#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Lies Within (DI Will Jackman #3) by Jane Isaac #CrimeFiction

The Lies Within was published in May 2017 and is the third book in the excellent Will Jackman series, set in Stratford upon Avon.

My Thoughts

Grace Daniels, mother and grandmother, is on trial for murder. The story begins on the first day with a forceful opening of the prosecution’s case. ‘Be under no illusions by her smart clothes, her kind face and eloquent manner… This woman is guilty of murder…’  I was hooked immediately, and having read and enjoyed the first two books in the series I was sure this would be another gripping instalment.

Backtracking to ten months earlier we follow the events leading up to Grace’s arrest. Acting DCI, Will Jackman has been assigned to special projects, the regional lead on Adult Sexual Offences, with a view to improving procedures and reviewing any outstanding cases which could be connected. When the body of a young woman, with signs of sexual assault, is discovered in rural Leicestershire, Will is called to the scene. The victim is identified as Jo Lamborne, Grace Daniels’ daughter. Jo’s murder is similar to two other unsolved cases Will has been reviewing but, as yet, no link has been uncovered. 

Grace was unpacking the dishwasher when the doorbell rang. It was almost 7am and darkness still clung to the windows outside, holding onto the final moments of night. Her head felt wooly from the evening before, but nothing, it seemed, not even a hangover would prevent her habitual early rising. 

Phil was already at the door by the time Grace reached the hallway. His eyes met hers for long enough to pull a face. They weren’t expecting visitors. He opened the door to reveal a tall man with a mop of dark hair, a solid stance and striking green eyes. The black woman next to him was smaller, but almost as stocky. Her mouth formed a thin smile. She looked past Phil towards Grace. “Mrs Daniels?”

Thinking about that scenario – the knock on the door, the serious faced policemen, just knowing immediately something must be wrong – I can’t imagine how heart stopping it must be. And then to be told the worst possible news. The impact of Jo’s murder on her family is conveyed extremely realistically, the emotional turmoil, the feelings of grief and Grace’s consequent inability to function normally. Meeting Faye Campbell, an acquaintance from her past becomes a source of comfort and support, but Grace’s younger daughter is less than enamoured of her mother’s new friend. 

The story centres around Grace, which expands the narrative, but we still get to follow the ups and downs of the investigative process from Will’s point of view. Personal issues and a morally difficult situation continue to plague him but his character shines through, and it seems there may be a glimmer of light at the end of a very dark tunnel. 

This series just keeps getting better. Jane Isaac has created a well constructed, compelling plot with a psychological thread; a likeable, well developed and believable, non-clichéd personality in Will Jackman and a storyline that’s part police procedural, part courtroom drama with a deeply emotional family trauma at its heart. The reveal was a complete surprise but looking back the clues were there amongst all the red herrings. I was too engrossed to catch them – that’s my excuse anyway. It’s an extremely well written story, the procedural, courtroom detailing and storytelling ability are all excellent.

About the Book

Grace Daniels is distraught after her daughter’s body is found in a Leicestershire country lane. With her family falling apart and the investigation going nowhere, Grace’s only solace is the re-emergence of Faye, an old friend who seems to understand her loss. DI Will Jackman delves into the case, until a family tragedy and a figure from his past threaten to derail him.
 
When the police discover another victim, the spotlight falls on Grace. Can Jackman find the killer, before Grace is convicted of a crime she didn’t commit?

(Having a change of scenery for a few days, and a short blogging break but will no doubt be dipping in and out of social media.)

#BookReview ~ Being Alert! by @claidlawauthor ~ Timely Contemporary Fiction #Satire #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Charlie Laidlaw

Kindle Edition

Category: Satire, Humour, Fiction, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Being Alert! begins in January 2020 as the British prime minister, Winston Spragg, first learns about a new illness that seems to be centred in a city in China that nobody has heard of.

Following in a long tradition of British satire, the book populates Downing Street and Whitehall with an inept prime minister presiding over a dysfunctional government as it deals with an existential threat that rapidly becomes a national crisis.

Like satires before it, the book uses humour to paint an uncomfortable picture of a government seemingly as concerned about justifying itself as working to protect the country.

The beginning

In late January, two Chinese nationals were the first to test positive for coronavirus in the UK. The first officially-recorded fatality took place in China on January 11th.

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Fiona’s Guardians by Dan Klefstad @danklefstad #UrbanFantasy #Vampire #BookReview + #Extract #FridayReads

Author: Dan Klefstad

Due to be Published: October 2nd by Burton Mayers Books

Category: Vampire, Urban Fantasy, Book Review

When a vampire seduces you, death is minutes away. When she hires you, you’ll soon wish you were dead.

It’s a truth known to every guardian who worked for Fiona, including Daniel. Aside from managing the day to day chores and keeping her protected, he manages an investment portfolio to buy stolen blood from hospital workers.

After 35 years, what keeps him loyal? And will he ever be allowed to leave?

Fiona’s Guardians is a vampire story with a difference. Daniel has served as Fiona’s guardian for more years than he cares to remember, supplying her with the ten pints of her preferred O negative which she requires each day. He achieves this by means of canny investing and a network he has perfected over time, with people in hospitals and blood banks in several cities.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Homecoming by Alan Russell #Audiobook #Fantasy #Review

Another audiobook for this week’s Throwback Thursday. The Homecoming was released in June 2017 by Brilliance Audio and is performed by Luke Daniels.

My Thoughts

Set in California, Alan Russell opens the story with several couples and their children having a Valentine’s Day BBQ at the beach. A ghost story told by the fire, sworn to be true by the teller, fascinates Stella but makes the adults uncomfortable. Introducing Jason’s story lays the groundwork for what was to come.

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Grave’s End (DS Alexandra Cupidi #3) by William Shaw @william1shaw #CrimeFiction #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: William Shaw

Published: May 2020 by riverrun

Category: Crime, Suspense, Environmental, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A BIZARRE DISCOVERY

An unidentified cadaver is found in a freezer in an unoccupied luxury house. No-one seems to know or care who it is or who placed it there. When DS Alexandra Cupidi is handed the case, she can have no idea it will lead her to a series of murderous cover-ups and buried secrets. Namely the discovery of the skeleton of public-school boy, Trevor Grey, beneath a housing development.

Grave’s End begins with a unique viewpoint—that of an old badger. In fact, a small but significant thread throughout the story is about the badger and how he survives. Due to the proposed development of a site for housing the badgers’ habitat is declining and, along with this disruption, they have to contend with the increasing lack of food, plus other dangers posed by humans. As the diggers cause the badgers’ tunnels to collapse, more are dug out, which is how human bones were unearthed.

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Endless Skies: A modern day romance with a historical twist… by @JaneCable #Mystery #Romance #FridayReads

Author: Jane Cable

Published: July 2020 by Sapere Books

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance with a touch of the Paranormal, Book Review

If you want to move forward, you have to deal with the past…

After yet another disastrous love affair – this time with her married boss – Rachel Ward has been forced to leave her long-term position in Southampton for a temporary role as an Archaeology Lecturer at Lincoln University.

Rachel has sworn off men and is determined to spend her time away clearing her head and sorting her life out.

But when one of her students begins flirting with her, it seems she could be about to make the same mistakes again…

Rachel Ward has a tendency to embark on relationships that end up being something of a disaster. The consequences of her latest romance with a married professor in Southampton results in her banishment to Lincolnshire for a twelve months stint as Visiting Lecturer in Archaeology at Lincoln University. However, it’s not long before her position at the University is in jeopardy due to another unwise choice.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart #YA #Audiobook #Review

Throwback Thursday this week is an audiobook aimed at the younger reader, performed excellently by MacLeod Andrews. It was published in January 2016 by Scholastic Audio.

My Thoughts

When twelve year old Jonathan Grisby arrives at Slabhenge, hungry, cold and tormented, he faces at least ten weeks in the forbidding and Dickensian-like reform school. Run by The Admiral and his staff, who take pleasure from making life as difficult and uncomfortable as possible for the unfortunates who have been sent there. Slabhenge has had several incarnations, including a facility for the mentally ill, but to the boys it seems more like a prison with it’s many corridors, staircases and stone-walled, dank rooms.

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Fame & Fortune: The Victorian Detectives by @carolJhedges #BookReview for #RBRT #FridayReads

Author: Carol Hedges

Published: August 2020 by Little G Books

Category: Historical Fiction, Murder, Mystery, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

London, 1867. When the body of a man is discovered hanging from a Thames bridge, Detectives Greig and Cully, two of Scotland Yard’s finest crime-solvers, are called in to investigate the mysterious circumstances of his death. Their inquiry will lead them into a world of extortion, robbery and human trafficking, and at its centre, the Black brothers, Munro and Herbert, London’s most evil and ruthless individuals, who will stop at nothing to keep their position at the top of London’s criminal underworld.

Fame & Fortune is the eighth outing for DS Jack Cully, DI Lachlan Greig and DI Leo Stride, otherwise known as the Victorian Detectives. Carol Hedges immerses us once again in a London peopled with the sad and the bad, the rich and the poor, and the evocatively described back alleys, slums and more fashionable thoroughfares they inhabit.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Rising by Heather Graham and Jon Land #YA #Scifi

The Rising was released on audio in January 2017 and performed by Luke Daniels.

My Thoughts

Eighteen year old Alex Chin, popular star football player, was adopted by a Chinese couple, Li and An Chin, when he was a baby. Football is his passion and with plenty of scholarship offers, he believes he has a bright future ahead. His tutor, Samantha Dixon, is about to graduate and plans an internship with NASA, working with Dr Thomas Donati. All is going well for both of them until a head injury on the football field lands Alex in hospital. An initial CT scan shows something strange, and when Alex has a follow-up the bulbs in scanner burn out and the glass casing shatters. Then Alex’s doctor is murdered. And when Sam finds Alex’s parents dying in their home and have a run in with the non human attackers, she and Alex go on the run with help from Alex’s guardian, Raiff, who has been in the background, keeping an eye on him, knowing this day would come sooner or later. 

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A Critical Tangent (Moonlight and Murder Book1) by @reily_garrett #suspense #romance #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Reily Garrett

Published: December 2019

Category: Crime, Romance, Suspense, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

She doesn’t trust cops…

He’s an iron-willed detective who doesn’t know whether to cuff her or kiss her.

Keiki Tallerman is a strong-willed tech prodigy whose life is shattered when her drone captures video of her best friend’s bizarre murder.

Experience has taught her good reason to not trust any police officers, especially when the hard-boiled detectives come knocking on her door. Their suspicions narrow when the second of her trio of friends disappears without a trace from their small urban community.

The first book in a romantic suspense series, A Critical Tangent introduces Keiki Tallerman, a college senior, as she and her friend Shelly are testing a prototype drone. Keiki is a skilful mechanic, building drones for Harock Industries and also using her skills with the machines while working part time for a private investigator. When she witnesses a brutal and fatal attack on Shelly through the camera attached to the drone, she is left in no doubt who will be the next target.

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