Blog Tour- For Reasons Unknown by Michael Wood

Super excited to be the first stop on the blog tour for Michael’s For Reasons Unknown. Blogsquad may or may not have pressured him into it, but only because we loved the book and wanted to share it far and wide! 🙂 Here’s the blog tour schedule!

 

I’m lucky enough to get to post my review AND give you an excerpt from For Reasons Unknown too.

 
About the author:

 
Michael Wood is a freelance journalist and proofreader living in Sheffield. As a journalist he has covered many crime stories throughout Sheffield, gaining first-hand knowledge of police procedure. He also reviews books for CrimeSquad, a website dedicated to crime fiction.

 
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! 😉).

BUY YOUR COPY HERE!

Happy reading! 😊📖

Excerpt from For Reasons Unknown:


                                                       Prologue 

It could have been any sitting room in any house throughout the country but it wasn’t. It was a room in the middle of South Yorkshire Police HQ, designed to give a relaxed, homely atmosphere. From the outside, it looked friendly and inviting, but if walls could talk they would tell a different story. Here, parentless children were comforted; victims of rape and sexual abuse were given tea and sympathy; and elderly victims of brutal crimes were consoled by fresh-faced WPCs with soothing tones and a never-ending supply of tissues.

Sitting on the floor was a blond, blue-eyed eleven-year-old boy dressed in a grey tracksuit that didn’t belong to him. He was surrounded by blank sheets of paper and an array of wax crayons, coloured pencils, and felt-tip pens. Squatting next to him was a young PC, who, against orders from his superiors, had not changed out of uniform. The door opened and in walked Dr Sally McCartney. Unlike the PC, she had softened her appearance. Gone were the severe ponytail and conservative jacket. She had removed her glasses and suffered the anxiety of touching her eyes to put in contact lenses. She shot the PC a look of indignation. He could have at least taken off his uniform jacket. ‘Hello Jonathan,’ she said. The young boy didn’t look up from his drawings. ‘My name is Sally. I’ve come to have a chat with you if that’s all right?’ He continued to scribble on the paper. Sally McCartney knelt down to his level and looked over his shoulder. He had drawn a house and was colouring in a large tree next to it. ‘Is this your house?’ Jonathan nodded. ‘It’s very nice. That’s a lovely tree too. Do you climb it?’ No reply. ‘Which room is yours?’ He pointed to the top right window with the blue curtains, then went back to colouring in the tree. ‘Is the room next to yours your brother’s?’ He nodded again.

‘Jonathan, we’ve been looking for your brother but we can’t seem to find him. Do you know where he might be?’ Jonathan stopped drawing and looked up as if in thought. He looked across to Dr McCartney and fixed her with an expressionless stare, then returned his attention back to his drawing. ‘Jonathan, we need to find your brother. It’s very important. Do you know any of his friends?’ The door opened and Detective Sergeant Pat Campbell popped her head into the room. She looked haggard, having been on duty for more than twenty hours. She signalled for Dr McCartney to join her in the corridor. ‘Why didn’t that PC change out of his bloody uniform as I told him to?’ she asked before the DS could speak. ‘I don’t know. He should have done.’

The DS sighed and looked to the ceiling. ‘Has the boy said anything?’ ‘Not yet.’ ‘It is paramount we find his brother.’ ‘I heard that his mother was still alive. How is she?’ ‘I don’t know where you heard that from. Both parents were pronounced dead at the scene. They were hacked to death.’ ‘Jesus. Well he doesn’t need to know any of that. Not now at any rate.’ ‘We’ve managed to locate a relative in Newcastle. She’s coming straight down, but it’ll be a few hours before she gets here. Look, whatever happened in that house, he saw it, or at least heard it, and I need to know.’ ‘I’m aware of that.’ Pat Campbell looked over the doctor’s shoulder, through the narrow glass window in the door, and into the room at the young boy drawing as if nothing extraordinary had happened.

‘How does he seem?’ ‘He’s in a complete shutdown, which isn’t uncommon. When it comes to anything traumatic sometimes our brain takes time to come to terms with it and until it does, it shuts down. It’s a self-preservation thing.’ ‘So he’ll soon come out of… whatever this is, and be able to tell us what happened?’ ‘In theory, yes.’ ‘Why only in theory?’ ‘Depending on what he saw his brain may not want him to remember.’ ‘Bloody hell,’ Campbell said, leaning back against the wall for support. ‘What’s with the drawings?’ ‘It’s a way of helping young children come to terms with what they’ve witnessed. Whatever they draw is usually an indication of what’s going on in their heads. Hopefully it will help to understand what went on in that house, and then we can take our therapy from there.’ ‘And what’s he drawn so far?’ ‘He’s drawn his house with a tree next to it.’ ‘Does that tell you anything significant?’

‘Not yet,’ she half smiled. ‘It’s early days. He’s clearly looking at what happened from the outside. If his next drawing is also a house, I’ll ask him about the inside and see what he draws when I talk about the rooms in the house.’ Pat shook her head. ‘My God, the mind is a powerful thing isn’t it? I don’t envy your job.’ There was nothing the doctor could say to that. There were times she didn’t envy her job either. ‘Is there any chance of getting him in some of his own clothes? That sodding tracksuit stinks.’ ‘I’ll get something brought over from the house.’ ‘And how about a glass of milk and some chocolate?’ ‘Whatever you want.’ ‘Thank you.’ She turned and went back into the room. Jonathan had drawn two adults, a child, and was currently on a second child: his family. Dr McCartney bent down next to him and watched him draw in the details: the hair, the clothes, the eyes, the smiles. He then picked up a red felt-tip and with a forceful action that caused the doctor and PC to jump, he scribbled all over the picture. He didn’t stop until his mother, father, and brother were completely covered in blood.

————————

Now! If that opener doesn’t make you want to read For Reasons Unknown then I don’t know what will! Definitely one of my books of the year! 🙂

Thanks to Michael for letting me be a part of the blog tour (like I was giving him a choice 😂) and for being the first stop on what will no doubt be a fun blog tour! 😊

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! 😊📖