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Lizzy11268

Liz Loves Books.Com.

Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere.  All views my own. Mostly.

Currently reading

The Intrusions (Carrigan & Miller)
Stav Sherez
Her Turn to Cry: A Gripping Psychological Drama with Twists You Won't See Coming
Chris Curran
The Beautiful Dead
Belinda Bauer
The Watcher
Emery Armstrong Ross
bookbridgr.com

The Appearance of Murder...

The Appearance of Murder - John Nightingale

I enjoyed The Appearance of Murder - although I admittedly thought it had quite a strange narrative flow that I couldn't quite get to grips with.

It is a mish mash of old school and modern - the story itself, that of a crime writer with a gap in his memory who gets caught up in the possibility of an actual murder in his past - all whilst attempting to write his latest police prodedural was an excellent premise and worked very well on most levels.

It is a gentle read for sure, one for those who like their crime less bloody and more character study but it never really got going on all cylinders for me. Having said that it is a solid 3* read with good plotting and an unpredictable outcome. So I'll be looking for more from this author to see whats what.

Sirens....BOOK TRAUMA.

Sirens - Joseph B. Knox

Ok so I’ve been sat here for a while having no earthly idea what to say about Sirens that could possibly get across how emotionally traumatised I am right now having been put through the wringer by debut author Joseph Knox – with whom I shall be having words. Serious words. Here we are (at time of writing) gone 11pm on a Sunday night and I seriously doubt I’ll be sleeping anytime soon. Someone for the love of everything send me all the ice cream…

 

I can’t remember the last time I read a crime novel that was quite definitively a crime novel but at no point felt like one to me -from the opening salvo until I finally put it down my life was irrevocably linked to the lives of the characters that live within the pages, to Manchester where they reside and to the story unfolding before me. The writing is stunningly immersive, dark yet beautiful, violently gripping and the emotional resonance does not let up for a single second.

 

The whole thing will haunt me, I just know it will – you always know when those books come along, the ones that stay with you, this one will do that. If you are going to ask me why then the answer is no idea.

 

Possibly it lies with Detective Aiden Waits who outwardly is your usual damaged detective but don’t let the blurb fool you, there is nothing standard about this character. Just wait. Yes I did that.

 

Possibly it is the Sirens of the title – the girls who live a dangerous and knifes edge life within the drug trade – it might even be the dangerous men at the heart of THEM – maybe just maybe its the city. The living city which breathes around them.

 

Take your pick.

 

The plotting is taut and authentic, nothing is unlikely, everything is horribly gorgeously realistic but the writing talent comes often in the sparsity of prose used to create a mental image. With a few sentences Joseph Knox creates a whole world of emotion, often less is more – he hits you right in the gut dammit, not just occasionally with a twist or a turn but every blinking moment. There were times during the reading of it that I literally forgot to breathe and had to take a sudden gulp. Look now I’m back in it, where is that darned ice cream already…

 

For those of you reading this who know me just think back to the last few books I’ve been fanatical about and accept your fate – you WILL be reading Sirens whether you like it or not. YOU WILL THANK ME I PROMISE because…

 

Sirens is intense, twisted, gorgeous and heart breaking on so many levels that I cannot even begin to speak to them here.

 

HIGHLY Recommended.

Don't be a stranger to Strangers....

Strangers - Paul Finch

So, a new main protagonist for Paul Finch then and I was really? But I want Heck. Now I’m all “GIVE ME MORE LUCY” because this book was excellent.

 

Its a most addictive story, peppered with memorable characters and with some truly edge of the seat action moments during which I caught myself actively clutching my hair. If I go bald we’ll know who to blame. Also an interesting and fascinating premise – the female serial killer – is only one part of a multi-layered and endlessly intriguing plot line.

 

Sat at the centre is Lucy Clayburn, she REALLY wants to be a detective. I mean really. She tends to end up in hot water though but hey that won’t stop her so when she is offered the chance to redeem her somewhat tarnished reputation and get back on her chosen career track she jumps at it. Cue many shenanigans which I’m not going to tell you anything about. I COULD tell you but then I’d have to kill you. Just go with the flow. You won’t regret it.

 

The writing as ever is darkly intuitive – this is what makes me a Paul Finch fan – its got a kind of underlying humerous edgy feel to it which sends you deep into the story and glues you to the page. Characters are always key and this author knows how to create the ones that stick in your head, occasionally irrationally irritate you (in the best reading way) and who you bond with completely practically from page one. And I’m not only talking the good guys…

 

Overall Strangers is just damned good crime fiction. DAMNED good. Peter James calls Paul Finch a “born storyteller”. That Peter James has a good eye…

 

Don’t be a stranger to Strangers – you’ll be missing out on a banging good read and really, we can’t have that.

 

Vigil.

Vigil - Angela Slatter
 I do love a good Urban Fantasy me and this one, set in Brisbane, is totally rocking. Excellent setting, brilliant world building and a main character I adored.

 

Verity Fassbinder is sharp, witty and different – half human half Weyrd she hovers between two worlds sorting out problems, keeping people (and everything else) in line. Well, kind of. She lives in the shadow of her good old Dad, doesnt suffer fools gladly and is impulsive enough to often get into trouble. Loved her.

 

The layers built into this imaginary world are rich and enticing – I especially enjoyed the politics of the Weyrd world, kind of like our own but with added spells and stuff.  Descriptively speaking Vigil is a joy to read, Angela Slatter brings Brisbane to life in a beautifully fascinating way.

 

The story itself is highly addictive with lots of action and magical mayhem, enough reality to keep you grounded, an often emotional tug on the heartstrings and plenty going on – a near perfect set up to what I hope will be a long running series. The supporting cast of characters are all totally banging (loved The Boatman more of him please) – Vigil will cast its own spell on you as you read and you will be utterly captivated.

 

This is what I like. Those days where the world we live in gets just a little too much, books like Vigil are exactly what you need to escape the rain. Although watch out for them there Angels. They may be watching and you’d never know it…

 

Highly Recommended.

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Promise Of Wrath.

Promise of Wrath (The Hellequin Chronicles) - Steve McHugh

Its probably no secret that I'm a bit of a fan of this series - having been in it from the start and watched it grow and go from strength to strength - Promise of Wrath edges us towards a conclusion for Nate and his band of few in an addictive page turning thrill ride. I banged through it. Mind you I always do with these...

This instalment is actually a little bit more difficult to review than the others because so much happens that is spoilerific and we can't have that - no no no. But seriously its basically Nate doing what he does best, dealing with the bad guys, protecting the good guys, Steve McHugh blurring those lines beautifully so often you are not entirely sure which is which.

I like those shades of grey - Nate has plenty of them he's not the shining hero but more the type of anti-hero I adore in urban fantasy, often torn between right and the urge to just burn everything in a fiery ball of hell flame (actually I love it when he loses those battles it is an adrenalin fuelled reading rush) As a main protagonist for this ever fascinating story he is utterly perfect.

The same blend of mythology we know and love with the authors own twist and imaginative sense means that Promise of Wrath, like all the Hellequin chronicles before it, is a dream of a read for fans of this genre. One more to go. This saddens and excites me in equal measure.

Bring. It. On.

Highly Recommended.

IMPACT. Hold on tight...

Impact (Outer Earth) - Rob Boffard

Oh Impact. How I loved you. Except now we are at the end of the Outer Earth trilogy and I am immeasurably bereft. But before I sobbed into my pillow I was all OOH. Yay. Wait don’t do that. NO OR THAT. Ok you can do that. DON’T GO SO FAST. Actually go faster…

 

Rob Boffard’s writing style is akin to racing a Ferrari down a one way street and hoping to God the brakes are good before you hit the wall – it is fast, furious, utterly delightful and manages somehow to be as character driven as it is action packed. This was true of Tracer, of Zero-G and is even more true of Impact in a lot of ways as the author widens the scope and sets new targets in his sights.

 

I can’t really review the plot that much – I’m aware that some people will not even have started this series yet (why not? Go grab those car keys) so don’t want to spoil anything at all. Suffice to say the entire experience has been one of adrenalin fuelled imaginative joy with the odd introspective moment that just adds a beautiful layer to the whole. If you like your thrills thrilling, your characters complex and your world building  artistic and ingenious then the Outer Earth trilogy is probably for you.

 

Loved it. And then loved it some more. What now Mr Boffard I say what now? Do that again. Do it better. Do it FASTER.  Why even bother with brakes?

 

Mad, exhilarating insanity. Every. Second. Counts.

 

That is all.

 

Highly Recommended.

Kill File - A killer book.

Killfile: A Novel - Christopher Farnsworth

Kill File was most definitely a 5* read for me (if we have to rate these things) it is an absolute killer of a novel with a truly engaging main protagonist and a banging addictive story with a twist.

John Smith first of all has a great name right? Plus he can read people's minds. Which is a handy skill especially when some of those people secretly want to kill him. Government trained but now freelance he takes on a job that may well prove too challenging even for him. Alongside new (and not particularly welcome) sidekick Kelsey, it will take all his talents just to stay alive...

Now there are several elements to Kill File that work so very well - quite apart from the whole psychic hook thing you get some adrenalin fuelled action, some great supporting characters and for those nerds amongst us some brilliantly gripping hacker type shenanigans - put all that together and you have one heck of a book.

Ernest Cline said "I enjoyed the hell out of it"

I think that pretty much sums up my feelings too.

Highly Recommended

The American Girl..

The American Girl - Kate Horsley

The American Girl was a bang on psychological thriller, well told story with plenty of twists and the added advantage of not necessarily being predictable - and I liked the way the past/present vibe was used in this novel - a kind of found footage twist that worked very well.

The American Girl stumbles out of the woods one night and is immediately involved in an accident - remembering nothing of what has happened or the whereabouts of the family she was staying with the small community rallies around her. But the town itself has its secrets and soon the tables will turn.

I liked that Kate Horsley honed the backstory to perfection as we begin to find out what has lead up to recent events - I especially like the strands of the narrative that speak to a young girl spiralling somewhat out of control. The reporter who starts off looking simply for a story then ends up becoming emotionally involved added an extra layer that also added to the addictive nature of the storytelling.

Exploring some fairly modern themes - in this digital age if your life goes viral and the world is watching, just how do you cope with that - and the added mystery element of who what why and when just means that The American Girl works on several levels. Whilst it may be nothing entirely new it was one of those that held my interest throughout and was a pretty darned good read.

The Stepmother.

The Stepmother: A gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist - Claire Seeber

Really enjoyed The Stepmother – one of those books you read fast so you can find out what the heck is going on, with lots of lovely little twists and turns and some pretty creepy moments too (birds *shiver*) – really hits the spot for an afternoons reading in the sun. Or as we are in the UK the rain. Either way…

 

So Claire Seeber takes on the cliche of the Evil Stepmother and turns it a little on its head with what is basically a modern day reimagining  of Snow White if Snow White was likely slightly tainted, not quite so innocent and her Stepmother might not be so bad after all…or also could possibly be the b**** from hell. Or something. Very clever and very readable and a lot of fun.

 

Also though there is some real insight to be had here into the difficulties of integrating families post divorce – these days the family you start with might not be the family you end up with and even with the best intentions, human nature and emotion being what it is means that there is often a rocky road ahead and I ain’t talking about the ice cream. Whilst entertaining us with a banging good tale of mothers, daughters, husbands, sons and the witch like neighbour from down the way (no dwarves though I’m afraid) Claire Seeber manages to also weave into the narrative some definitive real life issues that a lot of people will recognise.

 

Overall it was pretty darn good. I had a good reading time with The Stepmother, it gave pause for thought whilst also being really entertaining and intriguing. Good finish too no disappointment.

 

Recommended for fans of the psychological thriller and possibly for fans of adult fairtytales with bite.

Ragdoll

Ragdoll: A Novel - Daniel H Cole

Ha! Ragdoll is Fast, funny, brilliantly unpredictable and scarily horrific.

 

Loved it.

 

One of those books that a lot of people are talking about and you go hmm. Can it really be that good? Well if you like your crime novels to be indecently clever, terribly addictive, with a twist of horror and a huge dose of dark humour then yep it really can be that good.

 

It was.

 

ANYWAY characters? Yep got some of those in here, some utterly fantastic ones, none of whom seem to follow your usual tropes or if they do they do so in irregular and unlikely fashion. With style. Wolfe well, you never really know what he is going to do. It makes it beautifully engaging. Taking a cue from a note from the author , I thought Wolfe was a bit Jack Bauer on acid with better occasional wisecracks. I fell a little in love. Emily Baxter his one time sidekick is  well, she just is. Then the whole police team around those two have their own little weather patterns and externally you have news people(including wife Andrea – oops I mean EX of course) and possible victims and what have you, all entirely fascinating. Even if some of them did make me want to hide under the bed never to emerge again.

 

The dialogue crackles, the plot is beautifully woven to keep you guessing, although I gave up guessing around the middle of the book and just went along for the ride. It was a topsy turvy joy of a read that never once let up  in quality or stimulation  and it was a rocking rollercoaster from start to finish.  With body parts. And blood. And death. And giggles. And Wolfe.

 

And WHAT an ending.

 

Ragdoll? Yep yep and yep. Is what I have to say. This time the hype for me was justified. Its just good fun people! Even if the subject matter is the stuff of nightmares. Oh and by the way, great take on human nature here. If you are thinking this is all popcorn no depth think again. Works on many levels. Many many levels. Can’t wait for more from Daniel Cole.

 

Saving Sophie...

Saving Sophie: A gripping psychological thriller with a brilliant twist - Sam Carrington

Saving Sophie is the type of psychological thriller that I love for an afternoons reading – fast paced, intriguing, devisive characters and a terrific mystery element.

 

I read it cover to cover in one go pretty much, totally immersed as Karen struggles with agrophobia whilst trying to work out if her daughter Sophie is in any real danger after a night out goes horribly wrong. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way, a fascinating look at family and friendship ties and a cleverly embedded whodunnit for you to get your brain around.

 

I can’t say I particularly liked any of the characters, but thats no bad thing – human beings are inherently selfish a lot of the time and it gives a touch of realism to a crime story. Whilst its not perfect (I did find it a little hard to swallow how long anyone took to tell the police something important that could save their lives and my little mobile phone bugbear turned up a couple of times) Saving Sophie is a blinder of a read in the addictive stakes and the conclusion was edge of seat good.

 

I also liked how Sam Carrington tackled agrophobia which is crippling, not allowing any sudden miracle cures which trust me I’ve seen in other books – in this one it is a mountain for Karen to climb if she IS to save Sophie, and speaks well to the underlying theme of how far would or could you go for the ones you love.

 

Overall a great read, certainly setting me up to read whatever comes next.

Recommended for fans of this genre.

Out of Bounds.

Out of Bounds (Karen Pirie) - Val McDermid

Reviewing Val McDermid is becoming a tough job, at some point you run out of superlatives, you repeat yourself and can’t really think of any other way of saying that the novels are top notch brilliantly written gems of crime fiction and if you are a crime fiction fan you should just read them all. Fairly sure I’ve just repeated myself again from any number of the last few times I’ve reviewed.

 

ANYWAY whilst I never thought that Karen Pirie would engage me as heavily as Tony Hill always has, in Out of Bounds that connection became complete. I loved this one, it was particularly addictive even for a novel from this author and I pretty much read this in one sitting. With her usual insightful and witty eye towards characters and setting, a twisty tale that is still completely believable and a bang on the money fascinating plot Out of Bounds gets a huge tick from me. On every level.

 

Karen as a character, well, you can’t help but dig in deep right alongside her – her way of dealing with personal tragedy, her way of rampaging through the white noise towards the truth of the matter and her ever growing relationships with those around her just give a hugely gripping anchor to the wider narrative, where in the mystery elements Val McDermid gives your brain a work out.

 

Overall Out of Bounds is one of my favourites to date, simply because of the storytelling. And storytelling is of course where the heart lives for us readers. So carry on please Ms McDermid – more Karen, more Tony, frankly more of whatever you’d like to throw at us. I’ve yet to be even vaguely disappointed.

 

Poison City. Bang on the money.

Poison City (London Tau) - Paul Crilley

Poison City is adorable…

 

Oh who am I kidding? Poison City is fricking nuts, completely utterly beautifully crazy. With dog.

 

I loved every minute of it. Urban fantasy at its brilliant best with a banging addictive story, characters to die for and thought provoking, intensely insightful glances at human nature in all its terrible glory. With vampires.

 

This is like Urban Fantasy Noir – its kind of like one of those old school detective stories, where the bars are smoky, the conversation is peppered with underlying feeling, the investigator is enigmatic and focused and there is always some kind of huge blow up fight at the end. Only with added Angels. And other things. And the fight is really on from first page to last…

 

It rocks along, the dialogue is sharp and funny, the world building is incredibly imaginative with a truly authentic feel  considering theres a fae market down the road – the setting is pure joy, the whole thing comes alive around you while you read. Those are the best books right? Also whenever dog is around he steals the limelight and frankly he should have his own sidekick comic or something. Really. I do feel like I should send Paul Crilley ALL the sherry.

 

If this was just a tale of adventure that would have been pure class but the thing about Poison City is it is EMOTIONAL seriously seriously heart wrenchingly emotional at times. I won’t give anything away but there are moments in Poison City that I felt right down in my soul. My engagement with London and his search for his daughters killer was a complete one. Bonded now we are.

 

As for Armitage well. Amazing you know she’s…actually I’ll let you find out for yourself….

 

Brilliant characters, utterly clever plotting, a world you both want to live in and run screaming away from, Poison City is my new favourite thing. Bring on the next book…I’ll start queuing now if necessary get ye behind me people!

 

The war is coming…

 

Highly Recommended.

 

With Dog.

Crash Land...

Crash Land - Doug Johnstone

Read this on the train yesterday.

Really thought it was great, great story, divisive characters, poignant setting. Full review nearer publication.

Caraval.

Caraval - Stephanie G. Garber
  Thoroughly enjoyed this one - pure magic. A lot of fun. I can see why the comparisons to The Night Circus but I think if you are expecting it to be like that you'll be disappointed somewhat, this is its own thing with a different heart. But gorgeous.

More to follow when I do more of my "Ones to watch in 2017" teasers on the blog and full review nearer publication.

But if you like YA/Fantasy with a touch of addictive soul then you'll love this.

 

The Hummingbirds Cage

The Hummingbird's Cage - Tamara Dietrich

The Hummingbirds cage was a game of two halves for me. Well a beginning, middle and end.

The beginning I thought was stunningly good -as an authentic, hard hitting and hugely emotional look at domestic violence and control told by one of its victims I was immediately horrifed and engaged by the story flowing out in front of me. Joanna is caught in a web and escape seems impossible until one day she just goes for it taking her young daughter with her. In this part of the novel Tamara Dietrich uses the little nuances, the small details seemingly dropped into the narrative to make you feel every moment of Joanna's anguish both physical and mental - clever immersive writing indeed.

Then the story took a turn that I thought was very clever but ultimately took me a step away from the emotional core of what had gone before. I became interested more in the construction and where the author might be going and speculated somewhat wildly which actually for me personally didnt work as well. My interest waned as things became clearer instead of the other way around. The quality did not dip it was one of those things where its not doing what you want it to do so you get vaguely grumpy with it. Subjective - a writer can only write their story and a reader can only take what they do from it. Still I wish the initial WOW had stuck with me.

Back on track later and Tamara Dietrich gives us a mixed but emotive ending which pulled me right back in so overall I would recommend this one as everyone else may read it differently. The writing is beautiful, the character building is quirky in places but excellent and the story is for the most part an addictive rollercoaster ride of emotion.

A lot of big sellers based on domestic violence this year. The Hummingbirds Cage sits somewhere in the middle of the pack for me - the subject matter is tackled sensitively and realistically but the direction the story went was different (probably a good thing I will say you won't read one like this) and didn't quite hit all the sweet spots for me as a reader.

Give it a go. An interesting one for discussion...