Forensic psychologist Doctor Alexander Gregory is renowned for being able to uncover whatever secrets lie hidden in the darkest of minds and, very quickly, he finds himself drawn into a murder investigation.
A killer is on the loose in County Mayo, Ireland and panic has taken hold on the rural community. The Garda are running out of time. Despite swearing to follow a quiet life, Gregory finds it impossible to turn down their desperate request for assistance.
Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a big fan of L.J. Ross’s DCI Ryan series so it was with some excitement that I picked up ‘Impostor‘, the first book in the Alexander Gregory series.
Despite having insane success with the DCI Ryan series, L.J. Ross has shown she isn’t afraid to take risks by embarking on a new series set in a new location. Ross has clearly done her research into psychological profilers – her portrayal of Gregory demonstrates her depth of knowledge. However, the story doesn’t lose its pace or get bogged down in unnecessary detail. It’s a real skill that Ross has honed – balancing backstory with pace.
The characters in ‘Impostor‘ are well-drawn with hidden depths. Gregory’s backstory is intriguing and I like how Ross manages to create three-dimensional characters who contribute to the narrative throughout.
Setting ‘Impostor‘ in Ireland gives Ross plenty of beautiful scenery to draw on and she does so with aplomb. L.J. Ross uses the countryside to create an atmosphere that contributes to the tense narrative.
As usual, L.J. Ross ensures that the reader is kept guessing until the very end. I was convinced I knew who the perpetrator was, only to be blind-sided by the big reveal.
I’m looking forward to reading ‘Hysteria‘, the next in the series.
Posted in Books, reviews
Tagged atmosphere, backstory, blog, book, characters, location, narrative, pace, reading, research, series, story, tense
A ten-year-old girl turns up on DCI Ryan’s doorstep to tell him she’s witnessed a murder. He has no idea he’s about to step into his most spellbinding case yet. The circus has rolled into Newcastle, bringing its troupe of colourful characters including acrobats, magicians, jugglers. However, despite the joy they bring to many, one of the members of the circus is a killer.
Ryan and his team must break through the secretive community to uncover a secret which has been hidden for eight years, to save the only living witness before the killer strikes again.
If you’re from the North East, you’ll be familiar with the Town Moor but even if you’re not, you will enjoy ‘The Moor‘. As always, LJ Ross has managed to create a compelling narrative which draws the reader in, combining excellent local knowledge and descriptions with human interest. As with her previous novels, ‘The Moor‘ is easy to read and whips along at a good pace.
I love reading the DCI Ryan novels – it’s like catching up with old friends. It was an absolute delight to see the development in Frank and Denise in ‘The Moor‘.
LJ Ross has created nuanced characters with pathos which keeps me coming back for more. I really enjoy the fact that, despite Ryan and his team being called to investigate gruesome murders, Ross keeps the novels light with plenty of banter and light-hearted humour. The drama, although very dark at times, never feels too depressing due to the lightness that Ross weaves through her stories.
Ross handles the portrayal of a much-maligned community sensitively and the story doesn’t feel exploitative.
Thankfully, it’s not long to wait until the release of the next DCI Ryan novel. You can pre-order ‘Penshaw‘ now.
Posted in Books, reviews
Tagged characters, drama, murders, narrative, North East, novel, novels, pre-order, reader, reading, s, stories, story
Charlotte wants a new start. This means forgetting her past – including the years she’s spent in prison and her friend Sean. But, even with a new identity, moving on proves to be less than simple.
Wearing an ankle monitor, Charlotte visits her therapist regularly but her demons begin to close in, dragging her back down a path which takes her closer to the crime that ruined her life.
From the moment I picked up ‘One More Lie‘, I was utterly compelled by this original premise. Combining an intriguing idea with skilful plotting and rounded characters, Amy Lloyd has written another gem.
Amy Lloyd writes with real skill – presenting her characters with empathy and depth. I loved the fact that, despite knowing Charlotte had been involved in something hideous, I couldn’t help but care for her. The supporting characters are used excellently to illustrate the difficulties Charlotte experiences – as well as the kindness she is shown.
The way in which the story is presented ensures that the reader is kept gripped throughout. ‘One More Lie‘ is one of those books that I kept promising myself “one more chapter” at bedtime then finding myself still reading ages later!
You can download ‘One More Lie‘ now – or pre-order a physical copy. You won’t regret it – ‘One More Lie‘ had me completely hooked.
Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…
Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries is becoming more than she can handle.
The woman who Alison’s defending doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty but something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.
Someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….
Ever since I first saw people talking about ‘Blood Orange‘ on Twitter last summer, I was desperate to read it. I was lucky enough to get a very early review copy last year – then to host Harriet Tyce’s first public reading of it at Noir at the Bar in October. Harriet had the audience absolutely transfixed with the excerpt she read aloud and I can promise you that the entire novel is as compelling.
‘Blood Orange‘ is a thoroughly intriguing domestic thriller. Tyce’s prose is tight and the plot of the novel is an incredibly twisty rollercoaster. ‘Blood Orange‘ is a riveting read centring around revenge, lust and obsession. It’s bound to draw comparisons with ‘The Girl on the Train‘ but, in my opinion, ‘Blood Orange‘ is far superior.
Harriet Tyce has created a compelling, complex central character perfect for the #MeToo generation. I love how, despite Alison’s flaws, the reader is given an insight into the myriad ways women are subjugated by men. I found myself absolutely livid throughout much of this book because it brought into crystal clear focus how women are abused, dominated or undermined regardless of their personal situation.
A timely, excellently-plotted novel. Harriet Tyce’s debut is sure to be the smash hit of 2019.
Posted in Books, reviews
Tagged book, character, debut, Noir at the Bar, novel, plotted, read, reader, reading, review, thriller, Twitter
A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles.
Leaving no clues, the murderer – nicknamed The Immolation Man – is managing to render the police useless. When disgraced detective Washington Poe’s name is discovered carved into the charred remains of the third victim, he’s brought back from suspension despite wanting to be no part of this gruesome investigation.
Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only Poe is meant to see. The elusive killer has a grand plan and for some unknown reason Poe is part of it.
As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive.
I tore through ‘The Puppet Show‘, unable to pull myself away from this compelling narrative. The characters are well-drawn and Craven appears to have a deep understanding of their back stories and what motivates them. I am, of course, #TeamTilly. Despite this being a dark, violent crime drama, Craven paints Tilly with sensitivity and, in her relationship with Poe, manages to bring some light relief when things get heavy. Craven, a former probation officer, has used his experience to create compelling, realistic characters.
Alongside his obvious understanding of the motivations of his characters, Craven’s experience within the criminal justice system shines through. Craven maintains the fine balance of demonstrating his depth of knowledge while ensuring that the story isn’t bogged down in minutiae. ‘The Puppet Show‘ is a well-plotted, fast-paced read.
Setting these grisly murders against the beautiful scenery of the Lake District was a stroke of genius by Craven, too. I really appreciated the experience of reading about somewhere I’m familiar with, turning it from a place of rugged beauty to something far more terrifying. I honestly cannot recommend this book highly enough.
‘The Puppet Show‘ is the first in the Washington Poe series and I can’t wait for the next one. ‘Black Summer‘ is due out later this year.
Posted in Blog Tour, Books, reviews, Writing
Tagged book, characters, crime, criminal, drama, murders, narrative, plotted, read, reading, series, stories, story