Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

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

About the book:

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Published by Hot Key Books in September, you can pre-order your copy by clicking HERE.

About the author:

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E. Lockhart is the author of We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The Boyfriend List and several other novels.

website: www.emilylockhart.com
Liars site: www.wewereliars.com
blog: www.theboyfriendlist.com
Twitter: elockhart

My thoughts:

Genuine Fraud is garnering comparisons to The Talented Mr Ripley from any early reviews I’ve seen. Not a book I’ve had the chance to read but it definitely piqued my interest enough to want to read this one. After finishing it, I could see how, from what little I know of Ripley, the comparisons are drawn.

Genuine Fraud focuses on Jule and Imogen and their intense friendship. Seemingly polar opposites, its only a matter of time before they start to become like each other. Genuine Fraud becomes a story of reinvention and deceit the more of it you read. There are murders, fights, disappearances and plenty more going on in this book.

Genuine Fraud is a compulsive read, in that you have to keep reading to get answers to previous events, because it is told in a reversed timeline format. While it is not anything new, it is still a current and interesting read. The characters are also intriguing, chameleon-like in how they shed facets of themselves during the course of the narrative.

This book wasn’t as suspenseful a read as I had hoped, but it is still a steady read. If you’re looking for another We Were Liars, then you’ll be disappointed as this is nothing like it. I think if you’re new to the psychological thriller genre, then you will enjoy this one. If psych thrillers are your thing, you won’t find anything new with this one. That being said, it’s a solid page-turner and definitely one to watch out for.

Recommended!

 

~Mini Review~ Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy*

About the book:

In a city divided and broken, this revelation will set it on fire…

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.

Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Little Boy Lost. Its short chapters make it very easy to speed through half the book without realising it. I am a fan of legal thrillers, and this one was no exception.

There is so much more going on with Little Boy Lost though. Racism, politics, bullying and murder can be found in this book, and the author handles every theme quite sensitively.

I found that at times the flow of the book felt a bit off, in that there was time skipped and I wondered what was missing, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. Packed with great characters, and with some very current themes, it’s a very good read! 

Recommended!

The Owl Always Hunts at Night by Samuel Bjork

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

About the book:

When a young woman is found dead, the police are quick to respond. But what they find at the murder site is unexpected. The body is posed, the scene meticulously set. And there is almost no forensic evidence to be found.

Detective Mia Krüger is a woman on the edge – she has been signed off work pending psychological assessment. But her boss has less regard for the rules than he should. Desperate to get Mia back in the office, Holger Munch offers her an unofficial deal.

But the usually brilliant Mia is struggling and the team are unable to close the case. Until a young hacker uncovers something that forces the team to confront the scope of the murderer’s plans and face the possibility that he may already be on the hunt for a second victim.

Published in April 2017, click HERE to order your copy!

About the author:

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Samuel Bjørk is the pen name of Norwegian novelist, playwright and singer/songwriter Frode Sander Øien. Øien wrote his first stageplay at the age of twenty-one and has since written two highly acclaimed novels, released six albums, written five plays, and translated Shakespeare, all in his native Norway. Øien currently lives and works in Oslo.

My thoughts:

I’m not going to lie, I had been waiting to read The Owl… since I turned the last page in I’m Travelling Alone as it was one of my favourite reads of 2015. Something about the authors writing really captured my attention with the first book, so I was really hoping that they would be able to do the same with the second in the series.

In The Owl… we’re back with Holger and Mia. When the body of a troubled teen runaway is found posed on a bed of feathers in the forest, Holger and Mia are called in to investigate the apparently ritualistic killing. What follows takes the whole team off down a very dangerous path.

In this book, Mia is very troubled. Still struggling with her demons after the events in book one, she throws herself into this case in a bid to get herself back on track. Burying herself in solving the case seems to be the only way Mia is able to expend all of her nervous energy. Thanks to this manic energy, she manages to spot vital clues throughout the investigation.

Holger is also having a bit of personal trouble in this one, yet he still manages to keep the investigation moving forward. His daughter, Miriam, also features prominently in The Owl… She has met an activist and seems to be veering away from her marriage towards something that she does’t understand. It turns out to be bigger than anyone could have anticipated.

The Owl Always Hunts at Night is a suspenseful and gripping slice of Scandinavian crime fiction. Packed with creepy and unusual ritualistic elements, with a very dark undertone, it is a crcking follow-up to I’m Travelling Alone.

Highly recommended!

Previous reviews:

I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork

You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood

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About the book:

It’s easy to judge between right and wrong – isn’t it?

Not until you hear a convincing truth.

Now it’s up to you to decide…

 

An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.

He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth.

There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters:

Did he do it?

Click HERE to pick up your copy!

About the author:

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Imran Mahmood was born in Liverpool in 1969 to first generation Pakistani parents. He has been working on the criminal bar in London for over 20 years and regularly appears in jury trials across the country dealing in serious and complex criminal cases.

He now lives in South East London with his wife and is currently plotting a second novel.

My thoughts:

You Don’t Know Me is one book I’d been waiting to read when I’d heard the buzz surrounding it. Essentially, it is a legal thriller, but it is written in a very unusual style if you were to compare it to others in a similar genre.

We meet the defendant, unnamed, and accused of murder. Having fired his lawyer, he decides to give his own account of what happened. Eight pieces of evidence are used in the case, and the defendant talks the jury, and the reader, through each one.

Told in the first person, using his own colloquialisms, You Don’t Know Me is a very different book. The defendant takes us through how he ended up in the dock accused of murder. His tale is an epic one, with so many different characters being brought into the narrative.

Gang culture, morality and murder are all addressed in the defendants speech. How he got to where he is now is just one of the avenues explored in his testimony. The defendant is the only voice (until the end) and the reader comes to know him a little bit more through every monologue he gives.

You Don’t Know Me is different, and odd, but it is very compelling to read. Did he do it? Why is he there? Ultimately, the reader is left with some unanswered questions but the author has written a very clever novel. It is evident that he comes from a legal background.

Compulsive, clever, and more than a little frustrating at times, You Don’t Know Me is divisive, and definitely one to watch.

Recommended!

Freefall (Pendulum Trilogy #2) by Adam Hamdy

About the book:

Eight months after confronting Pendulum, John Wallace is losing himself in a dangerous warzone in a misguided attempt at penance for what he has done. But an assassination attempt makes Wallace realise that he has once again been targeted for death. This time, Wallace is prepared and, tracking down his would-be assassin, he discovers a link to his nemesis, Pendulum.

The link is the missing piece of a puzzle that has tormented FBI Agent Christine Ash ever since they confronted Pendulum, but with no Bureau support she has been unable to progress her case. Wallace’s proof breaks it, but also exposes them both to terrible danger.

Confronted by a powerful, hidden enemy, Ash and Wallace must overcome impossible odds if they are to avert a dangerous challenge to the networked world that threatens to destroy our way of life.

Freefall will be published in November 2017. You can pre-order your copy by clicking the link below:

Freefall (Pendulum Trilogy #2) by Adam Hamdy

About the author:

Adam Hamdy is an author, screenwriter and filmmaker who has worked with studios and producers on both sides of the Atlantic. Adam is currently writing Oracle, an original drama series, for the BBC, and is developing To Kill A Shadow, a crime thriller, with See-Saw Films. In addition to his own original work, Adam has adapted a number of comic books and novels for the screen, including the forthcoming film version of David Mitchell’s novel, Number9Dream.

Prior to becoming a writer, Adam was a strategy consultant and advised global businesses operating in a wide range of industries.

Adam’s first novel, Out Of Reach, was published by Dare in 2015. His second, Pendulum, was published by Headline in November 2016. The follow-up to Pendulum, FREEFALL, will be published late 2017.

Days after Pendulum’s release, the screen rights were snapped up by Tom Hardy’s production company, Hardy Son & Baker.

@AdamHamdy

www.adamhamdy.com

My thoughts:

Having read and loved Pendulum, I was more than a little excited to see early proof copies of Freefall on twitter recently, and even more delighted to receive one myself. This is one book I had been waiting for, pretty much since I finished Pendulum, so there was no question of my leaving the book aside until publication, NO SIREE!!! In fact, I brought it away with me to read while I was away with my husband for our wedding anniversary. Luckily, my husband understands the need to read the much anticipated books so I didn’t feel bad about losing myself with John Wallace for a few hours!

If you’ve not read Pendulum, well,
A) What are you waiting for?
B) I won’t be saying too much about it because SPOILERS ARE A NO-NO!

Still reeling from the events that took place in Pendulum, John Wallace has fled to a war zone in an attempt to try and find penance for what has taken place, and, in my opinion, he’s seeking danger in the hope that it may cause an end to his personal torment, but that’s neither here nor there. When there is an attempt on his life over there though, it leads him to think that someone wants him dead. However, Wallace has been through this before, so he knows what to do. What he is NOT expecting though, is that there’s a link between his would-be assassin, and his old enemy, Pendulum. This attempt on Wallace’s life sets in motion an terrifying chain of events which nobody could have foreseen.

Not even Agent Christine Ash. Yep, she’s back (woop!) in Freefall, and still diligently trying to work the Pendulum case, but with no breaks and even less help from the Bureau, she’s plateaued with her work on it. Called out to the scene where a masked killer beheads his victims with an unknown weapon that leaves a perfectly clean cut, Ash gets the break she needs. BUT during course of her investigation, Ash finds way more than she bargained for. Ash is also having a bit of a rough time as regards confronting her past (READ PENDULUM to find out why!!!) and this will either sharpen her focus, or weaken her resolve in terms of her ability to work the case. I think Adam Hamdy has done a great job with her character arc in this book too. It’s much more intricate, and there’s a lot of inner turmoil that he captures really well when she’s alone.

Another returning favourite is Patrick Bailey. Bless him, he’s another one struggling to get his life together in the wake of the Pendulum nightmare. Plagued with insecurity and fear, Bailey is a shadow of his former self. When he gets a call to assist on a case, once present it becomes evident that there is much more at play than what’s in front of him. Bailey must work fast to find what he needs before it’s too late. However, as I’m realising, the author has a knack for pulling the rug out from underneath the reader without warning.

Bailey, Ash and Wallace are all connected, whether they realise it or not. And once again, someone wants them gone, and will stop at nothing to make it happen. They thought Pendulum broke them, but they have no idea what they are up against…

Corruption, subterfuge, murder are all present in Freefall. But it’s the little intricacies like levels of trust, networks (both people and technology) and lies that weave this book into the expertly crafted web the reader has to pick through. Every time I thought I knew something, I was told something different. The authors sleight of hand is immense in Freefall. Adam Hamdy makes the reader look one side, while he’s creating something dangerous on the other, which means the tension is ramped up completely!

I loved Freefall. It was so worth the wait, and I am already chomping at the bit for book 3, and this one isn’t even out until November! All the stars for this one! ⭐️

Highly, HIGHLY recommended!

Previous reviews:

Pendulum by Adam Hamdy

Run by Adam Hamdy

 

~ Mini Review~ Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

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*Many thanks to the publisher for my Netgalley review copy!*
About the book:
WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW
In 1998, Maryanne Doyle disappeared and Dad knew something about it?
Maryanne Doyle was never seen again.

 

WHAT I ACTUALLY KNOW
In 1998, Dad lied about knowing Maryanne Doyle.
Alice Lapaine has been found strangled near Dad’s pub.
Dad was in the local area for both Maryanne Doyle’s disappearance and Alice Lapaine’s murder – FACT
Connection?

Trust cuts both ways . . . what do you do when it’s gone?

My thoughts:
I had heard good things about Sweet Little Lies so of course I had to check it out to see what it was like.
Sweet Little Lies is the winner of the Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and I can see how it won. Packed with unreliable narrators, twisty and with plenty of diffferent themes and avenues explored it definitely follows the psych thriller rules in that sense!
Caz Frear has a great writing style, and a knack for creating characters that the reader will love to hate I think. One thing that made me smile was reading about my hometown and a nightclub from the 1990’s. I love feeling a connection like that when I’m reading, and its not often that Galway gets a mention!
Sweet Little Lies is an interesting tale. It has good plot and divisive characters and it deals well in showing how relationships and secrets can destroy lives.
Recommended!
Check out Caz Frear’s guest post from the recent blog tour:

Afterlife by Marcus Sakey

About the book:

The last thing FBI agent Will Brody remembers is the explosion—a thousand shards of glass surfing a lethal shock wave.

He wakes without a scratch.

The building is in ruins. His team is gone. Outside, Chicago is dark. Cars lie abandoned. No planes cross the sky. He’s relieved to spot other people—until he sees they’re carrying machetes.

Welcome to the afterlife.

Claire McCoy stands over the body of Will Brody. As head of an FBI task force, she hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. A terrorist has claimed eighteen lives and thrown the nation into panic.

Against this horror, something reckless and beautiful happened. She fell in love…with Will Brody.

But the line between life and death is narrower than any of us suspect—and all that matters to Will and Claire is getting back to each other.

Out today and published by Thomas & Mercer, click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

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Marcus Sakey’s thrillers have been nominated for more than fifteen awards, named New York Time‘s Editor’s Picks, and selected among Esquire Magazine‘s Top 5 Books of The Year. His novel GOOD PEOPLE was made into a movie starring James Franco and Kate Hudson, and his other books are in various stages of development for film.

Born in Flint, Michigan, Marcus fell in love with story at a young age. At five, when other kids were hoping to be rock stars and astronauts, he dreamed of becoming a novelist. He attended the University of Michigan before beginning a decade-long career in television and advertising, which gave him “plenty of exposure to liars and thieves”—the perfect apprenticeship.

His debut thriller THE BLADE ITSELF was sold at auction and published to wide critical acclaim, allowing him to work full-time as a writer.

To research his novels, Marcus has rappelled with SWAT teams, pub-crawled with bank robbers, dissected a human brain, chased pirate treasure, and learned to pick a deadbolt. He is a certified SCUBA diver and sailing captain, a rock climber, an accomplished carpenter, a spice junkie, and “a hell of a cook.”

Marcus was the host and writer of the acclaimed television show Hidden City on Travel Channel, for which he was routinely pepper-sprayed and attacked by dogs.

He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.

My thoughts:

Without realising it, I have been waiting for a book to come into my life and completely blow me away. Afterlife was this book for me. I had no preconceptions going into it, didn’t re-read the blurb, didn’t Google it, I just dove right in. And I was greatly rewarded once I started.

Afterlife is a stunning read. There is a reason Ron Howard is making this into a movie! It is utterly captivating. Spanning decades and moving between life and death, it is an epic tale of survival and the lengths to which one will go to exist. It is also a sweeping love story, by accident or design I don’t know, but it really got to me.

Will Brody is an FBI agent, and the last thing he remembers is an explosion. Everything is abandoned, the sky is empty and the city of Chicago is still. When he sees people, he is relieved until he realises they have weapons and he is in big trouble. Apparently that’s the afterlife for you!

Head of an FBI task force Claire McCoy is left standing over the ruined body of her former agent. Killed in the line of duty, Brody was trying to protect Chicago from a sniper who has taken the lives of eighteen people. What McCoy’s agents don’t know is that she and Will were in love.

Separated in death, all that matters to Will and Claire is each other. Spanning different worlds, Afterlife is a truly genre-bending novel packed with suspense, murder, life and death. I got lost in this book. The plight of the main characters consumed me while I was reading it. I didn’t want the book to end to be honest. I became so thoroughly invested in the fates of these characters that I couldn’t think of anything else, even when I wasn’t reading it. In fact, I am weeks out from reading it, and I still think about it on a daily basis.

Afterlife addresses the age old question of whether or not there is life after death. What I loved about this book was the battles that were fought before death and beyond. Even in death, the author has created a war. But it is a war unlike any other.

I’m afraid to say any more, but only because I want readers to discover the stellar writing for themselves. I can only speak for myself. For me, Afterlife is one of the best books I’ve had the opportunity to read in quite a while. An excellent, and so very different plot, with a cast of brilliantly-drawn characters made this book a complete winner for me.
Afterlife is an absolutely outstanding book! Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. It is compelling and beautiful, yet so dark at the same time. It is a mix of crime/dystopian fiction and a love story unlike any other, spanning years and worlds, with a very different antagonist. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It caught me unawares and I will be thinking about it for a long time!

All the stars for this one.

Highly, highly recommended!