Archive for the Netgalley Category

Book review: All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley, News with tags , , , , , on July 8, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Hodder & Stoughton [Publication date 09.08.18]

The blurb on this book certainly tweaks your interest –

“This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself. But no one can say why. The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.”

The author, poet Claire Askew was the subject of four way bid for this book, part of a two book deal with Hodder, and it is easy to see why as this is one of the best crime debuts I have read in a good while.

Askew tells the story from the three main characters and she delves into each character’s emotions and how they are reacting to events unfolding around them. It is a classic page turner which although you know the outcome and there is no culprit to find, the book raises lots of questions about the shooting and how it affects the victims’ families and that of the shooter in the aftermath. The other key character a member of the press who will try anything to get a story and he is a certainly a character you will love to hate!

Highly recommended read, not just for fans of crime writing but anyone who enjoys a good read that makes you think after reading it.

Book review: THE GUILTY DEAD by P.J. TRACY

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , on June 27, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Michael Joseph [Publication date 23.08.18]

Book number 9 in the Twin Cities series and the blurb on this one says…

“Gregory Norwood, wealthy businessman and close friend of Minnesota’s leading candidate for Governor, is found dead on the first anniversary of his son’s drug overdose. It seems clear to Detectives Gino and Magozzi that grief drove him to suicide.

Until they realise the left-handed man seems to have used his right hand to pull the trigger.”

It is very fast paced like previous books in the series, although this one sees a little less of the Monkeewrench crew in the story. It starts off as what appears to be a suicide, which quickly escalates into a murder enquiry and then add in a domestic terror plot and it all starts spiralling in terms of action and plot. Perhaps not the best book in the series as some of the plot you could second guess, still enjoyable and one of the better US crime writers currently out there.

The P.J. Tracy series of books are highly readable and perfect for lovers of page turners from the likes of Harlan Coben.

 

 

Everything Is Lies by Helen Callaghan

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , on May 30, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Michael Joseph [Published 22.02.18]

The blurb certainly grabs your attention –

“Sophia’s parents lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed. Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother is hanging from a tree. Her father is lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death.”

I have not read ‘Dear Amy’, however having just finished ‘Everything Is Lies’ I will definitely be reading that one. It is not a crime novel, despite the murder that starts the book. The story unfolds as Sophia learns more about her mother and her past in a cult, which was led by a charismatic former singer in a rock band.

Sophia’s mother had been writing her life story and these journals cleverly move the plot along – a book within a book if you will. Shock revelations that impact on the present are contained within and the story does rattle along at a great pace.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the book, which Helen Callaghan seems to excel at in her writing style. Like Robert Goddard, Helen Callaghan successfully takes events in the past and sees how they affect the present, although to be fair she does it at a faster pace.

Highly recommended being both a classic psychological  thriller ‘page turner’ and one that is always topical, as it touches upon the psychological and emotional effects on people by others.

Book review: The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Michael Joseph [Publication date 03.05.18]

A stand-alone novel from the bestselling author Conn Iggulden which is based on historical events related in Xenophon’s ‘Anabasis’, otherwise known as ‘The Persian Expedition’, which is available via Penguin Classics. The Persian king Artaxerxes rules an empire stretching from the Aegean to northern India and the first half of this novel covers the attempts by his brother Prince Cyrus to overthrow Artaxerxes. The attempt fails and the Greek mercenaries employed by Cyrus, including Spartans are left stranded in the heart of an enemy’s empire, without support and little  food or water. This sets the scene for the second part of the story where the young soldier and student of Socrates,  Xenophon leads the survivors against the Persian army and their bid to reach the sea and Greek territory.

Plenty of action to be had, although the battles are described briefly and not dwelled upon like say the books of Bernard Cornwell. The descriptions of the time help you immerse yourself into the story, although he does seem to describe the toilet habits a little bit too much!sparta

I won’t give the various subplots away, save to say this is an enjoyable historical novel and Conn Iggulden has the knack for penning a classic page turner. If like me you miss the works of the late, great David Gemmell this novel will be one for your bookshelf.

Book review: Dead Lions by Mick Herron

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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John Murray

This is book two of the Jackson Lamb series based on said Lamb and the M15 failures he looks after in Slough House. This book although published originally a couple of years ago, is very timely as it involves Russian sleeper agents coming  into action to cause a terrorist threat. River Cartwright is dispatched to seemingly quiet Cotswold village to root out Russian agents, whilst Jackson Lamb is on the trail of a killing of an old colleague…

One of the great talents of Mick Herron is to leave one part of the story on a cliff-hanger, then when you rejoin that part of the story again you are often surprised at the outcome. The main characters are believable and in Jackson Lamb you have what appears to be an overweight tramp, whereas in fact he has a cunning mind and can spring into action, only on his terms though.

I highly recommend these books and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Book review – Bring Me Back by BA Paris

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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HQ [Publication date 08.03.18]

BA Paris had a hit with her last novel ‘Behind Closed Doors’ and now we have her new novel, ‘Bring Me Back’.

This one is based around Finn McQuaid who is still getting over the disappearance of his girlfriend Layla twelve years ago when they stopped in a lay-by. The chapters flit to the past and present day, where Finn is now engaged to Layla’s sister Ellen (that in itself may sound slightly weird to some readers!). BA Paris is good at building the tension as various parts of Finn’s present day life start to unravel and it is a classic ‘page turner’. You may however guess one of the twists towards the end of the novel.

It certainly won’t disappoint her existing fans and will doubtless make her some new ones.

Slow Horses by Mick Herron

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , on February 21, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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John Murray [First published 2015]

I picked up this one as a ‘Read it Now’ on NetGalley and I am glad I did. ‘Slow Horses’ is the first book in the Slough House series of modern day espionage thrillers based on Jackson Lamb.

Jackson Lamb presides over Slough House, a dumping ground for members of the intelligence service who’ve messed up, be it a terrorist training scenario that went wrong or leaving vital data on a tube train. The book starts off with an agent called Cartwright who’s leading a terrorist training scenario goes wrong and it is only having a retired spook as a grandfather that saves his career, well stops him being dismissed and instead assigned to Slough House. The plot (based around a domestic terror plot to carry out a beheading live on the net) keeps you reading on, maybe not as intricate as a John Le Carre, but certainly with the same page turning ability as a Le Carre. Jackson Lamb is a very much a rogue character and you do get to find out what caused his fall from grace that landed him at Slough House.

Mick Herron should be on your ‘must read’ list for any readers of well written and plotted espionage/spy fiction. Right, now I am off to hunt down book two in the series…