Thursday, 26 October 2017

Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke

Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke is a novel about a black Texas Ranger, Darren Mathews, who finds himself investigating two murders which have occurred in the tiny Texas backwater of Lark. The two victims are a visiting black man from Chicago, and a local white woman. Racial tensions are close to boiling point in the district, which has a history of race related murders and tension between the black and white communities. The investigation has been made all the more difficult for Darren, because he has been suspended from duty and can no longer wear his badge. Operating undercover in a town that appears to be run by crooked cops and with a suspicion of allegiance by the white community of Lark to the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, Darren finds his life threatened and his loyalties questioned.

I loved this book. In Bluebird Bluebird Attica Locke tells an important story, one that you would imagine should be set back in the America of the 1960's but which is in fact, sadly, very relevant in the America of today, where in many areas of the country racial tension runs high and is very much a part of our daily news. And into this simmering pot of racial tension walks a young black man who is carrying a whole heap of baggage on his back - a growing drink problem, a marriage in crisis, and a career as a Texas Ranger in doubt - seeking truth and justice in a town where everyone carries a secret buried deep in their heart and will go to any length to protect it.

Attica Locke is a born storyteller, in fact she is an award winning novelist, her debut novel Black Water Rising won both the Edgar Award in 2010 and the 2010 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. Her books are noir thrillers which explore the subject of racism in America, they stir our emotions, and cause us to ask difficult questions of ourselves, important questions. I believe Attica Locke's books should be carried in every public library and required reading on every secondary school curriculum not just in America but in all throughout the world.

Thank you to NetGalley for my free e-copy of this book in return for my review.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson

In 1926 the crime novelist Agatha Christie disappeared for ten days under mysterious circumstances. Under considerable strain following the death of her mother and after discovering her husband was having an affair, many suspected the worst. The police conducted a missing persons investigation, and Agatha turned up eleven days later staying in a hotel under an assumed name. While her disappearance was attributed to a mental breakdown, Agatha herself refused to discuss the matter, leading to much speculation about what happened and many people at the time and since have put forward theories of their own. This book is Andrew Wilson's interpretation of what happened to cause Agatha to disappear.

This was a really good read especially for fans of Agatha Christie and even those who have never read her books. I have read just a couple of Agatha Christie's books and that was many years ago, but I thought this book was very enjoyable. If I have any problem with the book, it's a small one, but i'm a bit reluctant to read fictional accounts of real peoples lives. I do have some qualms over putting words and actions into the lives of people who really lived. It is a huge responsibility, and one which Andrew Wilson has taken on and done well. I hope the Queen of crime fiction would agree with me.

I received an arc copy of this book from in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

American Alexandra Boyd travels to Bulgaria to teach English in the hope that her stay in this fascinating and historical country can help to salve the pain of her brothers disappearance. Bulgaria was somewhere he had planned to visit when he was older. Alexandra is only in the country five minutes when she finds herself in possession of a strangers ashes, driving around a strange country with a strange man, locked in a room, and at the receiving end of some nasty threats.

This book started off for me full of promise and while it did live up to some of my expectations it also became a bit of a let down on others. I loved the characters especially the main characters of Alexandra Boyd, and Bobby the taxi driver but they weren't enough to hold my interest for very long.

The writing and the story just appeared to drag in places, and it felt almost as though the author had run out of story but needed to fill out the book and so we were taken on a nonsensical journey around the Bulgarian countryside. I really don't know why Alexandra felt the need to take off in a strange country with a strange man, hauling an urn of ashes around the place for days, when she could have left the urn at the police station on day one. The whole things seemed absurd to me. I was much more interested in her brothers disappearance and the whole story behind that.

On the whole this book needs some severe pruning back and it could then be a much sharper, bouncier read.

Thank you to and the publisher for my printed arc of this book.

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

A teenage girl goes missing from a quiet country village in England. The whole village turns out to support the family of the missing girl and help to search for her, but as time goes by and she has yet to be found, life must go on. Cows must be milked, fields must be ploughed, and the villagers fall in and out of love with their surroundings and each other.

I really enjoyed reading this book, but it wasn't the story I was expecting. As a huge fan of thrillers and mysteries, I was expecting this to be the usual crime novel, where the young girl goes missing and the handsome copper rides into the village to get the perpetrator of this heinous crime. But this was not that type of book. This was a beautifully written account of what happened to the village and villagers in the aftermath of the girls disappearance and how it changed things forever.

I can't say too much about the book without giving the ending away so i'll just say that while this may not have been the book I was expecting, it was nonetheless a beautiful novel, that was such a pleasure to read, and reading it was like reading a fabulous and beautiful poem that will remain in your heart for forever.

Thank you to and the publisher for supplying me with a print arc of this book.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Just when you thought the psychological thriller had been done to death along comes Alice Feeney with a plot so wild it will shock you!

Amber Reynolds is lying in a hospital bed. She is in a coma and cannot remember what happened. The only thing she is certain of is that sometimes she lies, and the reader would do well to remember that!

Amber cannot speak and she cannot move, but she can hear, and it is while listening to the conversations of those visiting her hospital room that she begins to remember. But can we believe her? And just who is the mysterious man who visits her as she lies helpless and whispers threats in her ear?

This is a stunning debut from author Alice Feeney. Just when you think you have grasped what has happened to Amber you remember that she warned you she lies and you begin to doubt everyone in this book. It seems like everyone has something to hide and everyone not just Amber is lying! This book will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.

Thank you to the publishers who supplied me with a free advance copy via

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt

As a community prepares for the trial of four teenagers involved in the death of sixteen year old Deanna Barker, a spate of assaults on teenage girls puts the Stockleigh police on alert. When the best friend of one of those on trial goes missing, all hell breaks lose. The missing teenager is Jess Mount, niece of Detective Eden Berrisford. Eden will stop at nothing to find her beloved niece and bring her safely home to her mother Laura, Eden's sister. Meanwhile teenager Katie Trent is having a tough time in Juvenile Detention while awaiting trial for her part in Deanna's murder, will the court believe her or will she end up in prison? Now her best friend is in peril and she is unable to help her. Will Eden find Jess before it's too late, and will Katie be sentenced for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? The tension mounts in this edge-of-your-seat crime novel.

This is the first book I have read by popular author Mel Sherratt, and it's also the first book in the Detective Eden Berrisford series, and I really enjoyed it. Mel Sherratt has a great down to earth writing style, and this book was full of interesting characters and her portrayal of the teenagers involved - none of whom is whiter than white - is particularly interesting. I look forward to reading future books in this series.

I received this e-book for free from the publisher Bookoutour via Netgalley.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

Ruth Malone is a beautiful young mother to two angelic children, Frankie and Cindy. Ruth is separated from her husband Frank with whom she is in the middle of a bitter custody battle over their children. Waking up one morning to find both her children missing Ruth frantically rings Frank who contacts the police, and a search begins.

Pete Wonicke is a young tabloid reporter who becomes fascinated with the story of the missing children, and even more fascinated by Ruth herself. He is hypnotized by her beauty, her sexiness, and determines to uncover the truth. Soon he finds the story he uncovers is more complicated than even he imagined, and as his infatuation with Ruth grows, and the neighborhood, the press and the police all turn against her, he finds himself doing things he never would have believed himself capable of.

This book really sucked me in and kept me riveted. There is a real crime noir feel about it. Set in Queens, New York in the summer of 1965 (the year I was born), I really felt like I was there, sweltering in the heat and soaking up the atmosphere the author has drawn so well for us. The character of Ruth is complicated but believable, and you can understand why she immediately comes under suspicion, as society judges her morals and lifestyle choices, her clothes, her drinking and her sleeping around.

This is a book that will keep you guessing right up to the end. A very impressive debut literary crime novel, and a book you will keep thinking about long after you have finished it. Hopefully it will get picked up by the movie industry because it is just crying out to be made into a film.

I'm really excited that crime fiction has found a new and great talent to enrich it in Emma Flint. This is definitely an author to watch out for in the future and I can't wait to read her next book.

Thank you to Nudge/NB Mag and the publishers Pan Macmillan for my free copy of this book in return for a review.