The Lobster Boy and the Fat Lady’s Daughter by Charles Kriel

First off, Happy Publication day to Charles Kriel and all at Fahrenheit Press! 🙂

Massive thanks to the author and to Chris McVeigh for my copy of The Lobster Boy and The Fat Lady’s Daughter.

About the book:

Mel Barry is a detective like no other and when her step-father, Charlie ‘Lobster Boy’ Koontz is arrested and framed for murder, Mel is his only hope.

Surrounded by freaks of the modern circus, Mel pursues a heartless killer through the darkest heart of the gothic South, only to discover the mysteries of her own shadowy past revealed in blood.
Set on the carnival lot of a South Georgia tobacco town, The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter is a wild Lynch-ian ride through a world that few ‘normal’ people have ever experienced.

My Thoughts:

The Lobster Boy and The Fat Lady’s Daughter is unlike any crime book that I have ever encountered! Pretty sure my Goodreads updates made for  interesting reading for the author! 🙂 I read this book in one evening sitting. I could not put it down once I started reading it!

Charles Kriel has one hell of a writing style. It’s different to any author I’ve read, and completely unique. The carnival setting and its larger than life inhabitants make for an extremely colourful set of characters.

Mel Barry and Charlie Koontz are the two main characters, the former being The Fat Lady’s Daughter, and the latter, Lobster Boy due to both arm and leg deformities. Mel is a fantastic character. Strong, fiery and doesn’t take s*** from anyone.

AWOL from the Military, she’s constantly on her guard. So when she gets a call from Charlie, her step father, she knows he needs her help. Charlie is being framed for murder in a small town that has more wrong with it than I care to mention. Bribery, murder, extortion, trafficking, you name it, it’s probably there!!! He’s by no means innocent in certain aspects, but he’s not a murderer.

Kriel’s knowledge and carnival background are most evident in the descriptions of the fairground and its multitude of attractions. That’s when his writing flourishes, he has a great talent for picture perfect descriptions. More than once I could imagine the scenes I was reading in my mind.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was a pleasure to read. I can’t wait to see what happens next as I’m sure I read an interview with Charles Kriel today and there was a mention of a second book!

Initially I had rated The Lobster Boy and The Fat Lady’s Daughter 4⭐️ on Goodreads, but on reflection, it’s truly deserving of a 5⭐️ rating so a MASSIVE 5 ⭐️ from me!!! 🙂 

You can buy your copy of The Lobster Boy and The Fat Lady’s Daughter here-> The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter (Mel Barry Investigates Book 1)

I can’t complete this review without telling you all about how this book was marketed. Just in case you missed it! Fahrenheit Press tweeted about their second book going onto Amazon (in a world first) with no author, no cover and no description!!! *hello piqued interest!!!* Naturally I had to preorder it as its like a blind date with a book! 😉 I’m lucky enough to be included in the list of supporters of the book in the book itself too! 😊 I thought it was just the coolest, most exciting way to market their book! Extremely innovative! So massive applause all round for Fahrenheit Press!!! 


Happy reading! 😊📖

 

 

Written In The Scars by Mel Sherratt

It’s finally here! HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY MEL SHERRATT!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

 
Today, October 30th, sees the publication day for Mel’s fourth book in The Estate Series, Written In The Scars (isn’t that cover beautiful?!). I’m lucky enough to have received a review copy from Mel (thanks again 😉 ) along with getting to be a part of today’s publication day blogsplash. In addition, I get to share the opening scene from the book, which you can find HERE.

About the book:

Published by: Blood Red Books

Release date: 30th October 2015

Scars. Sometimes they’re visible. Sometimes they’re hidden deep within.

After year of living as a single parent, all Donna Adams longs for is someone to make her smile, to share hopes and dreams with, to keep her warm at night. But when that certain someone gives her the attention she craves, true love doesn’t always follow the right path.

Home from the army, Lewis is a changed man. Angry and consumed with grief, troubled by nightmares and flashbacks, his mind is worse now than ever. Shutting out what he’s seen isn’t easy, but he risks losing everything he’s come back to if he doesn’t, including his sanity.

Megan Cooper hides her scars for fear of being rejected.

Mary Marshall can’t always remember how she got hers.

If the past could be erased to make a better future, we’d all want that, wouldn’t we? But life is never easy for the residents on the Mitchell Estate…

About the author: (via Goodreads from Mel)

I write police procedurals, psychological suspense and women’s fiction with a punch – or grit-lit, as I call it. Shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in Library Award 2014, my inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes.

TAUNTING THE DEAD is part police procedural/part psychological thriller. It has been a standalone for two years but I have now written two more books with Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton as a main character and created a new series.

THE ESTATE SERIES are a mix of women’s fiction, psychological suspense and crime thriller. They are often too dark for women’s fiction alone – although the subject matters and issues are often referred to in this genre – too light in places for crime thrillers, and often not enough for the psychological suspense readers out there. They are drama meets crime.
WATCHING OVER YOU is a standalone psychological thriller. It’s dark in places, light in places, disturbing in places too – where obsession and friendship turns to murder.
I live in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with my husband and terrier, Dexter (named after the TV serial killer) and makes liberal use of my hometown as a backdrop for some of my books. You can find out more at my website http://www.melsherratt.co.uk or I’m on Twitter at @writermels

My thoughts:

I’d better start by saying this is the first book I’ve read by Mel. I’ve read and loved Stirred With Love which she writes under the pseudonym Marcie Steele. I have the first three Estate Series on my kindle TBR for quite some time but anyone that follows me on Facebook or Twitter knows I have a TBR mountain!!! 🙂

Thankfully, Mel assured me that Written In The Scars could be read as a standalone. Once I heard that then I was super excited to get stuck in!

I read Written In The Scars in two sittings. Once I started reading, I was completely engrossed in everyone’s stories. The way the characters are written makes you feel like you’ve known them for years. Their day to day routines, their chats and their individual struggles all felt so familiar that it was like catching up with old friends. My own personal favourite was Megan. She’s a really likeable character.

I really liked the theme of scars that runs through the book. Everyone has scars, even you and me. Be it physical, emotional, mental, they’re there whether you can see them or not. This commonality makes it easy to relate to each characters struggles in Written In the Scars.

Having not read any previous books by Mel, I didn’t know what to expect with her writing and plot direction. Sufficed to say, just over halfway, there’s an exceptional plot twist that I wasn’t expecting at all!!! This took one of the characters in a completely different direction to where I thought they would go initially. I found myself reading faster just to see how everyone would fare out.

Usually I only read crime thrillers with added gore factor so I tend not to get too emotional with the books as they are usually way out of the realm of possibility. With Written In the Scars it was different. This is a story about regular people, with every day problems, some of which I’m sure people deal with on an ongoing basis. This book made me feel many emotions, sadness, anger, and hopefulness amongst others. It’s not often I read a book that actually makes me feel something, and for that I’d like to thank Mel. 🙂

I genuinely loved this book. I thought it was well written, with a beautifully crafted theme running through it. I will most definitely be reading the first three books in the Estate Series ASAP!!!

Many thanks again to Mel for the ARC and for letting me participate in the blogsplash! 🙂

I gave Written In The Scars 5⭐️ on Goodreads. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

You can buy a copy of Written In The Scars by clicking this link here->
Written in the Scars (The Estate Series Book 4)

Happy Reading! 😊📖

Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell ***BLOG TOUR***

Hi everyone!

I’m thrilled to be the first stop on the blog tour for the new Patricia Cornwell book, Depraved Heart. This is the 23rd (can you believe that?!) instalment of the Scarpetta series. I’ve been a fan of Cornwell’s books for as long as I can remember, and I’ve read all of this series. Needless to say, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in the blog tour. My thanks to Hayley Camis and Harper Collins for my review copy of Depraved Heart.

List of bloggers taking part and where to find them:


 

About the author:

Patricia Cornwell has sold over 100 million books and had 29 New York Times bestsellers, including Dust, The Bone Bed, Red Mist and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper- Case Closed. Postmortem is the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year and Cruel and Unusual won Britain’s prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel. Fox 2000 have bought the rights to Kay Scarpetta to be developed for the big screen. When not writing from her Boston home, she is tirelessly researching cutting edge forensics to include in her work. Currently researching drone technology as well as continuing her work in ballistics, explosives and firearms, Cornwell has also been learning about advanced trauma for the emergency responder through simulation technology, working with the Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T) department, training on the VirFa Firearms Training Simulators as well as Scuba Diving in Bermuda.

 

Photo Credit: Patrick Ecclesine 2015 ©


About the book:
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a suspicious death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link lands in her text messages and seems to be from her computer genius niece Lucy. But how can it be? It’s clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago.

As Scarpetta watches she begins to learn frightening secrets about her niece, whom she has loved and raised like a daughter. That film clip and then others sent soon after raise dangerous legal implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, worried, and not knowing where to turn. She doesn’t know whom she can tell – not her FBI husband Benton Wesley or her investigative partner Pete Marino. Not even Lucy.

My thoughts:

Following on from Flesh and Blood, Depraved Heart picks up two months after the events involving the Copperhead Killer. Dr. Kay Scarpetta is called to a suspicious death in Cambridge. A film mogul’s daughter is found dead in her home and Scarpetta and Marino attend the scene.

Within minutes of beginning her exam, Scarpetta receives a message on her phone from her niece Lucy’s ICE with a video link. The accompanying footage makes her question those around her and who to trust.

Simultaneously, Lucy’s home is being raided by the FBI. With worry setting in, Scarpetta rushes through her examination of the scene in order to go over to Lucy’s house, not knowing about the raid.

This book essentially takes place over the course of one day. It is full of forensic detail, the kind you usually expect from Cornwell. At times, it’s difficult to take in all that gets written, but it’s good to know the reasoning behind the forensic processes.

I really enjoyed Depraved Heart. More so than Flesh and Blood. It’s full of psychological warfare as the characters don’t know who to trust, and an old nemesis resurfaces, testing everyone. There are some unexpected twists and turns along the way which make for interesting asides.

My only issue with Depraved Heart was that once you get to the climax of the story, it ends very quickly. I would have liked a little more explanation of certain events, but that’s personal preference.

I gave Depraved Heart 4⭐️ on Goodreads. It was a highly enjoyable story and I’m very grateful to Harper Collins for my copy!

Happy Reading 😊📖

***Blog Tour*** The Ripper Gene by Michael Ransom

Today is my stop on The Ripper Gene blog tour! I’m so excited to be a part of this as I really enjoyed this book!

About the Author:

MICHAEL RANSOM is a molecular pharmacologist and a recognized expert in the fields of toxicogenomics and pharmacogenetics. He is widely published in scientific journals and has edited multiple textbooks in biomedical research. He is currently a pharmaceutical executive and an adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Raised in rural Mississippi, he now makes his home in northern New Jersey. The Ripper Gene is his first novel.

Many thanks to Sarah at Smith Publicity and the author for my copy of The Ripper Gene in exchange for an honest review.

About the book:

Does your DNA influence your ability to choose between good and evil? 

The tenuous link between complex genetics and violent, antisocial behavior is the controversial scientific premise explored in Michael Ransom’s debut novel The Ripper Gene.

In The Ripper Gene, Ransom takes readers into a serial killer investigation led by main character Dr. Lucas Madden, a neuroscientist-turned-FBI profiler who lost his own mother in a brutal, unsolved cold case from his childhood. As a young graduate student, Madden analyzed DNA samples from some of the most notorious serial killers in history, and unearthed a gene linked to abnormal brain function in psychopaths… which he named the RIPPER gene. Later, after becoming an FBI profiler, Madden makes even more headlines by developing a controversial genetic test that can predict a serial killer’s behavior using DNA alone.
Madden’s latest case — taking him deep into the bayous of the Mississippi gulf coast and the parishes surrounding the FBI field office in New Orleans — hits too close to home, when his ex-fiancé disappears and young women victims clutching razor-laden apples begin turning up in the same county in which his mother was murdered, in an apple orchard on Halloween night many years ago. A ruthless new murderer, dubbed the Snow White Killer, is terrorizing young women in the area, and Madden finds himself in a race against the clock to protect the people he loves the most and end this reign of terror.

My thoughts:

I really liked this book! I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading even though I’d read the press release and the synopsis.

Lucas Madden is an FBI profiler who made a name for himself as a neuroscientist isolating the so called Ripper gene in serial killers. Working out of the New Orleans field office, Madden is called to investigate a series of murders in which the female victims are left holding an apple with a razor blade inside.

It seems very coincidental to Madden as his own mother was brutally murdered when he was young and the killer was never found. Dubbed The Snow White Killer (SWK), he killer starts to terrorise those closest to Madden. What ensues, is a high octane chase to find out who the killer is and why he’s targeting Madden.

I loved Lucas. I’ve read so many police/crime novels, and rarely I come upon a main character that I like immediately. Something about him makes you want to get to know him, which you do once the story gets into its stride. He’s paired up with Agent Woodson for the investigation, and she compliments his character perfectly. Together, they make a great team.

The premise for this book, coupled with Michael Ransom’s knowledge and expertise in the area of molecular biology, is extremely interesting. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know if they possess the serial killer Ripper gene!!! I know I would!!

About 3/4 of the way through the book, knowing I was nearing the end, I actually slowed down. I didn’t want the story to end! This rarely happens to me with books. There are so many different plot twists in The Ripper Gene, some of which I guessed, but the other big twists, I got completely wrong! 🙂

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The scientific subject matter, coupled with the dark and twisted storyline make for an engaging, thrilling read! I am so glad I have read this, and to be honest, I would read any book with Lucas Madden in it in the future!

Something I didn’t mention at the beginning of this review, is that The Ripper Gene is a debut novel for Michael Ransom. A FRICKIN DEBUT!!!! To write this well, and to create such an intricately plotted book as a debut is astounding! I for one am hoping to see plenty more from Ransom in the future!

I gave The Ripper Gene 4 ⭐️ on Goodreads, I thoroughly enjoyed it! 🙂

Happy reading! 😊📖


For Reasons Unknown by Michael Wood 

I’ve had this book on my kindle for a few weeks, and I kept trying to get to it to no avail. Until this week. I had pretty much caught up on all my “read to review” books and I had been promising Michael over on Twitter that I would read and review For Reasons Unknown for ages so I started it Friday night!

About the book:

Two murders. Twenty years. Now the killer is back for more…

A darkly compelling debut crime novel. The start of a brilliant series, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, and James Oswald.
DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.
Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda’s case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more…

My thoughts:

Where to start?! First off, I loved this book. I read so many crime books that at times they all run into each other but every so often a book comes along with a story that stands out. For Reasons Unknown did just that.

DCI Darke (what a name by the way!) is back to work after some traumatic events in both her personal and professional life. Clearly not 100%, she is tasked with solving a cold case from twenty years ago. The double murder of Miranda and Stefan Harkness, whose murder was witnessed by their eleven year old son and in turn, rendered him mute.

Simultaneously, acting DCI Hales is investigating a murder in the city. Both past and present cases end up related so it becomes a race against time as it appears that the murderer may not be finished. While I saw this coming, I still enjoyed the way it was going.

I really enjoyed the pace of this story, and I found myself reading at every opportunity (including in the car even though it makes me sick!!! I had 6% left to read!! 😄) as I was enjoying it so much. Hence I had it finished fairly quickly!

As I was nearing the end, I think from about 70% on, my brain starting working everything out! Having said that, I think the author has created an intricate web in a larger story which really comes into its own in the last few chapters. That’s where things really get going, in my opinion.

Now that I’m finished, I feel like I have a book hangover. I don’t get that very often! 🙂

I have recommended this book to people already, and I will recommend it again as I genuinely loved it! Usually on Twitter, so I’m sorry Michael for all the @@@!! 🙂 (@Bibliophilebc if you fancy following)

I gave For Reasons Unknown 5 ⭐️ on Goodreads (a rarity but it does happen! 😉).

Happy reading! 😊📖

White Is The Coldest Colour by John Nicholl


My thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


About the book:
Be careful who you trust…

The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage.
Fifty-eight year old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic predatory paedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters.

Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession, and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.


About the author:
John Nicholl wrote a multi agency child protection good practice manual and articles for news papers and a national social work magazine during his career, but White is the coldest colour is his first novel.

He has worked as a police officer, and as a social worker and operational manager for the child guidance service, two social services departments, and the NSPCC. He has also lectured on child protection matters at several colleges and universities.

My review:

I had seen White Is The Coldest Colour on Relax And Read Reviews and also on Bytheletterbookreviews Goodreads page so I was aware of it before I got the email from John.

I have to say, child abuse is a subject that I find hard to read so I was a little apprehensive before I started reading. However, once I got into the book, it was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting.

White Is The Coldest Colour is a skilfully written book, full of detail that shows the authors knowledge of child protection. It’s portrayal of Dr. Galbraith is chilling, as we see into the mind of a sadistic abuser and the lengths which he will go to in order to control everything and everyone he encounters.

I found myself rooting for the Mailer family from the beginning. Going through a separation, they seek help from Dr. Galbraith as their youngest son Anthony is having behavioural problems in the wake of his parents splitting up. I wanted to scream at the mum, Molly, when she says yes to seeing Dr Galbraith!!!!!

The ensuing events in the book kept me awake later than normal in order to read as much as I could! More than once I wanted to shake the police officers as they just weren’t seeing things!!! As for Galbraith’s family, they were so far gone under his rule that they couldn’t see what was happening around them!

I always think a book that makes you get cross at characters, frustrated at lack of speed in doing investigations and generally wanting to fling (in this case) my kindle across the room, is definitely a book worth reading. If I were to find any fault with this book, and there isn’t many at all, my personal opinion is that the ending left me wanting more!!!!! Which isn’t necessarily a fault either! Sign of a good writer! 😉
I gave White Is The Coldest Colour 4 ⭐️ on Goodreads, I would highly recommend reading it!
Happy reading! 😊📖

Dead Money Run by J. Frank James

My thanks to Kelsey at Book Publicity Services and J. Frank James for my copy of Dead Money Run in exchange for an honest review.

Book synopsis:
Lou Malloy learns of his sister’s death right before he is released from prison, having served 15 years for the theft of $15 million from an Indian casino. He wants two things: to keep the $15 million, which no one has been able to find, and to track down and punish whoever killed his sister.  

 

Lou Malloy teams up with Hilary Kelly, a private investigator. In no time, Lou has found the hidden $15 million, recovered guns and ammunition hidden with the money, and murdered two low-level mobsters and fed them to the crocodiles. 


As the body count rises, the story grows more complex and his sister’s death becomes more mysterious.


I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. I don’t know what I was expecting but Dead Money Run is definitely a good read!

Lou Malloy is serving 15 years in prison for his part in a casino robbery that left him $15 million dollars richer. Just before his release, he learns of his sisters murder so he leaves prison on a mission. Get the money and find out who killed his sister.

The book reads like an action movie. From once Lou walks out of prison, right to the end, the pace is kept up! Teaming up with Hilary Kelly is one of the better decisions Lou makes. Kelly is a strong character and she manages to soften Lou’s edges at times.

Dead Money Run is a fast paced crime caper! The amount of bodies piling up in the wake of Lou’s release is staggering, but it’s all in his quest to bring his sisters killer/killers to justice.

I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. The chapters are short so you fly through it! If you like action movies, your main character to be full of brawn and wild goose chases then this is the book for you!

I gave Dead Money Run 3 ⭐️ on Goodreads!

My thanks again to the author and Book Publicity Services for my copy!

Happy reading 😊📖