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» Listings for September 2015

  1. Paperback: 372 pages

    Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (8 July 2015)

    Language: English

    ISBN-10: 1514642824

    ISBN-13: 978-1514642825

    Synopsis: 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.

    Netta's Rating: 5/5

  2. Synopsis: Anna Browne is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life. Her day job as a receptionist in bustling London isn't exactly her dream, yet she has everything she wants. But someone thinks Anna Browne deserves more . . .

    When a parcel addressed to Anna Browne arrives, she has no idea who has sent it. Inside she finds a beautiful gift - one that is designed to be seen. And so begins a series of incredible deliveries, each one bringing Anna further out of the shadows and encouraging her to become the woman she was destined to be. As Anna grows in confidence, others begin to notice her - and her life starts to change.

    But who is sending the mysterious gifts, and why?

    Kat’s Rating: 5/5

    Kat’s Review: If I’m being 100% honest the synopsis for this book didn’t exactly set the world on fire. I would even go as far as to say it sounded rather mediocre for a Miranda Dickinson book. Thankfully, I’m a complete idiot and the book not only proved how wrong I could be, it literally proved that some things are too hard to resist! Read in a day from cover to cover I just didn’t want to stop reading this one. Having read and enjoyed a few of MD’s other books I was looking forward to this one. Anna Brown the main lady is a normal woman, with a normal life and a very average job. I worried when I started reading that I just wasn’t going to like her. When a parcel turns up for her, she has no idea that this little thing would change everything, and not just for her.

    After a few chapters I realised that Anna Browne was a lot more that it outwardly appeared. With an endearing personality you can’t help rooting for her from the very early days. The reason I make this point is that I wasn’t rooting for her because she was a ‘poor me’ type. No, it was quite the opposite. She was just a really likeable character who had blinkers on when it came to herself. HJer job as a receptionist was made so much more interesting with the brilliant characters surrounding her such as the Security Guard Ted (who was just outstanding in my opinion) and colleague Sheneice.

    In addition to receiving not one but numerous parcels, Anna finds herself getting more involved with the Newspaper Company where she works which makes her look at things in a whole new light. In addition to the ladies we have the male characters Ben and Jonah both of whom are very readable. To say any more would ruin the story but there was definitely something magical about this and the mysterious parcels that Anna receives. I have to be honest and say this is possibly my favourite book of Miranda’s so far. This really is a book to be enjoyed, preferably with a roaring fire and a large glass of wine.

  3. Format: Kindle Edition

    File Size: 462 KB

    Print Length: 168 pages

    Publisher: Bill Carson Books; 1.1 edition (24 July 2015)

    Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

    Language: English

    Synopsis: Dark City is the fourth book in the Nick Harland detective series. In this one we follow him on his most perplexing and disturbing case to date, as he tracks down a serial killer from the past. 

    The book begins with an elderly man being released from prison, after serving seventeen years for a double murder. A few days after his release a young woman is snatched from outside a London pub. 

    The police seem to be dragging their heels, so the family of the missing girl call on the services of the tough, uncompromising ex murder squad detective, turned Private Investigator, Nick Harland. During his initial investigation another girl suddenly goes missing, he then gets a tip off that Charles Thorpe had just been released from prison. Nick knows the killer, as he was the detective who put him behind bars when he was a detective in the murder squad. And so the hunt is now on for Thorpe, and Nick will not rest until Thorpe is found, and he promises that Thorpe will pay the ultimate price for his crimes this time around. 

    Netta's Rating: 3/5

  4. Synopsis: Detective Inspector Avison Fluke is a man on the edge. He has committed a crime to get back to work, concealed a debilitating illness, and is about to be made homeless. Just as he thinks things can’t get any worse, the body of a young woman is found buried on a wet, Cumbrian building site. Shot once in the back of the head, execution style, it is a cold, calculated murder. When the post-mortem reveals she has gone to significant expense in disguising her appearance, and the only clue to her identity is a strange series of numbers, Fluke knows this is no ordinary murder. With the help of a psychotic ex-Para, a gangland leader, and a woman more interested in maggots than people, Fluke must find out who she was and why she was murdered before he can even think about finding her killer. As the body count rises and his investigation takes him from poverty stricken estates to picture perfect Lake District villages, he realizes his troubles are only just beginning. Because someone somewhere has a plan and if Fluke can’t figure out what’s happening, he may just be next."

    Kat’s Rating: 5/5

  5. Synopsis: With her Cornish Beach Café closed for the winter, Evie Flynn should be looking forward to lazy days and a happy Christmas, with nothing more pressing to think about than when to have her next mince pie.

    But her sister Ruth is coming to stay, in a cloud of heartbreak and bitterness following her marriage breakdown, along with her three unhappy children, and Evie knows she'll have her work cut out, trying to spread some festive cheer. Then her boyfriend Ed breaks the news that he's going to spend Christmas in London, for family reasons, and her heart sinks even further.

    Add in to the mix a lost dog plus the hotly contested village Christmas bake-off and before long, Evie is feeling the strain. But there are still a few surprises in store for her, that look set to make this Beach Café Christmas the most memorable one yet...

    *Note: If you plan to read The Beach Café first followed by Christmas at The Beach Café, please do not continue to read my review as it will inevitably contain spoilers*

    Kat’s Rating: 5/5

  6. Synopsis: A Christmas short story from bestselling author Lucy Diamond, revisiting her Beach Café characters.

    After a hectic summer running her beach café in Cornwall, Evie Flynn is looking forward to her first Christmas with new boyfriend Ed – she’s determined that it’s going to be the most perfectly romantic one ever. Cosy nights in front of the fire, spicy mulled wine, mince pies . . . what’s not to love?

    But the peace is shattered when Ed’s ex suddenly gets in touch again, and then some unexpected guests arrive: Ed’s surly brother Jake and Evie’s heartbroken best friend Amber. Add in the stress of trying to finish her very own recipe book, snow blizzards and family dramas and Evie’s Christmas starts to look as if it’ll be a total turkey. Will any of her festive wishes come true . . . or is this Christmas just a recipe for disaster?

    *Note: If you plan to read The Beach Café first please do not continue to read my review as it will inevitably contain spoilers*

    Kat’s Rating: 5/5

  7. I am beginning to look forward to these review round up's of Guest Reviewer Johnny more and more. It seems that he has yet again set his scathing tongue on a couple of books. My favourite this month is his line that a particular book has 'more holes than a colander'....say no more. Take a look below for his round up from August, it seems Linwood Barclay has made the worthy '5 star' review status so that's one I'll be pushing up my to-read list!


    Contract to Kill by Andrew Peterson

    Johnny’s Rating: 2/5

    Johnny’s Review: Action packed, gung-ho, jingoistic thriller. Yet another book set in the world of private military contractors, this is up to the minute as the villains are now North Korean gangsters and Mexican drug cartels. Lots of action, shooting and explosions but distinctly lacking in plot. As usual the good guys are all ex Special Forces with dazzling skills in all forms of combat and, of course, are virtually indestructible. The weaponry is, as in all books of this nature, described in mind numbing detail and the fact that the inevitable outcome of victory for the good guys and the American way make this fairly predictable fare.

    Not a bad book, a sort of Tom Clancy light; all the action, the obsession with weapons but without the plot. This will pass a couple of hours while you're waiting for your flight, but I'm sorry to say, little else to recommend it

    You Think You Know Me by Clare Chase

    Johnny’s Rating: 3/5

    Johnny’s Review: Well written, serviceable romantic mystery. If you're a fan of this genre then this book ticks all the relevant boxes. Tall, dark, mysterious stranger, somewhat predictably, is not what he seems. Mysterious death in the past is revisited and, again is not what it seems.  Clues are conveniently signposted for the plucky heroine and the conclusion ties up all the loose ends. This was a pleasant and very readable book.

    Broken Proimise by Linwood Barclay

    Johnny’s Rating: 5/5

    Johnny’s Review: Widowed reporter David Harwood returns from his job with the Boston Globe to his home town of Promise Falls. The object of the exercise is to spend more time with his nine year old son, be near his family and take up his old job as a reporter on the local newspaper. Needless to say things start to go wrong almost immediately. Murders, a stolen baby and assorted sub plots make for an absolutely superb thriller.

    Written like a cross between Raymond Chandler and Harlan Coben this is a book not to be missed.  Aa a story of small town America and the dysfunctional families within it this is outstanding, but it's real merit is the story. Very imaginative plotting, razor sharp dialogue and some cracking one liners make it compulsive reading. A suitably world weary hero, a well-drawn cast of baddies and losers and an ending that doesn't try to tie up every loose end make this an outstanding read. To top it all a last page hammer blow that I didn't see coming. The best I've read for a long time. I know, me, five stars, but trust me, it's worth it. Any criticism? Only that an author this good is really called Linwood Barclay, surely a nom de plume!

    The Treacherous Net by Helene Tursten

    Johnny’s Rating: 3/5

    Johnny’s Review: Enjoyable slice of Swedish noir, featuring detectives hunting for a serial killer and a couple of "New Tricks" style oldies trying to connect the murder of a father and son committed decades apart.

    Well plotted with believable characters and vivid descriptions of Goteberg and its surrounding countryside which, in all honesty, doesn't seem the most attractive of places. The basic premise of a murderer grooming victims on line is entirely plausible and well realised. The case investigated by the old codgers is also interesting and has a quite cleverly constructed resolution. .Although it does seem to be somewhat "tacked on" to the central narrative it does make a nice counterpoint to the main case.

    This is a good book and it seems that there is an insatiable demand for these downbeat, rather grim Scandinavian stories. If that is a genre you enjoy then this opus ticks all the requisite boxes.

    The Offering by Desiree Bombenon

    Johnny’s Rating: 1/5

    Johnny’s Review: Oh dear, regarding this offering I'm sorry to say that there is very little I can say that could be interpreted as positive. The plot about a kidnapping in Hawaii is perfunctory in the extreme and has more holes than a colander.

    The husband and wife team who set out to rescue the kidnapped family are mega rich philanthropists who help out when the police aren't making progress. Apart from being fabulously rich they are brilliant at everything and, of course, indestructible. Inevitably they swim rivers, climb mountains, fly helicopters and see off the baddies whilst suffering no life threatening injuries. Think a 21st century version of Hart to Hart and you will have the correct degree of banality. The denouement was clumsy and sufficiently ludicrous as to make no sense. Sorry to be unkind but, were it not for the fact that I was to review it, I would not have bothered reading to the end.

    Death of The Blue Flower by Roxann Hill

    Johnny’s Rating: 3/5

    Johnny’s Review: Interesting murder mystery set in northern Germany. The mystery concerns diamonds stolen in Nazi Germany during World War Two and the murder is of a very old lady in a modern day sanatorium who might hold the key to the current whereabouts of the gems.

    The main protagonists are unusual and interesting. Representing the goodies is an African/American female (with a past) working at the clinic and a policeman concluding a course of chemotherapy at the same institution. Ranged against them are big business interests who don't want old Nazi stories being raked over and a trio of three bizarre psychopaths hired as a hit squad by said businesses. The settings are unusual and interesting in northern German cities and a Hallig, evidently one of a number of small islands in the North Sea off the northern coast of Germany. The locations are well realised and the action rattles along at a good pace. Thank goodness the dynamic duo on the side of good are well described and don't fit into the usual indestructible mode, whilst the hit squad are vile characters with no redeeming features and therefore more interesting than the usual villains. A good book, and though I guessed the real villain well in advance of the denouement, this did not really detract from my overall enjoyment. Sufficiently different to be well worth a recommendation.

    Devoted In Death by J D Robb

    Johnny’s Rating: 3/5

    Johnny’s Review: Gripping, but not particularly original thriller, centring on the exploits of a Bonnie and Clyde type couple who go on a murderous spree as they progress from the Deep South to New York. The main emphasis thereafter is on the hunt for them by lead cop Eve Dallas and her team of detectives. For some reason the book is set in the mid 21st. century, which allows for more techie gadgets but really adds little to the story. On the plus side this is well written with plenty of good cop-speak some realistic dialogue and plenty of tension generated as time runs out for the cops and, more importantly, the latest victims being held by the killers.  Overall the author has done a good job with what, in effect, is a very slight story, so well worth a read.

    Are you Watching Me by Sinead Crowley

    Johnny’s Rating: 3/5

    Johnny’s Review: After a somewhat funereal start this turned into a well written thriller. The two female leads are well written but both suffer from the problem of being unremittingly dreary with their on-going personal problems. The thriller element of the story is believable and the conclusion is deftly handled. Perhaps the only criticism being the amount of exposition by one of the protagonists at the end to explain the various convolutions in the plot. It reminded me of Poirot explaining to the dim witted Captain Hastings how he had solved the case. That aside, a good, professionally handled thriller. Well worth a read.

  8. Synopsis: One by one he'll stalk them, then he'll squeeze the trigger, savouring the way each lifeless body crumples to the reddening snow. One down already. And then there were five...

    Sheriff Dan Grayson lies near death and the police department of Grizzly Falls, Montana, is in shock. Then a prominent judge's body is found.

    Detectives Regan Pescoli and Selena Alvarez head up the search for the killer, but they don't realize how personal and dangerous the case is going to be.

    Headstrong and eager for justice, Pescoli tracks the scant clues straight to a monster who has had her and Alvarez in his sights all along...

    Kat’s Rating: 3/5