The Contract by JM Gulvin

JM Gulvin

About the book:

In New Orleans, Texas Ranger John Q is out of his jurisdiction, and possibly out of his depth. It seems everyone in Louisiana wants to send him home, and every time he asks questions there’s trouble: from the pharmacist to the detective running scared to the pimp who turned to him as a last resort. Before John Q knows it, he looks the only link between a series of murders.

So who could be trying to set him up, and why, and who can he turn to in a city where Southern tradition and family ties rule?

Infused with the rhythms of its iconic setting, The Contract is a thriller to keep even the most seasoned crime readers gripped and guessing all the way to its endgame.

Buy the book:

The Contract by JM Gulvin

My Thoughts:

Having read and loved JM Gulvin’s first book, The Long Count (review HERE), I was eagerly awaiting the next John Q installment and I was delighted to have my wish granted on Netgalley for The Contract.

The Contract is a slow burning thriller set against the heady backdrop of New Orleans with plenty of shady characters thrown in for good measure. John Q is sent to investigate some goings-on in the wake of a shooting in Texas. In New Orleans though, he is out of his jurisdiction and acting alone.

What follows is a tense story packed with plenty of action and mystery. While I enjoyed The Contract, it didn’t match the pace of The Long Count in terms of the way the plot developed. I did enjoy the new mix of characters in this one though, and there were a couple of old favourites in there too.

The Contract is steeped in 1960’s American history, and I enjoyed the references the author put in there as they were a nice addition to the storyline. With John Q being framed for crimes he didn’t commit, it becomes a race against time to clear his name. It took me a while to settle into the book, but once I did I enjoyed puzzling it out alongside John Q.

If you like Deep South thrillers, with a great main character, then The Contract should definitely go on your list. Tense, rich in location and with a great mix of characters, I would recommend it!

Undertow by Elizabeth Heathcote

 

*My thanks to Quercus and Netgalley for my review copy*
About the book:

My husband’s lover. They said her death was a tragic accident. And I believed them . . . until now.

Carmen is happily married to Tom, a successful London lawyer and divorcé with three children. She is content to absorb the stresses of being a stepmother to teenagers and the stain of ‘second wife’. She knows she’ll always live in the shadow of another woman – not Tom’s first wife Laura, who is resolutely polite and determinedly respectable, but the lover that ended his first marriage: Zena. Zena who was shockingly beautiful. Zena who drowned swimming late one night.

But Carmen can overlook her husband’s dead mistress . . . until she starts to suspect that he might have been the person who killed her.

My thoughts:

Undertow is a gripping psychological thriller. Combining domestic noir with psychological elements makes for a great read. I was hooked once I started reading it, and that’s always a good sign for me!

The author has done a brilliant job in portraying the characters and their various back stories. Some of them were also genuinely horrible characters, which made me second guess their motives at times but I really enjoyed the sense of menace and tension that builds throughout the novel leading up to its climactic ending.

While I had made some guesses along the way, it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book. I think because I read so many books of this genre I seem to figure out some of the plot twists early on.

However, in a market saturated with this genre, Elizabeth Heathcote has done well to stand out. Undertow is an assured and confident book, and I would definitely recommend it.

Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre


*My thanks to Netgalley and Little Brown for my copy to review*

About the book:

There is no perfect marriage. There is no perfect murder.

Diana Jager is clever, strong and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing.

Then she meets Peter. He’s kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past: the second chance she’s been waiting for.

Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead – and Diana on trial for his murder, a nightmare end to their fairytale romance.

But Peter’s sister Lucy doesn’t believe in fairytales, and tasks maverick reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling Black Widow…


My thoughts:

Black Widow has been on my kindle for a while now so I decided to start it this week and it was an unexpected surprise! Packed full of tension and suspense, I was gripped almost immediately.

Doctor Diana Jager was a very interesting character. Strong, mean and dangerous in so many ways, Black Widow was almost a chronicle of her unravelling psyche at times.

With more questions than answers for most of the novel, the author has done a really good job of ramping up the mystery surrounding her husband’s death. With the introduction of Jack Parlabane, the book takes a darker turn as he works to uncover what has happened to Peter.

I’m not going to dissect the plot for fear of giving away any subtle nuances in the story but it’s safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed Black Widow. It’s an excellent psychological thriller, engaging and full of intrigue, I would highly recommend it!

You can purchase a copy by clicking the link below:

Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre

Happy reading!

 

The Deviants by C J Skuse


*My thanks to the lovely folks at Mira UK and Netgalley for my copy of The Deviants to read and review!*

About the book:

When you set out for revenge, dig two graves

Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.

When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

My thoughts:

I had seen The Deviants on social media, so naturally I hoped on to Netgalley to see if it was there and lo and behold it was! Requested and approved, I settled down to read what turned out to be a very unexpected book.

At about 20% in, I knew I had a special book in my hands. I genuinely could not stop reading it. The story, the characters, everything about it just made me keep turning the pages.

The Deviants is a brilliantly written book, full of depth and with so many hidden layers that it became almost a compulsion to try and figure out what was going on. I don’t usually read YA novels, but r=this book is enough to make me want to read all of CJ Skuse’s back catalogue.

Max and Ella appear to be love’s young dream, even in the wake of Max’s sister Jess’s death. All is not what it seems though. Without going into any detail, their friend Corey is bullied and what happens in the aftermath sets the ball rolling towards one of the most unexpected and emotional stories I have ever read.

The Deviants made me well up, and I can honestly say had I been on my own reading the final few chapters I would have been crying like a baby. I wasn’t prepared for just how much this book would get to me. The tension throughout the book just keeps on building, and you know you’re heading towards something huge, and when you get there it sucker punches you!!!!

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. CJ Skuse has written a stellar book, worthy of the early praise it is garnering. Buy it, read it, and weep.

Death In Profile by Guy Fraser-Sampson

DIP

 

First off, my thanks to Netgalley and Urbane Publications for my copy of Death In Profile.

 

About the book (via Goodreads): 

The genteel façade of London’s Hampstead is shattered by a series of terrifying murders, and the ensuing police hunt is threatened by internal politics, and a burgeoning love triangle within the investigative team. Pressurised by senior officers desperate for a result a new initiative is clearly needed, but what?

Intellectual analysis and police procedure vie with the gut instinct of ‘copper’s nose’, and help appears to offer itself from a very unlikely source – a famous fictional detective. A psychological profile of the murderer allows the police to narrow down their search, but will Scotland Yard lose patience with the team before they can crack the case?

 

My thoughts:

I had Death In Profile on my kindle for a while before I got to it so with publication day looming I figured this week was as good as any to start it!

I had no idea what to expect when I started reading as I hadn’t read any reviews before I started as I like to go into a book with as little knowledge as possible, bar the blurb.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book though. Guy Fraser-Sampson has a very nice writing style, and though it took me a few chapters to get into it, i found myself enjoying it.

Death In Profile is a modern whodunnit, but it also manages a nod to classic crime fiction along the way. I don’t (and have never) read any of the classic detective novels so I don’t pretend to know much about them but I can see how the author has managed to weave the classic into the modern.

The story focuses on the murders of five women in the Hampstead area of London and how the various teams investigate them. I really liked the characters in this book too. There’s the classic “old school” detective, working alongside the decidedly “new school” detectives and how their methods differ is very interesting to read and to see what results are yielded from their investigations.

At times, I found myself thinking I knew who had committed these murders, and then I would turn the page only for my notion to be shot down immediately. There are clever hints scattered around Death In Profile and I really enjoyed trying to work it out, even if I was wrong more than once!

Guy Fraser-Sampson has written a great novel. It harks back to the classic detective novels, while managing to stay completely relevant and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I gave Death In Profile 4 stars on Goodreads. It is published on March 28th by Urbane Publications and you can pick up a copy directly from Urbane Publications HERE.

Happy reading! 🙂

 

Between You And Me by Lisa Hall

My thanks to Netgalley, Carina UK and Lisa Hall for my ARC of Between You and Me.

 

About the book:

 

They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened …

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.

 

My thoughts:

 

Between You And Me is Lisa Hall’s debut novel and to be honest, the way it’s written, I struggle to believe that as it’s so well written.

I started reading this on Tuesday night and got to 34% before I had to put it down to get some sleep. Before this though, I turned to my husband and said the following:

“This book, the one I’ve just started, it’s making me feel really uncomfortable”

Having finished it this evening (Wednesday) I stand by that description.

Wholeheartedly.

Between You And Me is that kind of book. The one that makes you feel like you’re there, you’re experiencing the emotions, the hurt, the pain.

It’s uncomfortable because some of it seems all too familiar, so maybe it has hit a nerve with me in some small way. One thing I can’t stand in relationships is control. You are your own person, not someone else’s puppet.

Domestic abuse, in any form, be it physical mental or emotional is despicable. I abhor the behaviour that takes place in this book. It makes me ever so slightly cross when I read about it. But unless you have lived it, you can’t understand it fully.

Lisa Hall has written an utterly captivating book. You know from the outset as the prologue hints to something, but the build up from start to finish is brilliant. It’s like when a piece of music starts off slowly and builds to its crescendo. Between You And Me is like that, only with words.

Sal and Charlie, for all intents and purposes, appear to have a perfect relationship. However, the truth is far more disturbing. Charlie has a high powered corporate job, while Sal stays home to take care of their daughter, Maggie. Sadly, the life they live is full of abuse.

I won’t go into the plot as I don’t want to give anything away. Sufficed to say, this book is one that will stay with me for a while due to the nature of the story. Many of my fellow bloggers who have also read it, have raved about the end of the book.

All I will say is well played Lisa Hall, well played…

I gave Between You And Me 4 stars on Goodreads. I would highly recommend it. It’s released on March 17th and you can preorder a copy by clicking HERE.

Happy reading! 🙂

The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza

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My thanks as always to Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy of The Girl In The Ice.

About the book (via Goodreads):

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

 
My thoughts:

 

I try not to use profanities in my reviews (which is tough because I swear a lot 😂) but every so often some books come along and make you think what the fu…. (see what I did there 😉) is going on?!?!

The Girl In The Ice is one such book! Robert Bryndza seems like such a lovely man so I’m wondering where he found the inspiration for such heinous crimes and such an awful murderer!!!

I loved this book!!! From start to glorious finish, I was hooked! Housework got left, sleep was vastly reduced, I just couldn’t put it down!!!

The prologue to this book should come with a warning….

“Abandon all hope those who enter, not a hope of you putting this book down!!!” 😂

As soon as Detective Erika Foster was introduced, I knew I was going to enjoy her character. A strong ass female lead, takes no shit, relentless in her quest for the truth and all round legend of a woman! Foster had a tough year, and you can tell as her demeanour is sometimes bordering on defeatist but she will not lie down and take it. In fact, she comes back fighting, throwing barbs at her boss and having banter with her colleagues, and getting the job done!!!!

The plot in The Girl In The Ice is so tightly woven that I defy you to pick out the murderer early. I had suspicions but I was way off the mark, more than once if I’m honest!

The author has done a spectacular job with this book. The characters are all so well written, some in particular are just hideous excuses for human beings and made my skin crawl. I love how the tension ramps up with almost every chapter too. You’re on edge reading as you know something is going to happen, but until you turn the page (swipe the kindle 😂) you have no idea!

The Girl In The Ice is most definitely a member of the one more chapter club for me. I didn’t want to stop reading, and God help anyone who interrupted me or made me put it down.

(On one such occasion, with 10% left to go, I had to stop reading!!!! I actually had to go and do real life stuff for the afternoon!!!  I was so cross 😁 and I didn’t get to finish the book until that night!!!)

The climax to the book was brilliant though! Absolutely nail biting until the very end!

The Girl In The Ice was a stellar read with everything I look for in a thriller right there between the pages! I gave it an easy 5⭐️ rating on Goodreads!

The Girl In The Ice is out today and you can purchase a copy HERE