The Mayfly by James Hazel~ Mini Review

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my Netgalley review copy*

About the book:

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .

When lawyer Charlie Priest is attacked in his own home by a man searching for information he claims Priest has, he is drawn into a web of corruption that has its roots in the last desperate days of World War Two.

When his attacker is found murdered the next day, Priest becomes a suspect and the only way to clear his name is to find out about the mysterious House of Mayfly – a secret society that people will kill for.

As Priest races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?

The Mayfly by James Hazel

My thoughts:

The Mayfly opens with a pretty grizzly murder and this sets the tone for the rest of the book. It then follows Charlie Priest in the aftermath of an attack in his home, an attack that comes completely out of the blue. When his attacker is found dead the next day, Priest becomes entangled in a web with so many threads that it is hard to see where they begin and end.

I really liked Charlie Priest as a character. As with many main characters, Priest has his own demons and they follow him throughout The Mayfly. I really liked how he was developed during the course of the book and I would be interested to read more about him.

I enjoyed The Mayfly! It was a compulsive and engaging read. I liked the characters, and the plot was interesting. This is the second book I’ve read recently to feature Buchenwald which is an odd coincidence. The dual timeline works well, but I found the jumping between characters to be a bit confusing at times. However, it’s a good read. A little gory, and with plenty to keep the reader guessing!

Recommended! 

The Liar by Steve Cavanagh

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About the book:

IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE…

WHO IS DEADLIER …

Leonard Howell’s worst nightmare has come true: his daughter Amy has been kidnapped. Not content with relying on the cops, Howell calls the only man he trusts to get her back.

… THE MAN WHO KNOWS THE TRUTH …

Eddie Flynn knows what it’s like to lose a daughter and vows to bring Amy home safe. Once a con artist, now a hotshot criminal attorney, Flynn is no stranger to the shady New York underworld.

… OR THE ONE WHO BELIEVES A LIE?

However, as he steps back into his old life, Flynn realizes that the rules of game have changed – and that he is being played. But who is pulling the strings? And is anyone in this twisted case telling the truth…?

The Liar (Eddie Flynn #3) by Steve Cavanagh

About the author:

Steve Cavanagh was born and raised in Belfast and is a practicing lawyer and holds a certificate in Advanced Advocacy. He is married with two young children. The Defence was chosen as one of Amazon’s great debuts for 2015, as part of their Amazon Rising Stars programme. In 2015 Steve received the ACES award for Literature from the Northern Ireland Arts Council. The Defence was longlisted for the Crime Writer’s Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and shortlisted for two Dead Good Readers Awards.

Steve writes fast-paced legal thrillers set in New York City featuring series character Eddie Flynn.

Steve also hosts the weekly Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast along with Luca Veste.
Find out more at http://www.stevecavanagh.com or follow Steve on Twitter @SSCav

My thoughts:

Regular readers on here will know two things:

A) I am a huge fan of series

B) I love a good legal thriller

So when I heard Steve Cavanagh’s The Liar was on its way, I was beyond excited as I read and LOVED the first two books in the Eddie Flynn series, The Defence and The Plea (those reviews are linked at the bottom of this post). The lovely folks at Orion sent me a proof copy, along with some yummy US chocolate and a lie detector machine, which you’ll have seen me do if you follow my blog on Facebook and Twitter! What a fun way to get bloggers interested in reading a book!

The Liar is without a doubt my favourite book of the series so far. It’s got an absolutely cracking plot, and is filled with the kind of characters I enjoy reading about. In this one, Eddie takes on Leonard Howell’s case. His daughter has been kidnapped, and Eddie knows only too well what horrors this entails as he has been through the same thing (that’s not a spoiler btw, it’s in the blurb!).

What follows is an epic game of cloak and dagger. The reader is kept as much in the dark as Eddie is, which makes it all the more fun as we learn things at the same time. From the outset, the tension crackles and it does not let up until the very end of The Liar. I found myself barrelling through the chapters, unable to put the book down until I reached the brilliant and gripping end. There isn’t a single bit of downtime in this book, so be prepared for an absolute rollercoaster of a read.

I love Eddie Flynn, I don’t hide it, I shout about it. He is one of my most favourite characters in recent years. There is something underdog-ish about him, something that makes the reader instantly root for him from the beginning. Beautifully flawed, yet it works in his favour. You shouldn’t underestimate Eddie Flynn. Ever!

I honestly cannot recommend The Liar highly enough. There aren’t enough superlatives in my vocabulary to vocalise how much I enjoy these books. Addictive, thrilling, massively fun, you won’t be disappointed picking up The Liar, or the previous two books either!!!

Highly, HIGHLY recommended!

Bring on the next one, Rogue Juror!!!!

Previous reviews:

The Defence by Steve Cavanagh

The Plea by Steve Cavanagh

~Blog Tour Extract~ The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

Hi everyone,

Today I’m one of two stops on the blog tour for Barbara Copperthwaite’s The Darkest Lies and I’ve got an extract to share with you all. And don’t forget to pop over to Emma at damppebbles.com, my blog tour buddy to catch her post too!

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About the book:

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

About The Author:

The people behind the crime, from the perpetrator to the victim and beyond, are what intrigue Barbara Copperthwaite.

She was raised by the sea and in the countryside, where she became a lover of both nature and the written word – the latter leading to a successful career as a journalist. For over twenty years people have kindly and bravely shared with her their real experiences of being victims of crime. Now, through fiction, Barbara continues to explore the emotional repercussions.

 

An extract from The Darkest Lies…

 

PROLOGUE

The cry for help is ragged and desperate, the voice hitching. There is no one to hear it.

A moon hangs so fat it oozes an aura into the sky that almost blots out the stars surrounding it. It looks down on land as flat as an open palm, and as unforgiving as a clenched fist, and gives no answer to the screams of fear and rage that float up to it.

This is the wind’s playground. It races across the North Sea and hits the land full force. There is nothing to slow it; no hills, few trees or hedges here on land reclaimed from the water to create the marshes and fertile flats of Lincolnshire. It screams ecstatically, punching the handful of houses it comes across, revelling in its unfettered freedom as it rattles windows. On its journey it picks up the entreaties for help that are echoing into the sky. Hurls them across the landscape, as gleeful as a toddler with a toy.

‘Help me! Please! Help!’

There is no one to catch the words.

No one, except a lone figure, turning, walking away towards lights in the far-off distance.

CHAPTER ONE

BETH

FRIDAY 22 JANUARY

Beth chewed at her thumbnail as she stared at the clothes that were carefully folded in the bottom of the rucksack. Was she doing the right thing? Yes; there’d be no harm done, and no one need ever find out. This was not a big deal. Still she gnawed, worrying at the nail.

The thirteen-year-old suddenly yanked her thumb from her mouth. She must remember not to chew it tonight; it looked as if she was sucking it, like a baby. Tonight, she needed to show that she was grown-up, no longer a little girl.

Right, had she remembered everything? Yep, it looked like it.

It had taken ages to choose both her outfits. One for her parents; one for her secret. She slipped a jumper on and smoothed down the Minnie Mouse picture on the front. It was a firm favourite of her mum’s so it was the obvious choice, even though she didn’t like the childish top herself any more. Everything was perfect for tonight – and her parents would never guess in a million years.

A huge grin on her face, Beth glugged a glass of milk and set it down on her dressing table. Then called out: ‘Mu-um. You ready to go?’

A laugh floated up from downstairs. ‘Isn’t it normally me asking you that?’

Beth hurried downstairs with her rucksack, her dad making the usual joke about ‘a herd of elephants’. She gave him a peck on the cheek and a big hug, which he returned, but peered around her at the television.

‘Ooh, offside,’ he groaned.

‘See you tomorrow.’

‘Have a nice night, Beans.’ He grinned as he used her nickname, but continued watching the football, casting her only a sidelong glance.

Minutes later, Beth and her mum were wrapped in their hats and coats, and striding along with Wiggins by their side. The russet cocker spaniel held his nose high, tail swishing casually from side to side, catching various scents on the cold January air.

‘Hey, wouldn’t it be amazing if we could smell things the way Wiggins does? We could follow scent trails!’ Beth said.

She linked arms with her mum as they took the left-hand lane from the village crossroads on which they lived, towards the home of Beth’s best friend, Chloe.

‘Like a superhero? You could be called Dog Girl,’ her mum joked.

Beth wrinkled her nose. ‘Yeah, on second thoughts… The name’s not great, is it?’

‘What other superpowers would Dog Girl have?’

‘Well, okay, she could take all sorts of things from nature. Like, she could have echo-location, like a bat, so she could find her way in the dark. That’d be handy now!’

They giggled.

‘What are you up to with Chloe tonight, anyway? Pamper night? Watching a film?’

‘Yeah, we’ll probably watch a film. Not sure about the pampering – Chloe might not have any face packs.’

‘We could nip back and get some. There’s a couple in the bathroom cabinet.’

‘No. It’s fine. We’ll probably watch a film and eat a lot of chocolate.’

‘Want some money for a pizza? It’s a Friday night, you might as well treat yourselves.’

‘Ooh, great!’

Her mum stopped abruptly, waving the tenner at the sky before handing it over. ‘Look how big the moon is tonight.’

‘Is it a supermoon?’ Beth asked, gazing upward too. There had been one a few months earlier, and her dad had told her about how it was special, being closer to the earth and bringing bigger tides. That had been really cool.

‘Don’t think so, but it’s beautiful, isn’t it?’

She nodded. ‘I can see the man in the moon ever so clearly.’

Given that they had stopped, it seemed as good a time as any to try…

‘So, I might as well walk the rest of the way alone.’

‘No, I’ll walk you to the door. It’s dark, Beth.’

She gave her mum her very best puppy dog eyes look. If the plan were to work, her mum couldn’t take her to Chloe’s house. Despite her parents thinking she’d be spending the night there, she had no intention of setting foot inside the place.

‘I’m a teenager. I’m not a baby. Pur-lease, Mum!’

After a second or two, there came a reluctant nod. ‘Be careful.’

‘I will!’

‘I love you to bits and whole again,’ Mum added.

Beth felt her nose prickle with guilty tears. They had been saying that to each other since she was about four. She remembered it vividly, being cuddled on her mum’s lap; her feet tucked under Dad’s legs to keep them extra toasty warm. One hand twirling a piece of hair round and round and round her fingers as Dad read to them. She’d loved to hear the sound of his voice, but no matter how hard she’d fought, her eyelids had grown heavier and heavier and…

The sensation of weightlessness had woken her, as Dad carried her upstairs. When he’d tucked her in, he had stroked her face and kissed her forehead.

‘Sleep tight, Beans. I love you to the moon and back,’ he had murmured.

Beth had stirred sleepily. ‘To the moon? That’s a really, really, really long way.’

‘It is, but I love you so much that it would easily stretch all the way there and back again – and more.’

The next day her mum had walked her across the road to school, holding her hand. As Beth slipped from her grasp, her mum had pulled her back, into a bear hug.

‘Love you to bits,’ she’d whispered.

Beth had paused in her squirming. ‘To bits and back?’ she’d checked.

Her mum had laughed. ‘Er, yes, I suppose. To bits and whole again.’

Ever since, that saying had stuck. Hearing her mum use it now, Beth wanted to call a halt to her plan. To throw her arms around her and confess everything. She wanted to go home. She wanted to curl up and watch telly with Mum and Dad, while Wiggins did sneaky trumps that they all tried to blame on each other, laughing, even though they knew it was the dog. She wanted to tell her mum she’d love her forever and ever and ever, to bits and whole again.

Instead, she grinned cheekily, turned and skipped away like a little girl. Taking the mickey was easier than trying to articulate all of those feelings.

The wind plucked at her ponytail as she flew from sparse light pool to light pool between lamp posts until they ran out completely. The darkness swallowed her. Ahead she could feel her fate waiting for her and she rushed towards it eagerly. Tonight was going to be a big night.


Make sure to follow the blog tour:

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Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

*Many thanks to the publisher for my Netgalley review copy*

About the book:

Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.

The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.

The choice he forces her to make is utterly unspeakable.

But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.

And then she meets the next victim.

Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

My thoughts:

Saw this one on Netgalley and I thought it would be an interesting break from the norm in terms of it being a medical thriller on top of everything else. That being said, I still didn’t know what to expect with this book.

Don’t Wake Up is a very fast-paced book with plenty of action. Set in a hospital environment, it follows Dr. Alex Taylor in the aftermath of a horrifying incident that has happened to her. When those around her think she’s lying, and things start happening, she finds herself in a very scary place. There is more than enough going on and then there is the added drama that Dr Alex Taylor seems to be bringing on herself.

I don’t want to say much more because I think it’s always better to let the reader see what the author is aiming to do. I quite enjoyed the book, although in parts I found it a bit far fetched. But then again, it was a fun read from start to finish. It will keep people reading and guessing for sure!

Recommended!

 

The Quiet Man (Jefferson Winter #4) by James Carol 

Many thanks to the publisher for my Netgalley review copy*

About the book:

In Vancouver, the wife of a millionaire is dead following an explosion in her own home.

Everyone thinks her husband is responsible, but former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter isn’t so sure. The method is too perfect; the lack of mistakes, uncanny. He’s seen a series of carefully orchestrated murders – once a year, on exactly the same day, a woman dies in a situation just like this one.

That date is fast approaching and Winter knows another victim has been selected. Can he identify the quiet man before he strikes again?

The Quiet Man by James Carol

My thoughts:

Ive read and loved all of the books and short stories featuring Jefferson Winter so I was thrilled to be able to read and review The Quiet Man as it’s been aaaaaages since I’ve read anything by James Carol.
The Quiet Man is another cracking instalment in the Jefferson Winter series. In this one, Winter is tasked with investigating a serial bomber case in Vancouver. Winter is up against the clock as the bomber strikes on the same day every year and he comes into the investigation in the run up to August 5th, the day the attacks usually happen.

The thing I love about these books is that we know Winter is the son of a serial killer, but it is never the main focus of the story. It is always there, bubbling under the surface, alluded to often but rarely mentioned. I love the inner turmoil that this causes to Winter, how he uses what he’s seen and knows from his last in trying to get into the mind of the killer.

Loved the sense of tension and urgency within this book too. And I really liked the characters Winter works with in this one. Laura is an ex-cop who was on the case, now working out on her own and still investigating the annual bombings. A great female lead, strong and unafraid.

One of my favourite book series, and I think that die hard fans of the series will thoroughly enjoy The Quiet Man!

Definitely recommended! 

The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay

*Many thanks to Corvus for my review copy*

About the book:

Zoe and Ollie Morley tried for years to have a baby and couldn’t. They turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to adopt a little girl from birth. They named her Evie.

Seven years later, the family has moved to Yorkshire and grown in number: a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben. As a working mum it’s not easy for Zoe, but life is good.

But then Evie begins to receive letters and gifts.

The sender claims to be her birth father.

He has been looking for his daughter.

And now he is coming to take her back…

Buy the book:

The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay

 

My thoughts:

Having read and loved Bone By Bone, I was delighted to receive a copy of The Stolen Child to read and review.

The Stolen Child centers on Zoe, Ollie and their family. After having problems trying to conceive, they make the decision to adopt a child. Evie is their long awaited baby, and fast forward a few years, with the added surprise of Ben being born, they have settled into family life in Yorkshire.

All is not what it seems though. Evie has started receiving letters and presents, signed from her birth father. This obviously causes her parents to worry and wonder why ,after so long, this is happening now. And what if he does take her?

Every parents worst nightmare becomes a constant shadow on their lives. Zoe and Ollie are at their wit’s end wondering what could possibly come from these gifts and letters. The tension and worry they feel comes across really well in the writing, and more than once it made me feel uncomfortable while I was reading.

The Stolen Child is part domestic noir, part psychological thriller and it will definitely have the reader questioning the motives of the characters. It is a quietly gripping book that creates a sense of uneasiness that is hard to ignore.

Recommended!

Do No Harm by Henry Marsh

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About the book:

What is it like to be a brain surgeon?

How does it feel to hold someone’s life in your hands, to cut through the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason?

How do you live with the consequences when it all goes wrong?

DO NO HARM offers an unforgettable insight into the highs and lows of a life dedicated to operating on the human brain, in all its exquisite complexity. With astonishing candour and compassion, Henry Marsh reveals the exhilarating drama of surgery, the chaos and confusion of a busy modern hospital, and above all the need for hope when faced with life’s most agonising decisions.

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh

My thoughts:

I’ve had Do No Harm on my kindle for 3 years, yes, YEARS! After reading Fragile Lives earlier this year, I figured I’d give this one a go as instead of a cardiac surgery this book centres on neurosurgery. I have a morbid fascination with medical things like that so I was looking forward to it.

Henry Marsh has written a very interesting book. He’s no Derek Shepherd in terms of drama and excitement, but he is dealing with the everyday lives of his patients. Do No Harm gives the reader an interesting glimpse into what it’s like to be a neurosurgeon and the things they go through inside and outside of the surgical theatre.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked it up but what I found was an honest memoir. It had case studies in every chapter, as well as a glimpse into Marsh’s own life outside of surgery, and how it impacted his home life. 

It’s an easy read in terms of pace and writing, but it’s all too easy to forget you are reading about patients. Any one of us could end up on an operating theatre table needing help from a man like this. 

The irony of Do No Harm, for me, was that my eldest child ended up in A&E on the day I read this book. He fell after deciding spinning around to make himself dizzy was a good idea and proceeded to hit his head!!! He is completely fine, but this book couldn’t have been read at a worse time!

 Do No Harm is definitely a book to read if you like true life medical stories! Interesting, graphic but always honest!

Recommended!