Watching what I’m reading…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My new ARCs are: Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

The Last Reunion by Kayte Nunn

A Week to Remember by Esther Campion

The Secret Within by Lucy Dawson

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

The Art of Death by David Fennell

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

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

Have a happy Sunday.

Cheers

Sandy

The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths

EXCERPT: London, 15 May 1953

It was raining when Max came out of the news cinema, but even this could not dent his good spirits. He simply adjusted his trilby and kept his head down as he crossed Piccadilly Circus. Rain in the town was not the same as rain in the provinces: memories of sleet-washed seaside promenades, of deckchairs sodden and flapping in the wind, of Sunday afternoons so grey and endless that they seemed like a foretaste of purgatory. But in London the red buses were still running, people were still darting through the traffic and somewhere – the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to be exact – his name was spelled out in lights.

ABOUT ‘THE BLOOD CARD’: Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are enough for him to put Stephens and Mephisto on the case.

Edgar’s investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone else silences him first. It’s Sergeant Emma Holmes who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards . . .

MY THOUGHTS: This is Book 3 in The Brighton series, or Magic Men Mysteries. I have not read them in order, but have loved them just the same. At some point I will go back and read them in order, but for now I am content to just enjoy each one.

The world is changing post World War II, and with the coronation of the new Queen imminent, television is becoming popular to the detriment of the Variety Show. Max and daughter, Ruby are each scheduled to appear in the Coronation Day Variety Show, their television debut. Is it a show that is going to go off with a bang?

Griffiths excels at writing amusing, atmospheric and engaging novels, and she has certainly hit her target with The Blood Card. I have enjoyed catching up on the adventures of magician Max Mephisto and his friend DI Edgar Stephens, who is engaged to be married to Max’s daughter and fellow magician Ruby. Both DS Emma Holmes and Ruby play major roles in this book. DS Holmes has apparently unrequited feelings for Edgar and is resentful of his having Ruby in his life. But I notice that Edgar is beginning to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about Emma . . . so watch this space!

Characters from Max’s past come out of the woodwork in The Blood Card, and we learn a little more about his childhood. There are cryptic clues, crosswords, cross words, and all manner of goings on. There are Romanies, Tarot Card readers, masters of deception (who even manage to deceive Max!), and much misdirection.

Griffiths portrayal of this era is engaging, the plot flows easily and is interesting, and her characters are delightful. I have only one book left to read in this series now, Smoke and Mirrors, #2. I do hope that this series is not going to stop with the 5 books. I want to travel with this strange assortment of characters well into their old age.

A fun read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.8

#TheBloodCard

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: I listened to the audiobook of The Blood Card written by Elly Griffiths, narrated by Luke Thompson and published by Quercus via Overdrive. 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, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Cheers!

Sandy ❤📚

Bitter Wash Road by Garry Disher

EXCERPT: She lay as if sleeping, face down, her chest to the ground but her left hip cocked and her legs slightly splayed, one bent at the knee. Her right arm was trapped under her right hip, and her right cheek was stretched out in the dirt as if she were looking along her outflung left arm: looking blindly, Hirsch thought, thinking of the eye socket. Maybe her other eye was intact, tucked into the dirt. There was very little blood.

He took another series of photographs, focusing on the clothes. Tight black jeans, a white t-shirt, a tiny fawn cardigan, bare feet in white canvas shoes. The t-shirt had ridden up to reveal a slender spine, a narrow waist, the upper string of a black thong. Bruising and abrasions. A silver chain around her neck. No wristwatch but craft market silver rings on her fingers, and in her visible ear a silver ring decorated with a scrabble piece, the letter M.

What about ID? Hirsch couldn’t see a bag or wallet anywhere. If she was struck by a vehicle, and knocked or carried some distance, then her bag or wallet would be further along the road. Time for that later.

He crouched, peering at the area of waist and spine between the low-riding jeans and the scrap of t-shirt, and saw a small manufacturer’s tag on the thong. Her underwear was inside out. He crab-walked closer to the body and lifted the t-shirt: a rear-fastening black bra, fastened with only one of the two hooks.

None of that proved anything. It was suggestive, that’s all. He could think of plenty of scenarios to explain it, some of them innocent. For example, she’d dressed in a hurry, she’d dressed in darkness, she was short sighted, she was careless or drunk, she’d dressed in a confined space, like the rear seat of a car.

Or someone else had dressed her.

ABOUT ‘BITTER WASH ROAD’: Constable Paul Hirschhausen—”Hirsch”—is a recently demoted detective sent from Adelaide, Australia’s southernmost booming metropolis, to Tiverton, a one-road town in rustic, backwater “wool and wheat” country three hours north. Hirsch isn’t just a disgraced cop; the internal investigations bureau is still trying to convict him of something, even if it means planting evidence. When someone leaves a pistol cartridge in his mailbox, Hirsch suspects that his career isn’t the only thing on the line.

But the tiny town of Tiverton has more crime than one lone cop should have to handle. The stagnant economy, rural isolation, and entrenched racism and misogyny mean every case Hirsch investigates is a new basket of snakes. When the body of a 16-year-old local girl is found on the side of the highway, the situation in Tiverton gets even more sinister, and whether or not he finds her killer, there’s going to be hell to pay.

MY THOUGHTS: Speechless.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ huge shining outback night sky stars for Bitter Wash Road by Garry Disher. This book has also been published under the title ‘Hell to Pay.’

The plot is entirely plausible. Demoted and banished to wheat and wool country, a single officer police station in a blink and you’ll miss it one road town three hours north of Adelaide, Hirsch is serving time as punishment for being a whistleblower, for dobbing in fellow officers. He is shunned by his fellow officers, for being a whistleblower is every bit as bad as being a cop on the take. Some people believe he is both.

Tiverton is a place where nothing much ever happens, or nothing much that has anything done about it, until Hirsch arrives.

A few pot shots, a missing girl, and a death ruled suicide are just the start of a chain of events I never saw coming, and that kept me glued to the pages.

I have lived in a few of these towns, not down south, but up north. Disher has described the small town hierarchy perfectly. I have known people like this, probably not bad to the same extent, but with similar senses of entitlement, or disadvantage. The personality types are easily recognizable.

Disher is a master at the art of realistic conversation. Not only could I see his characters, I could hear them. And the realism carries over into his descriptions of the countryside.
Three and a half hours, 350 kilometres, glued to the speed limit across an ochre landscape, under a vast sky. Eagles, stone chimneys silhouetted, an inclination to stone and grit, not dirt. Stone reefs, smudges of bluebush, saltbush, mallee scrub, and lone demented ewes. A hawk diving, a crow watching. Road trains, trucks, cars, the emptiness ahead and behind and shimmering lakes that dematerialised as the highway slipped beneath him. The land is harsh and unforgiving, but has it’s own stark beauty, and Disher paints an honest and accurate picture.

He portrays the hardships faced: the lack of rain, nothing to keep the kids in the towns, the insular relationships, the poverty, even of the supposedly well to do, the racism, the sexism, the abuse. But there is also that small town spirit, where in the face of adversity, everyone rallies around and pulls together.

I loved every word of this book, and already have the other two in this series loaded to read.

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

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

DISCLOSURE: I borrowed my copy of Bitter Creek Road by Garry Disher, published by Text Publishing, from Waitomo District Library interloan service. 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, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout

EXCERPT: On a Tuesday morning in the middle of September, Olive Kit­teridge drove carefully into the parking lot of the marina. It was early—she drove only in the early hours now—and there were not many cars there, as she had expected there would not be. She nosed her car into a space and got out slowly; she was eighty-two years old, and thought of herself as absolutely ancient. For three weeks now she had been using a cane, and she made her way across the rocky pathway, not glancing up so as to be able to watch her foot­ing, but she could feel the early-morning sun and sensed the beauty of the leaves that were turned already to a bright red at the tops of the trees.

Once inside, she sat at a booth that had a view of the ocean and ordered a muffin and scrambled eggs from the girl with the huge hind end. The girl was not a friendly girl; she hadn’t been friendly in the year she’d worked here. Olive stared out at the water. It was low tide, and the seaweed lay like combed rough hair, all in one direction. The boats that remained in the bay sat graciously, their thin masts pointing to the heavens like tiny steeples. Far past them was Eagle Island and also Puckerbrush Island with the evergreens spread across them both, nothing more than a faint line seen from here. When the girl—who practically slung the plate of eggs with the muffin onto the table—said, hands on her hips, “Anything else?,” Olive just gave a tiny shake of her head and the girl walked away, one haunch of white pants moving up then coming down as the other haunch moved up; up and down, huge slabs of hind end.

ABOUT ‘OLIVE AGAIN’: Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.

MY THOUGHTS: I love Elizabeth Strout’s writing. I loved Olive Kitteridge, but I love Olive Again even more. While Strout meanders through Olive’s life and the lives of those around her, she brings back memories of our own lives, things we have done, and people we have known. She makes us look at our own relationships, the way we treat people, and our expectations of them.

In Olive Again, Strout examines aging, loss, grief, loneliness, and the ways in which we have to adapt both physically and mentally to these challenges. She treats the breaking down of our bodies with empathy and humor. After all, as Olive says, ‘ That’s life, nothing you can do about it.’

I like Olive. More than like her. And I plan on visiting with her frequently.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth Strout is the author of several novels. She teaches at the Master of Fine Arts program at Queens University of Charlotte.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Olive Again written by Elizabeth Strout, narrated by Kimberley Farr, and published by Random House Audio. 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, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

It’s been a bit of an up and down week for me. I had a bit of a relapse mid week, which while not bad enough to put me back in hospital, certainly knocked the stuffing out of me. I have read only two books this week, which is pretty much unheard of! I just kept falling asleep 😴😴😴😴😴😴

Friday and Saturday I spent with my grandson. We had morning tea with his other grandma, and her mother whom he calls Granny. We had a lovely catch up, then Luke and I went home and had a rest before heading off to his daycare Christmas party. That was lots of fun and I took plenty of photos

We were both pretty tired after that and went home and lay on our beds and read until dinner. Saturday morning and he had a birthday party to attend, and after I collected him it was a replay of Friday afternoon. Rest and read. I am back home today and just taking it easy. Pete is out fishing, so hopefully we will have nice fresh fish for dinner tonight.

Currently I am reading Bitter Wash Road by Garry Disher, an Australian author. This is the first book in his Paul Hirschausen series, of which I have the second and third books, Peace, and Consolation, from Netgalley to read. Loving this so far.

I am also reading Aunt Ivy’s Cottage by Kristen Harper.

I have just this morning finished listening to Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout. Watch for my review tomorrow.

Not sure what I am going to listen to next, but I have lots of wonderful suggestions from Carla to follow up on. Check out her blog https://carlalovestoread.wordpress.com , she is the queen of audiobooks!

This week I am planning on reading The Open House by Sam Carrington

Everyone’s welcome. But not everyone leaves…

Nick and Amber Miller are splitting up and selling their Devon family home. But despite the desirable location, the house isn’t moving. Not a single viewing so far.

When their estate agent suggests an open house event, Amber agrees, even as she worries about their gossiping neighbours attending and snooping around their home.

But Amber has more to worry about than nosy neighbours. Because thirteen people enter her house that afternoon, and only twelve leave.

And I would like to start Peace by Garry Disher, which is my idea of a Christmas read. 😉

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

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

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

I have only two new ARCs from Netgalley this week:

An Ordinary Life by Amanda Prowse

Oh! Isn’t that a beautiful cup and saucer set!

And The Day My Husband Left by Amy Miller

That’s my lot for today. I shall try to post more regularly this week, which means taking better care of myself. The problem is that I am so used to doing certain things at work that I just do them automatically without thinking, and then pay the price later. I guess I will learn with time!

Stay safe everyone!

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

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