The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker

The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker

EXCERPT: Darkness.

It swirled around him deep and thick, eating the light and leaving nothing behind but an inky void. A fog choked his thoughts – the words tried to come together, tried to form a cohesive sentence, to find meaning, but the moment they seemed close, they were swallowed up and gone, replaced by a growing sense of dread, a feeling of heaviness – his body sinking into the murky depths of a long-forgotten body of water.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

MY THOUGHTS: OMG! Intense! Mind-blowing! Bizarre! Addictive! Twisted and twisty. . . Never saw that coming. Full marks Mr Barker, you utterly sucker-punched me with that one.

I remember going to the movies as a child, a vastly different experience to what it is today, and before the main feature there would be a newsreel, a cartoon or two, and a serial. The sort where, at the end, the girl is tied to the railway tracks with a train approaching, the hero riding hell-for-leather to get to her before the train did. Cliffhanger to ensure you returned the next week which, of course, we did.

Reading The Fifth To Die is like that. Don’t expect any resolution baby, because you ain’t gonna get it. You are going to be left teetering on the edge of a cliff, the ground crumbling beneath your feet as the villain races towards you from one direction intending to push you off, and the good guys race towards you from the opposite direction intent on sweeping you to safety. All you can do is stand there helplessly wondering who is going to get to you first. . . and let me assure you that, unlike the old serials, the outcome is not guaranteed!

But this is one hell of a ride. One that will leave you breathless, exhilarated, and screaming AAAAARRGH! when your heart is pounding, your blood racing, and the final sentence reads ‘To be concluded. . .’

Mr Barker? I hope you are writing fast. Because I want that next damned book. Now!

Warning – You really need to read The Fourth Monkey first.

Recommendation: read the author’s acknowledgements which includes, among other things of interest, this little gem ‘Finally, to Anson Bishop – are you ready to finish this little dance?’ I am glad I can’t see inside your head, Mr Barker, I imagine it to be a very scary place indeed.

Thank you to publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2375971853

I apologize for my absence yesterday. I have been battling a virus all week and yesterday it won! I spent the day sleeping and alternately sweating and being chilled. Not nice, but there is a lot of it around. I hope none of you fall ill with it. I feel like I have turned the corner today and am on the mend. Stay well and stay warm. Happy reading my friends

The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham

The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham
The Killing Habit: A Tom Thorne Novel 
by

Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: Tanner could only blink for a few seconds. The surge of adrenaline left her dry mouthed and dizzy as she wrestled with the picture, willing it to make sense. She knew exactly who he was, of course, but he should not have been here.

‘What are you —?’

Then she saw what was in the man’s hand and the moment of clarity punched through the roaring in her ears. Left only terror. She understood how stupid she had been – they had all been.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: From “one of the most consistently entertaining, insightful crime writers working today” (Gillian Flynn), The Killing Habit again brings together favorite wild-card detective Tom Thorne and straight-laced DI Nicola Tanner on a pair of lethally high-stakes cases.

While DI Nicola Tanner investigates the deadly spread of a dangerous new drug, Tom Thorne is handed a case that he doesn’t take too seriously, until a spate of animal killings points to the work of a serial killer. When the two cases come together in a way that neither could have foreseen, both Thorne and Tanner must risk everything to catch two very different killers.

MY THOUGHTS: Although I don’t like reading about either drugs or animal killings, and this book contains both (nothing graphic!), Billingham has managed to produce yet another 4.5-star read for me. 15 books into the D I Tom Thorne series, and my respect for both the series and the author continues to grow. It is no mean feat to continue to grow the characters and come up with fresh and interesting plots after so many books.

The series of cat killings mentioned in this book is based on a real and disturbing case that, at the time Billingham wrote The Killing Habit, remained unsolved. I sincerely hope that they have, by now, caught this maniac. If not, then the thought of what may lay ahead is chilling. . .

And this premise, that people who harm animals will go on to harm people, is the basis for Billingham’s The Killing Habit. But, as is usual with Billingham’s plots, nothing is quite that straight forward. There are plenty of loops, diversions, twists and turns to keep the thriller aficionado turning the pages, nicely balanced with snapshots of Thorne’s and Tanner’s private lives.

A very satisfying read, and I am already eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.

Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2375974579

Friday Favorite – The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I have lost count of the number of times I have read The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. It is definitely in my top ten books forever list.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas   Harris
The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter, #2) 
by

Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: ‘Be very careful with Hannibal Lecter. Dr Chilton, the head of the mental hospital, will go over the physical procedure you use to deal with him. Don’t deviate from it. Do not deviate from it one iota for any reason. If Lecter talks to you at all, he’ll just be trying to find out about you. It’s the kind of curiosity that makes a snake look in a bird’s nest. We both know you have to back-and-forth a little in interviews, but you tell him no specifics about yourself. You don’t want any of your personal facts in his head. You know what he did to Will Graham.’

‘I read about it when it happened.’

‘He gutted Will with a linoleum knife when Will caught up with him. It’s a wonder Will didn’t die. Remember the Red Dragon? Lecter turned Francis Dolarhyde onto Will and his family. Will’s face looks like a damned Picasso drew him, thanks to Lecter. He tore a nurse up in the Asylum. Do your job, just don’t ever forget what he is.’

‘And what’s that? Do you know?’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: There’s a killer on the loose who knows that beauty is only skin deep, and a trainee investigator who’s trying to save her own hide. The only man that can help is locked in an asylum. But he’s willing to put a brave face on — if it will help him escape.

MY THOUGHTS: This was a re-read for me. I have lost count of how many times I have read and enjoyed this book. Every so often I take it off the shelf, put it on my bedside table and dip into it, savouring each bite.

The movie is good, damned good, but the book is better.

If you haven’t read this yet, I recommend you start with Red Dragon. If you have, pick it up for a re-read.

Enjoy. . .

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1509680136

 

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Sunday, and it’s kind of living up to its name. The sun is intermittently peeking through the clouds, and it’s not raining! There is some actual warmth to the sun if you are out of the wind.

Isn’t it the truth that it’s not the length of a book that mostly determines how long it takes to read ,but your level of interest. I spent all week struggling through Night-Gaunts by Joyce Carol Oates which, to my great relief, I finished yesterday. I worked yesterday, last night and this morning, but already I am half way through my next read! I have to admit that I am enjoying

Deception Wears Many Faces

every bit as much as I enjoyed the first book I read by this author, His Kidnapper’s Shoes.

This week I am planning on reading

The Killing Habit: A Tom Thorne Novel

From “one of the most consistently entertaining, insightful crime writers working today” (Gillian Flynn), The Killing Habit again brings together favorite wild-card detective Tom Thorne and straight-laced DI Nicola Tanner on a pair of lethally high-stakes cases.

While DI Nicola Tanner investigates the deadly spread of a dangerous new drug, Tom Thorne is handed a case that he doesn’t take too seriously, until a spate of animal killings points to the work of a serial killer. When the two cases come together in a way that neither could have foreseen, both Thorne and Tanner must risk everything to catch two very different killers. Mark Billingham is one of my favorite authors.

Bring Me Back

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.

Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him…even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.

Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?

A tour de force of psychological suspense, Bring Me Back will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax.

This will be my first encounter with this author about whom I have heard so much.

And I have a zero ARC week. I have requests pending . . .

Happy reading. Don’t be shy about telling me what you have read /are reading/ have lined up to read. I love a little book envy!

Happy reading!

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Here we are at Sunday and it’s time, once again, to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have been approved for from NetGalley this week.

Currently I am reading

The Next Girl (Detective Gina Harte, #1)

and listening to

Lessons in Love

This week I plan to read

Portrait of a Murderer

“Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931.” Thus begins a classic crime novel published in 1933, a riveting portrait of the psychology of a murderer.

Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars. None of Gray’s six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead. The family gathers on Christmas Eve – and by the following morning, their wish has been granted. This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas night; and what the murderer did next.

LETTERBOX

At approximately 09.00hrs on the 15th June 1996, an unassuming white lorry was parked on Corporation Street in the city centre of Manchester, England; it contained over 3000 pounds of high explosive.
At 11.15hrs the same day, Manchester witnessed the detonation of the largest device on the British mainland since the second World War … The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the attack.

Based around actual events, LETTERBOX tells the story of Liam Connor, an ordinary boy brought up in Manchester by a seemingly ordinary family. He goes to the local school, loves football and has a best friend called Sean … an ordinary life!
Unbeknown to Liam, his father, Michael Connor, harbors a dark historic secret, following a life a lot less ordinary … as a furtive, yet high ranking soldier within the IRA.

As a result of extraordinary circumstances, Liam’s innocent and carefree world is shattered when he is exposed to the truth about his family’s heritage and then learns about the tragic death of his father at the hands of the SAS.

Consumed with both hate and the need to seek retribution, Liam is taken to Ireland where he is intensively trained to become a highly skilled and efficient soldier within the Irish Republican Army … He is 16 years old!
Some years later, following the drug-induced death of his beloved sister, Liam is given the opportunity to exact his revenge on those he believed should truly be blamed for the tragedies in his life … The British Government!
Thus, on the 15th June 1996, it was Liam’s responsibility to drive the bomb laden lorry into the unsuspecting city of Manchester and let the voice of the IRA be clearly heard … And listened to!!

Deadly Secrets (Detective Erika Foster, #6)

To commit the perfect murder, you need the perfect cover. 

On a cold icy morning, a mother wakes to find her daughter’s blood-soaked body frozen to the road. Who would carry out such a horrific killing on the victim’s doorstep?

Straight off her last harrowing case, Detective Erika Foster is feeling fragile but determined to lead the investigation. As she sets to work, she finds reports of assaults in the same quiet South London suburb where the woman was killed. One chilling detail links them to the murder victim – they were all attacked by a figure in black wearing a gas mask.

Erika is on the hunt for a killer with a terrifying calling card. The case gets more complicated when she uncovers a tangled web of secrets surrounding the death of the beautiful young woman.

Yet just as Erika begins to piece the clues together, she is forced to confront painful memories of her past. Erika must dig deep, stay focused and find the killer. Only this time, one of her own is in terrible danger…

This week I have received only one ARC from NetGalley

The Perfect Mother

But I have received a proof from author June Rousso for a children’s book titled The Little Book of Character Strengths. You may remember I reviewed another title by this author, We All Live On This Planet Together, earlier this year.

I am starting a new job this week which is going to be quite time consuming for the first month or two. So if my posts are a little erratic in the next few weeks, I apologise in advance and ask that you bear with me.

Please don’t be shy about letting me know what you like and don’t like. I love getting your feedback. And I love hearing about what you are reading, or if you have read something that is on my list, what you thought of it.

Have a lovely week and  happy reading.

Dark Lies by Nick Hollin

Dark Lies by Nick Hollin
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: He stands in quiet contemplation of his work, the warm glow of satisfaction lingering as the body ahead of him starts to cool. There is frustration there, too; she’d deserved better, deserved him to be at the top of his game, but instead he’d stumbled and very nearly missed her throat with the knife. He’d gone a little too deep, and the blood had sprayed to places he hadn’t intended, like onto the corner of a child’s painting pinned by a magnet to the fridge door. It looks like a signature, he thinks. But that crude little picture is not his art. His masterpiece will be something far more ambitious.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Don’t trust your friends. Don’t trust your family. Don’t trust yourself…

The people of London fear for their lives when a twisted serial killer called The Cartoonist starts targeting young mothers, leaving their bodies on display in their homes with speech bubbles drawn from their lips. He has a terrifying story to tell, but first, the right people need to be listening…

Nathan Radley has a brilliant and dangerous talent. Formerly one of the best criminal psychologists on the police force he’s renowned for getting deep into the minds of the murderers he hunts. But for the past year he has lived in isolation, haunted by this gift and his own dark desires.

DI Katie Rhodes’ career is spinning out of control. She’d sworn never to knock on her old partner Nathan’s door again, but when she sees his distinctive birthmark drawn in chocolate on one of the victims, she knows she doesn’t have a choice.
As the body count rises and the clues become more and more personal, Katie and Nathan join forces for one final case together.

Why is The Cartoonist using Katie and Nathan’s own dark secrets as calling cards on his victims? What does he want, and how many more innocent lives will be taken before they can crack his disturbing riddle?

To find a murderer, first you need to think like a murderer. The Cartoonist doesn’t just know this, he’s counting on it…

MY THOUGHTS: I have a love-hate-love relationship with Dark Lies by Nick Hollin. I loved the prologue. It drew me in and reminded me of Richard Montanari’s writing. Then, for me, the book became an absolute nightmare. The writing was disjointed, choppy, I couldn’t make sense of it. It was like someone in the grip of a manic psychotic episode had jotted down their random crazy thoughts. I became frustrated, disappointed, almost angry – where had this great read gone? – and was on the cusp of dnf’ing it, when everything changed again.

Suddenly I was being gripped by a still strange, but very compelling (and gruesome) serial killer thriller that in no way could I second guess. The story swept me along, buffeting me from all sides. It is wild, and crazy. But it works. Mostly. Things that made no sense to me from the ‘manic writing phase’ slowly matured, the relevance revealed. At times it is a little OTT. But, my recommendation is ‘stick with it.’

The two main characters in Dark Lies can in no way be considered ‘traditional’. Katie is damaged. Self-destructive. Within a whisker of having no job. Nathan is damaged. Disliked. Distrusted. Trying desperately to save himself.

I can’t say I ‘liked’ this book. Not in the traditional sense. But once I got past the first 30%, I became glued to it. Desperate to see where it was going. By the time I was finished, I felt like I had been white water rafting on a grade 5 run. Without the raft. Exhausted, battered, bruised but exhilarated. And definitely in line for the next in the series.

3.5 stars

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Dark Lies by Nick Hollin for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2323363222