Sycamore Gap by LJ Ross

  

Many thanks to the author and Maxine at Booklover Catlady Publicity Services for my review copy of Sycamore Gap.

I was super excited to get a copy of this book, as I had read Louise’s previous book in the series, Holy Island and loved it. You can read my review for Holy Island here

About the book: (via Goodreads)

The past never stays buried for long… 
Detective Chief Inspector Ryan believes he has put his turbulent history behind him. Then, in the early hours of the summer solstice, the skeleton of a young woman is found inside the Roman Wall at Sycamore Gap. She has lain undiscovered for ten years and it is Ryan’s job to piece together her past. 

Enquiry lines cross and merge as Ryan is forced to face his own demons and enter into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who seems unstoppable. 
Murder and mystery are peppered with a sprinkling of romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular scenery of Hadrian’s Wall country in Northumberland.

My thoughts:

Sycamore Gap follows on from the events in Holy Island. DCI Ryan is tasked with a murder investigation following the discovery of skeletal remains in Hadrian’s Wall. As past and previous cases collide, the investigations have sever implications for everyone involved.
I loved the pace of this book. Having read (and loved) Holy Island, I was keen to see how the events in this book would play out so I read it as fast as possible.

DCI Max Ryan is a great character! He has been through a lot but he still manages to keep a strong exterior, while he’s fighting his inner demons. Anna is also back in this book. I really like her character, she’s feisty and well able to handle Ryan. 

Sycamore Gap is a completely thrilling read. The fact that it merges past and previous investigations is fantastic. You get more background on The Hacker case along with tying in with the ritualistic murders that took place on Holy Island in the previous book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even more than I did Holy Island, so much so that I gave it 5 ⭐️ on Goodreads after finishing it last night. 

My thanks again to Louise and Maxine for my review copy.

Happy reading 😊📖

Holy Island by LJ Ross

Thanks to Maxine at Booklover Catlady and LJ Ross for my copy of Holy Island to review.

I hadn’t heard of this book before I read it, but I won’t forget it in a hurry!

Holy Island does not begin gently, it starts with the murder of Lucy Matheison and the discovery of her body at the Lindisfarne Priory.

Amazon describes it as follows-

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory.
When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight, while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation. 

This description doesn’t do it proper justice!

Holy Island is an excellent book, well plotted with very little of the predictable crime formulae to be found! More than once I thought I had sussed the killer, and every time I was wrong!!! The killings are described brutally, the locations are described beautifully! It’s the perfect juxtaposition!

DCI Ryan is a great character, flawed in his own way, with demons in his past. It was very easy to be rooting for him all through the book. Dr. Taylor is also a strong character, doesn’t suffer fools and very intelligent. Predictably, they begin a relationship, but it blends into the whole story. There are twists and turns aplenty, but I have to say, the ending was my favourite part. It ends with a genuine shocker!! Which makes me want to read book 2 Sycamore Gap as soon as possible!!! Well played Miss Ross! 😉

I gave Holy Island 4 stars on Goodreads! I would highly recommend this book! It was absolutely brilliant!

Happy reading! 😊📖

The Second Captive by Maggie James


Massive thanks to Maxine at Booklover Catlady and Maggie James for my copy of this book!
Having not read any books by this author before I didn’t really know what to expect but I was pleasantly ( if you can write that about a psychological thriller!!!!) surprised by this book!

The Second Captive follows Beth, an eighteen year old girl who is abducted and held by a man for two years. She subsequently escapes! This book goes between present day and the events of the two years she was held captive.

Written in alternative views from Beth, her captor and her mother, we get the different thoughts from each. I found this style of writing really good for this book as you get into the minds of the victim and her captor as well as the emotional turmoil her mother and family faced as well.

We know that Beth escapes, so that’s not really a spoiler. The reader learns that Beth will have to attempt to adjust back into normal life, away from the rules, control and punishment she had grown to accept from Dominic, her captor. You would think that the story would finish dramatically with her escape and subsequent return home.

It doesn’t.

Maggie James has done a great job of enhancing the story in the aftermath of Beth’s return. We learn more from her mother, Ursula, and we also gain emotional insight into Dominic’s state of mind once Beth has left him. Stockholm syndrome is the psychological term for what Beth has experienced and the way it is portrayed in the book is interesting.

There were many questions left unanswered for me when I finished this book, but all in all I enjoyed it! I gave it a solid 3 stars on Goodreads.

My thanks again to Maxine and Maggie James!

Happy reading! 😊📖

The Killing of Mummy’s Boy by Joan Ellis

Thanks to Maxine at Booklover Catlady for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Killing of Mummy’s Boy is the second book by Joan Ellis that I have read. Having read the blurb I have to say I was a little intrigued. I didn’t know what to expect. Goodreads describes it as follows:

When a woman meets a stranger on a train, she discovers they have one thing in common: murder.

Ben has slit a man’s throat and Sandra’s son, Carl is on a Witness Protection Programme after his evidence convicts local thug, Lee Elliott of murder. Fearing reprisals from the family, Sandra flees London for the Isle of Wight.
On the train, she reports her lost Oyster card, giving out her details over the phone. Ben overhears. Now, the murderer knows where she lives. Returning home to find an Oyster card on the mat, she assumes he has been there ahead of her.
It is the first in a series of unnerving events. Suspecting him of stalking her, she alerts the police. As no crime has been committed, they can’t help.
When her son leaves the safety of the Witness Protection Programme and moves back to London with his pregnant girlfriend, Sandra turns to drink. And to Ben.
Repelled by his past but excited by his body, she is in his thrall.
When Carl, girlfriend in tow, runs back to Mummy following a threatening message from Lee Elliott’s brother, Gaz, secrets and lies are unleashed and all hell breaks loose.

I have to be honest, I found this book quite difficult to get into, and about 50% of the way through I really questioned whether or not it would improve. Sufficed to say, once things start happening, the tension in the book ramps up. I won’t go into spoilers, but towards the end, there’s a genuine shocker if a plot twist, which in all honesty, I didn’t see coming! Once the big reveal happened though, the action really began. The last 20% of the book was where it got really good! I found myself flying through it to see what happens!

I thought the main characters were a bit difficult to like, Sandra especially, which made me lack empathy for certain situations in the book. Ben is your typical macho man, very crude and brutish, but I enjoyed his character towards the end of the book.

I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads, it was by no means terrible, but not my usual read so I found it a bit difficult to get into!

Happy reading 😊📖

Guilt by Joan Ellis

  

I was given a copy of this book by Maxine over at Booklover Catlady in exchange for an honest review.

Joan Ellis is not a name I have ever heard of, so I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading Guilt. It’s a relatively short book. Less than 200 pages, so I read it today.

Guilt is about Susan, whose younger brother dies of an overdose while she’s watching him. She carries the guilt with her throughout childhood, and into adulthood. When she has a baby of her own, the guilt threatens to overtake everything in her life.

Goodreads describes the book as follows:

You died in April 1965, a month before your fifth birthday. You were probably dead long before Mum downed her third gin with Porky Rawlings.Seven year old Susan is alone with her younger brother when he dies of an overdose.

The Guilt informs the rest of her life.

When it threatens to destroy not only her but her relationship with her new baby,she must revisit the past to find the truth.

What she discovers is as horrifying as it is magical.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t blown away by Guilt. With the book being so short, the author still managed to get the complete story in. At times it felt a bit rushed, but it was still easy to read.

There are some things in the book that readers may find a bit hard to read, but then again, the vivid descriptions are what make a book sometimes. I can’t say i hated this book, but in my opinion, it wasn’t a great read. I found the subject matter and the way the author wrote Susan to be a bit, I can’t find the right word, awkward, forced maybe. Personal opinion though! I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads.

Housebroken by The Behrg

  

I was given a copy of Housebroken to review by Maxine over at BookLover Catlady

I have no idea where to start with this book! I started it on Friday at lunchtime, and I finished it last night (Saturday) after spending the most part of the evening racing through it. I guess that’s a good sign. 

Goodreads describes Housebroken as follows:

“It was a kidnapping, but in all the wrong ways. No ransom, no demands; there was nothing they wanted–other than to observe.” 

When Blake Crochet and his family are taken hostage in their own home, they are forced to act out their everyday lives under the observance of two psychotic kidnappers. Each moment Blake must pit the decision to follow their captors’ rules against the potential catastrophe of a failed escape.
He soon learns that the consequences of both action and inaction are more terrifying than he imagined. As Blake’s life erodes beneath him, secrets come to light that threaten to destroy his family before their kidnappers have a chance.
Secrets carry consequences too.
As the motives behind the kidnapping are revealed, Blake must sacrifice everything to hold on to the ever-shifting definition of what his family has become. In his battle for survival, he will face the ultimate consequence: for to fight a devil, you may have to become one yourself.

I hadn’t heard of this book before I started it so I had no idea what the premise of the book was. Once I started reading it, it quickly became evident that it wasn’t your run of the mill kidnapping book. Imagine being housebound by two maniacs, just to be observed! 

Blake and his wife Jenna, along with their son Adam have recently moved into a beautiful mansion in LA, however, happiness hasn’t followed. There is obvious strain in the marriage, and this begins to become more evident as you get into the book. A stranger appears at their door, and their life is changed forever.

I don’t want to go into the plot, but the only way I can describe this book is that it’s one of the most brutal, screwed up books that I have read in a long time. There is violence (serious violence!!!), murder, torture, psychological abuse and so much more in Housebroken. For want of a better phrase, it’s an assault of the senses! 

12 hours after finishing it, and I’m still thinking about it! Housebroken is adrenaline pumping action mixed with the creepiest of psychological torture and then some! Don’t even get me started on the last 10% of the book! Most of that time was spent with my mouth open and going “huh?! What just happened!!!!”. I gave it three stars on Goodreads. Well worth a read if you want something different to the usual kidnapping story.