Watching what I’m reading . . .

Welcome from a wet and windy New Zealand.

It’s meant to clear up a little later this afternoon, but I am wondering if it will be fine enough for the BBQ we had planned for this evening. At the moment it’s not looking promising. Fingers crossed I guess.

I am about to start reading Suspicious Minds by David Mark.

I am currently listening to Olive Again (Olive Kitteridge #2) by Elizabeth Strout.

This week I am planning on also reading Limelight by Graham Hurley

Actress Enora Andressen is catching up with her ex-neighbour, Evelyn Warlock, who’s recently retired to the comely East Devon seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. The peace, the friendship of strangers and the town’s prestigious literary festival . . . Evelyn loves them all.

Until the September evening when her French neighbour, Christianne Beaucarne, disappears. Enora has met this woman. The two of them have bonded. But what Enora discovers over the anguished months to come will put sleepy Budleigh Salterton on the front page of every newspaper in the land . . .

I will also, hopefully, catch up on another back title from my Netgalley list. I will pick it at random.

Only two ARCs this week from Netgalley:

Single Mother by Samantha Hayes

And Life Sentences by Billy O’Callaghan

I seem to be going through one of those patches where everything I request goes onto my wishlist. Is anyone else having this problem? Mind you, it could be as a result of my geographical location.

I really can’t believe that we are in December in a couple of days time! Other than Luke’s gifts, I tend to pick up bits and pieces throughout the year, I have absolutely nothing organised. I hope that you are all better organized than I am!

I am looking forward to spending some time with Luke later this week. I am having him for the day Friday. We will have morning tea with his granny and grandma, who I haven’t caught up with since early this year, and then we have his daycare Christmas party in the afternoon.

Have a wonderful week everyone. Stay safe and read on!

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths

EXCERPT: Natalka turns back to Peggy. She looks at peace, that’s what Patricia will say to Nigel. Passed away peacefully. There’s a book open on the arm of Peggy’s chair. ‘Highrise Murder’ by Dex Challoner. Peggy’s binoculars are on the table beside her. There’s also a pen,completed crossword and a pill dispenser, the sort that has the days of the week on it. There’s something else too, a piece of paper just poking out from under the crossword. Natalka slides it out. It’s a business card, very official, with black, curly writing.

Mrs M. Smith, it says. Murder Consultant

ABOUT ‘THE POSTSCRIPT MURDERS’: PS: thanks for the murders.

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…
And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…
And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…

Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘No one knows the hour,not even the angels in heaven, or the Son himself…’ – Matthew 24

There is something almost Christiesque about The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths. It has that feel of a Christie murder-mystery. The slow buildup, rather like a steam train pulling out of the station, the multiple suspects, the red herrings. But Griffiths murders and characters perhaps have a few more teeth than Christie’s, and she is not above a bit of sarcasm, which I enjoy.

Although this is #2 in the Harbinder Kaur series, unusually for a series, the detective is not the focus of the book. The murder/s are firmly front and centre, with an ill assorted cast of amateur detectives playing the major role.

Natalka, carer for Peggy and a few of the other elderly residents of Seaview Manor, a residential care complex, has a past, one that she fears is catching up with her. Benedict, ex-Monk, now barista. He left because he fell out of love with God, although his faith is as strong as ever. And Edwin, in his eighties, ex BBC and a gentleman to the core, gay, and very observant. Convinced that Peggy’s death was not natural, and that the police aren’t taking it seriously enough, these three set out to investigate on their own. Although they do DS (who would love to be DI) Harbinder Kaur the courtesy of keeping in touch by text.

DS Kaur, who is almost 40 and still lives at home with her parents, is in turn frustrated and impressed by the skills and dedication of this group. Kaur is also gay, still hiding it from her parents, and disappointingly single. She has a nice line in sarcasm, and often thinks of her partner, Neil, as a little woodland animal, a cute squirrel who often nibbles at nuts somewhat larger than he is. Neil himself would have preferred to live in the times where detectives trampled all over the crime scene, pausing only to beat up suspects and drink beer, rather than having to worry about all the intricacies of forensics.

Although this series is immensely different to Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway series, she still holds me spellbound with her use of words, both in her character and scenery descriptions, and her setting of atmosphere . . . ‘…the spaces beneath them. Old mining tunnels. Caverns measureless to man. Death and dread.’ and ‘ghost cottages with the gardens still in flower.’

I loved The Postscript Murders. I loved the characters. I loved the plot with its red herrings and twists. I loved the solution. It was something that I had not even considered! An altogether wonderful read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.8

#ThePostscriptMurders #NetGalley

‘It’s such a civilised world; books, libraries, tea and cake.’

THE AUTHOR: Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly’s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece’s head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths 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

Deadly Cry (DI Kim Stone #13) by Angela Marsons

EXCERPT: I did it. I killed her, and there was a satisfaction to the twist of the neck that was morbidly gratifying for me. A slight thing, she didn’t put up much of a fight, but it wouldn’t have mattered if she had. She was going to die regardless.

ABOUT ‘DEADLY CRY’: In a busy shopping centre, a little girl clutches a teddy bear, clinging to it in the absence of her mother, Katrina. Hours later, Katrina’s body is discovered in an abandoned building. For Detective Kim Stone, it looks like a quick, functional murder. But Kim’s instincts tell her there’s more to this senseless murder than meets the eye. What was the motive for killing a young mother out shopping with her child?

Days later, a second victim is found in a local park, her neck broken just like Katrina’s and her six-year-old son missing.

But with her colleague, Detective Stacey Wood, working on another unsolved crime and a member of the team grieving the loss of a close relative, Kim is struggling to make inroads on what is fast becoming a complex case. And when a handwritten letter from the killer lands on Kim’s desk addressed to her, and pleading for help, she knows time is running out to bring the little boy home alive.

With the support of a handwriting analyst and profiler, Kim and the team begin to get inside the mind of the killer and make a shocking discovery.

Some of the victims have scratch marks on their wrists.

But these are no random scratches. The killer is using them to communicate with someone. The question is… with whom?

And if Kim doesn’t find them soon, another innocent soul will die.

MY THOUGHTS: 13 books, and Marsons still gets me every time! You know how some books are promoted with the claim ‘massive twist you won’t see coming!’ . . . there’s no need for Marsons to claim this, but that is what you get. Unexpected, well executed twists, a gripping suspenseful plot, and our favourite characters complete with all their idiosyncrasies and shared histories. So, there’s a clue. This is book #13 in a series. You might read this as a stand-alone and enjoy it. But I guarantee that you will get a lot more from Deadly Cry if you start this series from the beginning. It is a series where the first book is really good, and each successive book is even better.

DI Kim Stone is the focus of this series. I didn’t much like her initially, but the writing and the plotting were superb, so I continued with the series. Since then I have become quite fond of Kim. She doesn’t have much of a filter. What she thinks she tends to say. Occasionally she will demonstrate great restraint, but only occasionally, and the stakes have to be high. She can be very rude, to everyone. Even her friends, her team. She doesn’t discriminate. She admits to not being good at playing nice, not even with her dog who is her best friend. She has a love/hate relationship with pathologist Keats, who gives as good as he gets. Their mutually disparaging banter provides some light relief in amongst the tension and suspense. Kim must drive her boss, DCI Woodward, totally insane with her total disregard for authority, although he has enough trust in her to give her free rein when she seems to need it most.

Regulars, Stacey, Bryant and Penn, Kim’s back up team and the closest thing she has to friends, continue to support her and are joined by ‘profiler’ Alison (read this book and you will understand why I have placed ‘profiler’ in quotation marks), who also appeared in the previous book. I hope that we see more of her in the future. The characters personal lives take the back seat compared to the cases the team is working on, but there’s enough going on with them to keep our interest in them as individuals and not just crutches for Kim.

I have finished Deadly Cry (previously titled ‘Death Score’) in less than 24 hours. I now have only one question – when can I have #14?

⭐⭐⭐⭐.8

#DeadlyCry #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Deadly Cry (DI Kim Stone #13) by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Apologies for disappearing on you so suddenly last week. I was rushed off to ED in the early hours of last Sunday morning with breathing difficulties, which resulted in a five day stay in hospital. I am not yet allowed back to work, and will be going for more tests and follow up during the week ahead.

Currently I am not reading anything. I have finished two books this morning, the delightful Three Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson

And Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Which as well as being a Netgalley ARC, was a group read for my Goodreads.com Mystery, Crime and Thriller group.

I started listening to Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout this morning.

This week I only have one ARC that I need to read for review which is Nothing Good Happens After Midnight: A suspense magazine anthology, with contributions by Jeffrey Deaver, Linwood Barclay and John Lescroart, amongst others.

I will use any other reading time I get to catch up on back titles.

I have received ten new ARCs over the past two weeks:

The Haunting of Beatrix Greene by Rachel Hawkins, Ash Parsons, and Vicky Alvear Shecter

Murder Most Festive by Ada Moncrieff

Ask No Questions by Claire Allen

The Perfect Life by Nuala Elwood

Her Sister’s Child by Alison James

Suspicious Minds by David Mark

Without Blood by Martin Michaud

Limelight by Graham Hurley

Our Little Secret by Lesley Sanderson

And finally I’m So Effing Tired by Amy Shah

And on that note, I am off for a nap.

Happy reading ❤📚

The Drowned Woman (Jericho and Wright #2) by C.J. Lyons

EXCERPT: Flying. She was flying.

Wind sliced against her face. Time was fluid, slippery. Was it centuries, or seconds? She knew she was falling from the lurch in her stomach. She took a ragged breath, in and out, then a slam jolted through her, and her entire body propelled forward until the airbag blew and the seatbelt grabbed her, holding her in place with a bruising grasp.

Her eyes fluttered open as the first splash of frigid water crashed through the open window beside her. She shook her head, startled to be awake – to be alive. Her throat was raw, every breath an effort. Her head throbbed, ears shrieked, body bruised. Hands flailing, fighting…

More water, seeping up from below, streaming through the windows – the car, she was in her car. In the river – how? She blinked, tried to focus past the pain and the rushing noise that consumed her mind. Why?

He’d tried to kill her…Why?

ABOUT ‘THE DROWNED WOMAN’: One month since she lost her husband, Dr Leah Wright knows it’s time to return to her family home. Though the crime scene tape and blood stains are gone, she will never feel safe with her daughter there again. Receiving a call from Detective Luka Jericho to assist with a police investigation is a welcome distraction, until she sees the scene: a wife dead, another family ripped apart.

As Leah is the new head of the Crisis Intervention Center, Luka knows she can help him speak to the victim’s traumatized husband, who he suspects might have had something to do with his wife’s death. But when Leah interviews the woman who lives across the hall, they uncover evidence of a serial killer in their rural Pennsylvania town. The same person who claims responsibility for drowning Luka’s fiancée seventeen years ago…

With danger closer to home than ever before, Leah realises that to find the killer they may need to dig into Luka’s past. But the killer is already taunting Luka, promising to kill again. Is it already too late to save another innocent life?

MY THOUGHTS: Fast paced. Full of action and angst. There’s a lot going on and you need to keep your wits about you. You will also need to suspend a little belief in places.

The characters are all dynamic and damaged. My favourites are Walt, who has Huntington’s, and the two children, Nate and Emily. Nate is scared to love anything, anyone, believing that that if you love something, someone just comes along and steals it from you, and swears that he is never, ever going to love anyone. My heart literally broke for this child. Emily is more resilient, but then up until recently she has had a far more stable life. She shows wisdom beyond her years in her support of Nate and her approach to problem solving.

Leah and Luca and their associates are caught up in an intense and fraught situation which is certainly riveting and a definite page turner. But as I was reading there was this little voice whispering, ‘Isn’t there just too many too badly damaged characters?’ I guess that the answer for me was ‘yes.’ The same little voice also whispered the name of the killer quite early on in the book, and was right. After a split second of jubilation that I had actually detected correctly, I realized that I hate it when that happens.

This is the second book in the Jericho and Wright Thriller series. I recommend that you read the first book in the series, The Next Widow, prior to reading The Drowned Woman, as the backstory is frequently referred to.

If you love a lot of action then you will love The Drowned Woman. For me, Nate and Emily were the highlight.

⭐⭐⭐.7

#TheDrownedWoman #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart. She also writes YA SF and thrillers under the pen name Cat Lyons.

Two time winner of International Thriller Writers’ prestigious Thriller Award, CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday). (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Drowned Woman by C.J. Lyons 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

Magic Lessons (Practical Magic #0.1) by Alice Hoffman

EXCERPT: Hannah came around from the apothecary garden as Maria was studying the pin that had been cast into the tall grass. In the girl’s hands, the silver turned black in an instant, as if brushed with dark paint, though the rubies shone more brightly because of her touch. Hannah clutched the leeks she had gathered more tightly to her chest, and felt an ache inside her bones. The wide-brimmed straw hat she wore to protect her from the sun fell from her head, and she didn’t bother to go after it. What she had long suspected had now been shown to be true. She’d felt it from the start, that first day under the junipers when she spied the baby in her basket, a rare sight that had spread cold pinpricks along her spine. As she’d unwrapped Maria from her blanket, she’d spied an unusual birthmark in the shape of a star, hidden in the crease of the girl’s inner elbow. Right away she wondered if this was the cause of the child’s abandonment, for bloodline witches were said to be marked in such sly, concealed places, on the scalp, upon the small of the back, at the breastbone, along the inner arm. It was one thing to learn magic, but quite another to be born with it.

ABOUT: MAGIC LESSONS (PRACTICAL MAGIC 0.1) – Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

MY THOUGHTS: Love potion #9? There’s a recipe contained in Magic Lessons. But there is a tenth love potion, an enchantment only fit for those so desperate that they do not fear the consequences. There are always consequences.

It is said that love makes the world go round. But some swear by revenge. It must always be remembered though, that whatever you cast out into the world will come back to you threefold. Cast a spell in haste? Repent at leisure.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned . . . from remedies for fevers, salves for cuts, scrapes and infections, a cure for colic, and for dysentery, (no recipes, but it makes for interesting reading) to spells for all manner of things.

But this is mere embroidery for the cloth of the story, of how it all began, the heritage and the legacy of the Owen women.

Despite that we are told the story, rather than experiencing it, it did not take long for Hoffman’s beautiful writing to enchant and bewitch me. The descriptions are vivid, as are the characters. It is an intense blend of history, love and family saga. The witch trials of Salem are touched on, as is the inhumane treatment of women in the 1600s, usually at the hands of men who felt threatened by them, or who simply saw it as a sport.

Prepare to have your heart shattered, and shattered again. Neither the characters nor the plot are predictable. Having just finished Magic Lessons, I am not sure that I am ready to be reimmersed in the 21st century. I may need to brew some calming tea. Oh, and I must remember not to cut my parsley with a knife; to add Hyssop and Horehound to my shopping list; and to buy my own paper copy of Magic Lessons.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.6

#MagicLessons #NetGalley

These are the lessons to be learned:
Drink chamomile tea to calm the spirit.
Feed a cold and starve a fever (I remember both my Nan and my Mum telling me that).
Read as many books as you can.
Always choose courage.
Never watch another woman burn.
Know that love is the only answer.

THE AUTHOR: Alice Hoffman is an American novelist and young-adult and children’s writer, best known for her 1995 novel Practical Magic, which was adapted for a 1998 film of the same name. Many of her works fall into the genre of magic realism and contain elements of magic, irony, and non-standard romances and relationships. (Wikipedia)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing a digital ARC of Magic Lessons (Practical Magic #0.1) 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

A Galway Epiphany (Jack Taylor #16) by Ken Bruen

EXCERPT: ‘Your name came up in another case.’

I said, ‘I have the perfect alibi: a coma.’

He asked, ‘You ever meet . . . wait, I’ll check my notes. ‘Took out a battered Garda notebook. I felt the familiar pang of regret at having been thrown out of the force. He double checked, then continued, ‘Renee Garvey?’

It sort of rang a bell, but elusive. I said, ‘Why?’

He said, ‘She has a young daughter who is obviously a victim of abuse but is in some sort of shock and not talking. The mother, Renee, was apparently thrown through a third-floor window, worse, a closed window.’

I asked, ‘Did she survive?’

He gave me a withering look, said ‘No miracle for her, she’s dead as dirt.’

I felt terrible. Now I remembered her desperation and how flippant I had been. More points on the guilt sheet.

I said, ‘I failed her.’

ABOUT: ‘A GALWAY EPIPHANY (JACK TAYLOR #16) Jack Taylor has finally escaped the despair of his violent life in Galway in favor of a quiet retirement in the country with his friend Keefer, a former Rolling Stones roadie, and a falcon named Maeve. But on a day trip back into the city to sort out his affairs, Jack is hit by a truck in front of Galway’s Famine Memorial, left in a coma but mysteriously without a scratch on him.

When he awakens weeks later, he finds Ireland in a frenzy over the so-called “Miracle of Galway.” People have become convinced that the two children spotted tending to him are saintly, and the site of the accident sacred. The Catholic Church isn’t so sure, and Jack is commissioned to help find the children to verify the miracle or expose the stunt.

But Jack isn’t the only one looking for these children. A fraudulent order of nuns needs them to legitimatize its sanctity and becomes involved with a dangerous arsonist. Soon, the building in which the children are living burns down. Jack returns to his old tricks, and his old demons, as his quest becomes personal.

MY THOUGHTS: All the time I was reading A Galway Epiphany by Ken Bruen, I was writing the review in my head. It was a blinder, probably the best thing I have ever written. By the time I closed the cover on Jack Taylor in the early hours of this morning, it consisted of two words: I’m speechless.

I’m still kind of speechless; all the thoughts I’d had, vanished. I feel like I have been dropped down the laundry shute, put through the washer, the wringer, the dryer, then, instead of being neatly folded and put away, I have been tossed in a heap in the corner.

Jack Taylor can in no way be considered ‘ordinary.’ He is irreverent, yet strangely obsessed by religion. At one point he recites the Our Father daily, even adding the Protestant rider to it just in case God does, in fact, turn out to be Protestant. He is the child of generations of superstition, belief in seers, omens, signs, second sight and the seventh son of the seventh son deeply ingrained. He knows how pathetic it is, but as he says, ‘When you’re hardwired to this shite, it’s difficult to shake.’

He is a devotee of the ‘good stiff drink’, Jameson, no ice, a nice frothy pint of Guinness, and the occasional, or sometimes more frequent, Xanax. He is not a fan of being hugged, which everyone seems to be doing these days and which, he concedes, makes a change from being shot at and beaten, although he is somewhat more comfortable with the latter.

Jack is not good at personal relationships. Just like his behaviour has no bounds, his mouth has no filter, and what he is thinking more often than not is said. He is angry at the world, and not afraid to show it.

In A Galway Epiphany, Taylor has two ‘miracle’ children to find, an arsonist who needs extinguishing, an asshole husband who killed his wife, a cyber bully to locate, and Father Malachy to contend with.

Interspersed with the 2019 storyline are world events, literary, and musical references, and even a reference to box sets.

Bruen has never been a smooth writer. It’s just not his style. It works, usually. And usually I love it. But A Galway Epiphany seems even choppier than usual. More disjointed. Frenzied in places. A little harder to read. In the past I could hear the voices of Bruen’s characters in my head. It didn’t happen. And yet I enjoyed (if that’s the right word; I can’t at the moment think of another) A Galway Epiphany, despite the choppiness, despite the cliffhanger ending.

Is there going to be more Jack Taylor? I don’t know. I hope so.

Btw, Mr Bruen, I thought the killer eating his scrambled egg with the murder weapon was a brilliant touch.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.2

#AGalwayEpiphany #NetGalley

‘It is said that an epiphany is most likely to occur in a cemetery, though it helps if you’re the mourner rather than the deceased.’

‘The power of positive drinking.’

THE AUTHOR: KEN BRUEN was born in Galway, Ireland in 1951. The award-winning author of sixteen novels, he is the editor of Dublin Noir, and spent twenty-five years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, Southeast Asia and South America. He now lives in Galway City. (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of A Galway Epiphany by Ken Bruen 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

One Way Street by Trevor Wood

EXCERPT: One of the things he knew anything about was cars – he’d nicked enough of them – and he recognized the bare bones of some classics, even a newish looking Range Rover. His mum used to say that everything was disposable ‘these days’ – turned out she was right. He just wished the list didn’t include him. Wanting to take a better look, he stood up too quickly and immediately felt sick again, ducking straight back down behind the shell of an old BMW, trying to get his breath under control, to stop his heart racing. It wasn’t easy, not with them still after him, their knives ready to carve him open. If he listened carefully, he could hear them . . .

ABOUT ‘ONE WAY STREET’ (JIMMY MULLEN #2): A series of bizarre drug-related deaths among runaway teenagers has set the North East’s homeless community on edge.

The word on the street is that a rogue batch of Spice – the zombie drug sweeping the inner cities – is to blame, but when one of Jimmy’s few close friends is caught up in the carnage loyalty compels him to find out what’s really going on.

One Way Street sees the welcome return of Jimmy Mullen, the homeless, PTSD-suffering, veteran as he attempts to rebuild his life following the events in The Man on the Street.

As his probation officer constantly reminds him: all he needs to do is keep out of trouble. Sadly for him, trouble seems to have a habit of tracking Jimmy down.

MY THOUGHTS: Trevor Wood has created some very interesting characters. Not only Jimmy who suffers from PTSD, but the older Gadge, bordering on genius, the young Deano, a child really, substance and drug abuser, and, of course, Dog. All people with good hearts. Their methods of getting to the truth may be somewhat unorthodox, but they make for a damned good read. Even the skeptical policeman, DS Burns, whose life Jimmy saved in ‘The Man on the Street’ is an interesting character and comes into his own in this second book. Jimmy isn’t slow to call in favours from him, but not so quick to share his information.

Even though this book is centred around drug dealing, something I usually prefer not to read about, I was excited to pick up ‘One Way Street’. Wood’s writing is easy to read, his dialogue natural. The plot swept me along and I became so caught up in the machinations of the characters, that the subject became almost irrelevant.

There is almost a little romance for Jimmy, and he reconnects with his ex-wife, mother of his daughter Kate. There is a lot of development in all the characters. We learn a lot more about the backgrounds of Gadge and Deano, and Jimmy once again demonstrates his unswerving commitment to his friends. Stubborn but loyal to a fault.

Wood also highlights the plight of the homeless, the reality of their situation, the difficulties they face; things that most of us give little thought to.

There is a great deal of violence in this book, but nothing that seemed gratuitous. It is the world as it exists for the people that this trio get involved with.

I am looking forward to meeting Jimmy (Sherlock Homeless) and his friends again. Nice work Mr Wood. P.s. – I enjoyed the pizza joke 🤣😂

⭐⭐⭐.8

#OneWayStreet #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Trevor Wood has lived in Newcastle for twenty-five years and considers himself an adopted Geordie. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for sixteen years. (Google Books)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of One Way Street by Trevor Wood 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 . . .

Happy Sunday! I have been at work this morning, came home and tussled with a few weeds in the back yard. The jury is still out on who won that round! I swear they grow faster than I can deal to them. I can almost feel them nipping at my heels on the ground I have just cleared. Such are the joys of a warm wet spring!

Currently I am reading Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman.

This is a series that has been written back to front – the first book published was Practical Magic, published in 1995 (Practical Magic #1). I have yet to read this. The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #0.2) followed in 2017. I was captivated and enchanted. Magic Lessons (Practical Magic #0.1) was published October 2020, and tells of the beginning of the Owen’s family bloodline.

I have just started listening to Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr. I only discovered this author earlier this year.

This week I am planning to read A Galway Epiphany by Ken Bruen (Jack Taylor #16)

Jack Taylor has finally escaped the despair of his violent life in Galway in favor of a quiet retirement in the country with his friend Keefer, a former Rolling Stones roadie, and a falcon named Maeve. But on a day trip back into the city to sort out his affairs, Jack is hit by a truck in front of Galway’s Famine Memorial, left in a coma but mysteriously without a scratch on him.

When he awakens weeks later, he finds Ireland in a frenzy over the so-called “Miracle of Galway.” People have become convinced that the two children spotted tending to him are saintly, and the site of the accident sacred. The Catholic Church isn’t so sure, and Jack is commissioned to help find the children to verify the miracle or expose the stunt.

But Jack isn’t the only one looking for these children. A fraudulent order of nuns needs them to legitimatize its sanctity and becomes involved with a dangerous arsonist. Soon, the building in which the children are living burns down. Jack returns to his old tricks, and his old demons, as his quest becomes personal.

And, The Searcher by Tana French

Retired detective Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. His plans are to fix up the dilapidated cottage he’s bought, to walk the mountains, to put his old police instincts to bed forever.

Then a local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. And once again, Cal feels that restless itch.

Something is wrong in this community, and he must find out what, even if it brings trouble to his door

This week I received three new ARCs from Netgalley:

Aunt Ivy’s Cottage by Kristen Harper (thank you to my major enablers, Carla and Susan, for this one!) Isn’t the cover gorgeous!

The Boy Between by Josiah Hartley and Amanda Prowse

and The Apparition Phase by Will Maclean

No doubt after I have read Susan’s, Carla’s, and Carol’s posts today, I will be rushing back to Netgalley, my requesting finger quivering in anticipation.

Happy reading my friends. Sitting here in the relative safety of New Zealand, I am worried for all my reading friends scattered around the world where Covid-19 is raging out of control. Take care my friends. Stay home in safety and read.

Sandy

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

You know how you can’t sleep when you get overtired? It’s one of those nights . . . I got home from work, too tired for dinner so just had tea and toast, went to bed and here I am, wide awake! So I thought I may as well put my time to good use and write my post so that it is not as late as I thought it was going to be.

Currently I am reading The Vow by Debbie Howells.

I have previously read three of her books, and really enjoyed two, The Bones of You, and The Beauty of the End. I have only just started this tonight, so no comment yet.

I am also reading City of Friends by Joanna Trollope, an author I have enjoyed for many years.

Again I have just started this, so am not yet far enough in to comment.

I am listening to Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg, a character driven story of a woman who has been left a very unexpected bequest by her late husband. I am almost half way through, and enjoying this gentle story of love, loss, and adjustment.

This week I am planning on reading

The Girls in the Snow by Stacy Green

In

the remote forests of Stillwater, Minnesota, you can scream for days and no one will hear you. So when the bodies of two fifteen-year-old girls are discovered frozen in the snow, Special Agent Nikki Hunt is sure the killer is local: someone knew where to hide them and thought they’d never be found.

Home for the first time in twenty years, Nikki sees that the whole town had been frantically searching for missing best friends Madison and Kaylee, and when she finds out who Madison’s step-father is, she becomes desperate to lead the case. John was once the person she trusted most in the world, who stood by her when she was just sixteen and her parents were murdered. Who supported her when she identified their killer, Mark Todd.

But when Nikki arrives at the Sheriff’s office, she’s confronted by protesters eager to see Mark freed. With new evidence that could clear his name, Mark has appealed his conviction and his brother Rory begs Nikki to take a look at what they’ve found.

Nikki knows she must focus on the killer at large, but Rory makes her wonder if she put her trust in the right people all those years ago. Are Madison and Kaylee’s deaths connected to her parents’ murders? And can she face up to her past before another life is taken?

And When You Were Mine by Kate Hewitt

Single mother Beth loves her seven-year-old son Dylan with all her heart. He’s her world. But life with Dylan isn’t easy—and his emotional issues push Beth to her very limit. When a misunderstanding leads Dylan to be taken into foster care, she is determined to do whatever she can to get him back.

Mother of two, Ally has always dreamed of fostering—it feels like her chance to give back when she has been so lucky in life. But when Dylan joins their family, Ally finds herself struggling to balance his needs with those of her own children and husband—something Beth can’t help but witness when she visits.

Beth wants nothing more than to find a way to bring her beloved child home. But where is the right home for Dylan? Is it with the mother he was born to? Or is a new mother the greatest gift Beth could give her son?

Only one new ARC this week – In Her Tracks by Robert Dugoni, #8 in the Tracy Crosswhite series.

I have also received a title, Mimicry by Margo Ervand, from her agent.

What new titles have you been tempted by this week?

Happy reading!