Broken Bones (D. I. Kim Stone series)

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons
Broken Bones (D.I. Kim Stone, #7) 
by Angela Marsons (Goodreads Author)

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘It is lucky for you that I have a way for you to pay me back. You’re not the first, you see. You craved your independence, sought a way to speed your journey to adulthood and you have succeeded. This is your debt and your responsibility. You got exactly what you wanted.’
(She) could not deny that there was some truth in his words.
‘You have been successful in escaping the clutches of your mother. She is no longer in charge of your decisions and this next one you will make yourself.’
(She) held her breath. There was a mesmerizing quality to his voice that, although it filled her with fear, she felt compelled to listen to.
‘You are here, alone, with no money, no friends and no safety net yet you have the one thing that will set you free.’
(She) frowned.
He raised one eyebrow and looked her up and down. ‘You have your body.’
For a few seconds, (she) was confused. She thought about her hands, arms, legs, feet and as she thought about the bits in between her fear turned to abject horror.

THE BLURB: They thought they were safe. They were wrong.
The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

MY THOUGHTS: Angela Marsons just keeps on writing absolutely compelling, gripping thrillers. Broken Bones is #7 in the DI Stone series, and mostly by now, with a few notable exceptions, the author has either run out of steam and is rehashing tired old story lines, or I have become bored with the series. Not so with Marsons. I made the mistake of beginning Broken Bones when I went to bed. At 1.30 am I was still reading.

Marsons character development is crucial to her success. With every book in this series we learn a little more about Kim, about what makes her tick, and we see progression in her relationships with her team, and of those between the team members.

I haven’t always liked Kim. I understood why she was like she was, but I didn’t like her. Admired, but not liked. However, over the series, Kim has grown and in Broken Bones we see a side of Kim that we never previously knew existed. And I wanted to hug this prickly, independent woman.

This is a story of human greed, greed for money, for position, for power. But it is also a wonderfully touching story of mothers, and just how far they will go to protect their children. But beware, there is also an extremely evil mother in evidence, one who sees in her daughter the way to escape her own sordid life.

5 very bright stars. 💓☆☆☆☆☆💓

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Broken Bones by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2171468915

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Kisscut by Karin Slaughter

Kisscut by Karin Slaughter
Kisscut (Grant County, #2) 
by Karin Slaughter (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: At twenty-eight weeks old, Jenny Weaver’s child might have been viable outside the womb had its mother not tried to flush it down the toilet. The foetus was well developed and well nourished. The brain stem was intact and, with medical intervention, the lungs would have matured over time. The hands would have learned to grasp, the feet to flex, the eyes to blink. Eventually, the mouth would have learned to speak of something other than the horrors it spoke to Sara of now. The lungs had taken breath, the mouth gasped for life. And then it had been killed.
For the past three-and-a-half hours, Sara had tried to reassemble the baby from the parts Jenny Weaver had left in the bathroom and in the red book bag they found in the trash by the video game room. Using tiny sutures instead of the usual baseball stitches, Sara had sewn the paper thin flesh back together into the semblance of a child. Her hands shook, and Sara had redone some of the knots because her fingers were not nimble enough on the first try.
Still, it was not enough. Working on the child, tying the tiny sutures, was like pulling a thread on a sweater. For every area repaired, there was another that could not be concealed. There was no disguising the trauma the child had been through. In the end, Sara had finally accepted that her self-appointed task was an exercise in futility. The baby would go to the grave looking much the way it had looked the last time her mother had seen her.

THE BLURB: Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton–the town’s pediatrician and medical examiner–finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy.

What seemed at first to be a horrific but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self -mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.

The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister’s death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it’s going to happen again . . .

MY THOUGHTS: Grant County is a series that needs to be read in order, from the beginning, to get the full benefit from the storyline.
Kisscut by Karin Slaughter is not a pretty story. It is not a pleasant read. It contains references to child abuse, and while it doesn’t go into specific detail, we all know enough to fill in the blanks. But Kisscut is compelling reading. Even though this is a reread for me, I found myself totally embroiled in the plot and the fates of the characters.
This is Slaughter at her best, and I still love the Grant County series best of all.
I listened to Kisscut by Karin Slaughter,narrated by Kathleen Early, on audiobook via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2177382184

Friday Favorite – Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I am currently reading Broken Bones by Angela Marsons, #7 in the DI. Stone series, and newly published just this week. It is not often that an author can maintain their focus and momentum through a series of seven books, but Marsons has done just that.

So while I am up in the middle of the New Zealand night devouring Marsons latest offering, I thought I would introduce you to the first in the series, Silent Scream.

WARNING: Unless you are planning on a sleepless night, don’t start this when you are going to bed, otherwise you will find yourself doing as I am, sitting up all night reading because you are going to read just one more chapter before you turn out the light. ..

Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1) 
by Angela Marsons (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT:
PROLOGUE
Rowley Regis, Black Country, 2004
Five figures formed a pentagram around a freshly dug mound.
Only they knew it was a grave.
Digging the frozen earth beneath the layers of ice and snow had been like trying to carve stone but they’d taken turns.
All of them.
An adult-sized hole would have taken longer.
The shovel had passed from grip to grip. Some were hesitant, tentative. Others more assured. No one resisted and no one spoke.
The innocence of the life taken was known to them all but the pact had been made.
Their secrets would be buried.
Five heads bowed towards the dirt, visualising the body beneath soil that already glistened with fresh ice. As the first flakes dusted the top of the grave, a shudder threaded through the group. The five figures dispersed, their footprints treading the trail of a star into the fresh, crisp snow.
It was done.

THE BLURB: Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Val McDermid and Mark Billingham will be gripped by this exceptional new voice in British crime fiction.

Watch out for more from D.I. Kim Stone
A Detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent. Silent Scream is the first book in the series – watch out for EVIL GAMES coming soon.

MY THOUGHTS: The cover states that this is an edge of the seat serial killer thriller – and yes, it does deliver what it promises!
A headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.
Then human remains are discovered buried in the grounds of a former children’s home, threatening to bring to light a legacy of disturbing secrets.
How far will the killer go to protect these secrets?
The characters, some of whom are quite horrifying, are all well portrayed and well rounded.
This book had me gasping in shock, then shedding tears at moments of extreme compassion and tenderness.
Strongly recommended. But beware – this book is almost impossible to put down.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Silent Scream by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/1180418128

The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths

The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths
The Vanishing Box (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery, #4) 
by Elly Griffiths (Goodreads Author)  ☆☆☆☆

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens was looking at a dead body. He had seen death before, of course, in the war as well as in his police work but there was something about this corpse that made it especially disturbing. It wasn’t just the stench that sent his Sargeant, Bob Willis, retching to the window. It wasn’t just that the deceased was young, blonde and – even in the late stages of rigor mortis – beautiful. It was the way the body had been found. Lily Burtenshaw was kneeling on a towel beside her bed, a strip from a white sheet tied around her eyes and one hand stretched out towards a box in front of her. In order to keep the body in this unnatural position, the stretching hand had been tied onto a towel rail and the body roped to the back of a chair. Lily’s blindfolded head dropped forward and her golden hair fell across one shoulder. She was wearing a white nightdress and her skin was also deadly white, except for the dark bruising around her neck.

THE BLURB: What do a murdered Brighton flowerseller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? One thing’s for sure – it could be the most dangerous case yet for Stephens and Mephisto

Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ current case of the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life – and death – is all too easily blurred…

MY THOUGHTS: I really liked The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths. I have not previously read any of this series, only her Ruth Galloway series, which I also really liked. The fact that I had not read any of the other Stephens and Mephisto books did not in any way detract from my enjoyment of this one.

This series has been compared to the Bryant and May series, which I have also read a number of, but so far I greatly prefer Griffiths writing.

This is both a comfortable and engaging read, reminiscent of Agatha Christie. The setting is atmospheric, the characters engaging. There is enough romantic intrigue to make it interesting, but not enough to overwhelm the main storyline. A perfect balance.

I look forward to more of this series.

Thank you to Quercus via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2175934477?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1) 
by Agatha Christie

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: We strained and heaved together. The framework of the door was solid, and for a long time it resisted our efforts, but at last we felt it give beneath our weight, and finally, with a resounding crash, it was burst open.
We stumbled in together, Lawrence still holding his candle. Mrs. Inglethorp was lying on the bed, her whole form agitated by violent convulsions, in one of which she must have overturned the table beside her. As we entered, however, her limbs relaxed, and she fell back upon the pillows.
John strode across the room, and lit the gas. Turning to Annie, one of the housemaids, he sent her downstairs to the dining-room for brandy. Then he went across to his mother whilst I unbolted the door that gave on the corridor.
I turned to Lawrence, to suggest that I had better leave them now that there was no further need of my services, but the words were frozen on my lips. Never have I seen such a ghastly look on any man’s face. He was white as chalk, the candle he held in his shaking hand was sputtering onto the carpet, and his eyes, petrified with terror, or some such kindred emotion, stared fixedly over my head at a point on the further wall. It was as though he had seen something that turned him to stone. I instinctively followed the direction of his eyes, but I could see nothing unusual. The still feebly flickering ashes in the grate, and the row of prim ornaments on the mantelpiece, were surely harmless enough.

THE BLURB: Poirot, a Belgian refugee of the Great War, is settling in England near the home of Emily Inglethorp, who helped him to his new life. His friend Hastings arrives as a guest at her home. When the woman is killed, Poirot uses his detective skills to solve the mystery.

MY THOUGHTS: Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was the result of a dare from her sister Madge who challenged her to write a story. Thank you Madge! But for this sisterly dare, we may never have been able to read the delightful detective stories Miss Christie is so famous for.

And although The Mysterious Affair at Styles was her first novel, I think it remains of the best.

All through listening, I was changing my mind as to the identity of the murderer. And, in the end, I was still wrong!

I listened to the audio version of The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie, narrated by Hugh Fraser, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/1207605234

Bloodline by Mark Billingham

Bloodline by Mark Billingham
Bloodline (Tom Thorne, #8) 
by Mark Billingham

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: The woman was face down, arms by her sides. Her shirt had been lifted, or had ridden up, showing purplish patches on her skin just above her waist where the liver mortis had started and revealing that her bra had not been removed.

“Something, I suppose,” said a female CSI as she walked past.

Thorne raised his eyes from the body and looked towards the single window. There were plates and mugs on the draining board next to the sink. A light was flashing on the front of the washing machine to let somebody know that the cycle had finished.

There was still a trace of normality.

THE BLURB: DI Tom Thorne is back…

It seems like a straightforward domestic murder until a bloodstained sliver of X-ray is found clutched in the dead woman’s fist – and it quickly becomes clear that this case is anything but ordinary.

Thorne discovers that the victim’s mother had herself been murdered fifteen years before by infamous serial killer Raymond Garvey. The hunt to catch Garvey was one of the biggest in the history of the Met, and ended with seven women dead.

When more bodies and more fragments of X-ray are discovered, Thorne has a macabre jigsaw to piece together until the horrifying picture finally emerges. A killer is targeting the children of Raymond Garvey’s victims.

Thorne must move quickly to protect those still on the murderer’s list, but nothing and nobody are what they seem. Not when Thorne is dealing with one of the most twisted killers he has ever hunted…

A chilling, relentlessly paced thriller, Bloodline is the most gripping Tom Thorne novel yet.

MY THOUGHTS: I absolutely agree with the final sentence in the blurb. Bloodline is chilling. The pace is relentless. And this is the most gripping of the Tom Thorne series yet.

The killer is twisted, and very clever. He has laid his plans and prepared his ground meticulously. He leaves a trail for the police to follow, and he sits back and waits…

Meanwhile, Thorne is dealing with a personal crisis, or perhaps not dealing with it might be more accurate.

Billingham’s characters are ordinary people. They have likes and dislikes, bills to pay, meals to plan, children to get to school. I think this is one of the reasons I enjoy Billingham’s books so much. These people could be your neighbors, your friends, could even be you.

I like the matter of fact way Billingham writes, and his little injections of black humor.

An exciting and thrilling read. Although these are best read in order of the series to gain the most out of the character development, Bloodline will work as a stand alone book. 4.5☆

Bloodline was narrated by Paul Thornley and I listened to the audio version via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/942705195

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
In the Midst of Winter 
by Isabel Allende (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Richard Bowmaster was Lucia’s boss at New York University where she had a one year contract as a visiting professor. Once the semester was over, her life was a blank slate: she would need another job and somewhere else to live while she decided on her long term future. Sooner or later she would return to end her days in Chile, but that was still quite a way off. And since her daughter, Daniela, had moved to Miami to study marine biology, and was possibly in love and planning to stay, there was nothing to draw Lucia back to her home country. She intended to enjoy her remaining years of good health before she was defeated by decreptitude. She wanted to live abroad, where the daily challenges kept her mind occupied and her heart in relative calm, because in Chile she was crushed by the weight of the familiar, its routines and limitations. Back there she felt she was condemned to be a lonely old woman besieged by pointless memories; in another country, there could be surprises and opportunities.

THE BLURB: In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident—which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster—a 60-year-old human rights scholar—hits the car of Evelyn Ortega—a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala—in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz—a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile—for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia.

MY THOUGHTS: What happened to Allende’s beautiful lyrical writing? It is MIA in In the Midst of Winter. I think I only stopped twice to roll a passage of the text around my mind and my mouth. The writing felt flat, unlike the previous books by this author which I really enjoyed.

I found this story quite depressing, both in its characters and the plot, both of which frequently left me feeling annoyed.

The story is mainly told about the three central characters, Lucia, Evelyn and Richard and over several different timelines, past and present. This doesn’t flow seamlessly and I found myself getting irritated by the constant tooing and froing. It was like a film that has been badly spliced. Disjointed.

I was disappointed. But perhaps she was just having a bad year. I may just reread The Japanese Lover to banish this from my mind. Definitely not what I have come to love and expect from this usually brilliant author.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2172368567