Tag Archives: twisty

Ragdoll, by Daniel Cole

30 Jun

31673769Format: e-ARC, 378 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 28 February, 2017

ISBN: 9781409168751

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

Back cover blurb: A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.
Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.
With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

My review: I was reminded a lot of the Luther TV series while reading this. Will Fawkes, aka Wolf, is the kind of detective who takes crimes personally, isn’t above bending the rules to get his man, and who often finds himself embroiled with his witnesses and colleagues. The case was gory and intriguing, full of sudden twists, and based on the blurb, I should have enjoyed this more than I did. But the fact was I didn’t get much sense of Wolf until very late in the story. I wasn’t invested in him, or even any of his colleagues. Only Edmunds seemed to stand out, and it doesn’t look like he will be staying on for the second book. I can see how Cole wrote this initially as a screenplay, but feel like the characterization would have been all down to the actors cast. I doubt I’ll be reading the sequel.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3.5/5

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Die Of Shame, by Mark Billingham

12 Aug

29474754Format: e-ARC, 448 pages

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

Published: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 9780802125255

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: From British thriller master Mark Billingham, a recent finalist for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library, Die of Shame is a chilling story of addiction, subterfuge, and murder.

Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about shame. A respected doctor, a well-heeled housewife, a young male prostitute . . . they could not be more different. All they have in common is a history of addiction. But when one of the group is murdered, it quickly becomes apparent that someone else in that circle is responsible. The investigation is hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these individuals and their therapist together, which makes things difficult for Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner, a woman who can appreciate the desire to keep personal matters private. If she is to find the killer, she will need to use less obvious means. The question is: What could be shameful enough to cost someone their life? And how do you find the truth when secrets, lies, and denial are second nature to all of your suspects?

My review: My sister has been recommending Mark Billingham to me for a while, so I jumped at the chance to get this ARC when it popped up on Netgalley. And I was not disappointed. This standalone story introduces us to an addiction therapy group full of interesting, well-crafted characters. I was gripped from the outset, and although there were many twists and red herrings, I was satisfied my suspicions were confirmed in the end. In fact, that ending was one of those wonderful “gotcha” moments that make a reader grin, knowing the crime will not go unpunished.

Billingham’s experience as a TV writer shows, and I can easily see this as an excellent British crime drama. I hope we’ll see more of DI Nicola Tanner and her interesting colleagues in future. Meanwhile, I’m definitely going back to read Billingham’s earlier works. My sister was right.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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The Invasion of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen

6 Aug

24961232Format: e-ARC, 380 pages

Publisher: Transworld Publishers

Published: July 16, 2015

ISBN: 9780593073117

Genre: Science fiction & fantasy, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighbouring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.
But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling – and that of Kelsea’s own soul – may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
In this dazzling sequel to her bestselling debut The Queen of the Tearling, Erika Johansen brings back favourite characters, including the Mace and the Red Queen, and introduces unforgettable new players, adding exciting layers to her multidimensional tale of magic, mystery and a fierce young heroine.

My review: I think I enjoyed this sequel more than the first book. Things are changing alarmingly with Kelsea, but it is her visions of the life of Lily in the almost-present which had me gripped. As I said with the first book, this is not for younger readers, and the plotline with Lily involves rape and some pretty horrible acts of violence. Nevertheless, I loved her story and really felt for her and her comrades, especially William and Jonathan. That ending was just perfect, and reinforced the idea that this is more science fiction than perhaps the first book would suggest.

Back in Kelsea’s world, things are left up in the air, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the third installment. Hopefully we’ll see more of the Fetch in the next book! This is going to make an amazing film with Emma Watson.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Rogue, by Julie Kagawa

6 May

rogueFormat: e-ARC, 460 pages

Publisher: Harlequin Teen (Australia)

Published: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 9781743690888

Genre: YA paranormal

Back cover blurb:

“There are a dozen St. George soldiers hiding in that maze,” my trainer said. “All hunting you. All looking to kill you. Welcone to Phase Two of your training, hatchling.”

Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can’t forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he’d signed his own death warrant.

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order’s headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember’s own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?

My review: The blue cover was the first giveaway that this would be more about Cobalt/Riley, and in this book we find out a lot more about his past and his role in Talon 12 years earlier, as well as his position as the current rogue leader. As Ember also discovers, Cobalt is far from the carefree slacker she assumed him to be when they first met, and even though I’m still fiercely Team Garret, I grew to like Cobalt much more. 

This book is far more action-packed throughout than the first book, and the romance element is moved to the back-burner. That’s not to say there aren’t some swoony moments, but everyone is in peril too much for those moments to be prolonged. I admit I was a bit saddened by that – I loved the UST of the first book and missed it here.

Kagawa has written some epic twists, and the ending just broke my heart. I have hope for the next book – it’s called Soldier so must be about Garret and the Order – but according to Goodreads I have to wait until 2017 for it! Nooo! #TeamGarret  

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

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Inescapable, by Amy A. Bartol

23 Apr

inescapableFormat: Kindle edition, 368 pages

Publisher: Createspace

Published: August 29, 2011

ASIN: B005JZTP16

Genre: YA paranormal

Back cover blurb: My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me–my freshman year of college. I’d been hoping that once I’d arrived on Crestwood’s campus, the nightmare that I’ve been having would go away. It hasn’t.

I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I’m grounded…sane. I look for rational explanations to even the strangest circumstances. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he’s near, I feel an attraction to him–a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would be…if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I’m the worst thing that has ever happened to Crestwood…or him. But get this, for some reason every time I turn around he’s there, barging into my life.

What is the secret that he’s keeping from me? I’m hoping that it’s anything but what I suspect: that he’s not exactly normal…and neither am I. So, maybe Crestwood won’t be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I’ve been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is…inescapable.

My review: Having loved Ms Bartol’s Kricket series so far, I thought it was about time I started her earlier work, given how much my friends had raved about it. Yes, at times it reminded me a lot of Twilight, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m not sure I entirely warmed to Reed, but I loved all the other secondary characters and Evie was a plucky heroine. The ending came as a complete surprise and I will certainly be reading the next book.

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

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The Affair, by Lee Child

3 May

Format: Trade paperback, 432 pages
Published: September 1, 2011
Publisher: Bantam
Back cover blurb:
Everything starts somewhere. . . .For elite military cop Jack Reacher, that somewhere was Carter Crossing, Mississippi, way back in 1997. A lonely railroad track. A crime scene. A cover up. A young woman is dead, and solid evidence points to a soldier at a nearby military base. But that soldier has powerful friends in Washington. Reacher is ordered undercover—to find out everything he can, to control the local police, and then to vanish. Reacher is a good soldier. But when he gets to Carter Crossing, he finds layers no one saw coming, and the investigation spins out of control. Local sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux has a thirst for justice—and an appetite for secrets. Uncertain they can trust one another, Reacher and Deveraux reluctantly join forces. Reacher works to uncover the truth, while others try to bury it forever. The conspiracy threatens to shatter his faith in his mission, and turn him into a man to be feared.A novel of unrelenting suspense that could only come from the pen of #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child, The Affair is the start of the Reacher saga, a thriller that takes Reacher—and his readers—right to the edge . . . and beyond .With Reacher, #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child has created “a series that stands in the front rank of modern thrillers” (The Washington Post).

My review:
Ah, Reacher. So that’s how you and the army parted ways. I loved this book, and couldn’t put it down – primarily because one minute I thought one person had done it, and the next I thought it was someone else, and it wasn’t until the last half a dozen pages that it was really resolved. Rather permanently resolved, in fact. Brilliant.

This one was written in the first person – Lee Child likes to alternate, having some books in first and some in third – so we got to see inside Reacher’s head, which is always a fascinating place. I love his humour, his talent with the ladies, and of course his own particular way of dealing with the bad guys. Bonuses here also include Reacher’s pals Frances Neagley (who I love from at least two previous books), Karla Dixon and Stan Lowrey (from Bad Luck and Trouble), crusty old Leon Garber, and passing mention of his brother Joe to tie the storyline in with events in the very first book, Killing Floor.

This is a great addition to Reacher’s backstory. I can’t help feeling, though, that I can see the end of the road coming for him. Then I’ll be very sad.

My rating: 5/5
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

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