Thursday, 18 September 2014

Book Review: But for the Grace of God by Paul Grzegorzek

My Rating: 5/5

Availability: Kindle

Synopsis: Life is about choices, those already made and those yet to come. 

For John Cooper, more than most, this is especially true. Lost, hopeless and alone, he drifts through the Brighton underworld, a slave to his heroin habit and all but forgetting the man he used to be as he succumbs, dose by dose, to the drug that is both sustaining and killing him. 

The only people of import in his life are Mandy, a 16 year old prostitute who he cares for like a daughter, and Phil, mid-thirties and suffering from autism, a fact that many of the local drug dealers use to their advantage as they get him to ferry drugs all over the city. 

When Phil dies of a suspected overdose, however, John's long-buried instincts begin to rise to the surface. Knowing that his friend would never use drugs, he begins to investigate what he knows is a murder when the police fail to show any interest. 

Unwittingly, John plunges himself and everyone around him into a murky world of drugs, violence and betrayal, all the while struggling against the addiction that consumes him. 

My Review: From the very beginning of this book I was gripped. John is, although an addict, an immensely likeably bloke. It seems like the only people in John’s life are a 16 year old prostitute Mandy and an autistic guy named Phil. Life is the norm’ for John as he goes about his days waiting for the next fix. When Phil is found dead John instantly knows he has been the victim of a murder and not suicide like the police seem to be convinced by. At this early stage in the book we see John suddenly show a side to him from his previous years, as a copper!

As the story heats up Joh struggles to get anybody to take him seriously, but his persistence means other people in his life pay the price. The knock on effect for John is one that will have him putting his own life at risk to tell the truth. Between that and watching him try desperately to kick the habit, you can’t help but root for him! I really liked some of the other characters that appear such as Hannah and Gareth Bell. The story itself was brilliant and I read this (for the second time) in just over a day. There is plenty of action, as well as some dark and very serious moments. The book had my emotions ping-ponging all over the shop. I can honestly say I enjoyed it as much the second time around (if not more). 

There is one thing that baffles me though about this author. Before anybody asks the question, no I am not related to him and no I do not get paid for my opinion! Why on earth after 4 amazing books has this guy not been picked up and handed a publishing deal on a plate? I am certainly not an expert on the matter but I know what I like and I read a hell of a lot of books each year. I think Publishers are majorly missing out with this guy and feel compelled to ask the question why???? Having checked the reviews from all 4 books on Amazon it seems like nearly 80% of his reviews rate his books at 4 or 5 stars. Sometimes the book world baffles me. All I can say is if you want a gripping and enthralling read for less than the cost of a pint, this bad boy is the one!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Book Review: Hot Blood by Stephen Leather, Book 4 in the Spider Shepherd Series

My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Paperback, Kindle, Audio, Nook & Kobo

Synopsis: Dan 'Spider' Shepherd is used to putting his life on the line. It goes with the turf when you're an undercover cop. 

Now working for the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Shepherd is pitting his wits against the toughest criminals in the country. But when the man who once saved his life is kidnapped in the badlands of Iraq, thrown into a basement and threatened with execution, Shepherd has to decide whether his loyalties lie with his country, his career, or his friend. 

Shepherd and his former SAS colleagues realise that the hostage has been abandoned by the Government and that officially nothing is being done to rescue him. And with the execution deadline only days away, Shepherd knows that the only way to stop his friend being murdered is to put himself in the firing line in the most dangerous city in the world - Baghdad.

My Review: Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd is back and this time things take a slightly different turn, to what the readers are used to. Although Dan works for the Serious Organised Crime Agency, one of his old SAS colleagues gets kidnapped in Iraq. Spider, along with other of his old comrades gets together in a risky move to extract their old colleague from Baghdad. Along with the main storyline we see Spider going through many changes. The last book saw him lose his long time boss and mentor, and along cane the new on in the form of Charlotte Button. In addition to his new boss, he is moving further north to be closer to his sons Grandparents. We seem to be witnessing some big changes in Spider’s life, which makes it (as always) that little bit more fraught!

With a brilliant and fast paced plot the story held my interest from the very beginning; I knew I was going to enjoy this latest instalment. Spider has his work cut out and we see him work with Razor (who by the way I LOVE) on one assignment, whilst getting calls from Major Gannon. It seems that one of Spider’s old friends has been kidnapped whilst working in Iraq. It’s down to Spider and his other former SAS colleagues to get their friend Geordie back.

I really liked the fact that we see Spider go into unchartered territory. It makes for a much more exciting read, and as usual Dan gets himself in hot water. We also see the appearance of Richard Yokely who is an extremely shady American who is former CIA. Both he, Charlotte Button and Gannon are fabulous characters who add to the book vastly in my opinion. I cannot wait to read the next instalment and am trying to hold back as my list of books to read list is ridiculous. A brilliant series that I would highly recommend!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Book Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

My Rating: 3/5

Availability: Hardback, Paperback (due Feb 15),  Kindle, Audio, Nook and Kobo

Synopsis: I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don't know the colour of her eyes or what they look like when they're scared. But I will.
Mia Dennett can't resist a one-night stand with the enigmatic stranger she meets in a bar.

But going home with him might turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life...
An addictively suspensful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a compulsive debut that reveals how, even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems...

My Review:  A lot of readers and reviewers were comparing this book to the book Gone Girl, however as I haven’t read this I had no comparison to make. Mia Dennett gets abducted and taken to a cabin in the woods (maybe not the most original storyline). 

The beginning started off well, however I was a little bemused at the disjointed way of trying to write from 3 perspectives. We get to see chapters from the perspective of Mia's Mother Eve, the detective assigned to the case, Gabe and Colin the abductor. 

As a debut it certainly wasn’t bad, however at around the halfway mark I was trying to muster some enthusiasm towards the characters. The writing was certainly there in terms of skill and there seemed to be quite a bit of suspense going on, but I found that I just didn’t care what happened to Mia. The story progressed nicely and towards the end I certainly liked the twist.

I think I will certainly look for more work by this author and it was a pretty good debut. I just thought that it was a little lacking somewhere along the line. Or maybe the whole locked in a cabin thing is too clich├ęd? I certainly thought it was a decent read, it just didn’t tick a lot of boxes for me in other areas. 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Favourite Female Characters - Rosie Gilmour written by Anna Smith

I read a LOT of books and I reckon a good 35-40% are part of a series. As with any series you get the main character or sometimes duo's, but in the Crime genre, I reckon that the men are leading the way when it comes to lead characters. However, recently I have started to gain more and more 'favourite' female lead characters YAY! Among the few that I like one of those favourites is Rosie Gilmour. Rosie is a gritty Glasgow journalist who tears down the walls of corruption and will stop at nothing to get her story.

I have read all four books in the series and loved them all. I can't wait for another book to be released but if you haven't read this series I recommenced you give it a try. Betrayed, Anna's latest novel was released in May and was (IMO) a 5 star read. 

The Rosie Gilmour Series by Anna Smith
The Dead Won't Sleep (2011)
To Tell The Truth (2012)
Screams in The Dark (2013) 
Betrayed (2014) 

To buy Betrayed just click below on the Book Cover

Friday, 5 September 2014

Book Review: Cold Kill by Stephen Leather (Spider Shepherd Series)

My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Hardback, Paperback, Audio, Kindle,

Synopsis: Even deadlier than terrorists . . . are the men trying to stop them.

People-smuggling, counterfeit currency and attempted murder. It's all in a day's work for undercover cop Dan 'Spider' Shepherd. But what starts as a run-of-the mill investigation quickly turns into a matter of life and death when he uncovers a terrorist cell on a mission of death and destruction. The target: hundreds of passengers on a cross-channel train deep below the English Channel.

With the clock ticking and the explosives primed, Shepherd and his colleagues have to decide just how far they are prepared to go to save innocent lives. And they realise that to avoid catastrophe, they have to be even more merciless than the terrorists.

My Review: I’ve only recently started back on a bit of a marathon to catch up with the Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd series and I’m already wondering whether I can squeeze book 4 in next! Spider is currently working an undercover case to try an infiltrate a gang involved in money laundering and people trafficking. What he doesn’t realise is that this part of the case is literally just the beginning.

I really like Dan Shepherd and we watch him make the daily battles between work and his personal life. In addition it seems like there are major changes afoot and his job could well be changing in the near future to this. Add to that a plot that involves terrorism, torture, violence and a whole lot else and you get…well a very elevated heart rate! The more I read the quicker I had to get through it. This particular story just seemed to keep upping the pace and as threats went from suspected to real the tension ratchets up a notch.

In addition to all the drama we see a new character in the form of Charlotte Button, who could well cause a lot of waves in the ongoing books. Having said that it could be the American Richard Yokely that mixes it all up in the next book, who knows? By the time I had finished the book, I HAD to carry on reading to book 4, I mean after all I did buy the Kindle version as a ‘3 book deal’ and it would be rude not to! (FYI the 3 book Kindle deal is an absolute bargain at under £7) I am absolutely enthralled with the Spider series and can see me upsetting people I’ve promised reviews to because I JUST CAN’T WAIT to read the next in the series. Highly recommended!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Book Review: Deadline by Sandra Brown

My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio, Nook and Kobo

Synopsis: A journalist is hot on the trail of a pair of domestic terrorists who for decades have eluded capture.

Dawson Scott is a well-respected journalist recently returned from Afghanistan. Haunted by everything he experienced, he's privately suffering from battle fatigue which is a threat to every aspect of his life. But then he gets a call from a source within the FBI. A new development has come to light in a story that began 40 years ago. It could be the BIG story of Dawson's career one in which he has a vested interest.

Soon, Dawson is covering the disappearance and presumed murder of former Marine Jeremy Wesson, the biological son of the pair of terrorists who remain on the FBI's Most Wanted list. As Dawson delves into the story, he finds himself developing feelings for Wesson's ex-wife, Amelia, and her two young sons. But when Amelia's nanny turns up dead, the case takes a stunning new turn, with Dawson himself becoming a suspect. Haunted by his own demons, Dawson takes up the chase for the notorious outlaws. . .and the secret, startling truth about himself.

My Review
I have to be honest and admit that I have been sitting on this copy of Deadline for some time. It’s one of those books you keep telling yourself you will get to (the story of my life) and when you do you wonder why you waited so long. When I started reading this though I did struggle for a few chapters, and I found myself wondering if I should put it down and start something else. I’m glad I persevered because the story improved immensely and the second half of the book flew by because I was so much more engaged.

I didn’t take long to get to like Dawson Scott, the journalist who has come back from reporting in Afghanistan. However, the story just felt disjointed initially. We heard small sections of story which Dawson moving to cover a story regarding the death of former Marine Jeremy Wesson. It also turns out that Wesson’s biological parents were terrorists of some sort. Dawson’s Godparents are Gary and Eva Headley and Gary works for the FBI and has links to the case involving Wesson’s biological parents. That description of snippets of the story took me at least until the halfway mark to really figure out. Once I knew who everybody was, the story flowed so much better.

Amelia is Wesson’s Ex-Wife and she is currently raising her two sons and Dawson decides to start pulling at this thread as part of his story. The plot had so many threads that it took me some time to unravel them, and then understand where everybody fit it. Once I had done that the story gripped me and I couldn’t read fast enough. I really got to like the main characters Dawson and Amelia, and that’s always a bonus!

Overall by the time I got top the last quarter the pace had picked up considerably and you end up being on a rollercoaster ride right up to the very end. There was plenty of plot twist, with few that I saw coming. I just wish the beginning would have been as fast paced as the end, but it was still a fantastic read.

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