The Devil Has Power by Valerie Keogh


I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

I previously reviewed the first Nicola Connolly novel which you can read here, so I was looking forward to seeing what happened next.

When we meet Nicola, she has moved to Falmouth leaving all her troubles in Bath behind. Or so she thought.

DI Tom Hudson has also moved to Falmouth to start a nice quiet job there after the drama of the investigation in Bath. Neither knows about the others presence. Until they literally bump into each other.

The blurb from Goodreads:

After Bath, Nicola is planning a quieter life in Falmouth. She still needs to kill, of course, that isn’t going to change. Finding a measure of contentment in the stunning penthouse apartment she has rented, she figures out a way to stay in it, radically changing herself in the process. It involves killing someone, and getting married. But neither is a problem for Nicola. Everything falls into place for her until she bumps into Tom Hudson, newly promoted to detective inspector and now working in Falmouth. Nicola doesn’t want to become involved with the police again, Tom, still reeling from the events in Bath, doesn’t want her to either. But when a woman goes missing, and Tom is convinced she isn’t the first, he has no choice but to ask for Nicola’s help. Can they work together to solve yet another case?

Tom begins the investigation into the missing woman, and raises concerns when the pattern matches previous missing persons and wonders if there’s a killer at work. As the investigation starts moving, Tom remembers how Nicola was able to help in Bath and wonders if she could do the same here.

Nicola is still a killer, but, due to circumstances, isn’t working in a care home anymore so has to go to great her lengths to follow her needs. When Tom comes to her to ask for her help, does she really want to invite the psychic connection back so it can haunt her dreams again? And risk being uncovered?

I won’t go into more detail as I can’t without spoiling something! Sufficed to say the story really picks up (I stayed up reading this to the end last night so I could see what happened!!!) from here and when the end comes, you will not believe it! I was very surprised! Normally I can guess as to who the perpetrator is, but not with this one! I was genuinely incredulous toward the end of the book!

I enjoyed The Devil Has Power a bit more than Deadly Sleep if I’m honest. There was more background and it made it easier to follow!

I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.

Thanks again to Valerie Keogh!

Happy reading 😊📖

Deadly Sleep by Valerie Keogh


I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Deadly Sleep is the first in a serial killer series featuring Nicola Connolly. Nicola is a nurse working in care homes, but she has a secret. Nicola is also a killer. She kills 3 people unnoticed, every six months. When her six months are up, she moves to another area. Everything is going well, until Nicola moves to Bath. The blurb from Goodreads is as follows:

“Nicola Connolly is a nurse. She is also a serial killer. She kills neatly, three victims every six months, moving around the UK, hiding in plain sight. Everything goes according to plan until she moves to Bath. Because in Bath the police are hunting a serial killer who kills and tortures his victims. A psychic connection develops between the two killers, Nicola sees him and what he does to his victims in her nightmares.She is starting to lose control and she really can’t afford to do that. In an attempt to break the link, to have the other killer caught, Nicola goes to the police with what she knows. But can she help them without exposing herself? A serial killer and a burnt out policeman – can they really work together to stop him? And at what cost?”

Deadly Sleep begins with Nicola as a child, describing events that make her what she has become in present day. To be honest, I found the start of this book a bit hard to read at times. There were some moments that were very graphic, and gory, but they served to give you an idea as to why she is the way she is.

When we meet Nicola in Bath, she is working in a nursing home, still following through with her desire to kill. She is living sparsely, surviving off wine and pizza. Still unseen.

Parallel to this, we meet two members of the Police, DI Matt Foley and DS Tom Hudson who are hunting a suspected serial killer in Bath, who tortures and kills his victims.

Oddly, a psychic connection develops between the killer and Nicola. When Nicola sleeps, she can see the killer torturing and killing his victims, but doesn’t know who she is seeing. Nicola can’t go on with the dreams, so she decides to go to the police. But will they believe her?

I’ll be honest here, I found this bit to be a bit unbelievable. However, up until now, I wasn’t really enthusiastic about reading this. Once things started happening, my interest was piqued. The pace picked up pretty well, and there were a few incidents ( I don’t post spoilers!!!) that made me think ‘what the hell is going to be found?’.

While Deadly Sleep wasn’t the usual rip-roaring, action filled crime thriller, especially considering the psychic element, it is by no means lacking once the investigation picks up pace.

I quite enjoyed this book, and I gave it a solid 3 stars on Goodreads. The start of the book is where it fell down for me but once you get to see Nicola in Bath it really gets going!

Thanks again to Valerie Keogh for the book!

Happy reading! 😊📖

Chris Carter- Author Q&A 

Hey everyone,
As you all know by now, I’m a massive crime fiction fan. One of my absolute favourite series of recent times is the Robert Hunter series by Chris Carter. The books, in order, are as follows:

Chris, lovely man that he is, agreed to do a Q&A for my little blog 🙂

Happy reading!!
1- When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

The truth is, I never really had any ambitions to become a writer. I never spent time dreaming up stories. I never imagined characters, and before writing my first novel, I had never even written a short story. What happened was, (and this is the short version) I woke up one day with a story in my head and decided to put it to paper. That was – The Crucifix Killer – my first novel.

 

2- How long does it take you to write a book?

Usually around seven to nine months, but my last novel – I Am Death – took me a lot longer. I started with an idea, but five months into writing it I decided that the plot wasn’t strong enough. So I threw everything away and started again from scratch.

 

3- What is your writing process like?

My whole writing process is pretty organic. Basically I start every day reading what I wrote the day before. Most of the time I end up editing almost everything, and then I move on from there. I don’t have a specific target in mind – no number of words I have to write every day – no number of pages – nothing. I just write until I think I’ve done enough for the day.

 

4- How did you create Robert Hunter?

Well, since I was writing a crime thriller, it was obvious that I needed a detective, so I just created one out of the blue. At first, there wasn’t much thought put into his character. I just created a detective that I thought would work. A detective that I would’ve enjoyed reading about if I had picked up a crime thriller novel.

 

5- Do you get ideas from your previous job as a criminal psychologist when writing?

Yes, I do. Due to my old profession, the cases I worked on, the things I saw, etc. it’s impossible for my brain to start thinking of a crime story, or for me to imagine a crime scene, without a ton of images exploding inside my head. I use them quite a lot in my novels.

 

6- Do you find it easy to write Robert once you start or does he go off on his own way?

For me it’s a lot easier once I start. As I’ve said, my writing process is pretty organic. Things only really start to roll once I start writing, never before.

 

7- Is there another book in the series in the works?

Yes. Because I was so late delivering “I Am Death”, I started writing the next novel just a couple of weeks after handing in the manuscript.

 

8- How much research do you do for your books? Do some books require more research than others?

I do a hell of a lot of research for my novels, and yes, some books will require a lot more research than others, depending on what the main plot is based on.

 

9- How do you go from Glam Rock bands to writing? 

Well, the transition wasn’t straight out of glam rock bands into writing. I went through a ton of odd jobs first, until the day I woke up with that idea in my head. J

 

10- Do you get writers block? If so, how do you break through the wall?

I haven’t yet. I guess that at the moment my mind is too twisted for that. There’s always some crazy idea swimming around in there.

 

11- What is the hardest thing about writing a series?

To be honest, I’m not really sure. I love the entire process of writing. I love developing the plot. I love coming up with the characters that will make the story. I love creating the villain. I love the research – everything. Maybe, after seven novels, I could say that the hardest thing about writing a series is trying to keep it from becoming boring. I feel very lucky that readers still want to read Hunter stories.

 

12- What is your favourite thing about Hunter?

I would have to say – how calm he is. It takes a lot to make him lose his cool, which is something that is hard to see nowadays, specially for someone in such a stressful profession such as being a detective in a city like Los Angeles.

 

13- When it comes to publishing, do you proofread your book or do you ask someone else to do it?

Once I have finished writing the manuscript, I do proof read it, but because I have been dealing with the MS for many months, it’s very easy to lose perspective. But that’s one of the perks of being signed to a publishing house. They have editors, proofreaders, copy editors, a whole team of professionals that will go over my work and shape it, ready for publishing.

 

14- Do you have proofs done up for reviews before the final book goes to print?

My publishing house does, but I don’t usually get them. They send the books out to reviewers themselves.

 

15- Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? How do you feel about positive/negative reviews and feedback?

As I’ve said, all of that is done by my publishing house. I’m sure that they have a large list of reviewers that they contact.

 

The truth is that I try my best never to read reviews, good or bad, simply because I know of the psychological effect they can have. The only reviews I tend to read are the ones that are sent to me either by my agent of by my publisher.

 

16- How do you relax?

I love clubbing. I’m out dancing or going to gigs almost every weekend.

 

17- Do you read much? If so, what do you like to read?

To be very honest – no, I don’t. I read about two to three books a year, seriously. When I do, I love crime thrillers.

 

18- What is your favourite book/band/movie?

Favourite book – I don’t have one. Favourite band – it changes every so often. Right now I’m really into a few like Killswitch Engage, Combichrist and a few others. Favourite movie – again, too hard to pick.

 

19- If your books were to be made into movies, who would play the leads?

I get asked that question a lot, and my answer is always the same – no idea. I would be so happy that a movie studio would want to make any of my novels into a movie that I probably wouldn’t mind that much.

 

20- If you could have been the original author of any book, what book would it be and why?

None. If I were the author of somebody else’s book, the book wouldn’t have been the same. Books become well known because it’s the brainchild of its author. It’s his/her vision of a story. Change the author, the vision changes and so does the story.

 

21- How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Blood sacrifice. Contact me for details.

 

22- Is there anything you would like to add?

I would just like to say a huge thank you to all the readers out there for all the amazing support they have shown me and all my novels from the start. If it weren’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be writing.
So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed reading! Some insightful answers and also, NEW BOOK IN THE WORKS!!!!! 🙂

Massive thanks again to Chris Carter for taking the time to answer my questions! I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to ask them!

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Happy reading 😊📖

Judas Child by Carol O’Connell

  

Reviewed for http://bleachhouselibrary.blogspot.ie 
Before receiving this book, I’d never heard of this author, so I was unsure when I first started reading it. Going into a book blind always makes me wonder will it be a book I love or hate.
Judas Child starts a few days before Christmas. Two young girls have disappeared, and it has echoes of a crime that took place fifteen years previously. Rouge Kendall is a member of the police in Makers Village, and his twin sister was kidnapped and murdered all those years ago. Apparently, her killer, a priest, was apprehended and has been in jail ever since.
However, when these two girls go missing, Kendall starts to question whether they have the right person, even more so when they question the priest and he knows nothing of the two girls who have been taken. Ali Cray, a forensic psychologist and previous inhabitant of the small town has also returned with questions of her own.
The characters in this book are, for the most part, well drawn. A lot of the stereotypical problems are there for some of them (money issues, private affairs and so on), but I found the little girls to be the best written. Their innocence and naivety was captured well, along with precociousness and their fierce bonds of friendship. 
I don’t want to go into detail on the plot, as a lot of it intertwines for the twists in the book. Sufficed to say, when they finally start unravelling everything, there are some genuine shockers in there. I found myself thinking a few times “will you just go and talk to X because they know something that can help!!!!!” which I guess is a sign of a good book as it was frustrating to see the lack of communication between some of the investigators. 
I have to be honest, this wouldn’t be my most favourite of books, I found it took a while to get going. I was well over halfway through before anything happened that made me want to keep going. Once I got past that, the pace picked up. I thought the switching between investigators got confusing after a while, and I found myself having to reread a few paragraphs, which I never normally do! The book has an epilogue, which pretty much ties the whole plot together (but also left me with a couple of unanswered questions). 
All in all, a decent read. I gave Judas Child 3 stars on Goodreads. Happy reading!

I Am Death by Chris Carter

  
I Am Death is the 7th instalment in Carter’s Robert Hunter series. Hunter is an LAPD detective specialising in ultraviolent crimes, along with his partner, Carlos Garcia. 

I’ve read all the books in the series, and to say I was eagerly anticipating the release of this book is an understatement. So much so that I had a reminder in my phone for release day to make sure I didn’t forget to buy it. 🙂

I had been reading a Sophie Hannah book, and to be honest I couldn’t get to the end of it quick enough so that I could get stuck into I Am Death.

I tried not to read any reviews of this before I read it, so that I didn’t know what to expect. I had read the description from Goodreads but that was it, and it revealed NOTHING!!!! 🙂 See below; 

“AN EVIL MIND was Chris Carters’s most acclaimed novel to date, described by the Daily mail as: ‘A chilling, compulsive portrait of a psychopath, and proves that Carter is now in the Jeffrey Deaver class.’ It spent three weeks in the Sunday Times top ten and received brillant reviews and sales.

This terrifying new standalone thriller reunites Hunter and Garcia in their most explosive case to date.”

A young woman is found on a patch of grass with her body laid out in what is essentially a pentagram shape, which begs the question, is it a ritualistic murder? As the investigation begins, Hunter and Garcia receive notes from the killer, who signs off as “I Am Death” and leads the detectives to believe he is not done killing.

As the body count begins to rise, Carter amps up the gruesome violence with each one, leaving the reader wondering, ‘can it get much worse?’. It can. Some of the injuries inflicted on the victims defy belief, and if you’re squeamish it can make for uncomfortable reading.

The investigation calls in help from LAPD Missing Persons unit, along with Hunters friend from the FBI, Kennedy, who was also present in An Evil Mind. All these people serve to try and solve the crimes as well as locate the sociopath committing them. 

At the beginning, I thought I knew who the killer was, I was almost 100% sure. I was also 100% wrong. I literally sped through the last 20% of this book (I had bought it on Kindle) convinced that I knew what was coming, but I was so so wrong. 

As usual, Chris Carter has delivered another brilliant Robert Hunter book, full of gory crimes, extreme twists, and a completely (in my opinion) unexpected ending.

I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads. I’m already waiting for the next book 😉 

Happy reading! 😊📖

The Crooked House By Christobel Kent

  

Read this after I Let You Go and I was soooooo disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high, whatever it is I didnt really enjoy this at all.

Set 13 years after a girls family is massacred, it picks up in her present day life. Alison, she used to be Esme, has carried on her life after she moved away. 

Alison’s partner was invited to a wedding in Saltleigh, the place she left as a child, so they both return to attend. Surprise surprise, it goes downhill (irritatingly slowly!!!) from there. 

The community is full of secrets, nobody wants to share what they know. Alison is in danger, and races to find out the truth of what happened to her family many years ago. 

I really didn’t enjoy this book, it’s not often I do it, but I only gave it a 1 star review on Goodreads. I expected so much better!!

I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

  
I loved this book. Really, really, *really* loved this book. One of a handful of books on my Goodreads with 5 stars.

Set in the aftermath of a hit and run, it follows Jenna as she moves away to start a new life on the Welsh coast. 

The DI charged with solving the case is determined to get to the bottom of it and he risks losing more than just the killer while investigating the tragedy. 

I cannot go into the plot without giving anything away, and I don’t want to, I made sure to avoid reviews etc before I read this, and I was so glad. I literally had my jaw drop at one stage.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Definitely one of my top reads of the year so far!