Oh dear, this is going to be a long one. Not only does it cover two weeks, but it includes the 11 (yes 11) I acquired at the Harrogate Theakstons Crime Festival alone. Just as well I post my Urbane Book Box separately or this would be a record breaker.
First of all though, the good news, I have no review copies. I’m desperately trying (despite my missing mojo) to work through my existing list so that I can start to read more of my own books. My trip to Harrogate just re-inforced that for me. There wasn’t one author that I met that I didn’t already own an unread book by. Even worse, in three cases I didn’t even remember owning them until I checked!
So what have I acquired since I last ‘fessed up? – Warning, you might want to get that cup of tea before you start!
The Hangman’s Song by James Oswald (£3.99 was 99p)
A young man is found hanging by a rope in his Edinburgh home. A simple, sad suicide, yet Detective Inspector Tony McLean is puzzled by the curious suicide note. A second hanged man and another strange note hint at a sinister pattern.
Investigating a brutal prostitution and human trafficking ring, McLean struggles to find time to link the two suicides. But the discovery of a third convinces him of malicious intent.
Digging deeper, McLean finds answers much closer to home than he expects. Something terrifying stalks the city streets, and bringing it to justice may destroy all he holds dear.
Dead Hill by John Dean (99p was Free)
When a man is killed by being pushed over the edge of a quarry, there is no doubt about who the culprits are. So why can’t DCI Harris lay a finger on them?
The theft of the eggs of a rare golden eagle leads to a murder investigation and a serious questioning of loyalties
Surly and abrasive, veteran detective Jack Harris at times shows more concern for the wildlife in his beloved Pennine Hills than keeping up cordial relations at work. Indeed, when a trio of local criminals try to steal the eggs of a rare bird, DCI Harris treats it almost like a personal insult and readies to envelop them in the long arm of the law.
Yet, when two of the criminals descend from the hills into Harris’ snare, rather than the expected three, Harris finds himself with a murder investigation on his hands. But far from being an open and shut case, it is one that will wrench him out of his rural idyll, and back into the gritty criminal underworld to solve.
When the murdered man is identified as a gangland member, Harris is beset by a troubled local community and doubts amongst his colleagues that he can bring the killer to justice. Doing so will force Harris to confront a nasty episode in his own past and question the loyalties of those around him.
This novel is set in the fictional town of Levton, nestled in the bleak and blustery Pennine Hills in the north of England. It is the first in a series of titles featuring Jack Harris and the Levton Police Force, previously published by Robert Hale, London.
The Lost Wife by Anna Mansell (99p)
When Ellie Moran passes away, she leaves her newborn son and husband Ed behind her. Their marriage was perfect, their lives everything they had hoped for. So why was Ellie keeping secrets from Ed?
Knowing he can never ask his wife the truth, Ed is struggling to cope. When the secrets threaten to tear his whole family apart, Ed turns to Rachel, the one person who sees him as more than just Ellie’s widower.
But then Rachel discovers something Ellie was hiding, something that would break Ed’s heart. Can Rachel help Ed to find peace without the wife he lost – and a second chance at happiness?
I Know Your Every Move by Diane Ezzard (99p was Free)
Is Sophie being followed?
Who is behind the menacing phone calls?
One woman is killed every three days due to domestic violence in England and Wales.
Thankfully Sophie isn’t one of them.
This dark romantic suspense novel tells the story of Sophie Brown, an attractive, vulnerable young girl from Manchester, England. She is trying to build a new life, working as a counsellor in a women’s centre. She receives a number of sinister phone messages and wonders if her past is coming back to haunt her.
Sophie forms a close relationship with Cassie, one of her clients and tries to help her escape from the clutches of a violent boyfriend. However, her own life is being turned upside down after a series of disturbing events.
She believes she is being followed but the more she delves, the closer she gets to danger.
Can she revisit her dark past before it’s too late?
City of Drowned Souls by Chris Lloyd (99p)
When a child disappears, the clock starts ticking
Detective Elisenda Domènech has had a tough few years. The loss of her daughter and a team member; the constant battles against colleagues and judges; the harrowing murder investigations… But it’s about to get much worse.
When the son of a controversial local politician goes missing at election time, Elisenda is put on the case. They simply must solve it. Only the team also have to deal with a spate of horrifically violent break-ins. People are being brutalised in their own homes and the public demands answers.
Could there be a connection? Why is nobody giving a straight answer? And where is Elisenda’s key informant, apparently vanished off the face of the earth? With the body count threatening to increase and her place in the force on the line, the waters are rising…
Be careful not to drown.
The Scarlet Peacock by David Field (99p was Free)
He was the son of an Ipswich butcher, but he was no ordinary boy.
His precocious intellect earned him a degree from Oxford at the unheard of age of fifteen, and his assumption of holy orders was to have an indelible impact on the status of the Church of Rome in England.
Thomas Wolsey first entered the royal service as chaplain to the ageing Henry VII, and stayed on as the first choice counsellor of his heir, Henry VIII.
Under royal patronage he rose to be Chancellor of England, Archbishop of York, and Papal legate for life.
But his love of flamboyant display, and his acquisition of ostentatious wealth, were anathema to the old nobility who resented such success by a mere commoner. Chief among these was his old boyhood enemy Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, who had a potent weapon in his arsenal. Her name was Anne Boleyn.
Wolsey’s inability to secure the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon was the breach in the wall through which Norfolk and his faction poured poison into Henry’s ear. Wolsey was stripped of most of his offices and retreated in disgrace on a northern pilgrimage from which he was destined not to return alive.
No-one was left to mourn his passing other than his loyal protégé Thomas Cromwell, who vowed revenge on the woman who had been the primary cause of the downfall of one of the most able clergymen and ambassadors that England would ever know.
Sean O’Casey: A Life by Garry O’Connor (99p was free)
The writer whose greatest creation was himself…
The character Sean O’Casey designed for himself became real and inhabitable — much greater than any of the great stage characters he carved out of his Dublin upbringing.
Born John Casey in Dublin, 1880, whilst his oldest siblings had been educated to the age of eighteen, before he was fourteen the future playwright had already been sent out to work. As a young man he embraced Irish nationalism, learnt the language, and Gaelicised his name; it was almost time for Sean O’Casey to enter stage right.
It was during this time he began writing, but, unlike the satirical ballads that became staples for the rebels, it would be 1923 before one of his plays was publically performed.
The Shadow of a Gunman marked the beginning of his relationship with the Abbey Theatre, and before long he was being touted as J. M. Synge’s heir.
Like his creations, drawn from his own life and those of the people around him, O’Casey’s blunt honesty, his readiness to fight over his opinions, incurred measures of ill will. Sean O’Casey’s life is as rich and layered as any play, yet in this skilfully crafted biography Garry O’Connor reveals the man behind the myth, and all his glorious contradictions.
Tropical Connections by Susie Vereker (99p was free)
A spirited tale of life, love and courage in tropical climes – Art historian Claire takes a job on an obscure tropical island, cataloguing Buddhist art, and finds her new exotic surroundings both fascinating and challenging. Her personal life becomes confused too-ex-pat banker Howard loves her, but she falls for elusive Australian Drew. Then she becomes involved with the darker side of island life and, quite by accident, finds herself in terrible danger . . .
Winston Churchill by Robert Lewis Taylor (99p was free)
“For seventy-seven years he has flashed over the public scene, a beckoning, outsized diamond in a trumpery world. Before moments of British crisis, he has been so uniformly right that his incandescent prescience has itself become a burden to his colleagues and to his countrymen at large.”
Former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, led one of the most astonishing lives that public service has ever witnessed.
Focusing on the school years of a young Winston Churchill and the early experiences that shaped his ambition, this fascinating biography delves into the private life of Churchill as a student, a journalist and a soldier.
The Complete Novels of Virginia Woolf (99p was free)
This carefully crafted ebook: “The Complete Novels of Virginia Woolf (9 Unabridged Novels)” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. Adeline Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer, and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), with its famous dictum, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Content: * The Voyage Out (1915) * Night and Day (1919) * Jacob’s Room (1922) * Mrs Dalloway (1925) * To the Lighthouse (1927) * Orlando (1928) * The Waves (1931) * The Years (1937) * Between the Acts (1941)
The Complete Rougon-Macquart Cycle by Emile Zola (99p was free)
Les Rougon-Macquart is the collective title given to a cycle of twenty novels by French writer Émile Zola. Subtitled “Natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire”, it follows the life of one family during the Second French Empire (1852–1870). In this tremendous work Zola first and foremost examines the impact of social environment on men and women, by varying the social, economic, political and professional milieu in which each novel takes place. It provides us with a close look at everyday life, gives us a deep insight into important social changes and it shows us the true people’s history of the Second Empire.
The Ludlow Ladies by Ann O’Loughlin (£3.79 was 98p)
Connie Carter has lost everyone and everything dear to her. Leaving her home in New York, she moves to a run-down Irish mansion, hoping to heal her shattered heart and in search of answers: how could her husband do the terrible things he did? And why did he plough all their money into the dilapidated Ludlow Hall before he died, without ever telling her?
At first Connie tries to avoid the villagers, until she meets local women Eve and Hetty who introduce her to the Ludlow Ladies’ Society, a crafts group in need of a permanent home. Connie soon discovers Eve is also struggling with pain and the loss of having her beloved Ludlow Hall repossessed by the bank and sold off. Now, seeing the American Connie living there, the hurt of losing everything is renewed. Can these women ever be friends? Can they ever understand or forgive?
As the Ludlow Ladies create memory quilts to remember those they have loved and lost, the secrets of the past finally begin to surface. But can Connie, Eve and Hetty stitch their lives back together?
Torment by David Evans (£1.99 was 99p)
Torment: A stunning & original detective thriller
A message left in error on a young woman’s answerphone is the catalyst for uncovering some dark deeds. Three young women are missing; luxury cars are being stolen; and just what did happen to two young schoolgirls, missing since the 1980’s?
DI Strong and journalist, Bob Souter are drawn into murky and dangerous worlds.
Robbing the Dead by Tana Collins (99p)
In a small Scottish university town, what links a spate of horrible murders, a targeted bomb explosion and a lecturer’s disappearance? Is a terror group involved? If so, who is pulling the strings? And what does something that happened over forty years ago have to do with it?
Having recently returned to Castletown in the hope of winning back his estranged wife, DCI Jim Carruthers finds himself up to his eyes in the investigation.
Struggling with a very different personal problem, DS Andrea Fetcher assists Jim in the hunt for the murderous perpetrators. To prevent further violence they must find the answers quickly. But will Jim’s old adversary, terror expert McGhee, be a help or a hindrance?
Care to Die by Tana Collins (£1.99 was 99p)
Struggling with his demotion back to DI and his concern for the grieving DS Andrea Fletcher, Jim Carruthers is thrown in at the deep end when the body of an old man is discovered stabbed to death in a nature reserve- a ball of cloth rammed into the back of the victim’s throat. The only suspect is a fifteen-year-old neighbour who is known to the police for antisocial behaviour. But the teenager has an alibi.
When a second elderly man is also found dead at the same locale, with the same MO, Carruthers starts to wonder if they have a serial killer on their hands.
On discovering that the first victim, Ruiridh Fraser, has an estranged son living in Iceland, Carruthers flies out to interview the man, now convinced that the reason behind Fraser’s death lies in his past.
But what does the disappearance of a twelve year old boy forty years before, the brutal murder of a former journalist and a bitter local dispute about a nature reserve, have to do with the investigation?
Can Carruthers and Fletcher solve the case while battling their own demons?
And are they hunting for one killer or more?
The Birdwatcher by William Shaw (99p)
Sergeant William South has always avoided investigating murder. A passionate birdwatcher and quiet man, he has few relationships and prefers it that way.
But when his only friend is found brutally beaten, South’s detachment is tested. Not only is he bereft – it seems that there’s a connection between the suspect and himself.
For South has a secret. He knows the kind of rage that killed his friend. He knows the kind of man who could do it. He knows, because Sergeant William South himself is a murderer.
Moving from the storm-lashed, bird-wheeling skies of the Kent Coast to the wordless war of the Troubles, The Birdwatcher is a crime novel of suspense, intelligence and powerful humanity about fathers and sons, grief and guilt and facing the darkness within.
Red is the Colour by Mark L Fowler (99p)
It is the summer of 2002. The corpse of a 15 year old boy, who has been missing for thirty years, is discovered in Stoke-on-Trent. The city is on the cusp of change and Chief Superintendent Berkins wants the case solved quickly.
DCI Jim Tyler has arrived from London under a cloud, moving to Staffordshire to escape his past. He is teamed up with DS Danny Mills to investigate the case, but there is tension between the detectives.
When the dead boy’s sister comes forward, describing a bright, solitary child, she points a finger at the school bullies, which puts important careers at stake.
Then one of the bullies is found brutally murdered and when Tyler and Mills dig deeper they start to suspect a cover-up.
What is the connection between the death of a schoolboy in 1972 and this latest killing?
With the pressure building, and the past catching up with DCI Tyler, will he and DS Mills be able to put aside their differences in order to catch a cold-blooded killer?
Summer at the Dog & Duck by Jill Steeples (Free)
Ellie Browne has found happiness running The Dog and Duck pub in the idyllic village of Little Leyton, and her blossoming romance with tall, handsome property developer, Max Golding, is going swimmingly. With her new best friend, Digby, the black Labrador at her side, life just couldn’t be sweeter.
But their peace is shattered when Max‘s younger sister, Katy, turns up unannounced with a whole heap of attitude. And Max‘s loyalties are stretched further when his glamorous ex, Sasha, re-appears with her own burgeoning secret.
With the master of the manor preoccupied with the demands of his ‘other women’, Ellie‘s forced to consider if she has any role to play in Max‘s life or in the village of Little Leyton
Can Ellie get her life and relationship back on track in time for the summer charity ball at Braithwaite Manor?
A Man’s Dying by Gail Bolland (Free)
The Luceys were farmers to begin with. A family like any other: mother, father, one son, four daughters and various partners. They had land and money, but that wasn’t enough to guarantee happiness or keep the family together. And when old Joe Lucey dies suddenly, the family begins to fall apart.
An inheritance can easily lead to greed, jealousy and lust, especially with fraud and suspicion to help them along. One of Joe’s four daughters, Martha, believes there’s something wrong with the will, which leaves the farm to Joe’s youngest child, Gregory, his only son. Martha begins to investigate and soon gets the support of her sister, Alex, a superintendent in the local police force. Perhaps Joe was helped to die, and perhaps Gregory’s comfortable life and his perfect marriage have been built on quicksand.
As things disintegrate, the family needs to pull together. But one suspicious death is bound to lead to another, and the truth cannot stay submerged for long.
Grace Me With Your Presents by Pippa Franks (Free)
With a yearning for another child as she approaches her forties and a daughter who has just flown the nest, Grace Carter must take stock of her life and confront a secret from her past.
A family crisis drives Grace back to Eskton, the (once) sleepy village just outside Whitby, where she grew up. While caring for her aunt after a fall, she encounters Terence (Tippy) Tippleton, the ‘bad boy’ of the village; Alfie Hammond, the Know-it-all grocer; an alcoholic vicar, and a transvestite farmer. She’s almost too busy to miss her husband and their life in London. However, the physical distance between them highlights the emotional distance, and she vows that once they’re back together, she will reveal the secret that’s been smouldering in the back of her mind for far too long.
Grace falls in love with the village and its quirky inhabitants. Can she convince her husband that life will be better away from the hubbub of the city? Will she even have a husband once the truth comes to light?
The Seagull by Ann Cleeves (purchased at Harrogate in advance of publication on 7th September)
A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper – and Vera played a part in his downfall.
Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, his body buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.
This cold case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as ‘the Prof’, were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were ‘the Gang of Four’, and Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. Vera must confront her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth, as the past begins to collide dangerously with the present . . .
Ash and Bones by Mike Thomas (charity shop purchase)
A cop killer on the loose in Cardiff – introducing a dark and gritty new voice in crime fiction, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride and David Mark
At a squalid flat near the Cardiff docks, an early morning police raid goes catastrophically wrong when the police aren’t the only unexpected guests. A plain clothes officer is shot dead at point blank range, the original suspect is left in a coma. The killer, identity unknown, slips away.
Young and inexperienced, Will MacReady starts his first day on the CID. With the city in shock and the entire force reeling, he is desperate to help - but unearths truths that lead the team down an increasingly dark path…
Freeze Frame by Peter May (charity shop purchase)
ILE DE GROIX, FRANCE.
A Frozen Island.
This tiny isle off the coast of Brittany is the scene of a murder left shrouded in mystery and grief.
A Frozen Crime.
Adam Killian’s study has been left intact since his death – the perfect state for Enzo Macleod’s forensic investigation.
A Frozen Heart.
Killian’s daughter-in-law is still hoping; the first suspect is still hiding; and the treacherous island itself still has a revelation for Enzo.
Freebies from Theakstons Crime Festival at Harrogate
The Chalk Man by C J Tudor (due 11/1/2018)
THE book of 2018. The Chalk Man is coming . . .
Looking back, it all started on the day of the fair and the terrible accident. When twelve-year-old Eddie first met the Chalk Man.
It was the Chalk Man who gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages between his group of friends. And it was fun, to start with, until the figures led them to the body of a young girl.
That was thirty years ago and Ed thought the past was behind him. Then he receives a letter containing just two things: a piece of chalk, and a drawing of a stick figure. As history begins to repeat itself, Ed realises the game was never over . . .
Everyone has secrets. Everyone is guilty of something. And children are not always so innocent.
The Collector by Fiona Cummins ( due 25/01/18)
Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town.
His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…
Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.
Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.
The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams
Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?
The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .
Give Me the Child by Mel McGrath
An unexpected visitor.
Dr Cat Lupo aches for another child, despite the psychosis which marked her first pregnancy. So when Ruby Winter, a small girl in need of help, arrives in the middle of the night, it seems like fate.
A devastating secret.
But as the events behind Ruby’s arrival emerge – her mother’s death, her connection to Cat – Cat questions whether her decision to help Ruby has put her own daughter at risk.
Do we get the children we deserve?
Cat’s research tells her there’s no such thing as evil. Her history tells her she’s paranoid. But her instincts tell her different. And as the police fight to control a sudden spate of riots raging across the capital, Cat faces a race against time of her own…
Here and Gone by Haylen Beck
Audra has finally left her abusive husband. She’s taken the family car and her young children, Sean and Louise, are buckled up in the back. This is their chance for a fresh start.
Audra keeps to the country roads to avoid attention. She’s looking for a safe place to stay for the night when she spots something in her rear-view mirror. A police car is following her and the lights are flickering. Blue and red.
As Audra pulls over she is intensely aware of how isolated they are. Her perfect escape is about to turn into a nightmare beyond her imagining. . .
Dark secrets and a heart-pounding race to reveal the truth lie at the heart of this page-turning thriller.
The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz (due 24/8/17)
A wealthy woman strangled six hours after she’s arranged her own funeral.
A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own.
A reluctant author drawn into a story he can’t control.
What do they have in common?
Unexpected death, an unsolved mystery and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz’s page-turning new thriller.
The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes (due 14/9/17)
It’s 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle.
Louisa’s salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nurserymaid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy – an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories.
But then a nurse – Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake – is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret . . .
Based on a real unsolved crime
The House by Simon Lelic (due 17/8/17)
THE PERFECT COUPLE. THE PERFECT HOUSE. THE PERFECT CRIME.
Whose story do YOU believe?
Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.
So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.
Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door. And now the police are watching them.
THIS STORY IS THEIR CHANCE… TO PROVE THEY’RE INNOCENT. OR TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER.
The Confession by Jo Spain (due 28/1/18)
You find out who did it on the very first page. On the last page, you’ll find out why.
Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.
Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?
Close to Home by Cara Hunter (due 28/12/17)
TIPPED TO BE 2018’S BIGGEST NEW CRIME SERIES
Someone took Daisy Mason.
Someone YOU KNOW.
Last night, 8-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from her parents’ summer party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows that nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.
That means someone is lying. And that Daisy’s time is running out…
If you’re still here – well done and thank you – get yourself another cup of tea now!!