The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy!

About the book:

YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. 
YOU CAN PRESERVE A HANDFUL OF SPECIAL MEMORIES FOR EVER. 
WHICH ONES WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

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True death is a thing of the past. Now you can spend the rest of eternity re-living your happiest memories: that first kiss, falling in love, the birth of your children, enjoyed on loop for ever and ever.

Isobel is a Heaven Architect, and she helps dying people create afterlives from these memories. So when she falls for Jarek, one of her terminal – and married – clients, she knows that while she cannot save him, she can create the most beautiful of heavens, just for him.

But when Jarek’s wife is found dead, Isobel uncovers a darker side of the world she works within, and she can trust no one with what she finds…

Published by Quercus in February, you can pre-order your copy by clicking the link below:

The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave

My thoughts:

Imagine you could employ someone to build you a Heaven. A place designed completely from your memories and thoughts. Would you do it? In The Memory Chamber, that’s what Holly Cave is selling. The happiest of memories to tide you over in Heaven, that you can re-live forever. It’s definitely an intriguing concept.

In The Memory Chamber, we meet Heaven Architect Isobel. Its her job to create your Heaven. When she meets and subsequently falls for her client, Jarek, that’s where the problems arise. Initially, she wants to create the best Heaven for him, but when his wife is found dead, it opens up a can of worms both professionally and personally for Isobel.

What follows is quite a dark journey through a world that we know, but we don’t know. There is much more to being a Heaven Architect than we are initially told, and from there the story goes in quite an unusual direction.

The Memory Chamber has a very unique and original concept at its core. I love the idea that you could create this for yourself for when you die, but alas, it’s not real! The characters are interesting, and the story is nicely paced. A few twists and turns to be found, but the USP for this is definitely the concept.

I really enjoyed this one. I flew through it in a day because I needed to know what happened! It is definitely an intriguing read!

Recommended for sure!

James Patterson Book Shots Reviews

Late last year, I found myself having trouble with books that weren’t working for me, so I was in need of short sharp reads. In James Patterson’s Book Shots, I found exactly what I needed. Whole stories in 120 pages or less, plus they helped to bring up my Goodreads challenge a little bit 🙂

I’ve read a few of JP’s books before and they are generally easy reads. Pacy and action-packed, and the same can be said for the Book Shots! Here’s the synopsis for each of the ones I read, and a brief review:

  • The Shut In:

I know you’re watching me. 
Confined to a studio apartment, Tricia Celano watches the outside world through a flying drone. But when her high-tech toy records a vicious murder, she’s determined to track down the killer–a killer who knows she’s being watched. 

I found this one to be a bit slow to start, if that is even possible in such a short book, but once it did it was good fun. The drone aspect was a new one, and shows the need to stay up to date with technological advances. Interesting murder method, shady characters and an open ending left me wanting just a little more with The Shut In.

  • Private: Gold:

Money. Betrayal. Murder.

That’s a Private conversation.

Hired to protect a visiting American woman, Private Johannesburg’s Joey Montague is hoping for a routine job looking after a nervous tourist. After the apparent suicide of his business partner, he can’t handle much more. But this case is not what it seems–and neither is his partner’s death.

I’ve not read any of the Private series, so I couldn’t tell you if there is a link to them with this book. However, its another good one. Set in South Africa, the location was a welcome change from the US-based ones. I liked the idea with Private: Gold, and I would definitely add the series to my list after reading this one!

  • Come and Get Us:

What is her husband’s secret? Miranda Cooper’s life takes a terrifying turn when an SUV deliberately runs her and her husband off a desolate Arizona road. With her husband badly wounded, she must run for help alone as his cryptic parting words echo in her head: “Be careful who you trust.”

It is possible this was my favourite one. A car is rammed ff the road and it becomes a race for survival as an unseen force tries to stop Miranda at every turn. There is more to this than meets the eye, and I was intrigued to see how it would play out. The wilderness, tension and characters made this one really good. I read the whole thing really quickly just to see where JP was going. Definitely the best of the Book Shots I’ve read.

  • The Heist:

Three thieves have planned the perfect diamond heist. They’ve monitored the Hatton Garden jeweller for months and are ready to make the hit. But they were not expecting a rival crew to show up at exactly the same time.

After a bloody fight, the three thieves come away with the diamonds and set off to meet their buyer in Amsterdam. But now it’s not only the police who are chasing them, and not only the diamonds that are at stake.

Less inclined to say I love this one. It was good. It all seemed much more rushed than the others though, which made the story feel a bit mashed together if that makes sense?! As a full length novel though, this would have great potential to expand characters and the plot. Enjoyable nonetheless!

  • Kidnapped:

PLEASE HELP BEFORE HE KILLS ME.

Travelling home for the festive season, Jon Roscoe receives a desperate cry for help.

This year, Christmas with his family isn’t quite as he had planned…

I really like Jon Roscoe, the lead in a few of these. I would happily read about him all day long. This was a twisty one, with some hateful characters. I liked how the story played out too. Less action than other Jon Roscoe books, but good all the same!

  • The Verdict:

A woman violently attacked in her bed.

A billionaire businessman on trial at The Old Bailey.

As the world’s press gather outside London’s luxurious Tribeca hotel, can Jon Roscoe protect his own family from the terrifying consequences of the verdict?

Really enjoyed this one too. As I said, Roscoe is a good character. Engaging, honest and reminiscent of an action movie hero, its hard not to enjoy reading about his escapades in these books. And that poor Tribeca Hotel is giving him serious trouble!

  • Cross Kill:

ALEX CROSS, I’m coming for you – even from the grave if I have to.

Along Came a Spider killer Gary Soneji has been dead for over ten years. Alex Cross watched him die. But today, Cross saw him gun down his partner. Is Soneji alive? A ghost? Or something even more sinister?

Nothing will prepare you for the wicked truth.

I read Along Came A Spider years ago, so this was a welcome return to Alex Cross and Gary Soneji. The idea of this one is really good too. It makes the reader question Soneji’s death, just like Alex. Its very quick, but the pace doesn’t really let up, so it’s very easy to read this one straight through. Made me feel like I need to go and read all of the Alex Cross books!

  • The Hostage:

The grand opening of the world’s most exclusive hotel: forty floors of breathtaking luxury.

VIPs gather in London for the ultimate preview. But one uninvited guest plans to make this a day the city will never forget.

Global Head of Security, Jon Roscoe, confronts a killer with a deadly timetable.

First outing with Jon Roscoe and it is a gory one. I really liked this one, and its what made me read the others with him in it. There is a cinematic quality to these books, and above any I’ve read, this is the one that would make the best movie. It has everything you can think of from an action/thriller, but its condensed and concentrated, so its got a got going on!


So yeah. 7 Book Shots, 7 mini reviews. These are all easy reads. They are short, have plenty of action, and work really well as palate-cleansers in terms of changing speed and style. I would happily read more of them!

Have you read any? Would you read them? Do let me know in the comments 🙂

Artemis by Andy Weir

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About the author:

ANDY WEIR built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time.

He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail.

He lives in California.

 

About the book:

WELCOME TO ARTEMIS. The first city on the moon.
Population 2,000. Mostly tourists.
Some criminals.

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. She lives in a poor area of Artemis and subsidises her work as a porter with smuggling contraband onto the moon. But it’s not enough.

So when she’s offered the chance to make a lot of money she jumps at it. But though planning a crime in 1/6th gravity may be more fun, it’s a lot more dangerous…

Artemis by Andy Weir

My thoughts:

I have yet to read The Martian, but when I got a copy of Artemis I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I was looking for a book that would capture my attention and keep me turning the pages. I found exactly that with Artemis!

Artemis is a city on the moon, and home to the main character, Jazz Bashara. Jazz is the daughter of a master welder, and she herself works as a porter in Artemis. Having lived on the moon since leaving Saudi Arabia at 6 years of age, Jazz knows all there is to know about life in Artemis. But all of that changes when she gets a job offer (read; commit a major crime!) that she can’t refuse!

In agreeing to this job, Jazz finds herself in much deeper than she could ever have imagined. There is a battle for control of Artemis raging, and she has unwittingly placed herself square in the middle of it. What follows can only be described as scientific bedlam.

Weir has created a superb cast of characters, each with their own quirks and idiosyncracies that make them more likeable (or not, depending on who you’re reading about!). Packed to the brim with science-y (Not a word, I know, but you know what I mean!!!) stuff, I found Artemis to be highly engrossing. I wanted to know more about what was going on and the author has a great storytelling ability!

Unexpected, fun and pacy, Artemis had everything I was looking for at the time when I picked it up. Science fiction is still a new genre for me, but I will most definitely be going back to read The Martian after this one!

Highly recommended!

A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis~ Blog Tour

~Hey guys,

Today I’m delighted to be taking part i the blog tour for A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis and I’ll be sharing my review for this crime thriller in just a little bit. First though, here’s all the bookish info!

About the author:

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The first thing I ever wrote that received any notice was a one page story for my third grade English teacher. I don’t recall what the assignment was, but I somehow found myself writing about a woman at a dinner party who suddenly realizes her teeth are invisible. She sits there, wedged between two chattering guests, wondering how she will eat, how she will talk, and generally how she will get out of the situation without having to open her mouth and reveal her dilemma. My teacher showed the story to my parents with a note to this effect: She could be a writer.

What if her note had instead encouraged me to be a dentist?

But it didn’t. And so here I am.

Karen Ellis is a pseudonym of author Katia Lief.  She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and The Authors Guild.  She lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY.

About the book:

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FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost…

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa’s skin. Everything she has buried – her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother’s death – threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself…and return to the darkness she’s been hiding from for years.

A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

My thoughts:

A Map of the Dark is a fiercely compulsive read. I sat down to start it, and before I even realised it, I was over halfway through. I just couldn’t put it down. I’m a huge fan of American-based crime thrillers, especially when they have a great cast of characters and an intriguing plot. That is exactly why I loved this one. It had everything I look for, as well as a few surprises.

Elsa Myers is a FBI agent, tasked with investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl in Queens. Torn between sitting by the bedside of her ailing father and wanting to find the girl, Myers has a struggle on her hands. I really liked Elsa. She is flawed, and nobody loves a dark back story more than me, so when we learn what happened in her past it really changes the way you see her as a character.

I loved the pacing of the story too. It moves really quickly, with little nuggets of information scattered through the narrative that you’d miss if you’re not paying attention. It made me question everyone, and their motives, which always wrecks my head but makes me become invested in the outcome!

A Map of the Dark is a really clever crime thriller. There is much more to it than meets the eye at first glance. Relationships, family secrets and the past are the main players here and each one is woven seamlessly into the plot. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and I will definitely be reading more from this author!

Highly recommended!

 

Check out the blog tour:

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Recent Reads ~ Rapid Reviews

Hi everyone,

So I’m back with another Recent Reads Rapid Reviews post. I’ve been crap at reviewing lately so I’m about twenty-odd reviews behind. It made sense to bring back this feature as it’s the only way I can get some mini-reviews done for what I’ve been reading lately.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll know that my lovely uncle passed away recently after a brief illness, so the blog and reviewing has been the furthest thing from my mind. I’ve been reading as a way to keep my mind off the sadness and grief, so I have quite a few of these to do. Plus some from late last year, so I’ll be posting a few Recent Reads, Rapid Reviews posts in the coming week or two, so bear with me 🙂

Mira

Seven years ago the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a mockumentary, bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend.

It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a tragedy; others have called it a hoax.

Now, a new crew has been assembled to investigate. And they’ll discover that whatever is down there is definitely no joke . . .

I really enjoyed Into The Drowning Deep. Its not something I would have picked up myself (Thanks to Nazia @ Orbit) but it was a fun read. If cannibalistic mermaids is your thing, then you’ll love this one. I found myself glued to this book, possibly in a car-crash sense of the word in that you know no good can come of being deep underwater with these creatures and its only a matter of time before people start disappearing! Escapism abound in this one, it definitely kept me reading!

empress

It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward – one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill.

But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class has held control over planets and systems for centuries and they are not going to give up their power willingly, especially not to a teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who they consider nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.

Nemesis knows she will protect Tyrus at any cost; he is the love of her life and they are partners in this new beginning. But she also knows she can’t protect him by being the killing machine she once was. Instead she will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire – or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne… they might lose their lives.

*Read The Diabolic before you read The Empress!

This is a great follow up to the events of The Diabolic. I had been eager to read this one and I wasn’t disappointed. Full of action, some seriously shady characters, and more twists that I was expecting, it kept me reading compulsively. It is YA, but with the corruption and politics, it could easily be general fantasy. Highly readable, but just make sure you read book 1 first so you’re not lost!

jo spain

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear. It looks like Harry’s many sins – corruption, greed, betrayal – have finally caught up with him.

An hour later the intruder, JP Carney, hands himself in, confessing to the assault. The police have a victim, a suspect in custody and an eye-witness account, but Julie remains troubled.

Has Carney’s surrender really been driven by a guilty conscience or is this confession the first calculated move in a deadly game?

I read The Confession fairly quickly. Its an Irish psychological thriller with a highly divisive set of characters. I found myself compelled to read the book at every opportunity, and its definitely an interesting read. It covers some of the financial history that we have lived through as well which you’ll appreciate (maybe wrong choice of word, but you know what I mean!) if you’re Irish like me!

David Mark

The police think Crystal Heathers isn’t missing.

The trainee detective assigned to the case isn’t so sure.

McAvoy thinks someone was being held at the derelict building where they just found a body pinned to the wall…and that all the signs point to it being a little girl.

But why would anyone not report a kidnapping?

And how far would someone go to get revenge?

The case will test McAvoy to breaking point – as the crimes of the present lead him to a final violent confrontation with an enemy from his own past.

My first meeting with DS McAvoy and it will definitely not be my last. I raced through this one, eager to see what was going to happen and where the author would take us. I wasn’t prepared for just how invested I would get in the characters fates. Excellent plot, great characters, what’s not to love! I will definitely be reading the previous books in the series, as well as recommending David Mark to anyone who will listen!

morrie

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you? Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live.

This was a spur of the moment ‘I want to read a book from my personal TBR’ decision, and Morrie has been on there for long enough. I find it hard to read books that are like this, and I’m pretty sure if I had read it in the past couple of weeks I would have been an emotional wreck, but not this time. Yes its a sad story, knowing the ending is inevitable, but it didn’t really do much for me emotionally. It was a bittersweet book, short but with plenty of little life lessons. It’s only the second Mitch Albom book I’ve read, but if I had to choose, The Five People You Meet in Heaven was more resonant. Still though, I liked reading about Morrie!

 

Ok, I think I’ll stop there, because I still have another 8 books to go and I do’t want to overload the post, haha!

Hopefully there is something in here you might read! 🙂

See you again soon with another Recent Reads Rapid Reviews post!

Happy reading!

I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May~ Ellen’s Review & Giveaway

Hi everyone,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for Peter May’s I’ll Keep You Safe and I’ll be sharing her review a little further down!There’s also a chance to win a copy of I’ll Keep You Safe for yourself.

Giveaway:

To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is retweet the pinned tweet on my Twitter page @BibliophileBC. It’s that simple!

Rules:

  • UK entries only
  • One RT = one entry
  • Winner will be chosen by midnight on January 14th
  • Winner will be notified and details will be passed to the publisher

About the author:

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Peter May is the multi award-winning author of:

– the Lewis Trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland;
– the China Thrillers, featuring Beijing detective Li Yan and American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell;
– the Enzo Files, featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo MacLeod, which is set in France. The sixth and final Enzo book is Cast Iron (January 2017, Riverrun).

He has also written several standalone books:
– I’ll Keep You Safe (January 2018, Riverrun)
– Entry Island (January 2014, Quercus UK)
– Runaway (January 2015, Quercus UK)
– Coffin Road (January 2016, Riverrun)

May had a successful career as a television writer, creator, and producer.

One of Scotland’s most prolific television dramatists, he garnered more than 1000 credits in 15 years as scriptwriter and script editor on prime-time British television drama. He is the creator of three major television drama series and presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland before quitting television to concentrate on his first love, writing novels.

Born and raised in Scotland he lives in France.

His breakthrough as a best-selling author came with The Lewis Trilogy. After being turned down by all the major UK publishers, the first of the The Lewis Trilogy – The Blackhouse – was published in France as L’Ile des Chasseurs d’Oiseaux where it was hailed as “a masterpiece” by the French national newspaper L’Humanité. His novels have a large following in France. The trilogy has won several French literature awards, including one of the world’s largest adjudicated readers awards, the Prix Cezam.

The Blackhouse was published in English by the award-winning Quercus (a relatively young publishing house which did not exist when the book was first presented to British publishers). It went on to become an international best seller, and was shortlisted for both Barry Award and Macavity Award when it was published in the USA.

The Blackhouse won the US Barry Award for Best Mystery Novel at Bouchercon in Albany NY, in 2013.

About the book:

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WHATEVER HAPPENS

Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

I’LL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU

Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.

I’LL KEEP YOU SAFE, NO MATTER WHAT

As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs.

I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May

Ellen’s Review:

I’ll Keep You Safe is an absolutely beautiful and epic story told from various POV’s and between the present day of the incident and the past history of Niamh and Ruairidh’s life/love story and their creation of the Ranish tweed design company. I really liked Niamh and felt for her as everything she thought she knew about her husband was torn apart at the seams. As the story progresses it becomes apparent that they were soulmates yet Ruairidh appears to have thrown this relationship to one side and become the victim of a car bombing  with his mistress as a result.

We follow this investigation from the streets of Paris to the barren beauty of the Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Hebrides. The descriptions of this landscape and its traditions were truly enchanting and really captured my imagination. That Niamh is left alone and heart-broken in this haunting place full of memories really tugged at my heart strings. As more and more was revealed about her past, I wondered how Niamh would ever be able to carry on especially as she is considered as a suspect.

There is a rich cast of characters in this story; a fashion designer with a grudge, Niamh’s family who have never been happy with the couple’s marriage and childhood friends who might hold a clue to who the murderer may be. Two of my favourite characters were Detective Sylvie Braque from Paris and Detective Sergeant George Gunn of the Isle of Lewis. It seems that they are from different planets of policing but they come together to try and solve the case.

I’ll Keep You Safe is more than a thriller; it’s a story of love and loss and of adapting to life altering circumstances. I have learnt about the creation of tweed and island traditions that people hold dear to this day, something I would never expect from a thriller. This is the first book by Peter May that I have read but it definitely won’t be the last!

Check out the blog tour:

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Assassins Vengeance by Rachel Amphlett @EllenDevonport @RachelAmphlett

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About the book:

Spies. The best unreliable narrators that money can buy…

Eva and her fractured team are on the run, desperate to find answers and uncover who has betrayed them from within the shadowy government organisation known only as the Section.

Evading assassination in Berlin and Prague, Eva has had time to regroup and try to solve the mystery behind the attempts on her life.

But her enemies are one step ahead of her, eliminating anything and anyone who stands in their way.

Hell hath no fury like a woman who’s been shot at and survived… twice

About the Author:

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Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag in 2017.

Follow the author:

Email: info@rachelamphlett.com

Skype: rachel.amphlett1

http://www.rachelamphlett.com

Twitter: @RachelAmphlett

Instagram: @RachelAmphlett

Facebook: Rachel Amphlett

Ellen’s Review:

After the bombshell that was dropped at the end of Assassins Hunted I wasn’t prepared for the further truth bombs that are revealed as soon as Assassins Vengeance began! Suddenly Eva, Nathan and Decker are responsible for not only the safety of another child but the protection of the world from a megalomaniac who is hell bent on releasing a bioweapon. Maxim Kowalski is a Russian scientist plotting to release a plague and watch the world’s governments blame each other while millions die in agony.

As well as this they are still unaware who is the leak within the Section and unsure who is friend or foe that they come into contact with. Every step closer to the truth they put themselves further onto the path of danger. I found myself questioning everyone’s motives.

Assassins Vengeance is a taut thriller with heart that had me racing through the pages, we are left under no illusion that Eva Delacourt will finish what has been started and that whoever stands in her way will be dealt with!