Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

28165010Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct…

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Like many people out there, I have been a fan of Kathy Reichs every since reading her first Temperance Brennan / Bones novel.  With those, Tempe became a familiar figure, one I felt I knew and one I liked a lot.  With familiarity though might not come contempt but definitely comes less excitement when a new book is released, especially with a TV show attached; somewhere along the way I stopped picking up the latest instalment.

Then I saw Two Nights, a new novel with a new character, and that familiar excitement was back again…I felt I had to read this book because, despite not being excited by Bones any more, this had nothing to do with thinking Reichs wasn’t a good writer – she is – and a good storyteller – she’s that too.  Both apply here, with what is a cracking story and a great central character – Sunday Night – who is uniquely damaged (as all the best characters in crime fiction are) and absolutely intriguing (I am really hoping this is the first in a new series).

The story on the face of it seems simple – a young girl is missing after a local school is bombed and her mother and brother dead.  Her grandmother wants justice and has the money to pay to get it and the connections to find the right person to do the job.  That right person is Sunday, a former soldier and detective who now lives off the grid and under the radar.

Sunday is tough, really tough, and hard to love.  She isn’t unlikeable though, which – as you may know from reading other reviews – is really important to me.  I have to like the people between the pages or I lose interest in them and their story.  Sunday’s story, I wanted to know.  I eventually found it out, and it’s pretty dark; it’s no wonder she doesn’t trust anyone or that she is determined to do the right thing, even if that involves ignoring the law when she has to.

It’s her voice you hear throughout and so you get to understand the workings of her mind pretty well.   You see in it a confused person but a good one.  You also see someone who doesn’t know how to take no for an answer and knows how to fight.  Her storytelling style is short and sharp…there is a little of the old school detective novels here – words aren’t minced – which I liked.  It kept the story moving along and me interested.  In fact, I don’t think I got bored or found my mind wandering once.  With my reading so many of this genre, that’s hard to do.

It’s also hard to keep me guessing – I often figure out the who, why and where pretty early on.  Good writing can keep me reading but there isn’t that buzz of not knowing that I love.  I had that here.  There was one point in particular where I thought one thing and realised I was completely wrong and it brought a smile to my lips.  Loved it – and loved the book…can’t recommend it enough.


Emma x



Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 11th July, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 336
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

















Forgotten by Nicole Trope

Edna is worried about the new residents at the boarding house. She knows Mary would turn in her grave if she knew the kinds of people her son was letting in.

And then there is someone else. Someone whose heart is broken. Someone who feels she has been unfairly punished for her mistakes. Someone who wants what she can’t have.

What follows is a heart-stopping game of cat-and-mouse and a race against the clock. As the hours pass and the day heats up, all hope begins to fade.

So, just when I thought I had my book of the month sorted (Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica), another has come along that has completely wowed me and left my decision of which book to pick so up in the air. Forgotten by Nicole Trope has everything I look for in a book – characters I cared for, a plot that kept me turning pages, and an ending that left me holding my breath, praying everything would turn out o.k.

It starts with one of those decisions every parent of a young child has faced I think.  They are asleep in the car when your out running errands.  Do you leave them sleeping whilst you run into the store (you’ll only be a minute after all) or do you risk a major meltdown by waking them up and taking them in with you? We will all probably say, when asked, we’d do the latter but in the moment, that’s probably not true; there are plenty of us out there that would at least give it a thought I’m sure.

So it is with Malia, who has not one child but three under the age of five, including newborn Zach.  It’s been a hard morning when she makes her fateful decision. Her two oldest kids have been testing her last nerve, playing up because there isn’t any milk for breakfast. Zach, is fast asleep, and she wants to keep it that way.

So she leaves him the car whilst she runs into the shop to get milk, thinking she can keep her eye on her car the whole time. Only she can’t, and, when she gets back, Zach is gone and her nightmare begins. Nicole Trope does an amazing job here, creating a character I completely felt for when she was one I maybe should have had little sympathy with given what’s happened.

With a baby to find, local detectives Ali and Mike are called in to start the search. For Ali, a new mother herself, this is a difficult one and, as the story progresses, you see just how much it impacts her. You also see her determination to bring Zach home and her anxiety that she could lose her child. I loved Ali’s caring nature and her passion to support Malia and find Zach.

I got to read feel these first hand in the chapters that told what was happening from her perspective. They alternated with Malia’s but also with the person who took Zach, and Edna, an elderly woman who doesn’t trust her neighbour. And all this happens over the course of one day, meaning the tension rises with the temperature, as everyone begins to think there will only be one ending, and it won’t be a good one.

I don’t think I could have felt more involved in the search for Zach if I’d been part of the investigation.  I felt every minute of him being missing and I couldn’t imagine how I would have felt if I was Malia.  This book is 400 pages long yet it felt like it was over in no time at all, so engrossed was I in the story.

From all of this, you can probably tell this will be a book I will be recommending.  I really can’t praise it enough.  Loved it!


Emma x



Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: 28th June, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 400
Genre: suspense / thriller
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review; all thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 

Also reviewed by Nicole Trope:






Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

32735394“The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us.” 

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

So I feel like I should start this review off with a disclaimer.  Not that this is a review copy (it is, and I feel very lucky to have received one), but that Mary Kubica is one of my favourite authors and, in my eyes, she doesn’t do much wrong in the way of writing great novels that keep me hooked from start to finish.   This book, then, has been one I’ve been looking forward to reading all year…and I am so, so, pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed.

It starts with a seemingly perfect – if tired – family; Nick, Clara, four year old Maisie and new born Felix.  They are young, happy and successful thanks to Nick’s dental practice.  When a policeman’s knock on the door shatters Clara’s world then, it’s no wonder she struggles to cope, shutting out those who love and care for her and cocooning herself away with Maisie and Felix.

Then, Maisie starts to have nightmares and everything Clara thought she knew about the accident seems to get turned on its head.  It’s not just the accident, though, it’s Nick himself.  Slowly, as she tries to pick up her life, Clara finds out that what she thought she knew about her husband wasn’t true, that there were things he was keeping from her, secrets she is only now starting to try and unpick, ones that have the potential to shatter her world again.

Slowly, through Clara’s voice in the present and Nick’s as he recounts the months up until his death, you start to get a picture of who they areas people and just what secrets are buried beneath a seemingly perfect surface.  It’s not all pretty, some of it is stupid, some of it is sad.  A lot of it seems avoidable.  As I read on, I realised that I had started to care for Clara and Nick as characters as each twist left me a little shocked, stunned or bereft.

The twists also left me wondering just what was going on.  I really had no idea if Nick was indeed the victim of foul play or, as the police insisted, just a man who drove too fast round a narrow bend.  When I finally made it to the end I felt as exhausted as Clara – it had been quite a ride.  Was it the ending I was expecting?  No.  Was it the right ending? Yes.  I have to say I finished the book completely satisfied with where I ended up. For once, even the epilogue didn’t bother me (my over pet peeve).

It all leaves me saying that I loved this book and would recommend it wholeheartedly.




Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Park Row Books
Publication Date: 27th June, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 336
Genre: suspense / thriller
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review; all thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 














Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

33210463On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, historian Lucy Worsley leads us into the rooms from which our best-loved novelist quietly changed the world.

This new telling of the story of Jane’s life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the places and spaces that mattered to her. It wasn’t all country houses and ballrooms, but a life that was often a painful struggle. Jane famously lived a ‘life without incident’, but with new research and insights Lucy Worsley reveals a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. A woman who far from being a lonely spinster in fact had at least five marriage prospects, but who in the end refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy.

So before I start this review I should probably admit I am a little bit of a fangirl when it comes to Lucy Worsley.  I love her TV shows and her enthusiasm for her subjects.  She is a must-watch for me and now a must-read with Jane Austen at Home, which I loved.

One of the reasons I loved it was that it made Austen accessible.  I know very little about her life and have tried to read a few biographies in the past but I found them dry.  Here, Austen came alive to me, with her life told through the places she lived and the people she lived with.

Of the places, there were quite a few and not all as I might have imagined in my mind.  After the retirement and then death of her father, for many years Jane and her sister Cassandra (as spinsters) and their mother were basically homeless, moving from house to house and relying on family members to put them up or pay their rent.

Some of these places were grand indeed, others not so much with some being described as cold, dark and damp – not necessarily conducive to writing some of the greatest novels I’ve ever read. But then life for Georgian women wasn’t conducive in general to writing other than letters.

There were domestic chores, a lot, and household management to deal with as well as the perception that their job was to grow up and get married.  Women who wrote weren’t looked up to but often looked down upon and Jane lived most of her life as a writer anonymously, only coming out of the shadows later on when her books had become popular.

One of the things Jane did have on her side though was her family, who not only provided her with a place to live but supported her in her writing.  It was her father who bought her her writing desk and initially acted as her agent (before this role was taken up by her brother) and her sister Cassandra was her life-long best friend who took up more than her fair share of chores to allow Jane time to write.

There were still family politics (when are they not?) but for the most part Jane seems to have had a loving, caring, family and this was nice to read about, making her seem human and not just a slightly mythical figure, sat alone at her desk.  Worsley manages to make Jane a real person, someone with a great sense of humour (often quite wicked) who likes to enjoy herself (money permitting).

What she also shows is a woman who knows her own mind and stands by her decisions, including not to marry (unfortunately, it isn’t completely clear if her writing drove this decision, though it seems likely to have, as so much of her life is known through letters and her sister destroyed a lot of these).

At the end of this book, I found that, for me, Austen is a woman to be admired and one who is not now as cold and mysterious as she first appeared.  Perhaps this will not be such a surprise to Janeites and the like, but I think it will be too many, all of whom I hope read, learn from, and enjoy this book.

Emma x


Source: Netgally
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd
Publication Date: 18th May, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 352
Genre: non-fiction
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads










The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh

31180439The first body comes as a shock

The second brings horror

The third signals the beginning of a nightmare

When fifteen-year-old Isla Bell finds three bodies propped against Hadrian’s Wall, her whole world falls apart. In such a close-knit community, everyone knows the victims, and the man who did it.

Twenty years on and Isla has dedicated her life to forensic psychology; studying the brains of serial killers, and even coming face to face with the convicted murderer who turned her world upside down. She is safe after all, with him behind bars.

Then another body appears against the Wall.

And another.

As the nightmare returns and the body count rises, everyone in town is a suspect.

Who is the Killer on the Wall?

Twenty years ago, a small village on the edge of Hadrian’s Wall was left shocked and scarred by a series of murders.  Eventually, the killer was caught, but people were never the same again.  Each did what they could to cope, some better than others, and to forget – though it seems that wasn’t really possible.

For Isla – who found three of the victims – coping has meant looking the evil she came across that day in the eye.  She is a forensic psychologist, studying the brains of serial killers to try and understand why they kill and if she can stop it.  It’s something her husband (and the only survivor of the Killer on the Wall), Ramsey, doesn’t understand…he is looking for a “normal” life, one free from stress, danger and – maybe – with a few kids running around. Isla, though, can’t help herself, meeting with the very person who nearly ended Ramsay’s life – Heath McGowan (aka The Killer on the Wall).

It might be a coincidence, it might not, but whilst Isla is meeting with Heath, a body is being found – propped against Hadrian’s Wall, just like the bodies twenty years previously – and the hunt is on for a new killer.   Leading the case, Isla’s father (the local policeman who caught Heath and is now police superintendent) and her best friend Mina.

It’s the way of small towns / villages, everyone is connected and as the case progresses, things get messy.  No one is sure if the killings are being directed by Heath somehow, if it’s a copycat killing, or (even worse) was the wrong man put away first time.  I have to say, I wasn’t sure myself – right through to the end when the killer was revealed (bit of a shock I didn’t see coming at all!).  I loved all the guessing and how I started to distrust pretty much everyone at some point.

I loved the way the story was told too, “travelling” from person to person and telling a bit of their story and what they were up to…dropping clues for me to pick up.  I know it’s something that a lot of authors do, alternating chapters, but this felt more like snapshots in time and I thought it was well done.  I got to hear the voices of each person involved and make my own decisions on whether I liked them…and, more importantly, trusted them.

There is lots of love going on here I realise and that’s how I felt about The Killer on the Wall – I loved it.  It was a great story, simple and effective, with great characters, great pace and a killer ending (pun intended).  Highly recommended!





Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Arrow
Publication Date: 20th April, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: ebooks
Genre: crime, mystery
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own



Last Breath by Robert Bryndza 

34368544He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

I think it’s fair to say that Robert Bryndza has done it again with this, the latest, in the Erika Foster series. Still stuck behind a desk in Bromley, Erika is missing her former role in the murder investigation team. Her application to go back, though, has been turned down – and she’s angry about it, no more so than when she’s summarily dismissed from a crime scene.

The scene – the body of a young woman has been found in a dumpster, badly beaten and tortured.  She has been missing for only a few days and Erika’s gut is telling her that the killer is likely to strike again.  The problem is no one wants to hear, not least the head of the murder investigation team (and her former adversary), even when she gets as close to begging as she can get and uncovers evidence his team haven’t.

Then, in twist I won’t share for spoilers, she gets given the opportunity to become senior investigating officer and the chase is on for a killer who is becoming more prolific and more violent.  As a reader, you know who he is, what he plans to do next and you see him spiralling.  It all adds to the tension as you also watch Erika and her team struggle to follow the clues, hoping for a lucky break and praying that they get to the latest missing girl in time.

And it is tense, from page one, and not letting up right until the very end.  The killer is suitably evil and just to say smart enough to keep ahead of the police (for a while at least), making my skin crawl more than a little.  And Erika is her usual brilliant self, trying hard not to be self-destructive for once but not doing too well at it.

The mix of tough and vulnerable in her is something I like in my characters.  She isn’t a complete hard-ass, is liked and admired by her team, but her past has left her damaged and with a hard outer shell.  She wants to break out but it’s hard.  Still, we get to see a little of that in this story, making her and her team more real than ever.

As for the story itself, you couldn’t ask for more really.  It’s a cracking read from start to finish.  These are all things I’ve said about other books in the series but here it is again – it was well written, had great pace (I read it in a day which is rare for me), great characters – event the bad guy was well rounded (see creepy killer above), and kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.  Can I say any more? I don’t think so – I loved this and really recommend it.




Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 12th April, 2017 (yes today! cutting this review fine)
Pages: 281
Format: ebooks
Genre: crime, mystery
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

Driven by James Sallis

14623750Seven years have passed since Driver ended his campaign against those who double-crossed him. He has left the old life, become Paul West and founded a successful business back in Phoenix. But walking down the street one day, he and his fiancee are attacked by two men and, while Driver dispatches both, his fiancee is killed. Sinking back into anonymity, aided by his friend Felix, an ex-gangbanger and Desert Storm vet, Driver realises that his past stalks him – and will not stop. He has to turn and face it

One of the many things I love about James Sallis is that he writes his characters as he finds them.  They are dysfunctional, not always likeable, definitely broken but also incredibly compelling.  So it is with Driver, who you meet as he watches his fiancé get gunned down in the street, seemingly for no reason.

In Driver’s world though, there is always a reason, and so there is here if he can just figure it out in between fighting for his life and constantly trying to stay one step ahead of a seemingly endless supply of hired guns determined to earn their money.   It involves talking to shady people, hitting shadier people and never giving up.  I like that about Driver – he doesn’t stop.

Like him, this book is relentless, never letting up for a second.  It’s dialogue heavy with not much in the way of descriptive scenes bar the odd flashback to his childhood or earlier life, before he tried to start again.  And it’s short (only 155 pages), meaning there isn’t much time to breath.

The language seems simple on first reading but then you realise that a picture is being painted, of men (mainly) who believe in action versus trying to talk things out.  It’s not a world I understand but it’s lived by a code and it’s best not to break it.  It’s a world where you don’t go to the police, you sort out your own problems. And it’s a world where people live with the idea of an eye for an eye.

It’s a world I was drawn into quickly and was quite sad to see the end of, especially as it was left open so you don’t know what is going to happen to Driver next and whether it will be good or bad.  Perhaps it’s good for me as I will get to meet him again…I just hope it’s not another seven years before I get the chance.  Loved this one and a recommended read!




Source: Library
Publisher: No Exit
Publication Date: 1st January, 2012
Pages: 155
Format: ebook
Genre: crime, mystery
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Human Acts by Han Kang

30091914In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.

The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho’s best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho’s own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.

Human Acts starts with the story of one boy, of what happened to him over a few short days in May 1980. It starts with him looking amongst the dead for his best friend, who he had seen shot in the street by soldiers. It ends with him dead, gun in hand, as he tries to make a stand.  There are lots of dead in Human Acts, and lots of friends and family looking amongst them for their loved ones. Loved ones who had taken to the streets just like the boy and his friend had, protesting against military rule in South Korea.

The boy is Dung-ho. He is fifteen. And this is the Gwangju uprising, where – depending on reports – hundreds of people were killed over a period of nine days and others as the result of torture and retribution for having stood up to a brutal regime. Brutal is the only word I can think of to describe what I read. Han Kang pulls no punches in her description of what happened to those that died and those that survived. 

What happened to some of the survivors is told through long chapters that are more like short stories. Each survivor is visited at a different times in their lives and at different times in South Korea’s history and each is connected to the first chapter and Dung-ho. None have ever fully recovered from what happened to them as a result of their involvement in the uprising. Most of them were young. There were students, factory workers, parents. One was the author herself, who was a child at the time. None were ever the same as a result of what they went through.

It wasn’t a pleasant or easy read at times and I struggled in places to not skim through graphic details. I felt I needed to read every line though because this isn’t just about what happened nearly 40 years ago, this is still happening – if not in South Korea then in other parts of the world. People are still being tortured and abused and it does make you wonder just what we are as humans if we keep doing this to each other. Han Kang says “the question which remains to us is this: what is humanity? What do we have to do to keep humanity as one thing and not another?”.

I don’t know the answer and wish I did. As strange as it may sound, I feel grateful to Han Kang for asking and opening my eyes in such an eloquent way. Because, after finishing this over two weeks ago, it’s still a question that is rattling round my brain and I don’t feel it is going to go away. I am also grateful to have been given the opportunity to read this book. It is beautifully written, despite the subject matter, and translated. The characters are so real, I felt completely connected to them and their fate. For as dark and as hard to read as it was, I loved this book and can’t recommend it enough.

Emma x


Source: Blogging for Books
Publisher: Hogarth
Publication Date: 17th January, 2017
Pages: 218
Format: ebook
Genre: literary fiction
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

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Let The Dead Speak by Jane Casey

51F315SsdqL.jpgA murder without a body
Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home one day to find the house covered in blood and Kate, her mother, gone. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder.

A girl too scared to talk
Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. She suspects Chloe is holding something back, but best friend Bethany Norris won’t let Maeve get close. What exactly is Bethany protecting Chloe from?

A detective with everything to prove
As the team dig deeper into the residents of Valerian Road, no one is above suspicion. All Maeve needs is one person to talk, but that’s not going to happen. Because even in a case of murder, some secrets are too terrible to share…

I am used to reading books with dead bodies, there is probably at least one in most books I read, but I have to say I’m not so used to reading books where there isn’t one, just an assumption of murder.  The idea of this is one of the things that makes Let The Dead Speak stand out.  As far as openings and plots go, it’s different – in a good way.

What it does is throw up lots of questions that DS Maeve Kerrigan has to find the answer too, not least of which is where the missing body is – and whether it’s murder at all.  Because, without a body, how can you be sure?  With that much blood, though, that’s the theory the police follow and, with no clear suspects, they start by looking close to home…because you never know what is going on behind closed doors and twitching curtains

Casey has created a brilliant cast of potential suspects including: Kate’s daughter Chloe, who may be brighter than she first appears; her boyfriend and neighbourhood thug, who seems to be honest but you never know; her best friend Bethany, who doesn’t want Maeve to get close to Chloe; Bethany’s father, who found the house full of blood and doesn’t like being asked questions; and her uncle, who is – quite simply – a nasty piece of work.

I was convinced each of them was guilty at one point – a good thing because it means nothing was obvious here and, as a reader, I had to work at figuring things out.  These are my favourite type of books, ones that leave me guessing till the last minute, staying up late and turning the pages because I have to know!

Maeve helped with the page turning because I really liked her, and her colleague Derwent, who she has a love / hate relationship with (more on the love side it seems, though not in a romantic way).  They are both dogged and determined and not afraid to push things to get to the truth – though, unfortunately, that doesn’t always work out well for them.  They played off well against each other and, though their conversations, I was able to get an insight into both their home lives and understand them more.  It’s important to me to like the central characters in the books I read and I definitely did here.

I thought I would as I have read other Jane Casey books and met Maeve before but it’s been a while (I think it was the fourth in the series and this is book seven so I’ve missed a few…this definitely can be a standalone though for people like me who haven’t read any/all of the series).  I am really glad I found her again because this was a great read – well written, well plotted, well paced and with interesting and complex characters – and I loved it.


Emma loved-it

Source: Net Galley
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 9th Mach, 2017
Pages: 352
Format: ebook
Genre: crime fiction
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields


32580398On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

In a remote part of the Cairngorm mountains, a man carefully buries the body of the young woman he has recently killed.  He takes his time, is almost ritualistic about it, leaving clues as he goes.  He doesn’t want to get caught but he does want the police to know who his victim is.  It’s all part of his plan.

In this pretty much perfect opening to Perfect Remains, we meet Dr. King – serial kidnapper and killer and man on a mission, though what that mission is isn’t yet clear.  As King is introduced in chapter five, I don’t feel I’m giving away too much naming him but am going to stop there to avoid spoilers – this book is such a good one I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who wants to read it.

What I will say is that, whilst I don’t normally like books that tell me who did it so early on (I like to do the guessing), here it worked and didn’t bother me at all.  King is such a big character and his actions so off that I still felt there was plenty to discover.  I really wanted to know what had led him to this point and what he would do next, especially as the police net closed around him and his best laid plans didn’t go quite the way he thought they would.  It makes the book a bit more of a “why-dunnit” versus “who-dunnit” then for the reader.  Not so much for the police though, who are at a loss as to who the killer is, who his next victim will be and why they are his victims.

Leading the case is DI Luc Callanach, a man with a past. Formerly of Interpol, he has left his native France under a cloud, hoping to settle in the chillier climates of Edinburgh (one of my favourite settings for books).  His new life is not without problems, not just because there is a killer on the loose – his new team are wary of him, bordering on resentful, he has anger issues and his past seems to be catching up with him.

Callanach is an interesting and powerful character, one I started off not liking but who grew on me – what is it they say about a bark being worse than a bite?  His attitude could easily have overpowered the story but thankfully it was tempered by another DI, Ava Turner who is equally as powerful but more grounded, able to pull Luc back when he goes too far.  Ava isn’t his partner – she has her own case which runs parallel to Luc’s – but they make a good team, bouncing off each other to solve problems.

As characters, they are well written and well developed, just what you want in a book and impressive not only because this is the first in a series but also because it is a debut (well, kind off, Fields has self-published two fantasy novels before this was picked up).  This is a great read – the book is well written and well plotted with good pace – it kept me turning pages well into the night and, like my first read this week (Evil Games by Angela Marsons) there really isn’t anything I could say I would change.  I loved this one and can’t wait for the next in the series.




Source: Library
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 26th January, 2017
Pages: 369
Format: ebook
Genre: Crime, Mystery

Find it on Amazon UK / Amazon US