A Deadly Game – Joanne Griffiths

Prologue

Wiping the condensation off the bathroom mirror with the sleeve of her shirt, Kate Palmer stared at her reflection for a few seconds before letting out a deep sigh. She didn’t like what she saw – her eyes were puffy and bloodshot from where she had been crying and an angry-looking spot was about to erupt on her chin.
She attempted to apply a fresh coat of mascara but once again she felt the tears begin to well, spilling hot and warm down her cheeks. Taking a wad of used tissue from her pocket, she quickly dabbed at her eyes before blowing her nose on the rapidly disintegrating bundle.
‘How could I have been so stupid?’ she muttered to herself. It was a question that she had asked repeatedly over the last few days. In her wildest dreams, she had never expected her life to turn out like this.
Kate was a bright, talented artist, with a promising future ahead of her. She was popular amongst both her tutors and peers at the university she attended, due to her warm, friendly, easy-going nature. Despite this, Kate was often plagued by deep-seated insecurities, lacking self-confidence in both herself and her abilities. Not that anyone would have guessed, mind; she was very good at hiding her feelings from those around her.
Looking back, her insecurities had probably stemmed from a period of relentless teasing during her early teenage years – her acne, her braces, her flat chest – all considered fair game by the boys in her year. However, by the age of fifteen, she had started to blossom and her natural beauty began to shine through. Her insecurities still lingered though and Kate’s last year at school was a difficult one, not helped by the breakdown of her relationship with her father.
Her father.
She thought about him for a minute.
They had what could only be described as a strained relationship and hadn’t been close for some time now. Over the years they had had some pretty heated arguments as Kate tried to assert her independence whilst her father tried to assert his authority, laying down the rules he expected her to abide by. Her poor mum would often find herself stuck in the middle, trying to appease both sides, yet failing miserably.
It was not a happy time for any of them and so it was with some relief all round that Kate had chosen to move into the halls of residence at the start of her first year at university, rather than commute, as her father had originally wanted. Although he would never admit it, Kate knew it had been the right decision for all of them. Still, things change, and now all she longed for was the security of home, for the days where there was no pressure, no financial worries and no responsibilities.
Just thinking about home caused another fresh wave of tears and she let out a loud sob as the enormity of her situation played out before her. Kate knew she had messed things up this time, knew her father wouldn’t be happy when he found out. She could already imagine the look of disappointment in his eyes and it hurt that she had let him down. Trying to control her sobs, Kate placed the mascara she was holding on the edge of the sink and pulled off some fresh toilet tissue to mop up the tears.
Why had it all gone so wrong?
Kate had had so many hopes when she first arrived on campus at BCU and had enjoyed her first year – making new friends, going to parties, nightclubs and the student bar. Birmingham was so different to Alvechurch, the village where she had spent most of her childhood, and she loved it. That all changed though, once she had finished her first year of study. She could no longer stay in the halls of residence, and had to look for student accommodation away from the hustle and bustle of the campus.
It would probably have been easier if Kate had taken up the offer to house share with some of her fellow students, but she was determined to have her own space. She soon found herself a small, one-bedroom flat on a run-down housing estate in Newtown, a short bus journey away from the Perry Barr campus. The flat had come fully furnished, although the furniture had clearly seen better days, and whilst the decor was not to her taste, she knew that she would soon have it feeling like home.
It was a lot harder than she had imagined. Permanent work that fitted in with her studies was hard to come by and, even though she had access to student loans, paying the rent, the utilities, buying groceries, as well as paying her university fees and buying course materials, was a struggle. Before she knew it, Kate had found herself in a situation that was spiralling out of control.
She had finally made up her mind though. Tomorrow, Kate would call her mum, tell her that she had decided to drop out of uni and wanted to come back home – at least until after Christmas – then she could figure out what to do next. She just hoped her mum would understand, or at least support her decision. It would make facing her father that bit easier, knowing her mum was on her side.
Wiping her eyes one last time, Kate picked up the mascara again and carefully applied a final layer, hoping that no one would notice she had been crying. Another quick touch of powder to her cheeks, a coat of lipstick and a final brush of her hair, then Kate was ready to leave. She would sort it all out tomorrow and, while she would never be able to tell her parents everything, right now, more than ever, she just wanted to be back home with her family.

Those That Remain – Rob Ashman

The Book…

Lucas is coasting to retirement in a mundane Florida police precinct when a brutal serial killer, codenamed Mechanic, lands on his patch. 

Three years ago they thought Mechanic was dead. But Mechanic is very much alive and no family is safe from the savage, ritualistic murders that this sadistic killer is compelled to commit.

Mechanic is always one step ahead and Lucas is forced to operate outside the law. 

But who can he trust and who is Mechanic? 

Soon Lucas will learn that truth is more terrifying than he could ever imagine and in order to find the answers he needs, he might just have to put his life on the line… 

In my opinion…

Phew! What a book! A throughly enjoyable read, and I cannot wait for the next installment (please see below) of the trilogy! The writing is detailed which I enjoy as it helps me feel this I am part of the story unfolding… There were so many twists and I didn’t see the end coming, not that I wanted it to end.

The books…

Rob is delighted that all three books in the Mechanic Trilogy will be published with Bloodhound Books in 2017.

Those That Remain  –  22 June

In Your Name    –  13 July

Pay The Penance    –  8 August

Rob now writes full time and has recently completed his fourth novel titled Faceless.

About the Author…

Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.

 

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

 

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

 

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

I would like to thank Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for my review copy.

The Black Hornet – Rob Sinclair

The Blurb:

The Black Hornet: an action packed and utterly gripping thriller from the best-selling James Ryker series

What do you do when the love of your life vanishes without a trace? If you’re ex-intelligence agent James Ryker you search for the answers whatever the cost, however much blood and sacrifice it takes…

Six months ago Lisa was taken from Ryker, and he’ll stop at nothing to find out who is responsible and why. Following a trail to Mexico, the ex-Joint Intelligence Agency asset soon finds himself in the firing line of enemies he long thought he’d left behind. Set-up for the murder of a former informant, Ryker is thrown into a crumbling jail run by The Black Hornet, the notorious leader of a Mexican drug cartel. But what connects the cartel to the informant’s murder, and to Lisa’s disappearance? And just who is the mystery American claiming he can help Ryker in his hour of need?

My opinion:

Yet another Rob Sinclair book, that I haven’t been able to put down! This book does follow on from The Red Cobra, so I would recommend reading both, however there so well written it’s not a chore!

So many fast paced scenes and action, this book is unputdownable and would recommend this to any fan of spies and action thrillers.

The Darkest Corner – Liliana Hart

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families.

Sometimes the dead do rise…

Deacon Tucker is a dead man walking. A former black ops agent, he was disavowed and stripped of all honor before being recruited as a Gravedigger. But his honor and good name no longer matter, because no one knows he’s alive, and he’ll never get the recognition he deserves. His mission is simple: save the world or die trying. And for God’s sake, don’t ever fall in love. That’s a rule punishable by death. The kind of death a man can’t be brought back from.

Tess Sherman is the only mortician in Last Stop, Texas. She has no idea how Deacon Tucker ended up in her funeral home, but she’ll eat her hat if he’s only a funeral home assistant. Deacon is dangerous, deadly, and gorgeous. And she knows her attraction to him can only end in heartache.

Deacon is on a mission to stop the most fatal terror attack the world has ever known—what’s known as The Day of Destiny—a terrorist’s dream. But when he discovers Tess has skills he can use to stop them, he has to decide if he can trust her with secrets worth dying for. And, most important, he has to decide if he can trust her with his heart.

My first from this author. This book has been categorised as Romance which isn’t normally my thing, however I found the plot very enjoyable. I felt that ffter a slow start, the tension picks up to an enjoyable read.  There is a humourous side to the story telling. I found the book quite descriptive in places, but this doesn’t deter from the enjoyment of the story.

One Bad Turn – Sinead Crowley

This book doesn’t stop! I read most of this in one sitting! Very enjoyable and a few dark twists thrown in. Delves between current events and those that have previously contributed. I would recommend this for any crime-thriller fan.

The Blurb…

Being held hostage at gunpoint by her childhood friend is not Dr Heather Gilmore’s idea of a good day at work. It only gets worse when she hears that her nineteen-year-old daughter Leah has been kidnapped.

Sergeant Claire Boyle wasn’t expecting to get caught up in a hostage situation during a doctor’s appointment. When it becomes apparent that the kidnapping is somehow linked to the hostage-taker, a woman called Eileen Delaney, she is put in charge of finding the missing girl.

What happened between Eileen and Heather to make Eileen so determined to ruin her old friend? Claire Boyle must dig up the secrets from their pasts to find out – and quickly, because Leah is still missing, and time is running out to save her.

THE BEEKEEPER by Stewart Giles

The Blurb

A shocking discovery starts a trail of mayhem on the Cornish coast.

Alice Green is a beekeeper in the small Cornish village of Polgarrow. One evening, Alice finds something strange under the hollyhock bush in her garden.  The gruesome discovery will change everyone’s lives.

Detective Harriet Taylor has just transferred to the area from Edinburgh. As she investigates a series of shocking crimes, she grows close to the old beekeeper and is determined to bring the murderer to justice.

A crime mystery with a streak of black humour. You’ll enjoy this fast-paced and dark unearthing of the underbelly of a sleepy Cornish village.

About the Author…

After reading English & Drama at three different English Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling and finally ended up in South Africa, where I still live. I enjoy the serene life running a boat shop on the banks of the Vaal Dam. I came up with the DS Jason Smith idea after my wife dropped a rather large speaker on my head. Whether it was intentional still remains a mystery. Smith, the first in the series was finished in September 2013 and was closely followed by Boomerang and Ladybird. Occam’s Razor, Harlequin and Phobia (a series of short stories detailing Smith’s early life) were all completed in one hazy 365 days and Selene was done and dusted a few months later. Horsemen, the seventh in the DS Smith thriller series is out now.

My opinion…

I devoured this beauty in a few hours. What I thought was going to be a bit of light reading got darker and with seemingly endless twists and turns I was unable to put it down.

When can I get this?

The Beekeeper, a departure from the DS Smith series was released through Joffe Books on 22 May 2017

Want You Gone – Chris Brookmyre

I would like to thank Little Brown Book Group and NetGalley for my ARC and being invited to be part of the blog Tour.

I Want You Gone

What if all your secrets were put online?
Sam Morpeth is growing up way too fast, left to fend for a younger sister with learning difficulties when their mother goes to prison and watching her dreams of university evaporate. But Sam learns what it is to be truly powerless when a stranger begins to blackmail her online, drawing her into a trap she may not escape alive.

Who would you turn to?
Meanwhile, reporter Jack Parlabane has finally got his career back on track, but his success has left him indebted to a volatile source on the wrong side of the law. Now that debt is being called in, and it could cost him everything.

What would you be capable of?
Thrown together by a common enemy, Sam and Jack about to discover they have…

My Thoughts

Having not read a Chris Brookmyre before I had no idea what was instore…

What I found was a captivating book that I was not able to put down.  The characters are introduced and well developed, along with a story with so much tension and twists and and ending I didn’t quite expect.

I’ve not read a thriller before involving technology and hacking, but the reality is it’s something we’re all at risk of. It opened my eyes to the possibility that this could be more than fiction.

Would recommend to others and I’m definitely off to try and read the rest of the rest of Chris Brookmyre’s books.

The Bomb Girl’s Secrets

First from this author for me, however this is the second in a series.  i’m guessing from how much I enjoyed this, that they can be read standalone.  The book follows three ladies who for varying reasons land up working together during WWII.  I don’t want to give anything away, but I felt that the characters were well developed and realistic.  Whilst reading the book I felt that I was transported to the 1940’s.

 

I would recommend this author and these books to anyone that either likes a saga or historical settings. I will definitely be seeking to read the other in this series and any future books from this author.     

 

The Wicked Boy – Kate Summerscale

Had this on audiobook. An interesting story of a true story. The scandal of a young boy killing his mother, being admitted to a asylum and then starting a new life in the army and moving to Australia. Fascinating insight to life in Victotian times for both civilians and how prisoners were treated. Then during both wars.

Would recommend to anyone who likes history or crime.

The History of Newgate Prison – Caroline Jowett

This is a very enlightening and well researched book. It starts in medieval times and ends with it being pulled down on 1900’s. There are articles about famous people, as well as events that occurred whilst developements in inmate treatment and punishments as time went on. The sometimes horrific punishments and sometimes for sins that you would never realise was a crime. I was shocked that debt was an imprisonable crime?

This is a fantastic book and would recommend to anyone who either loves history and true crime.

The Orphans Tale – Pam Jenoff

Not my normal genre, but was given this galley and decided that I should start open minded…

I really enjoyed reading this, a story that develops in an unsuspecting way. No spoilers, but it there are many twists on past lives revealed and love interests that are forbidden between Jews and Nazi supporters in this time of constant conflict. Would recommend to saga or historical fiction lovers as there are aspects of both in here.

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