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» Listings for February 2014

  1. Mark Billingham Lazy BonesMy Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: Someone - a woman or somebody pretending to be a woman, is writing to convicted rapists in prison, befriending them and then brutally killing them when they are released. DI Tom Thorne must discover the link between these killings and a murder/suicide that took place twenty-five years before; a tragedy to which the only witnesses were two small children, now adults and nowhere to be found…How can you escape a past that will do a lot more than just catch up with you? And how can Thorne catch a killer, when he doesn't really care about the victims?

    My Review: Having read the first two in this series in succession, I was looking forward to the third. I really liked the first book, was kind of indifferent with the second and by the time I finished this latest book found myself wanting to get onto book 4! For those that maybe haven’t read the series, the lead character is DI Tom Thorne; a man with a cat called Elvis who supports Spurs and who is obsessed with his very outdated CD collection. I think the majority of fans love Tom Thorne and I have to say that after this 3d book I can see why. He’s a character that you don’t instantly love, but his grim and dark humour, along with a doggedly determined character makes him ‘oh-so’ likeable.

  2. Mark Billingham Scaredy CatMy Rating:3/5

    Synopsis: It was a vicious, calculated murder. The killer selected his victim at Euston station, followed her home on the tube, strangled her to death in front of her child. At the same time, killed in the same way, a second body is discovered at the back of King's Cross station. It is a grisly coincidence that eerily echoes the murder of two other women, stabbed to death months before on the same day… It is DI Tom Thorne who sees the link and comes to the horrifying conclusion. This is not a serial killer the police are up against. This is two of them. Finding the body used to be the worst part of the job. Not any more. Now each time a body is found, Thorne must live with the knowledge that somewhere out there is a second victim, waiting to be discovered. But the whilst the methods might be the same Thorne comes to realise that he is hunting two very different killers. One is ruthless and in control, while his partner in crime is submissive, compliant, terrified. 

     Thorne must catch a man whose need to manipulate is as great as his need to kill; a man who will threaten those closest to Thorne himself; a man, who will show him that the ability to inspire terror is the deadliest weapon of all…

  3. Paul G FlareMy Rating: 5/5

    Synopsis: Malcolm King is a journalist living in trendy Hove on the south coast of England. His days are taken up with video meetings and research on the internet while he writes articles for magazines around the world. 

    When a solar flare of unprecedented magnitude hits the Earth, effectively hurling us back to the stone age in a matter of hours, Malc is thrust into a terrifying new world as he travels the length of the country to find his young daughter. 

    Society, a fragile construct at best, shatters as the survivors fight each other for food and water, neighbour killing neighbour as fires rage through the cities, destroying much of what's left. 

    Faced with difficult choices at every turn, Malc draws his strength from those around him; Emily, a tough, no-nonsense soldier with a soft spot for lost causes and Jerry, a disgraced astrophysicist who may be the only person left who understands what's happening with the sun. 

    With their help, he must struggle to answer the ultimate question. 

    What won't he do to get his daughter back?

  4. Mark Billingham SleepyheadMy Rating: 4/5

    Availability: Hardback, Paperback, Kindle, Audio, Nook and Kobo

    Synopsis:  It's rare for a young woman to die from a stroke and when three such deaths occur in short order it starts to look like an epidemic. Then a sharp pathologist notices traces of benzodiazepine in one of the victim's blood samples and just traceable damage to the ligaments in her neck, and their cause of death is changed from 'natural' to murder. The police aren't making much progress in their hunt for the killer until he appears to make a mistake: Alison Willetts is found alive and D.I. Tom Thorne believes the murderer has made a mistake, which ought to allow them to get on his tracks. But it was the others who were his mistakes: he doesn't want to take life, he just wants to put people into a state where they cannot move, cannot talk, cannot do anything but think. When Thorne, helped by the neurologist looking after Alison, starts to realise what he is up against he knows the case is not going to be solved by normal methods - before he can find out who did it he has to understand why he's doing it.

  5. Kim Chambers The TrapMy Rating: 5/5

    In KC's latest book we get to meet the wonderfully nutty family The Butlers. Having read all of Chambers books you get to the stage where you wonder what she is going to come up with next. Thankfully she still has a head full of ideas and crazy characters that had me both laughing and gasping in shock at the same time. Vinny and Roy Butler are the apple of their Mum Queenie's eye. They can do no wrong, even if they do operate outside the law. IN the early part of the book we get introduced to a lot of characters. At first I felt like I couldn't keep up as there were so many, but luckily I got to grips with everybody well before the first quarter of the book. By the second half of the book I could see why Kim had created so many characters as it makes for a very interesting read!!!

    There are also numerous characters that add another layer to the story which stretches over the following months and years. Vinny, Roy and their younger brother Michael are quite different. As their younger brother Michael starts to make more of an appearance as the story progresses I realised that he was one of my favourites. This book has so many plot threads going on but it's easy to keep up as you become engrossed with the different families involved in different elements of the story. It's actually pretty hard to review parts of the story as it could be a major plot spoiler. The main element to this story is Vinny Butlers dangerous personality. He's a man that's used to getting his own way, and when he starts to make bad decisions, it's his own family that he ends up putting in danger.

    By the halfway mark I knew it was pointless putting the book down, so finished the last part in one sitting. At the end of the book I was bloody fuming. Not only has Kim Chambers written another corker of a book, but she has ended on a brilliant high with the reader having more questions than answers. I had to sit back and really try and think which of my KC books my favourite was. I fell in love with the Mitchell and O'Hara's and was sure that they would remain my favourites, but then she released The Schemer. I am still torn as to whether I prefer The Schemer, the Mitchell/O'Hara books or this newest addition The Butlers. My conclusion was that if they were all that close that I struggled to call it, then they were all bloody brilliant.

    Absolutely no complaints from me as Kimberley Chambers continues to prove why she should still be sitting at the top of the pile with others crime writers such as Mandasue Heller. With this new release on 14th February 2013 and Mandasue Heller's new book on 31st January, fans of these ladies are in for a treat. The only thing you might find is your frustration levels will increase the nearer to the end of the book you get. Knowing we have to wait another year for the next instalment is agony! Roll on the next one...

  6. Zoe Sharp Fourth DayMy Rating: 5/5
    Synopsis: The cult calling itself Fourth Day is well-funded and fiercely guards its privacy. Five years ago Thomas Witney went in to try and get evidence that the cult’s charismatic leader, Randall Bane, was responsible for the death of Witney’s son. Witney never came out.

    Now, ex-Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard, Charlie Fox, agrees to go undercover into Fourth Day’s California stronghold. This is a fast covert op, no real danger for someone with her mindset and training. But Charlie is not prepared for the lure of Randall Bane, or how easily he will pinpoint her weaknesses...

    My Review: Please note, this is the 8th in a series of books featuring Charlie Fox. For those wishing to read the series in order, maybe don’t read this review. It’s incredibly difficult to review this without inevitable plot spoilers due to the length of time the series has been going.

    I am having a somewhat marathon session with this series and am now onto the 8th book in the Charlie Fox series with this latest one. When I started reading I was a little bit confused. The ending of the last book left me with so many questions, however I soon realised that the new operation was a good way for Charlie not to think about what happened at the end of the last book! The story was pretty intense early on and we soon see that Charlie and Sean are trying to extract their ‘principal’ from a so called cult. As usual with any Fox and Meyer story, things are never cut and dried, and they end up with a bigger problem once the first part of their operation is done.

    What results is an opportunity for Charlie to get up close and personal with Randall Bane, the guy running the cult named Fourth Day. Not much time had passed since I had started reading and I was surprised to realise I was once again over halfway through the book. With lots of opportunity to delve, we see Charlie take major risks (as per usual) only this time we see her vulnerabilities in a huge way. I would go as far as to say that although Charlie Fox is one of my favourite female lead characters, she is also one of the craziest. Maybe that’s why I like her so much? Not only does she take huge chances, she is also ridiculously screwed up. Her personality leads you to think she actually verges on the edge of becoming as lethal and dangerous as the people she is normally chasing.

    Fourth Day held my interest from very early on with all the weird goings-on at the so called cult. However, when you add in the fact that this appears to be the closest we get to layering back Charlie’s personality it made for a pretty explosive read. It had everything I wanted and some! What I wasn’t prepared for was the ending. I almost shouted out loud because I just couldn’t believe it. Zoe Sharp has certainly whetted the fans appetite to want to plough straight onto the next one. I think after reading so many ZS books I will take a break at just the right time. I will anticipate the next book even more, waiting to find out the outcome of the latest Sharp/Meyer disaster.

  7. Zoe Sharp Third StrikeMy Review: 5/5

    Synopsis: Bodyguard and ex-Special Forces soldier Charlie Fox is slowly recovering from gunshot wounds but is desperate to prove herself to her new boss. Little does she know there’s a personal matter on the horizon that’s going to take up all of her attention – her father is in trouble and needs her help. It seems he has upset the wrong crowd and they’re using increasingly violent methods to systematically destroy the man’s immaculate reputation. It’s up to Charlie to find out why and stop the situation from getting seriously out of hand…

    My Review: WOW! My heart really can’t take much more when it comes to Charlie Fox. For those of you that haven’t read a Zoe Sharp book you may want to not continue to read this review as it will inevitably contain spoilers (especially if you are reading the series from the beginning). With that to one side, I am now on to my third Fox book in succession and I’m about to start the next one!

  8. Zoe Sharp Second ShotMy Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: The latest assignment for ex-Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard Charlie Fox has her protecting Simone and her daughter Ella from the unwanted attentions of an ex-boyfriend. But from the outset Simone refused to comply with Charlie's security measures, putting both mother and child in grave danger.

    After a bloody shoot-out in a frozen forest, Charlie is left fighting for her life. As she battles to recover from her injuries, she's still fiercely protective of Ella, even though her actions will catapult them both back into the firing line. And this time, Charlie's in no fit state to protect anyone, least of all herself...

    My Review: It’s been a while since I read a book in the Charlie Fox series and then once I get back into them I seem to want to stay there. I started with book 5, and then went straight onto this one. I must say this book for me stood out from the first few pages. Charlie and Sean meet up with their new client Simone and her daughter Ella. It seems that the attention her ex-boyfriend is paying her is verging on dangerous. From the first few chapters we get to see a new side to Charlie. In previous books she hasn’t really had much interaction with children, yet in this one we get to see a different side to her.