The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

  
So, yet another Rick O’Shea book club choice here. I had this book on my shelves for quite some time, but I just hadn’t gotten near it. It was quite nice not to have to go out and specifically purchase the book for the club though. 

I try not to read too much reviews/synopses about books before I start them, so I didn’t know too much about this before I started it. 

The premise of his book is that Harry lives many lives, and the book goes between them. The following is what Goodreads has to say:

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, every time Harry dies, he always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life lived a dozen times before.

Nothing ever changes – until now.
As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’she says. ‘I need to send a message.’

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

I have to be honest, I couldn’t get into this book at all. It was very slow for me, with not much happening. I thought about giving up a few times to be honest (which I rarely do) but I kept going because it was for book club. I didn’t want to be left out of the chat loop 🙂

None of Harry’s lives interested me, none of the stories, none of the things he had to do, nothing! I don’t want to go into plots because apparently there is something worth spoiling (meow, I know!!) so I won’t bother!

I feel terrible saying it, but I really didn’t like this book. I gave it 1 star on Goodreads, and I’d be hard pushed to recommend it to anybody!! 

The Apostle by JA Kerley

 

The Apostle is the twelfth book in the Carson Ryder detective series.  I love these books as they are so easy to read. I’ve read them all, and this was the latest in the series. I have to say this wouldn’t be my favourite of the series, but it’s still a good read. 

The book is based in Florida, and it centres around religious corruption and murder. It serves to them Carson Ryder up with his now retired ex partner Harry Nautilus as they both investigate simultaneously without realising.

Without spoilers, it’s quite hard to describe the full plot of this book. The description from Goodreads is as follows: 
From the bestselling author of Her Last Scream, a chilling tale of ritual murder and corruption, featuring Detective Carson Ryder.

The Reverend Honus Schrum, a nationally renowned minister and owner of a broadcasting empire, tells the media he has come home to Key West to die. Meanwhile, Detective Carson Ryder is investigating the ritualistic murders of young women with chequered pasts, discovering the killings have religious overtones.

Simultaneously, a newly retired Harry Nautilus takes a job as a driver/bodyguard for Richard Owsley, an ambitious pastor in Mobile. They come to Florida, where Owsley meets with Schrum and is enlisted to complete a special and mysterious ‘project’ Schrum has promised a billionaire benefactor.
As Carson digs deeper into the murders, Harry, interest piqued by all the hush-hush goings-on of his new employer, begins to covertly investigate the strange project. Their independent investigations begin to converge, and Carson and Harry uncover a horrifying connection between the cases…
I highly recommend the Kerley books, but I wouldn’t suggest starting with this. I always find with series it pays to read in chronological order, in this case The Hundredth Man. 

Happy reading! 

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

Well, where to start with this one…

I heard a lot about this book through different lists, blogs etc, so I had seriously high expectations when I finally got around to reading it. Lots of them said it was brilliant, unusual, gruesome and so on! Even the author stated in her acknowledgements that she wouldn’t let her daughter read this book until she was in her 20’s or something!!

The following is what Goodreads has to say;

“Damaged Portland detective Archie Sheridan spent ten years tracking Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful serial killer, but in the end she was the one who caught him. Two years ago, Gretchen kidnapped Archie and tortured him for ten days, but instead of killing him, she mysteriously decided to let him go. She turned herself in, and now Gretchen has been locked away for the rest of her life, while Archie is in a prison of another kind—addicted to pain pills, unable to return to his old life, powerless to get those ten horrific days off his mind. Archie’s a different person, his estranged wife says, and he knows she’s right. He continues to visit Gretchen in prison once a week, saying that only he can get her to confess as to the whereabouts of more of her victims, but even he knows the truth—he can’t stay away.

When another killer begins snatching teenage girls off the streets of Portland, Archie has to pull himself together enough to lead the new task force investigating the murders. A hungry young newspaper reporter, Susan Ward, begins profiling Archie and the investigation, which sparks a deadly game between Archie, Susan, the new killer, and even Gretchen. They need to catch a killer, and maybe somehow then Archie can free himself from Gretchen, once and for all. Either way, Heartsick makes for one of the most extraordinary suspense debuts in recent memory.”
Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?!

Personally, I was so disappointed by this book! I was expecting all of this wonderful thrilling horrifying stuff to happen, and I was left wanting. I just couldn’t get into it at all. I didn’t like the characters, least of all Archie. He just seemed so weak to me!

I’d genuine love to know what it was about the book that Cain wouldn’t want her daughter to read. I’ve read much worse in less publicised books if I’m honest!

The Memory Killer by JA Kerley

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Really enjoyed this, which sounds awful considering the content (abduction, torture etc), but Kerley’s books are just so easy to read. I find whenever I start one, I really want to race through it. Which isn’t always possible with 2 kids and a husband (love ye!!!) and housework and so on.

I always think that’s the sign of a good book, when you are thinking about it but don’t have a chance to read it! I always recommend the Carson Ryder series when people ask about a good series.

The blurb from Amazon below:

“Detective Carson Ryder faces a cunning and inventive adversary in this terrifying thriller from the bestselling author of Her Last Scream.

Young men in Miami are being abducted and tortured after their drinks are spiked with a cocktail of drugs that leaves them unable to recall their ordeal. Despite this, Detective Carson Ryder knows the predator’s name, height, age, colouring … everything. It’s impossible for the perpetrator to avoid detection. Yet he does.

When Carson seeks answers from his brother, a wanted criminal intimate with twisted minds, Jeremy’s odd behaviour sparks even more questions. With each abduction, the violence becomes more horrific, and it’s only a short time until torture turns to murder.

But how do you catch an invisible man?”

The Death Box by JA Kerley

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Carson Ryder book 10 in the series.

Another instalment by Kerley featuring one of my favourite characters, Carson Ryder. As with all his books, this one is as enjoyable as the previous ones in the series.

The blurb from Amazon below:

“Detective Carson Ryder faces his most terrifying adversary yet in this nail-biting thriller from the author of Her Last Scream.

Carson Ryder thought he’d seen everything …

A specialist in twisted crimes, Detective Carson Ryder thought he’d seen the lowest depths of human depravity. But he’s barely started his new job in Miami when called to a horrific scene: a concrete pillar built of human remains, their agony forever frozen in stone.

Finding the secret of the pillar drags him into the sordid world of human trafficking, where one terrified girl holds the key to unraveling a web of pain, prostitution and murder. There’s just one problem: Ryder’s not the only one chasing the girl.”

This book is quite pacy, and it keeps you going with thrills and twists, which by now Kerley is extremely adept at writing. As usual I really enjoyed catching up with Ryder. A tried and tested formula, but it works. Nice and easy to read too!

Normal by Graeme Cameron

I spotted this book a lot in my goodreads and Facebook feeds so I decided to buy it! It arrived last week so I moved into it once I finished Half Bad! 

Normal is written from the point of view of a serial killer. We don’t get much descriptive information about him which adds to the atmosphere. It also lets you conjure up your own images of him which I liked as it means I got to exercise my imagination a bit! 😄 

As you know, I start new books at night as bedtime is my uninterrupted reading time! I didn’t want to stop reading this once I started! I think I got up to page 80 before I decided I needed some sleep! 

It’s a pacy, well written and enjoyable read. The detail as regards murders can be quite graphic but I’m well used to it as my book choices are usually twisted enough at the best of times! 

Amazon describe the book as follows; 

“He lives on your street, in a nice house with a tidy garden. 

He shops at your local supermarket. He drives beside you, waving to let you into the lane ahead of him. 

He also has an elaborate cage in a secret basement under his garage. 

The food he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will – one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her. 

This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal…and it works. Perfectly. 

But this time it’s different…”

I really enjoyed this book, and towards the end I found myself racking my brain to see what could happen!  I even found myself rooting for him at a few different points! 

I gave Normal 4* on Goodreads! I would highly recommend it! 

Happy Reading 😊📖

  

The Surrogate by Tania Carver

  

I started reading this book last week, not knowing what it was about! I have to say, once I started it I felt a bit uneasy. As a new mom, some of the subject matter isn’t exactly easy to read! 

The blurb from Amazon is as follows; 

A shocking double-murder scene greets Detective Inspector Philip Brennan when he is called to a flat in Colchester. Two women are viciously cut open and laying spreadeagled, one tied to the bed, one on the floor. The woman on the bed has had her stomach cut into and her unborn child is missing. 

But this is the third time Phil and his team have seen such an atrocity. Two other pregnant women have been killed in this way and their babies taken from them. No-one can imagine what sort of person would want to commit such evil acts.

When psychologist Marina Esposito is brought in, Phil has to put aside his feelings about their shared past and get on with the job. But can they find the killer before another woman is targeted?


This is the first book I’ve read by Tania Carver, and I have to say, subject matter aside, her writing style is very easy to follow! I find if plots become too convoluted then it’s really hard to concentrate on what’s happening! This was a very clear story, well written, and as with most crime thrillers, it had a twist towards the end. As with any review I post, there’s no spoilers 😄 


The main character, Phil Brennan, was a fairly likeable man, had his flaws and a bad upbringing, but he was a good male protagonist. It was easy to feel for him in certain situations throughout the book. 


I rated the book 3* on Amazon purely because I found the subject matter a bit difficult to read at times, but that’s only my own personal opinion. It’s a good book, I’d have no problem recommending it to someone looking to start an new crime series! I have to confess, while writing this, I took a peek at the synopsis for book two in the series ‘The Creeper’ and I kinda want to buy it!!! However, if you read my blog, you will have seen from my previous post (https://bibliophilebookclub.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/what-ive-bought/) that I have rather a lot to get through! 😄


Happy reading 😊📖