~Blog Tour~ One To Watch by Rachel Amphlett~ Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today is Ellen’ stop on the blog tour for One To Watch by Rachel Amphlett and she’ll be sharing her review with you all. As usual, here’s the all-important bookish information first!

About the book:

One to Watch Cover LARGE EBOOK2

Sophie Whittaker shared a terrifying secret. Hours later, she was dead.

Detective Kay Hunter and her colleagues are shocked by the vicious murder of a teenage girl at a private party in the Kentish countryside.

A tangled web of dark secrets is exposed as twisted motives point to a history of greed and corruption within the tight-knit community.

Confronted by a growing number of suspects and her own enemies who are waging a vendetta against her, Kay makes a shocking discovery that will make her question her trust in everyone she knows.

One to Watch is a gripping murder mystery thriller, and the third in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

  1. SCARED TO DEATH
  2. WILL TO LIVE
  3. ONE TO WATCH
  4. HELL TO PAY (out 2017)

One to Watch (The Detective Kay Hunter series) (Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series Book 3)

About the author:

author

Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag in 2017

Ellen’s review:

It’s no secret that I am a massive fan of the Kay Hunter series (and Rachel Amphlett). I was delighted to be given the opportunity to read and review the 3rd in the series One to Watch. This could be read as a standalone but why deny yourself the pleasure of the first two; Scared to Death and Will to Live? Go get them all and dive in.

 

DS Kay Hunter is one of my favourite protagonists; she is the perfect paradigm of a police officer. Willing to go to any lengths to grill suspects even if that means she may face disciplinary action from her superiors. Underneath this resilient exterior Kay has a soft and vulnerable side. She is still obviously distraught over a personal loss as well as the thought that she may not be able to trust her team, some of who who she counts as close friends.

 

I really felt for the young victim of the story, 16yr old Sophie Whittaker. Found bludgeoned to death at her own “purity pledge” party, there were a number of likely suspects, none of who seemed particularly keen on participating in the enquiry process. It was unsettling to think that such a young woman would have so many people who would want her dead. There were tons of twists, turns and red herrings – all the ingredients for a winning police procedural.

 

I absolutely loved One to Watch and hereby award it #allthestars. I cannot wait for Kay Hunter #4 Hell to Pay later this year!

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Stone Groove by Erik Carter ~ Ellen’s Review ~

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About the book:

An empty crime scene. A blood-spattered stone. And a 400-year-old mystery.

An entire colony disappeared off the face of the earth. It’s America’s greatest mystery, and it happened centuries ago. Now it’s happened again.

Federal Agent Dale Conley specializes in the unusual, and he’s seen it all. Except for this. An entire community has vanished overnight. One hundred forty-seven people. The only clue is the word ROANOKE chiseled into a blood-spattered stone.

Dale knows that in the 1930s a series of stones was discovered—stones with carved messages that allegedly told the fate of the Roanoke Colony. When Dale finds more stones with cryptic messages, it’s clear he has a copycat criminal on his hands. Each of the stones lead Dale to a few more of the missing people, and he must solve the stones’ riddles correctly—or the hostages are killed.

Dale soon realizes that the kidnapper knows the details of his past. Including his dark secrets. Now, as Dale races to find the stones, he must come head-on with his own demons to have a chance at saving the missing people.

Stone Groove (Dale Conley Historical Action Thrillers Series Book 1)

About the author:

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Erik Carter writes thrillers and mysteries. A trained public historian and design professional, his adventures have led him across America, where he has done everything from hosting a television show to shooting documentaries in the desert to teaching college. These experiences gave the background he needs for his greatest adventure—writing fiction.

ErikCarterBooks.com
facebook.com/ErikCarterBooks
twitter.com/ErikCarterBooks

Ellen’s review:

As soon as I read the blurb for Stone Groove my interest was piqued; described as a historical action thriller it didn’t sound like anything I had read before. I wasn’t wrong!!
Four hundred years ago in Roanoke 117 people simply disappeared without a trace and became known as the Lost Colony. In present day America the same thing has happened to a colony called The Marshallites, 147 people are missing and it is up to Dale Conley to solve the riddles left carved into stones before time runs out.
Dale works for the Bureau of Esoteric Investigations (BEI), a kind of X Files of the Department of Justice. He is often given copycat cases and ends up with the task of solving this mystery.
I really liked Dale; he is methodical but a rule breaker, a charmer with moral values and an all round nice guy.
The tension is really high and my nerves were wrecked following Dale trying to find the Man in Black who is pulling the strings and battling with ghosts from his past which threaten to unbalance him.
I enjoyed Stone Groove and hope there will be more books featuring Dale Conley. Four stars.

~Blog Tour Extract~ The Lies Within by Jane Isaac

Hey everyone,

Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for The Lies Within by Jane Isaac and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all!

About the book:

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Be under no illusions by her kind face and eloquent manner… This woman is guilty of murder.

Grace Daniels is distraught after her daughter’s body is found in a Leicestershire country lane. With her family falling apart and the investigation going nowhere, Grace’s only solace is the re-emergence of Faye, an old friend who seems to understand her loss.

DI Will Jackman delves into the case, until a family tragedy and a figure from his past threaten to derail him.

When the police discover another victim, the spotlight falls on Grace. Can Jackman find the killer, before she is convicted of a crime she didn’t commit?

The Lies Within by Jane Isaac

About the author:

Jane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-thriller.com and winner of ‘Noveltunity book club selection – May 2014’.

In 2015 Jane embarked on a new series, featuring DI Will Jackman and set in Stratford upon Avon, with Before It’s Too Late. The second in the series, Beneath The Ashes, was published by Legend Press on 1st November 2016 with the 3rd, The Lies Within, in May 2017.

Both DI Jackman and DCI Lavery will return again in the near future. Sign up to Jane’s newsletter on her website at http://www.janeisaac.co.uk for details of new releases, events and giveaways.

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Extract:

Prologue
August 2016 – Criminal Court 3, Leicester Crown Court

The barrister tilts his head back. “Members of the jury, I turn
your attention to Grace Daniels, the woman who stands before
you this afternoon.”
The eyes of the courtroom descend upon Grace. She
searches for a gap in the sea of faces, desperately trying to
maintain her composure while avoiding the anxious gaze of
her youngest daughter, Lydia, seated next to Phil in the public
gallery. Right now she wants nothing more than to be swaddled
in the comfort of their support. But even the shortest of glances
will induce fresh tears to her eyes. And she can’t allow that
to happen. Not now.
The barrister, James Sheldon, a tall, slender man with curls
of thick brown hair that tumble out of the back of his wig,
pauses for the briefest of moments. “During the course of this
trial you will hear accounts from friends, family, neighbours
and employers about her good character and nature. She is a
mother, sister-in-law, daughter and grandmother. A woman
who works and contributes to the fabric of society. But you
are not here to consider her character. You are here to examine
the facts.” His words hang in the air as he moves down the
line, pulling the eyes of every juror with him.
Grace notices Lydia turn away and risks a fleeting glance.
When her girls were young she’d impressed upon them the
importance of being honest. ‘You have nothing to worry about

if you’ve done nothing wrong,’ she would say. What would
Lydia make of that today? She’s sixteen now, although her
blue eyes bulge with the same trepidation they held on her
first day at school.
Grace flicks her gaze to the jury. Seven women and five
men. On the face of it, they seem a reasonable mix. Earlier
that morning, several of them faltered over their words as
they were sworn in. It was strange to think that they could
possibly feel more nervous than she. The woman on the end
wore a dark jumper overlaid with a colourful vintage scarf.
Sheets of hair were tucked behind her ears, her expression
kind and comforting.
Sheldon is concluding the prosecution opening with the
assured confidence of a man skilled in his art. In spite of
the curled wig, the black gown that flaps behind him as he
moves, his gestures are convincingly subtle. A simple touch. A
gentle, considered turn. No sweeping theatrics. Not a moment’s
hesitation in his voice.
Grace looks across at the profile of Eleanor Talbot-Deane,
her defence barrister, through the glass screen that separates
her from the courtroom. Eleanor is as still as stone. His words
haven’t fazed her, yet Grace feels her hands start to tremble
and squeezes them together.
“Over the next few days the Crown will produce compelling
evidence to support the fact that this woman meticulously
planned a cold-blooded murder.”
Grace recoils, aware of Lydia’s eyes boring into the side
of her face. They’d talked about this moment, several times.
Together. With her solicitor. With her barrister. As a family. But
no amount of talking could prepare her for the real prospect
of losing her mother to the confines of prison walls. No child
should ever have to watch a parent on trial.
“You will hear evidence that places her at the scene,
witnesses who heard her plan the murder,” Sheldon continues.
“Plan how to kill a woman who considered herself a friend.”
A head on the jury turns. The woman with the vintage scarf.

Grace imagines she is just like her, with a job and a family; a
small dog that sits beside her on the sofa while she watches
MasterChef on television. But there is no familiarity in her
expression, no sorority. Just cold, hard shock.
Grace’s throat constricts. Even though she has been briefed
on how to react, what to say, what not to say. Even though
she has been dragged through hours of police questioning,
nothing can truly prepare her for the exhausting fatigue that
exudes from the intensity of hanging on to every word, every
tiny detail, still trying to find a hole in the evidence mounting
against her. And this is only the beginning of a trial that is
scheduled to run for days.
“Be under no illusions by her smart clothes, her kind face,
her eloquent manner. Do not form judgements. I implore you
to keep a clear mind and consider the evidence in front of you.
And that evidence alone. This woman is guilty of murder. And
by the time this trial has finished, you will be in no doubt that
she should go to prison for life.”

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~Blog Tour Review~Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul Hardisty

Hi everyone,

Today I’m going to be reviewing Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul Hardisty as part of the blog tour, with thanks to Orenda Books. I read and loved The Evolution Of Fear by Paul E. Hardisty so I was thrilled to be able to read the follow up.

About the author:

Paul Hardisty

Canadian by birth, Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia with his family.

About the book:

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Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier. It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed.

Buy the book:

Out now in ebook, and out in paperback on May 30th, you can pre-order your copy by clicking HERE.

My thoughts:

Reconciliation For The Dead is the latest instalment in the Claymore Straker series and I swear these books keep getting better and better. Filled with hard-hitting and emotive subject matter, they evoke such a wide range of emotions in the reader from beginning to end.

In Reconciliation, Straker is in the midst of Apartheid Africa where he has to testify to the Truth and Reconciliation Comission. During his testimony, he recounts what happened in the lead up to his dishonourable discharge. What follows is an often harrowing and unflinching recollection of one of the toughest times Clay has experienced .

There is something a bit special about these books. Paul Hardisty has the ability to make the reader connect with his characters, and none more than Clay. The reader is inserted into the story right alongside him, feeling both fearful and hopeful at the same time. In the middle of war-torn Africa, we are brought right into the heart of it, through the superbly constructed and wonderfully evocative prose. Every puff of stifling heat, every step in the arid and harsh climate is almost tangible to the reader thanks to the author’s writing.

I don’t want to give the game away on this one. There are so many subtle nuances and vignettes that the joy of this book is discovering them as you read it. Paul Hardisty has written a tense and haunting book, showing the depths of human depravity and the lengths at which people to go to protect what they believe in.

I cannot recommend it highly enough. 
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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

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 Black Echo by Michael Connelly

About the book:

Black Echo

LAPD detective Harry Bosch is a loner and a nighthawk. One Sunday he gets a call-out on his pager. A body has been found in a drainage tunnel off Mulholland Drive, Hollywood. At first sight, it looks like a routine drugs overdose case, but the one new puncture wound amid the scars of old tracks leaves Bosch unconvinced.

To make matters worse, Harry Bosch recognises the victim. Billy Meadows was a fellow ‘tunnel rat’ in Vietnam, running against the VC and the fear they all used to call the Black Echo. Bosch believes he let down Billy Meadows once before, so now he is determined to bring the killer to justice.

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

My thoughts:

I’ve decided to go back to the start of the Harry Bosch novels, created by Michael Connelly, as I missed out on a fair few over the years. It was only natural to start at the beginning and re-introduce myself to Detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch. My plan is to try to read one a month on top of my review books, so I read The Black Echo in April.

In The Black Echo, we meet Harry Bosch for the first time when he gets a call on his pager to attend the scene of a body that has been discovered in a drainage tunnel. What he finds leads him to believe there is more at play than just a simple drug-related death.

What startles Harry more though, is the fact that he recognises the dead body as someone he served with during the Vietnam War. A tunnel rat called Billy Meadows. Meadows used to run the tunnels and flush out anyone hiding in them, and these tunnels were dubbed the black echo.

What follows, during the course of the investigation, is the uncovering of far more than just one death. Corruption, conspiracy and so much more take place in The Black Echo. I had forgotten how good Connelly is at creating such a strong plot. Whilst it moves at a slower pace, nothing is out-of-place, there is no padding. The whole story fits together effortlessly and is supported with an excellent cast of characters.

I can’t recommend Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch series highly enough. A must for crime fiction readers! I can’t wait to pick up the next book. Hopefully I can sneak it in during May. 🙂