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In Cold Blood By Jane Bettany

In Cold Blood‘In Cold Blood’ is Jane Bettany’s first novel.

As the Whitworth family begin renovations on their new home, their plans are brought to an abrupt end when they discover a body buried in the back garden. DI Isabel Blood and her team are called to investigate, but as she approaches Ecclesdale Drive, a feeling of unease settles in her gut. The property cordoned off is number 23. The house she used to live in as a child. The forensic team estimate that the body has been in the ground for up to forty years – coinciding with the time Isabel’s family lived in the house. Isabel’s father vanished without a trace when she was fourteen years old. And with her mother remaining tight-lipped about her father’s disappearance, Isabel can’t escape the unnerving sense of dread that it’s his body, buried in the garden.

As a debut novel, ‘In Cold Blood’ is a gripping story that introduces a new detective series with her own drama in life.

The story is seen from the narrative of DI Isobel Blood who’s been called to the scene of crime when a body has been discovered. Unfortunately, the location of the body is at her old family home and having to revisit the homestead brings back unwanted feelings and emotions. As she and her dedicated team investigate the crime, they discover it’s not a simple case of whodunnit it but an historical journey into the previous owners and nosy neighbours.

This book was easy to get absorbed in and right away, I enjoyed Jane’s style of writing. Isabel is a complex character, she’s an older mother struggling with a teenager as well as struggling with her own mother who lives in Spain. Having to revisit her childhood home, has brought back unwanted feelings of her father’s disappearance, so at times she gets emotionally involved in the crime. As her job is so demanding, this often causes some tension in the family, as her daughter Ellie feels that her job is her priority and not her family.

The story is fascinating in not only its premise but also the amount of research in the story is outstanding. As the team are investigating an historical crime, it’s interesting to see how police procedures have changed through the years.

The victim of the crime is also an interesting character, although we never meet Celia. There’s plenty of opinions on the elderly woman. Described as cold and private, as we delve into past, we find an interesting woman who has many secrets that she’s been hiding for years.

‘In Cold Blood’ is a cleverly crafted and well written story that is a great introduction to a new detective. An observational and insightful story about police procedures and a well hidden crime.

You can buy ‘In Cold Blood’ from Amazon.

The Silent Wife By Karin Slaughter

The Silent Wife ‘The Silent Wife’ is the latest book in the Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter.

A woman runs alone in the woods. She convinces herself she has no reason to be afraid, but she’s wrong. A predator is stalking the women of Grant County. He lingers in the shadows, until the time is just right to snatch his victim. A decade later, the case has been closed. The killer is behind bars. But then another young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead, and the MO is identical. Although the original trail has gone cold – memories have faded, witnesses have disappeared – agent Will Trent and forensic pathologist Sara Linton must re-open the cold case. But the clock is ticking, and the killer is determined to find his perfect silent wife….

It’s hard to believe but ‘The Silent Wife’ is the first book that I’ve read by Karin Slaughter. Even though, she’s been writing for twenty years and this is her tenth book in the Will Trent, I’m a novice to her books, and this latest book is quite the eye opener.

The story is written in the past and present tense over a ten year period whilst a serial murderer and rapist is preying upon poor women. Will Trent is investigating the cases with his girlfriend and pathologist Dr Sara Linton and in the past tense, Jeffery who is Sara’s ex husband is investigating the cases. During that time, Jeffery has died and Sara and Will are trying to piece the evidence before another woman is targeted.

Even though, I’ve never read a Karin Slaughter book, I’ve seen her speak at Murder One Crime Festival and she was fascinating to listen to. Karin works closely with police and their investigations and the disturbing thing about her stories is that they are based on true crime events and this latest story is horrific. Graphic scenes of sexual abuse, torture and gore made this book unsettling reading but also fascinating in an equal measure.

As the story is part of a series, Karin cleverly includes brief background on the characters, but not enough to give away vital information, should the reader want to delve into earlier books.

The story is thoroughly researched with police procedures and it’s obvious that Karin worked closely with the police to tightly hone the story and the flashbacks between past and present are all weaved seamlessly together to make it a thrilling story.

‘The Silent Wife’ is a gruesome crime thriller that makes for gory reading. Filled with graphic scenes of sexual abuse and murder, this book isn’t for the faint hearted and should maybe come with a warming as the descriptive scenes could possibly trigger a person. With shocking and brutal scenes, ‘The Silent Wife’ is a twisted and dark tale that delivers a story of savagery that will thrill and shock the readers in equal measure.

You can buy ‘The Silent Wife’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Liar Liar By Mel Sherratt

Liar Liar ‘Liar Liar’ is the latest book by Mel Sherratt in the DS Grace Allendale series.

When a young boy falls from a balcony in a block of flats, DS Grace Allendale witnesses the shocking aftermath of the tragic event. But strangely, no one will admit to seeing anything – and the parents will only tell the police that it was an accident. Determined to sort the truth from the lies, Grace is thrown into a case that takes her to the darkest corners of the criminal world – and strikes closer to home than she could have ever imagined.

‘Liar Liar’ is the first book that I’ve read by Mel Sherratt and it honestly was a great introduction to a new author.

It’s the latest book in her DI Grace Allendale series and is thrilling mystery of who done it and why they done it.

The story is about a little boy who falls from a balcony and is initially thought to be an accident but when more things happen around the estate and everyone claiming that they saw nothing, Grace finds herself questioning the residents of Harrison House and everyone claims to have seen nothing.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Grace and Ruby who is the mother of the young boy who has fallen. Her story is written in past and present sequences, setting the background clearly for her story and how she came to live on the estate. She’s a strong and relatable character who thought she had found the love of her life, only for it to come apart after falling in with the wrong crowd. Her first instinct is the safety of her children and will stop at nothing to protect them.

As Grace delves into the case of the fallen child, she finds herself uncovering nasty characters, as well as a society that is controlled and live in fear.

I really enjoyed this story and found it quite easy to be absorbed in. Even though the book is part of a series, Mel explains the background of characters clearly without giving anything major away or any spoilers, should the reader decide to read the previous books.

A gritty and thrilling story about possession and the strength of a mother’s love ‘Liar Liar’ is a dark and twisty tale that’s filled with drama and suspense and has the reader gripped to the edge of their seat.

You can buy ‘Liar Liar’ from Amazon and is avaialble to buy from good bookshops.

The Final Reckoning By Margaret James

The Final Reckoning‘The Final Reckoning’ is the latest book by Margaret James.

When Lindsay Ellis was a teenager she witnessed the aftermath of a violent murder involving her lover’s father. The killer was never found. Traumatised by what she saw, Lindsay had no choice but to leave her home village of Hartley Cross and its close-knit community behind. Now, years later, she must face up to the terrible memories that still haunt her. But will confronting the past finally allow Lindsay to heal, or will her return to Hartley Cross unearth dangerous secrets and put the people she has come to care about most at risk?

The story is seen through the narrative of Lindsay, a young woman who has to return home after her mother’s death to sort out her mother’s belongings whilst organising the funeral. She hasn’t been home for years, after the gruesome discovery of her boyfriend’s who was murdered. No one was ever charged with the murder and Lindsay hopes with returning to the village that she will get answers to some unanswered questions as well as seeing Simon, the boy who’s father has cruelly murdered.

The story is set in a bleak and cliquey village where everyone knows everyone’s business and Lindsey finds herself the subject of village gossip with her reappearance, also with the addition of her annoying flat mate Nick, who becomes quite a hero throughout the book. I really enjoyed the mystery and magic of this story, with enchanting women who turned men’s heads and the relationship between Lindsey and Nick which added some humour to dark and unsettling story.

Gripping from the first page, ‘The Final Reckoning’ is twisted and haunting tale about obsession, love and loss that isn’t for the faint hearted.

You can buy ‘The Final Reckoning’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

Safe House By Jo Jakeman

Safe House‘Safe House’ is the latest book by Jo Jakeman.

The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret. Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. This sacrifice cost her everything. And now she has a chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really paid the price for what she did.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Jake and i really found it to be an engaging and atmospheric story from the outset.

The story is written in the past and present and is seen from the perspective of two women who have a lot in common. Charlie Miller has arrived in a small village in Cornwall looking forward to starting a new life. She’s a quiet young woman, with not much money and has moved into a house that needs a lot of work but not much money, she finds herself doing odd jobs about the town. Whilst settling into her home, she becomes friends with her neighbours but can’t help but feel that she is being watched. The past tense is seen from the perspective of Steffi Finn, a young woman in prison after providing an alibi for her boyfriend. Even though she knew nothing of actions, she trusted him and couldn’t believe that he would do what he was being accused off and finds herself behind bars and reflecting on the life that she has led and where it all went wrong.

The story flows a fast paced and the different perspectives give an interesting slant to the story as the women are both at a fork in their lives. Whilst Charlie is settling into her new life and putting her past behind her, there’s someone close by who’s watching her and not willing to let her move on. The story includes a narrative of someone watching Charlie and I particularly liked this part as I found myself trying to piece together who they were from what they said and with every new character introduced, I was guessing if they were the suspect.

I liked both characters Charlie and Steffi, they’re interesting women who are hoping to put their lives right, they’re quiet but as the story progresses they become stronger and more self assured.

A cleverly written tale, riddled with drama, suspicious characters and twists throughout, ‘Safe House’ is a compelling story about new beginnings, starting over and will have the reader gripped throughout.

You can buy ‘Safe House’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.