Need You Dead by Peter James

Need You Dead by Peter James

EXCERPT: At the first salon she worked in after qualifying as a hairdresser, Lorna had a client who was an anthropologist at Sussex University. He’d told her his theory, and it intrigued her. That early human beings communicated entirely by telepathy, and we only learned to speak so that we could lie.

Over the subsequent fifteen years she’d come to realize there really might be some truth in this. There’s the side of us we show, and the side we keep private, hidden. The truth. And the lies. That’s how the world rolls.

She got that.

Boy, did she.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.

MY THOUGHTS: I love this series, and I enjoyed Need You Dead. What should have been a straightforward murder investigation turns into a twisty cat and mouse hunt, with surprising results.

James strikes a good balance between the professional and personal sides of Roy Grace’s life, each enhancing the other. In Need You Dead, Grace meets his ten year old son for the first time. Bruno’s addition to the Grace family unit is sure to inspire some great storylines in future books.

In the penultimate chapter, there is an incident which may be nothing, or it may presage something very sinister indeed. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to find out.

While thebooks in this series may easily be read as stand-alones, you will reap the full benefit of the back-story and character development if you read them as a series.

Definitely recommended.

💕💖💕💖.5

THE AUTHOR: Peter James is a UK No. 1 bestselling author, best known for writing crime and thriller novels, and the creator of the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. With a total of 13 Sunday Times No. 1s under his belt, he has achieved global book sales of over 19 million copies to date, and has been translated into 37 languages.

Synonymous with plot-twisting page-turners, Peter has garnered an army of loyal fans throughout his storytelling career – which also included stints writing for TV and producing films. He has won over 40 awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award, Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger and a BAFTA nomination for The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons for which he was an Executive Producer. Many of Peter’s novels have been adapted for film, TV and stage.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Need You Dead by Peter James, published by MacMillan, thanks to my husband who gave me this copy for Christmas. 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/2628440576

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The Lost Traveller by Sheila Connolly

Happy publication day Sheila Connolly!

The Lost Traveller (County Cork, #7)

EXCERPT: ” You have a picture?” Maura slid his coffee across the bar.

Sean slumped. “And there’s the next problem: when the man fell, he landed on his face, on the rocks below. Or the bridge footings. Or for all we know, someone worked hard to bash his face in before dropping him in. His own mother wouldn’t know him in his current state.”

“Ew. ” Maura grimaced. “So it was the fall that killed him?”

“Uh, no. A couple of bloody great gashes in his chest did the job.”

“So it was murder?”

Sean nodded. “Unless he stabbed himself and then flung himself over the six-foot fence, I’d say so. ”

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Danger comes to Cork in the seventh County Cork mystery from New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly, and it’s up to Maura Donovan to find a way to protect all she’s worked for.

Pub owner Maura Donovan is settling into a charmed life in Ireland—until a mutilated body on her property ends her lucky streak.

Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork—much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever—but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck.

It begins with Maura’s discovery of a body in the ravine behind the pub. And then, the Irish gardaí reveal that the victim’s face has been battered beyond recognition. Who is the faceless victim? Who wanted him dead? And why was his body dumped in the backyard of Sullivan’s Pub? Even after the dead man is finally given a name, nobody admits to knowing him. In the tight-knit world of Leap, no one is talking—and now it’s up to Maura to uncover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly quiet town.

MY THOUGHTS: I really quite enjoyed the early parts of this book, getting to know the characters, and learning how Maura came to have moved from Boston to County Cork, Ireland. But then it started getting repetitive. The same information was chewed over, and rehashed, and nothing much happened other than Maura blithering on about lack of staff, and should she be doing food, which meant installing a kitchen, and what about the rooms….. over, and over, and over.

In the end, she did my head in. And what had originally felt like a 4-star read, slid down to a tenuous 2.5 stars.

Although this is the seventh book in the series, it is easily read as a stand-alone as there is plenty of background information provided. This is a quick and undemanding read, but didn’t really hold my interest past the halfway point.

😕😕.5

THE AUTHOR: Sheila Connolly has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in Crime, and the fabulous on-line SinC chapter, the Guppies. She also belongs to Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.

Sheila is Regent of her local DAR chapter, and a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She’s also the grandchild of Irish immigrants (in case you’re worried that she’s a snob). In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. She is married, and has one daughter and two cats.

She blogs with Poe’s Deadly Daughters and Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen on Fridays, and Killer Characters the 25th of each month.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Crooked Lane Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Lost Traveller by Sheila Connolly 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/2619714375

 

Watching What I Read. . .

It is the last Sunday of the year . . . I hope you have all had a wonderful year’s reading and are looking forward to an even better one in 2019.

2019… good grief, it only seems like 5 minutes since the new Millennium was staring us in the face and we were all worrying about computer systems crashing and major disasters.

I am currently reading

Watching You

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

And, oh my! This is good. .. a slow burner, but sooooo good!

I am also reading

Rattle (The Bone Collector, #1)

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

I am reading this after the second book in the series, The Collector, which I loved. I am only 4 chapters into this, and absolutely enthralled.

This week I am planning on reading

The Rumour

When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?

SHADOWS OF REGRET: If your life was ruined, would you seek redemption or take revenge?

for which I am participating in a blog tour later in the month.

From the #1 bestselling author of Fifty Years of Fear, SHADOWS OF REGRET is the unforgettable story of a woman’s struggle to rejoin society.
Katie committed a terrible crime. Sixteen years was the price she had to pay.

Once released from prison, she finds the world has changed.

Isolated and alone, she struggles to make sense of her new life. Starting again isn’t easy, especially after what she’s done.

Despite not feeling free or safe, Katie overcomes her fears and confronts the future. But history won’t remain forgotten.

Gradually, memories of the past are revealed. When Katie finally exposes the awful truth and sees there are others who share the blame, she must choose her path.

Will she seek redemption, or will she take revenge?

I have received no ARC approvals this week. No surprise there as I guess everyone is on holidays, except me. There is a song I love sung by Willy Nelson and Waylon Jennings called ‘Mothers,  Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys’. I would like to amend that to “Mothers Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Work in Hospitality’!

Cheers

Sandy

 

Watching What I’m Reading

The last Sunday before Christmas, and only one more to go before the end of the year. . .

I have just finished reading

For Better and Worse

5 shimmering stars from me. Watch for my review.

I am currently reading

Willem's Field: A Novel

which I picked up at a library sale some time ago. It just seemed to call to me during the week and so I plucked it from its box. It is more delightfully meandering than slow, and has some very interesting characters.

I am listening to

Watching You

which is promising to be every bit as good as the other novels I have read by this author.

My next read is

The Collector (The Bone Collector, #2)

The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams.

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .

And I also plan on reading

The Girl in the Corner

From bestselling author Amanda Prowse comes the poignant tale of a woman who has always been there for her family. But will they be there for her?

Rae-Valentine and Howard were childhood sweethearts. They’ve shared twenty-five peaceful years since they were brought together by Dolly, Howard’s larger-than-life sister. But now, on the night of their wedding anniversary, Howard reveals a shocking betrayal that leaves Rae reeling.

Heartbroken, she takes Dolly on her would-be anniversary trip to Antigua and the two women drink and dance and talk like they haven’t in years. But in the break from real life, Rae realises her choices have always been made for her, and suddenly she’s questioning not only her fragile marriage but also her one-sided friendships. Is she really the pushover everyone else sees?

When Howard comes looking for reconciliation, Rae has a choice to make: keep the peace, as she always has, or put herself first for once and find out who she really is.

I have 4 new ARCs  approved from NetGalley this week.

The Silent Patient

The Suspect

The Dry Grass of August

Dirty Little Secrets

Have you any of these on your TBR list? Or have you already read them?

Happy reading my friends. 🎅📚💕

Broken Ground by Val McDermid

Broken Ground by Val McDermid

EXCERPT: What appeared to be a crude sculpture of a motorbike had been propped upright on one side of the hole, looking like a potential entrant for the Turner prize. Beside it, his torso twisted at the waist, making an awkward angle to his legs, lay their victim. The peat had stained his skin the color of weak coffee, but apart from that, he was as perfectly preserved as a shop window mannequin.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Alice Somerville’s inheritance lies six feet under in a Highland peat bog – a pair of valuable vintage motorbikes buried by her grandfather at the end of World War II. But when Alice finally organises their recovery, she finds an unwelcome surprise -a body with a pair of bullet holes . . . and Nike trainers. DCI Karen Pirie of Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit is called in to unravel a case where nothing is quite as it seems.

Meanwhile an overheard conversation in a cafe draws Karen to the heart of a murder she thought she’d already prevented.

As Karen gets closer to the several truths, it becomes clear that not everyone shares her desire for justice. Or even the idea of what justice is.

MY THOUGHTS: I have read a number of books by this author, but this is my first in this particular series. And while it didn’t set my world on fire, it was a good solid read and I do want to read more.

I like Karen’s character. She is in the minority of female detectives for having no major hang-ups/character flaws. She is a nice normal person who has suffered personal tragedy and is now rebuilding her life. She doesn’t like her boss, and the feeling is entirely mutual. But where her boss isn’t above using dirty methods to try and discredit Karen, Karen has morals and scruples.

The story is told over multiple timelines, and from multiple points of view. But this is well executed and doesn’t cause any confusion.

While I have to admit to finding the writing a little slow paced, the plot was intriguing enough to keep me interested and reading. I also felt that the ending left something to be desired, more in execution than plot. It felt rushed and a little incomplete, hence the not quite 4-star rating.

One particular turn of phrase that has stuck in my mind, and perfectly describes Karen’s predicament is ‘a case from the past that has more holes than a box of doughnuts.’

🎅🎅🎅.5

THE AUTHOR: Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Broken Ground by Val McDermid 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/2582684214

A Taste of. . . Tuesday

Today I would like to tempt your reading tastebuds with a little tidbit from The Collector by Fiona Cummins, published by Kensington Books.

The Collector (The Bone Collector, #2)

SUNDAY

SUNDAY MIRROR

24 February 2013

The parents of missing Clara Foyle will today mark one hundred days since the five-year-old’s abduction.

Miles and Amy Foyle will join family and friends at a vigil on Blackheath Common to light candles and release balloons.

Clara, who has cleft hands, vanished on her way home from school in November last year. The chief suspect in her disappearance, ‘Butcher of Bromley’ Brian Howley, is on the run after escaping police custody.

According to witnesses, including Met police officer Etta Fitzroy, who was briefly held captive by the killer, Howley was a collector of human skeletons with deformities.

He housed the bones in a personal museum at the home of his late father Marshall Howley. The macabre collection is understood to have dated back generations due to a family connection to London’s Hunterian Museum, with which the former hospital night worker was obsessed.

Six-year- old Jakey Frith, who suffers from the devastating bone disorder Stone Man Syndrome, was rescued from Howley seniors house just moments before it was destroyed by fire.

Extensive DNA tests on human remains discovered in the ashes have confirmed that one of the victims was teenager Grace Rodriguez, the so-called Girl in the Woods. Detectives were able to link her disappearance to Howley after it emerged she suffered from a bone condition known as Cervical Ribs.

They have so far failed to find any trace of Clara Foyle.

I hope you have found this tidbit as tempting as I did. The Collector by Fiona Cummins is due to be published in just a few days, December 19th 2018.

 

Watching What I’m Reading

What a merry weekend it has been! Which is the reason this post is a little late. . . We traveled to Rotorua Saturday for my husband’s work Christmas party, then back home early yesterday morning to put the final touches to my staff Christmas lunch so that those who were working yesterday could enjoy it before we had to open for business.

With everything that has been going on, I am afraid that I didn’t get as much reading done during the week as I had planned. I am just about to start

The Memory

which I had planned to read last week .

I have just started listening to

The Beginner's Goodbye

This week I am planning on reading

For Better and Worse

which I featured in last week’s ‘A Taste of … Tuesday’ post.

On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself.

Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret—or their marriage?

I have received three ARCs from NetGalley this week  –

Between the Lies

The Collector (The Bone Collector, #2)

The View from Alameda Island

And that’s my lot for the week. I hope that you have had a wonderful week’s reading, and that you are not getting stressed by the rapid approach of Christmas, because that’s not what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if things aren’t perfect. What matters is the love you feel for your family and friends, spending time with them, and creating beautiful memories. And if you can do some random act of kindness to make someone else’s day a little better, that is a bonus.

I bought my almost twelve year old grandson

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)      The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2)    The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)

for Christmas, and I will give him the remainder of the series for his birthday. I also managed to pick up a copy of

We Need to Weaken the Mixture

for my husband, and a couple of titles off the sales table for myself

Need You Dead (Roy Grace, #13)  and  Tell Tale: Short Stories

Have a wonderful week of reading,my friends. 🎅💕💖📚