has unfinished business . . . Can our favourite amateur sleuth catch this killer before it’s too late?

Suddenly, because I decided to stop requesting ARCs for review, several that were on my pending list were approved, and I received three widgets from publishers!🤣🤣🤣 Is someone in the great library in the sky trying to tell you something?

The three publishers widgets are:

Windmill Hill by Lucy Atkins

The People Watcher by Sam Lloyd

And Don’t Look Back by Jo Spain

Other ARCs I received via Netgalley are:

The Guest House by the Sea by Faith Hogan

A Cornish Seaside Murder by Fiona Leitch

A Lonesome Blood-Red Sun by David Putnam

and The Lucky Shamrock by Carolyn Brown

Oh, well, I was obviously meant to have these. 🤷‍♀️❤📚

Thanks to all of you who have been asking after Pete. We’re back to Oncology Monday when they will plot a detailed map of the cancer for the radiation treatment which will be starting in the next two to three weeks.

Have a great week of reading and I’ll be popping in whenever I can. 🤗❤📚

Devil’s Way (Kate Marshall #4) by Robert Bryndza

EXCERPT: ‘Mum, is Charlie with you?’ she said.

‘He’s not in the tent?’ said Jean, feeling panic return.

‘No.’

Jean pushed past her and looked inside. Both sleeping bags were empty and she felt her stomach drop.

‘He must be with Joel,’ she said, coming back and seeing Becky’s worried face.

‘No, Mum, he’s not. I thought I heard him outside our tent. That’s why I came out to look for him. Why aren’t you with him?’

‘I went for a cigarette. Just for a minute,’ said Jean. The lie dropping out of her mouth without any preparation needed.

‘What if he went down to the river? I don’t know if it’s rained, can you hear how loud the water is?’ said Becky. Her voice had a tinge of hysteria.

‘Let’s look. Charlie can’t have wandered far,’ said Jean, trying to keep calm. The fact that Becky was more scared than angry frightened her.

Becky woke Joel and they all found torches and started to search, taking in the river, the rocks on the Tor, and the surrounding fields. The arcs of light from their torches swept across the dark landscape, searching. The river was higher than it had been the day before, and as Jean swung her torch over the dark, raging torrent, and called out Charlie’s name, her voice seemed to get swallowed up by the darkness. She felt sick as the minutes passed, turning to an hour, then two. Charlie was nowhere to be found. Around 4am, the sky started to turn light, and this was when they called the police.

As the sun rose over the moors, a police car arrived, then two more.

The search began in earnest, but they never found Charlie.

ABOUT ‘DEVIL’S WAY’: When Private Investigator Kate Marshall is rushed to hospital after being pulled into a riptide current in the sea, the near-death experience leaves her shaken. During her recovery, she befriends Jean, an elderly lady on the same ward. Jean tells the harrowing story of how her three-year-old grandson, Charlie, went missing eleven years ago during a camping trip on Dartmoor.

By the time Kate is well enough to go home, she’s agreed to take on the case, but when Kate and her trusty sidekick Tristan start to look at the events of that fateful night, they discover that Jean has a dark past that could have put Charlie in jeopardy.

Was Charlie abducted? Or did he fall into Devil’s Way? A rushing river that vanishes into a gorge close to where they were camping.

When Kate and Tristan discover that a social worker who flagged concerns about Jean and her daughter was found brutally murdered shortly after Charlie vanished, it makes them question everything they thought they knew about the family…

MY THOUGHTS: I think this is the best of the series yet! I was riveted throughout even though I figured out what had happened to Charlie well before the reveal.

Kate and Tristan make a great team, although their relationship takes a bit of a knock in this book. And other than an admonishing phone call, Kate’s son Jake is absent. I kind of missed him.

This is a multilayered mystery; it seems the more Kate and Tristan dig into Charlie’s disappearance, the more mysteries and unanswered questions they uncover. Cold cases always fascinate me, and Charlie’s disappearance is no exception. Things become even more interesting when Charlie’s case is linked to the unsolved murder of a social worker who had more than a passing interest in Charlie.

If you are looking for a good twisty mystery, this is it.

Devil’s Way can be read as a stand-alone but, believe me, you will get so much more out of it if you read this series from the beginning.

I read/listened to Devil’s Way – probably listened more than read – but both formats are great. Devil’s Way is brilliantly narrated by Jan Cramer.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#DevilsWay #NetGalley

I: @robertbryndza #ravenstreetpublishing

T: @RobertBryndza #RavenStreetPublishing

#contemporaryfiction #crime #murdermystery #mystery #privateinvestigator

THE AUTHOR: Robert Bryndza was born in the UK and lived in America and Canada before settling in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.

When he’s not writing Rob is learning Slovak, trying to train two crazy dogs, or watching Grand Designs all in the hope that he’ll be able to understand his mother-in-law, build his dream house, and get the dogs to listen.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Raven Street Publishing via Netgalley for providing both a digital and audio ARC of Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon,Instagram and Goodreads.com

A Song of Comfortable Chairs by Alexander McCall Smith -#23 in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency

EXCERPT: Mma Ramotswe sighed. There was so much wrong with the world. There were so many cases of people behaving badly in one way or another, of people doing things that they should not do, and the more we scrutinised what was going on around us, the more we discovered of just this sort of thing. Under every stone, she sometimes thought, there is bound to be a scorpion.

ABOUT ‘A SONG OF COMFORTABLE CHAIRS’: Grace Makutsi’s husband, Phuti, is in a bind. An international firm is attempting to undercut his prices in the office furniture market. Phuti has always been concerned with quality and comfort, but this new firm seems interested only in profits. To make matters worse, they have a slick new advertising campaign that seems hard to beat. Nonetheless with Mma Ramotswe’s help, Phtui comes up with a campaign that may just do the trick.
Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi is approached by an old friend who has a troubled son. Grace and Phuti agree to lend a hand, but the boy proves difficult to reach, and the situation is more than they can handle on their own. It will require not only all of their patience and dedication, but also the help of Mma Ramotswe and the formidable Mma Potokwani in order to help the child.
Faced with more than her fair share of domestic problems, Mma Makutsi deals with it all with her usual grace. That, along with the kindness, generosity, and good sense that the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is known for, assure us that in the end, all these matters will be set right.

MY THOUGHTS: This was not at all what I expected and, to be quite honest, I felt cheated. Does it not say #1 Ladies Detective Agency? There is not much detecting takes place.

Initially I found the characters quite charming, at least while I still surmised that there was going to be a mystery of sorts to be solved. But eventually I became bored by the lack of anything happening. Sorry, but the domestic drama angle just didn’t cut the mustard.

I did have a laugh at the lunch debacle.

I love this author’s Isabel Dalhousie series and I was looking forward to discovering another wonderful series by him. Instead, I was disappointed by the slow pace, and the repititiousness in the characters. It’s odd, but the very things that I love about Isabel Dalhousie just don’t work for me here.

⭐⭐.4

#ASongofComfortableChairs #NetGalley

I: @alexandermccallsmith @doubledaybooks

T: @McCallSmith @doubledaybooks

#contemporaryfiction #friendship #domesticdrama

THE AUTHOR: Alexander McCall Smith is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and he was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Knopf Doubleday via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of A Song of Comfortable Chairs by Alexander McCall Smith 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Darkness Falls (Kate Marshall #3) by Robert Bryndza

EXCERPT: As soon as Joanna reached the top, and stepped out, he slipped the bag over her head, yanked her backward, and used the handles to pull the plastic tight around her neck.
Joanna cried out and staggered on her feet, dropping the large handbag she carried. He pulled the bag tighter. The plastic sat flush over her skull and bulged at the mouth and nose as she sucked in and out the remaining air she had in her lungs.

ABOUT ‘DARKNESS FALLS’: Kate Marshall’s investigation into a journalist’s disappearance sends her down an unexpectedly twisted path in a riveting thriller by the author of Shadow Sands.

Kate Marshall’s fledgling PI agency takes off when she and her partner, Tristan Harper, are hired for their first big case. It’s a cold one. Twelve years before, journalist Joanna Duncan disappeared after exposing a political scandal. Most people have moved on. Joanna’s mother refuses to let go.

When Kate and Tristan gain access to the original case files, they revisit the same suspects and follow the same leads―but not to the same dead ends. Among Joanna’s personal effects, Kate discovers the names of two young men who also vanished without a trace.

As she connects the last days of three missing persons, Kate realizes that Joanna may have been onto something far more sinister than anyone first believed: the identity of a serial killer hiding in plain sight. The closer Kate comes to finding him, the darker it’s going to get.

MY THOUGHTS: Although this is #3 in the Kate Marshall series, it is easily read as a stand-alone. Although, once you’ve read this, you’re going to want to go back and read the previous two books anyway.

This is developing into a great series. The plotting is spot on, the narrative flows easily, there’s plenty of suspense and the characters are developing nicely.

Kate is more confident in herself and is developing a closer relationship with her son Jake, who is now at University. Myra has, unfortunately, passed away, but has left the caravan park to Kate. Tristan is becoming more comfortable in his own skin and his sister Sarah is slowly accepting his sexuality.

The case Kate and Tristan so gratefully accept is a cold one – the disappearance of a young female journalist twelve years earlier. Bev, the missing girl’s mother, wants Joanna’s body located so that she can bury her and find some closure.

While looking at what Joanna was working on at the time of her disappearance, Kate and Tristan stumble upon stories about young men disappearing and they start to form theories about what might have happened. Of course, we know what happened to Joanna because of the prologue. What we don’t know is who . . .

Unusually for me, I cottoned on to the killer very early on. It was just a feeling that became stronger as the book progressed. This in no way diminished my pleasure in reading this book.

I’m now all caught up with this series and eager to read #4, Devil’s Way, due for publication January 2023.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.1

#DarknessFalls #NetGalley

I: @robertbryndza @amazonpublishing

T: @RobertBryndza @AmazonPub

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #murdermystery #mystery #privateinvestigator #serialkillerthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Robert Bryndza was born in the UK and lived in America and Canada before settling in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.

When he’s not writing Rob is learning Slovak, trying to train two crazy dogs, or watching Grand Designs all in the hope that he’ll be able to understand his mother-in-law, build his dream house, and get the dogs to listen.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Thomas &Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Darkness Falls by Robert Bryndza 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon,Instagram and Goodreads.com

Shadow Sands (Kate Marshall #2) by Robert Bryndza

EXCERPT: Lyn closed her eyes. ‘It’s bad enough my son has been taken from me. I want to know why he was in that water in the middle of the night. I’m not the kind of woman that begs, but please.’ Her eyes filled up with tears. ‘Please. Will you help me?’

ABOUT ‘SHADOW SANDS’: When Kate Marshall finds the bloated body of a young man floating in the Shadow Sands reservoir, the authorities label it a tragic accident.

But the details don’t add up: why was the victim there, in the middle of the night? If he was such a strong swimmer, how did he drown?

Kate is certain there is more to this case than meets the eye. As she and her research assistant Tristan Harper dig deeper, they discover a bloody trail that points towards an active serial killer hiding in plain sight. People have been silently disappearing for years, and when another woman is taken, Kate and Tristan have a matter of days to save her from meeting the same fate.

MY THOUGHTS: After the excellent beginning to this series in Nine Elms, I felt a little let down by Shadow Sands. There was considerably less tension and suspense and, although I still enjoyed it, I wasn’t consumed by the story and its characters.

The plot itself didn’t flow, and the writing seemed simplistic a lot of the time. However, the characters are well depicted and continue to grow. I loved Kate’s thoughts on DCI Henry Ko: ‘You’re nice to look at, but you’re not the sharpest tool in the box.’

We learn a lot more about Tristan in Shadow Sands. Kate continues to build up her relationship with her son, Jake, and does something that really surprised me.

Shadow Sands is easily read as a stand-alone, as the author provides enough background to enable this.

While I may not have enjoyed Shadow Sands as much as Nine Elms, I did still enjoy it, and have the next in this series, Darkness Falls, lined up ready to read.

⭐⭐⭐.7

#ShadowSands #NetGalley

I: @robertbryndza @amazonpublishing

T: @RobertBryndza @AmazonPub

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #murdermystery #mystery #privateinvestigator #serialkillerthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Robert Bryndza was born in the UK and lived in America and Canada before settling in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.

When he’s not writing Rob is learning Slovak, trying to train two crazy dogs, or watching Grand Designs all in the hope that he’ll be able to understand his mother-in-law, build his dream house, and get the dogs to listen.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Thomas &Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon,Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

BRILLIANT BOOK ALERT! This book, which I finished today – a one day read – has earned every star in the Galaxy from me.

I am too emotional at the moment to write a review about this book, but please watch for it in the coming days. I cried, and laughed, and cried some more. I now want to read everything this author has written.

Currently I am reading The Sisters We Were by Wendy Willis Baldwin

I am continuing with my read of the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths with #4, A Room Full of Bones.

and doing a read/listen of Devil’s Way (Kate Marshall #4) by Robert Bryndza, which I am loving in both formats.

This week I have six books to read for review in addition to The Sisters We Were. They are:

A Winter Grave by Peter May

It is the year 2051. Warnings of climate catastrophe have been ignored, and vast areas of the planet are under water, or uninhabitably hot. A quarter of the world’s population has been displaced by hunger and flooding, and immigration wars are breaking out around the globe as refugees pour into neighboring countries.

By contrast, melting ice sheets have brought the Gulf Stream to a halt and northern latitudes, including Scotland, are being hit by snow and ice storms. It is against this backdrop that Addie, a young meteorologist checking a mountain top weather station, discovers the body of a man entombed in ice.

The dead man is investigative reporter, George Younger, missing for three months after vanishing during what he claimed was a hill-walking holiday. But Younger was no hill walker, and his discovery on a mountain-top near the Highland village of Kinlochleven, is inexplicable.

Cameron Brodie, a veteran Glasgow detective, volunteers to be flown north to investigate Younger’s death, but he has more than a murder enquiry on his agenda. He has just been given a devastating medical prognosis by his doctor and knows the time has come to face his estranged daughter who has made her home in the remote Highland village.

Arriving during an ice storm, Brodie and pathologist Dr. Sita Roy, find themselves the sole guests at the inappropriately named International Hotel, where Younger’s body has been kept refrigerated in a cake cabinet. But evidence uncovered during his autopsy places the lives of both Brodie and Roy in extreme jeopardy.

As another storm closes off communications and the possibility of escape, Brodie must face up not only to the ghosts of his past, but to a killer determined to bury forever the chilling secret that George Younger’s investigations had threatened to expose.

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

Open the safe deposit box. Inside you will find research material for a true crime book. You must read the documents, then make a decision. Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?

Everyone knows the story of the Alperton Angels: the cult-like group who were convinced one of their member’s babies was the anti-Christ, and they had a divine mission to kill it – until the baby’s mother, Holly, came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than go to prison, and Holly – and the baby – disappeared into the care system.

Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed – if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby’s trail.

As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong, and the truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined.

The Village Vicar by Julie Houston

Three devoted sisters… One complicated family.

When Rosa Quinn left her childhood home in Westenbury, she never expected to return over a decade later as the village vicar. But after a health scare and catching her boyfriend cheating, Rosa jumps at the chance to start over and live closer to her triplet sisters Eva and Hannah.

But Rosa’s isn’t the only old face in the village, and when her role in the parish throws her into the path of her ex, she begins to wonder if she’s made a terrible mistake. Meanwhile, Eva and Hannah face their own troubles, as secrets about their family threaten to emerge.

Can Rosa make a life for herself in Westenbury? Or will the sisters discover you can’t run away from the past?

That Night at the Beach by Kate Hewitt

As mothers we never dare to delve into our worst-nightmare scenarios. What if… we might murmur to each other, and then shake our heads, telling ourselves it’ll never happen to us if we’re just good enough mothers. Yet here we are. And the steady beep of the heart monitor is the only evidence the child in front of us is alive…

It’s Labor Day weekend, so of course we went to the beach. Like we do every year. For a barbecue picnic with my best friend Rose. It’s the perfect tradition—drinks, games, burgers, music, laughter. Together with our husbands, my two teenage sons and her two daughters, we all arrived as the sun was still shimmering over the water, the whole evening ahead of us.

But nothing goes to plan. Old secrets emerge, tempers flare. And so we parents decide to leave the beach, telling the teenagers to enjoy themselves, reassuring them someone will be back to collect them in an hour or two.

But when I return a little while later, I know something is really wrong. Our teens are slurring their words, stumbling to the car. It’s clear they have been drinking and I’m shocked. I never expected our kids to behave this way. I’m bracing myself to have firm words with them in the morning, but the next day my concerns fade to nothing, when seventeen-year-old Bella claims my son Finn assaulted her.

Finn insists he would never do that. And I so want to believe him. Because I brought my son up right. Because a mother would know, wouldn’t she?

What I don’t know is that the answer to what happened that night on the beach may be a matter of life and death for one of our beloved children… 

The Other Half by Charlotte Vassell

The night before
Rupert’s 30th is a black tie dinner at the Kentish Town McDonald’s – catered with cocaine and Veuve Clicquot.
The morning after
His girlfriend Clemmie is found murdered on Hampstead Heath. All the party-goers have alibis. Naturally.

This investigation is going to be about Classics degrees and aristocrats, Instagram influencers and who knows who. Or is it whom? Detective Caius Beauchamp isn’t sure. He’s sharply dressed, smart, and as into self-improvement as Clemmie – but as he searches for the dark truth beneath the luxury, a wall of staggering wealth threatens to shut down his investigation before it’s begun.

Can he see through the tangled set of relationships in which the other half live, and die, before the case is taken out of his hands?

One Day With You by Shari Lowe

One day, five lives, but whose hearts will be broken by nightfall?
It started like any other day in the picturesque village of Weirbridge.

Tress Walker waved her perfect husband Max off to work, with no idea that she was about to go into labour with their first child. And completely unaware that when she tried to track Max down, he wouldn’t be where he was supposed to be.

At the same time, Max’s best friend Noah Clark said goodbye to his wife, Mya, blissfully oblivious that he would soon discover the woman he adored had been lying to him for years.

And living alongside the two couples, their recently widowed friend, Nancy Jenkins, is getting ready to meet Eddie, her first true love at a school reunion. Will Nancy have the chance to rekindle an old flame, or will she choose to stay by Tress’s side when she needs her most?

One Day with You – two fateful goodbyes, two unexpected hellos, and 24 hours that change everything. 

I have received two new ARCs from Netgalley for review this week.

the audiobook The Mystery of Four by Sam Blake and narrated by Aiofe McMahon

A Mischief of Rats by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett

I have 17 requests pending. I have had lot of requests declined this week. 🤷‍♀️

My husband is undergoing major surgery this week, so I am not going promise to post regularly, nor to interact with other bloggers to my normal level. Please keep Pete in your prayers. ❤

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Well here we are, 8 days into 2023. 2022 shot by in some respects, and dragged in others. It’s my friend Jayne’s birthday today, but it seems like only weeks ago we were all laughing around the table in a local restaurant celebrating her 60th. Yet it seemed to take years, but in reality was a matter of months, when I was pulled out of retirement and back into my old job to sort out the chaos my replacement had created. Time is such a funny thing.

It’s going to be interesting to see just how long Charlie has been away from his regular life when, and if, he escapes from Empis in one of my current reads, Fairy Tale by Stephen King. He sure hasn’t lost his touch!

I am also reading Picking Up The Pieces by Amanda Prowse

and listening to Better the Blood by Michael Bennett, a New Zealand crime novel, incorporating present day racial tensions with its roots going back to the colonisation of New Zealand.

This week I am planning on reading Sunrise With the Silver Surfers by Maddie Please

Newly single at sixty, Elin Anderson decides it’s finally time for an adventure of her own. With her marriage to tedious Tom now officially over, Elin plans to visit the family she hasn’t seen in years. First stop: Australia!

But going home is harder than Elin thought. Everywhere she turns Elin sees brightness and colour, which only makes her own life seem even more drab and beige. How has she let herself fade away?

Determined to have some fun, Elin reluctantly agrees to join The Silver Surfers – a group of seniors who travel the coast, only caring about their next big adventure. Because life’s too short to watch the ocean when you could be making waves…

There’s only one catch – her road trip companion, Kit Pascoe. Kit is a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word fun and makes it clear to Elin that this adventure will be subject to his own strict rules.

But with every new day, Elin slowly begins to rediscover who she really is. And she’s certain that rules are meant to be broken…aren’t they?

Devil’s Way (Kate Marshall #4) by Robert Bryndza

When Private Investigator Kate Marshall is rushed to hospital after being pulled into a riptide current in the sea, the near-death experience leaves her shaken. During her recovery, she befriends Jean, an elderly lady on the same ward. Jean tells the harrowing story of how her three-year-old grandson, Charlie, went missing eleven years ago during a camping trip on Dartmoor.

By the time Kate is well enough to go home, she’s agreed to take on the case, but when Kate and her trusty sidekick Tristan start to look at the events of that fateful night, they discover that Jean has a dark past that could have put Charlie in jeopardy.

Was Charlie abducted? Or did he fall into Devil’s Way? A rushing river that vanishes into a gorge close to where they were camping.

When Kate and Tristan discover that a social worker who flagged concerns about Jean and her daughter was found brutally murdered shortly after Charlie vanished, it makes them question everything they thought they knew about the family…

And We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

Who knows you better than your best friend? Who knows your secrets, your fears, your desires, your strange imperfect self? Edi and Ash have been best friends for over forty years. Since childhood they have seen each other through life’s milestones: stealing vodka from their parents, the Madonna phase, REM concerts, unexpected wakes, marriages, infertility, children. As Ash notes, ‘Edi’s memory is like the back-up hard drive for mine.’

So when Edi is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Ash’s world reshapes around the rhythms of Edi’s care, from chipped ice and watermelon cubes to music therapy; from snack smuggling to impromptu excursions into the frozen winter night. Because life is about squeezing the joy out of every moment, about building a powerhouse of memories, about learning when to hold on, and when to let go.

I received three new ARCs from Netgalley in the past week – The Wrong Good Deed by Caroline B. Cooney

A Gentle Murderer by Dorothy Salisbury Davis

And The Mistress Next Door by Lesley Sanderson which I am very excited about.

Luke is coming to stay Tuesday night for the rest of the week, so it will be a busy week for me as I am also working. I will cram as much work as I can into Monday and Tuesday so that hopefully I will only need to go in for a few hours Friday morning.

Have a great week of reading. I’m off to plan my menus for the week and make a shopping list. ❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Here in New Zealand we are 17 hours into the first day of 2023. Happy New Year everyone! May 2023 be a year of good health, amazing books, and much love and laughter.

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

Currently I am reading A Song of Comfortable Chairs by Alexander McCall Smith, my first outing with the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I have to admit that I am not enjoying it as much as the Isabel Dalhousie series which I adore.

I am currently listening to The Olive Tree by Lucinda Riley, and oh my goodness, it’s good! I shall probably finish this tomorrow.

I have already read and posted my review for the only title I needed to read for review in the coming week – No One Saw It Coming by Susan Lewis

So I am making a start on the multitude of books due for publication the following week needing reviews. I am starting Reef Road by Deborah Goodrich Royce tonight.

When a severed hand washes ashore in the wealthy enclave of Palm Beach, Florida, the lives of two women—a lonely writer obsessed with the unsolved murder of her mother’s best friend and a panicked wife whose husband has disappeared with their children—collide as the world shutters in the pandemic lockdown of 2020.

I have received one new ARC for review in the past week – You Should Have Known by Rebecca Keller

I am not big on setting goals for the year, but I really want to read the entire Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths in 2023. I have read several of the later books in the series in random order, but enjoy them so much I want to read them from the beginning and in the correct order. I have read the first two books in the break between Christmas and New Year.

I am putting the series aside briefly to read Fairytale by Stephen King for the Goodreads.com Reading for Pleasure Group Read.

I have recently taken part in the Goodreads.com All About Books extended December readathon which finished at midnight New Year’s Eve.

So I plan to have one ‘reading for pleasure’ book underway whenever possible.

Other than the occasional Goodreads.com readathon or group read, I am not going to commit to any challenges this year.

What are your reading plans for the year?

Happy reading!

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James

EXCERPT: The Greer mansion was one of the original houses in Arlen Heights. It was an ugly Frankenstein of a house even when it was built – a pseudo-Victorian style of slanted roofs and spires, though the walls were of butter-yellow brick. And when Julian Greer bought it in 1950 with his newly inherited pharmaceutical fortune, he made it worse. He remodeled the lower floor to be more modern, with straight lines and dark brown wood. He also put in a bank of windows along the back wall to open up the house’s dark gloomy interior. The windows looked out to the house’s back lawn and it’s drop off to the ocean beyond.

The effect was supposed to be sweeping, breathtaking, but like most of Julian’s life, it didn’t work out as planned. The windows fogged and the view was bleak. The lawn was flat and dead, and the ocean beyond the cliff was choppy and cold. Julian had done the renovations in hopes of pleasing his new wife, Mariana. But instead the relentless view from the windows unsettled her, and she kept the curtains closed. She decorated the rest of the house dutifully but listlessly, which was a harbinger of their marriage. Something about the Greer mansion stifled laughter and killed happiness. It might sound dramatic but anyone who had lived there knew it was true.

By 1975, both Julian and Mariana were dead, Julian with his blood all over the kitchen floor, Mariana in the twisted wreck of a car crash. The house watched all of it happen, indifferent.

ABOUT ‘THE BOOK OF COLD CASES’: In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect – a rich, eccentric 23-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion.

Oregon, 2017, Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases – a passion fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview. To Shea’s surprise, Beth says yes.

They meet regularly at Beth’s mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she’s not looking, and she could swear she’s seen a girl outside the window. The allure of learning the truth about the case from the smart, charming Beth is too much to resist, but even as they grow closer, Shea senses something isn’t right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house?

MY THOUGHTS: I love books where the house is a character in its own right. The Greer mansion certainly is that. It is a cold house, caught in a time warp, where Beth Greer, once charged with the Lady Killer murders, lives – alone.

St. James has ramped up the supernatural element in The Book of Cold Cases, maybe a little too much, but that is purely a personal opinion. The writing is certainly as compelling as usual and the characters incredibly well depicted. I could ‘see’ and ‘hear’ Beth; while not the main character, it is Beth who fascinated me and her story is revealed slowly throughout the book.

The Book of Cold Cases is a compelling page-turner, one that provides multiple murder-mysteries; an infamous recluse; a detective who may have been just a little in love with the main suspect; and a true-crime blogger with her own secrets.

The audiobook is superbly narrated by Brittany Pressley, Kirsten Potter and Robert Petkoff.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#TheBookofColdCases

I: @simonestjames @penguinaudio

T: @simone_stjames @PRHAudio

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #murdermystery #paranormal

THE AUTHOR: Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a spoiled rescue cat. She is addicted to sushi, rainy days, coffee, and My Favorite Murder.

Nine Elms (Kate Marshall #1) by Robert Bryndza

EXCERPT: It was hot inside the glowing tent, where the lights were almost painfully bright. Forensic pathologist Leodora Graves a small dark-skinned woman with penetrating green eyes, worked with two assistants. A naked young girl lay face down in a muddy depression in the grass. Her head was covered by a clear plastic bag, tied tightly around her neck. Her pale skin was streaked with dirt and blood and numerous cuts and scratches. The backs of her thighs and buttocks had several deep bite marks.

ABOUT ‘NINE ELMS’ (KATE MARSHALL #1): Kate Marshall was a promising young police detective when she caught the notorious Nine Elms serial killer. But her greatest victory suddenly turned into a nightmare. Traumatized, betrayed, and publicly vilified for the shocking circumstances surrounding the cannibal murder case, Kate could only watch as her career ended in scandal.

Fifteen years after those catastrophic events, Kate is still haunted by the unquiet ghosts of her troubled past. Now a lecturer at a small coastal English university, she finally has a chance to face them. A copycat killer has taken up the Nine Elms mantle, continuing the ghastly work of his idol.

Enlisting her brilliant research assistant, Tristan Harper, Kate draws on her prodigious and long-neglected skills as an investigator to catch a new monster. Success promises redemption, but there’s much more on the line: Kate was the original killer’s intended fifth victim…and his successor means to finish the job.

MY THOUGHTS: I was excited to read this first book in a new series from Robert Bryndza, and it doesn’t disappoint.

The story of Kate, ex-police and now a lecturer in criminology works well precisely because she is ex-police and, despite the dark intervening years, she has retained important skills and the knowledge of how the system works.

Bryndza spends some time laying out Kate’s backstory, and what a story it is! We don’t learn as much about her assistant lecturer and partner in crime, Tristan, but I assume that will be remedied in future books. It’s enough to say that he is bright and dedicated.

Nine Elms is a tense, suspenseful and dark thriller that left me breathless in many places. I read the final chapters with a pounding heart and clenched fists, my breathing again on hold. This has the makings of a great series, one I am looking forward to reading.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.1

#NineElms #NetGalley

I: @robertbryndza @amazonpublishing

T: @RobertBryndza @AmazonPub

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #murdermystery #mystery #privateinvestigator #serialkillerthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Robert Bryndza was born in the UK and lived in America and Canada before settling in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.

When he’s not writing Rob is learning Slovak, trying to train two crazy dogs, or watching Grand Designs all in the hope that he’ll be able to understand his mother-in-law, build his dream house, and get the dogs to listen.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Thomas &Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon,Instagram and Goodreads.com