Killer Review: Pop Goes the Weasel by M J Arlidge

First Line: ‘The fog crept into the sea, suffocating the city.’

What the blurb says:

A man’s body is found in an empty house. His heart has been cut out and delivered to his wife and children. He is the first victim, and Detective Inspector Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. But why would a happily married man be this far from home in the dead of night?

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse: a serial killer preying on family men who lead hidden double lives. Helen can sense the fury behind the murders. But what she cannot possibly predict is how volatile this killer is – or what is waiting for her at the end of the chase…

This is the second novel in the Helen Grace detective series which follows on from the thrilling debut in the series, Eeny Meeny.

The body of a middle-aged man is discovered horrifically mutilated, with his heart removed, in a run-down house in Southampton’s red-light district. A few hours later the heart is delivered to the victim’s family. One day on, another male victim is found dead with his heart removed and then delivered by courier – a pattern soon starts to emerge of a sadistic killer. DI Helen Grace must use all her wits to stop this vicious serial-killer once and for all, but will she be able to forgive herself for the events from her last case?

The main character, Helen Grace, is not your stereotypical detective. She is a head-strong female character who likes to investigate on her own terms which gets her into a lot of trouble while she struggles to come to terms with her past. She is usually found clad in leather driving a motorbike and has a peculiar coping mechanism (which I won’t spoil for you).

I loved the vivid description the author depicts throughout the novel which really brings the setting of Southampton to life and made me feel like I was right there as the action unfolded. The novel has a strong cast of fully rounded, flawed characters who are both likeable and created a sense of empathy –  I rooted for Helen Grace as she raced against time to catch the killer who has a warped but deep sense of justice.

This is a breath taking novel with a great plot twist at the end – I can’t wait to read the next books in the Helen Grace series.

If you haven’t read the first novel, Eeny Meeny,  I think it is worth a read before picking this one up!

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about M J Arlidge follow him on Twitter @mjarlidge

Chiller Review: Disclaimer by Renee Knight

First Line: ‘Catherine braces herself, but there is nothing left to come up. She grips the cold enamel and raises her head to look in the mirror.’

What the blurb says: 

Imagine if the next thriller you opened was all about you.
When an intriguing novel appears on Catherine’s bedside table, she curls up and begins to read. But as she turns the pages she is horrified to realize she is a key character, a main player.

This story will reveal her darkest secret.  A secret she thought no one else knew…

This debut novel centres around Catherine Ravenscroft, a success documentary filmmaker married to a successful lawyer Robert, with a troubled grown-up son, Nick.

Catherine finds a self-published novel on her dressing table, as she starts to read she discovers that her long buried secret is contained within its pages and what’s worse is someone else knows it. With her past haunting her, Catherine’s world starts to fall apart with disastrous consequences. But as her secret comes to the surface Catherine is forced to comes to terms with the truth of what really happened the day her life changed forever – but can she and her family survive the fallout?

The novel is told from both the viewpoints of Catherine and Stephen Bridgestocke, a retired English teacher who is mourning the death of his wife. As the novel progresses you discover how their lives are interlinked which stems from the one day in their past that Catherine is trying to hide.

I found this novel captivating, with an interesting cast of characters and a strong premise about something as harmless as a novel which is usually read for entertainment but is used instead as a malicious tool for revenge.

This is a great debut novel with a tightly woven plot and dark undertones which make for an entertaining read.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Renee Knight follow her on Twitter @ReneeEKnight 


Thriller Review: Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary

First line: ‘They’ve cordoned off the house by the time she gets home. A uniformed stranger is unwinding police tape, methodically.’

What the blurb says: Called to a woman’s refuge to take a routine witness statement, DI Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder.

Trying to uncover the truth from layers of secrets, Marnie finds herself confronting her own demons.
Because she, of all people, knows that it can be those closest to us we should fear the most. . .

This is the first novel in the DI Marnie Rome series which starts off with a bang – it opens with her visiting the crime scene of her parents’ murder. Fast forward five years and DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake go to question a potential witness at a women’s refuge only to walk-in on an attempted murder. As the novel progresses both officers becoming increasingly embroiled in the lives of the women in the refuge and what started off as a simple routine case turns into a fight for life and death.

I particularly find the character of Marnie Rome fascinating. She is a strong, tough new female officer who is battling her own conscience about her parents’ murder and has a vulnerable side – which makes her very likeable and down-to-earth. The novel evokes a lot of sympathy for the characters but I think it is largely due to the character of Rome who has a real sense of empathy for others which gets her into trouble at times.

I loved this book which creates a lot of imagery and provides vivid detail about domestic violence but still manages to keep it relevant to the plot. It is a story packed full of pace, suspense and tension with a tightly weaved plot which takes the reader on a thrilling yet emotional ride.

This is a must-read and it’s easy to see why this won the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year in 2015. I can’t wait to read the next instalment in the Marnie Rome series.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Sarah Hilary follow her on Twitter @sarah_hilary or visit her website here 

Chiller Review: Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris

First line: ‘The champagne bottle knocks against the marble kitchen counter, making me jump. I glance at Jack, hoping he won’t have noticed how nervous I am.’

What the blurb says:

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows. Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

This is a breathtaking debut novel from B A Paris which centres around the characters of Grace and Jack. They are the perfect couple who are devoted to one another with the perfect house and the perfect life. Jack is a successful and charismatic lawyer who specialises in domestic abuse cases and Grace is the devoted and elegant housewife who cares for her little sister Millie, who has Down’s Syndrome. But this is merely the image they present to the outside world –  because none of their neighbours, friends or families truly know the horror that happens behind closed doors.

The novel is told from the point of view of Grace and has two different timelines set in the immediate present and the not too distant past chronicling how they met, Grace’s life before her marriage to Jack, and their married life together which merge together at the end.

The story is an easy one to be pulled into with the reader going on an emotional journey with Grace showing her thoughts and feelings which I felt made her tale believable. The author doesn’t hold back on any details and exposes the true reality of her situation which made for a very gripping read.

This is a great fast-paced debut psychological thriller to dip into.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about B A Paris follow her on Twitter @BAParisAuthor

Chiller Review: The Kind Worth Killing By Peter Swanson

First Line: “Hello there,” She said. I looked at her pale, freckled hand on the back of the empty bar next to me in the business class lounge at Heathrow Airport, then up into the stranger’s face.’

What the blurb says: Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?

Back in Boston, Ted’s wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?

 After a chance meeting in an airport bar Ted spills his secrets to Lily, the stranger he just met about his discovery of his wife’s infidelity and how he wishes her dead. Without missing a beat Lily offers to help Ted to kill his wife. As they arrange to meet again a dark plan is soon hatched but would they really do it? And if so, would they get away with it?

This is a new twist on Patricia Highsmith’s classic strangers on a train. The novel is told from the perspective of each of the main characters with frequent flashbacks of their lives which I found a very effective device. As a reader I was able to find out little titbits of information which kept me hooked into the story and left me wanting more.

The characterisation in this novel is superb. Each character has its own twisted logic of death which makes for a boiling pot of deceit and betrayal. The novel is jammed packed full of pace with twists and turns at every corner which I found I couldn’t put down.

The intricate plotting, a great mid-point twist – which you won’t see coming and a surprise ending make this a very gripping read.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Peter Swanson follow him on Twitter @PeterSwanson3 or visit his website here

Killer Review: The Silent Dead by Claire McGowan

First Line: ‘I’m Dead. I don’t mind. I want to be dead. Nothing could be worse than staying alive, not like this. But all the same I’m running away.’

What the blurb says:  

Victim: Male. Mid-thirties. 5’7″.
Cause of death: Hanging. Initial impression – murder.
ID: Mickey Doyle. Suspected terrorist and member of the Mayday Five.

The officers at the crime scene know exactly who the victim is. Doyle was one of five suspected bombers who caused the deaths of sixteen people. The remaining four are also missing and when a second body is found, decapitated, it’s clear they are being killed by the same methods their victims suffered.

Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire is assigned the case but she is up against the clock – both personally and professionally.

With moral boundaries blurred between victim and perpetrator, will be Paula be able to find those responsible? After all, even killers deserve justice, don’t they?

This is the third book in the Paula Maguire series and every bit as fabulous as all the others.

My favourite Forensic Pathologist, Paula Maguire is back and is as strong and determined as ever not to listen to the advice of others in order to solve the case. The story follows the abduction of a group of five people suspected of a bomb attack which killed sixteen innocent people for which they were never convicted set within the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Now Paula and her colleagues must find them before they turn into victims themselves but she is distracted with her complicated personal life and, without giving away too much, with the impending birth of her baby.

This case is not clear cut with the boundaries of what is right being blurred which make for a very compelling read. The core of the book is the internal struggle of Paula wrestling with the moral dilemma of trying to find the killer of murderers which is both captivating and emotional with you questioning whose side are we on – the killer or the victims?

This book directly follows on from the other two in the series which I would highly recommend reading first as they weave the backstory of Paula’s childhood and sets up the on-going storyline line and unanswered question of her mother.

This is a must read which is full of fantastic dialogue, lively characters and tightly weaved plot – I can’t wait to read the next one!

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Claire McGowan follow her on Twitter @inkstainsclaire or visit her website here

A Savage Hunter, the fourth book in the Paula Maguire series is out now – click here to buy on Amazon.



Killer Review: The Dead Ground by Claire McGowan

The Dead Ground by Claire McGowan

First Line: ‘It starts with the smallest thing: the beat of your heart. When everything around you is horror, you focus on that.’

What the blurb says: Stolen. Missing. Dead…

Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire, already wrestling with the hardest decision of her life, is forced to put her own problems on hold when she’s asked to help find a baby taken from a local hospital.

Then the brutal, ritualistic murder of a woman found lying on a remote stone circle indicates a connection to the kidnapping and Paula knows that they will have to move fast if they are to find the person responsible.

When another child is taken and a pregnant woman goes missing, Paula finds herself caught up in a deadly hunt for a killer determined to leave no trace, and discovers every decision she makes really is a matter of life and death…

The Dead Ground is the second novel in the Paula Maguire Series which doesn’t disappoint. Forensic Psychologist Paula is back in her hometown of Barryterrin, Ireland, to help find a missing baby who has been snatched from a local hospital. When a woman is killed, another child is taken and a pregnant woman goes missing, Paula realises this is no ordinary killer and must rely on her instincts to solve the case. But when the killer seems to be one step ahead of Paula every time and she herself is struggling to make a decision that which will change her life – can she really find the missing in time?

The novel is told from the point of view of Paula a strong, independent woman who questions everything and doesn’t stick to the rules. The characterisation in this novel is very strong with many of the characters recurring from the previous book. There is a lot of tension between the characters who are all deliciously flawed in their own way which made it very easy to get sucked into to the story.

The setting really comes to life for me in this novel with the differing landscapes in winter and the backdrop of the ‘troubles’ in Ireland which sets the picture but doesn’t overpower the plot. There is also a lot of raw emotion within the story which made it a great read. Some of the storylines which start in the first book of the series, The Lost, carry over into this book so if you haven’t already I would recommend reading it beforehand. This novel is packed full of pace and suspense with many twist and turns which hooked me from the very beginning – I cannot wait to read the next instalment in the series.

A very gripping and thrilling plot with a captivating cast of characters that will keep you guessing who the real culprit is.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Claire McGowan follow her on Twitter @inkstainsclaire or visit her website here

Night of Crime Book Event

Last Thursday I headed over to Waterstones Piccadilly to attend a book launch event for A.K.Benedict’s Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts, Sarah Pinsborough’s 13 Minutes and Steve Cavanagh’s The Defence, where all the authors were interviewed by W!zard Radio.

Being the book geek that I am, I managed to nab a seat right at the front giving me a great view of the event which turned out to be a funny, and engaging interview in which all of the authors poked fun and bounced off each other, giving the audience an insight into the joys of being a published author.


During the interview there was a lot of discussion about the themes in the author’s novels, how they came up with the idea and some background about themselves.

A.K. Benedict’s theme in her novel is about the filters we put up in front of us and how these alter the perceptions we have of the world. What if we put a different filter up? What would happen to our perceptions then? She then went on to talk about the supernatural elements to her novel and how she still wanted plausibility for the reader which then led to discussing her neurological condition – Synaesthesia. This is the stimulation of one sense for example smell, which leads to an automatic, involuntary experience in a second sense for example sound. This is one of the reasons why she was able to connect and write one of her main character’s, Maria who chooses not to see by wearing a blindfold.

Sarah’s books are about the face we present to the world, in particular teenagers who have to present a mirror image of themselves in order to fit in socially. Her novel raises questions about how can we trust? and who can we trust? This is the backdrop to her 20th novel – 13 minutes. She went on to explain that she used to be a teacher and drew on this experience teaching teenagers in a ‘rough school’ to write her novel. Sarah also went on to say that even though she is classed as a ‘YA author’ she writes the same as if it was for teenagers and adults and her novel can easily be read by both age groups.

Steve’s book is a legal thriller about a con man turned lawyer who must defend the head of the Russian Mafia and ensure he walks free in order to save his ten-year old daughter. Will he manage to pull it off? When asked about where he got the idea for the story Steve said he is a lawyer himself and spent most of his career ‘conning them [the victims/perpetrators] into telling the truth in court. I got the idea from that.’ He also said The Defence is the first book in a series – so there’s more to come from the fast-moving Eddie Flynn.

They all gave some great recommendations of crime books they love including; Joe Hill’s The Fireman which is out later this year, any and all of John Grisham’s novels, Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill and Rawblood by Catriona Ward.


The Books:  The Defence, 13 Minutes and Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts

All of these fab books are out now and available to purchase. I have added the links below with each blurb.

What the blurb says on each book:

Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts by A.K.Benedict: 

Maria King knows a secret London. Born blind, she knows the city by sound and touch and smell. But surgery has restored her sight – only for her to find she doesn’t want it.

Jonathan Dark sees the shadowy side of the city. A DI with the Metropolitan Police, he is haunted by his failure to save a woman from the hands of a stalker. Now it seems the killer has set his sights on Maria, and is leaving her messages in the most gruesome of ways.

Tracing the source of these messages leads Maria and Jonathan to a London they never knew. Finding the truth will mean seeing a side to the city where life and death is a game played by the powerful, where everyone is lost but nothing is missing, and where all the answers are hiding, if only they listen to the whispers on the streets.

Waterstones book link

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinsborough: 

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

Waterstones book link

The Defence by Steve Cavanagh:

Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different.
It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter, Amy. Eddie only has forty-eight hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if he wants to save his daughter.

Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his raz
It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter, Amy. Eddie only has forty-eight hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if he wants to save his daughter.or-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible?

Waterstones book link


Chiller Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

You by Caroline Kepnes

First Line: ‘You walk into the bookstore and keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn’t slam. You smile, embarrassed to be a nice girl.’

What the blurb says: When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the bookstore where Joe works he is instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: tough, razor-smart and sexier than his wildest dreams. He’d kill to have her.

Soon Beck can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. When a string of macabre incidents tears her world apart there is only one person she can turn to. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realises and much more to Beck than her perfect facade. The obsessive relationship quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences…

This debut novel by Caroline Kepnes is a perfectly chilling read which centres on the character of Joe Goldberg, a sociopath who becomes obsessed with Beck, a beautiful aspiring writer whose life is lived through social media. This novel is told from the second person narrative in the point of view of Joe as he does anything and everything he can to be Beck’s perfect man.

The unreliable narrator of Joe has a very strong narrative voice which carries the story. The novel did have a few unlikeable characters but I think this is what made me as a reader sympathise with Joe. The author uses original techniques to tell the story through the second person point of view and incorporates a number of Tweets giving this novel a very contemporary feel to it. This is a book which some people may dislike due to the many contemporary references which some readers may not be familiar with, fortunately I like the TV show Girls and found this very refreshing.

The story hooked me in straight away with Joe’s wit and observations of life builds great characterisation throughout which made me root for him by the end. This novel is pack full of pace and suspense which really encompasses the genre.

A very exciting but creepy psychological thriller that will keep you awake until the very end.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Caroline Kepnes follow her on Twitter @CarolineKepnes

Hidden Bodies, the next book in the Joe Goldberg series is available to buy now.

Killer Review: Nightblind by Ragnar Jónasson

First Line: ‘Unsettling. Yes, that’s the word. There was something unsettling about that ancient, broken-down house.’

What the blurb says: 

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel.
Ari Thór Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him.
The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman – shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all.

This is a brilliant novel in the Dark Iceland series which sees the return of Ari Thor, a local policeman, in the small town of Siglufjörður, with his girlfriend and ten-month old son which is set five years after Snowblind – the first book in the series.

When the new inspector, Herjólfur, is killed – the first time a policeman has ever been murdered in Iceland, Ari Thor is faced with the impossible task of finding out what really happened. But as Ari Thor delves deeper into the investigation he is drawn into local politics and long buried family secrets where nothing is as it seems as he struggles to keep his own personal life at bay long enough to uncover the killer.

It was so easy to be sucked into this novel; with the brooding character of Ari Thor fraught with insecurities about his own abilities as a policeman, the dark and surprising twists in the investigation and set within the stunning but creepy atmosphere of Iceland makes for a very exciting read.

This is a classic murder mystery infused with dark undertones which really brings the beautiful and eerie setting of Iceland to life.

I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series out, Blackout, which is out later this year.

With thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my copy of Nightblind.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Ragnar Jónasson follow him on Twitter @ragnarjo or visit his website here