*REVIEW* ~ Deadly Lies (DI Mariner #1), by Chris Collett

#crimedrama #policeprocedural

Blurb

Journalist Eddie Barham is found dead in his home. A syringe is in his arm and a note by his side reads, ‘No More.’

Open and shut case of suicide? Not for DI Mariner. Hours before, he saw Barham picking up a woman in a bar. And then Mariner discovers Barham’s younger brother, Jamie, hiding in a cupboard under the stairs.

Jamie is the only witness to his brother’s death, but his severe autism makes communication almost impossible. Mariner is determined to connect with Jamie and get to the truth. Is the journalist’s death related to his investigation of a local crime kingpin?

What other dark secrets does Jamie hold the key to and can Mariner keep his relationship professional with Barham’s attractive sister, Anna?

In a nail-biting conclusion, Mariner races against time to prevent more lives being lost.

Perfect for fans of Peter James, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson.

My Review

A Cracking Crime Drama – 5 stars

Deadly Lies by Chris Collett is a cracking character driven crime drama which had me guessing until the thrilling denouement. The book introduces the reader to DI Tom Mariner, the central character in the ensuing series, and can be read as a standalone. It is the first book I have read that is billed as a Police Procedural, and I was unsure as to what to expect. What I did find was that I was very quickly sucked into the suspenseful plot and the relationships between the chief protagonists.

Although the death of the journalist Eddie Barham in his home at first appears to be an open and shut case of suicide, DI Mariner is determined to leave no stone unturned. He focuses his investigation on not only the woman who he saw the deceased pick up at a Birmingham bar but also on attempting to communicate with Jamie Barham, Eddie’s severely autistic younger brother, who was found locked in a cupboard at the scene.

The latter part of his investigation brings him into contact with Anna, Jamie’s sister, and the very personal connection they forge adds further tension to the novel. Both have baggage from their past and I found their ‘will they won’t they’ relationship particularly well portrayed by the author.  DI Mariner’s relationships with his colleagues are depicted in a realistic way and I found him to be a fascinating albeit flawed character. The novel is full of suspense as the investigation leads Tom Mariner into the underbelly of the city of Birmingham and to adopt some unexpected and often unpalatable leads involving drugs, prostitution and criminal gangs. I enjoyed the numerous twists and turns as he strives to solve the case.

One of the big pluses in the book for me was the complexity and humanity of the main characters, who due to their various foibles came across as very believable. It also examines the challenges faced by those with autism and their families.

All in all an enthralling start to the series. The author has created a fascinating character in that of Tom Mariner. I am curious as to how his crime solving journey and his personal one progresses and will be reading other books in the series.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

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Connect with the Author

http://www.chriscollettcrime.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/chriscollettcrime/

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Goodreads

*REVIEW* ~ Zenka, by Alison Brodie

#blackcomedy #drama #romance

Blurb

Devious, ruthless, and loyal.

Zenka is a capricious Hungarian with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knives and shotguns.

Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charges. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will make Nicholas into the sort of son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked: How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son? And is Zenka really who she says she is?

My Review ~ 5 stars

Sheer brilliance – do yourself a HUGE favour and read this now! TOP READ

Zenka is a book like no other I have reviewed this year – a brilliant read and a guarenteed pick me up! One minute I was laughing out loud, the next I was cringing at the desperate straits and misunderstandings that befall the characters. Throughout it all Zenka, who acts as both the muse and the catalyst for the plot, entertains the reader with her wild and outlandish actions. The novel contains madcap and side-splitting antics galore, contrasting starkly with a host of gory and violent scenes.

The plot explores the very worst of the human condition – greed, deceit, violence and the abuse of trust, and also the very best – love , friendship , honour and loyalty. This dichotomy plays out in a deliciously devilish exposé that sweeps the reader and characters along into a vortex of black comedy and emotionally charged scenes. The novel delves into family, friendship ties and romance and  culminates in a heartfelt ending which expertly resolves the disparate plot strands.

I just loved the pairing of the mild mannered  and gentle nurse Nicholas and the fiery and unpredictable Zenka, the Hungarian pole dancer and friend of the gangster Jack. The couple are brought together, at Zenka’s insistence, when Jack, to whom she owes a huge debt, finds out that he has a son from a former lover. Zenka is determined to bring father and son together and to transform Nicholas into a man worthy of entering a life of crime.

The plot delves into what motivates us all and also poses the question of whether a leopard can change its spots – can the wimpy Nicholas become an alpha male worthy of his gangland dad and conversely can Jack renounce a life of crime for the son he never knew he had? If Zenka succeeds will she like the man Nicholas has become? Moreover how will Nicholas react when he finds out who is dad really is? And what will his response be when he learns of Zenka’s deceit when he has fallen in love with her? The result of all these shenanigans is life-changing for the main characters and those within their orbit. Indeed, The supporting cast, all of whom are beautifully portrayed, have their own trials and tribulations which are woven masterfully into the story.

Zenka, which would make an excellent film/TV drama, is a must read. It also has a seasonal flavour, making it a fantastic Christmas read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

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Connect with the Author

Link to website: http://www.alisonbrodiebooks.com/#!the-double/c1253

https://www.facebook.com/AlisonBrodieAuthor/

 

 

*REVIEW* – Hiding in Plain Sight, by Lucy Felthouse

#romance #espionage #romanticsuspense

Adult content

Book Blurb

Mallory Scott is an espionage operative, working for the British government. She’s travelled all over the world, often going undercover and infiltrating criminal organisations in order to extract the intelligence needed to dismantle their operations and bring the perpetrators to justice. Given her usual targets are terrorists, people-traffickers, drug-traffickers and arms dealers, her latest assignment should be relatively simple. A small group of Brits is raking in serious money in the diamond-scamming business—and although their MO is theft and forgery, rather than hurting people, they still need to be stopped. But up until now, they’ve proved elusive—no one can catch them in the act, or find a shred of evidence against them.

That’s where Mallory comes in. She follows the group to Amsterdam, planning to get her claws in to one of the gang. Luck is on her side, and within twenty-four hours she’s lunching with Baxter Collinson, the youngest—and most handsome—diamond thief. What she’s not expecting, however, is to get on with him quite so well. Attraction bubbles between them—and for once, on Mallory’s part, it isn’t an act. For the first time in her career, Mallory struggles with what she must do.

Can she ignore her heart for the sake of her career?

My Review – 5 stars

Fun and sexy romantic suspense!

A super romantic suspense from Lucy Felthouse. Mallory’s work as an espionage operative is often dangerous and she fully expects her latest assignment, that of gathering evidence to take down a group of diamond thieves, to be a doddle. She has absolutely no qualms about using her feminine wiles to entrap one of the gang’s members, the young and handsome Baxter Collinson. All goes to plan except she makes an immediate connection to Baxter and begins to lose her heart in the process… For the first time she feels guilty about the role she has played in a criminal’s impending arrest and incarceration and she is torn.

I won’t delve any more into the plot but suffice to say I LOVED the unexpected twist. Do the couple have a future? How will Baxter view Mallory’s deceit? Can Mallory continue to maintain her professional detachment towards the very man who has made her question her actions?

I adored Mallory, a strong woman and a consummate professional, dedicated to her work as an undercover agent – she reminded me of a female James Bond as she enjoys her job and has a healthy attitude when it comes to sex! As for Baxter, he is both SO sexy and cheeky and has a fantastic sense of humour – it is no wonder Mallory falls for him. I really felt for him when he realises that Mallory deliberately orchestrated their relationship.

The characters are realistic and I easily identified with their emotions – I particularly loved the banter and the scenes between the main couple. It’s also got plenty of smexy and sizzling scenes which the author excels at.

Recommended for readers of romantic suspense who enjoy a read which contains some sexy and explicit scenes.

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/lucyfelthousewriter/

 

*REVIEW* ~ Blaire Dark Romance (Part 1), by Anita Gray

#darkromance #suspense #psychological #bdsm

Book Blurb

BLAIRE: part 1 in the Dark Romance Series

Bought. Conditioned.

My name is Blaire. I’m head of security to a man who controls the Russian underworld in Europe. His name is Maksim and he’s my master. He bought me ten years ago and conditioned me with brutality to worship and protect him. And I have protected him. I’ve slain everyone who has tried to do him harm. Everyone but a man he loans me to; a man who threatens to break me and everything I believe in.

You’re going to need a strong stomach and a strong heart to follow my story, because take my word for it, it’s no fairy tale.

My Review

Totally Amazing Dark Read! – 5 stars

What can I say? I was GLUED to this AMAZING dark, psychological read. I am a self-confessed book whore when it comes to dark  reads and I put this up there amongst the best. It has an original plot line and in Blaire and Charlie the author has created a truly awesome couple – their relationship is complex and intense and the scenes between them range from deliciously dark to sweet. I need to point out that it contains some brutal scenes of violence, physical and sexual in the book (dubious and non consent, bdsm, torture and abuse) which are not for the faint hearted. 

Blaire is one of the most kick-ass and lethal females I have come across of late yet she is so vulnerable. I wept for her as the plot unfolded and little by little we leared about her history and Maskim’s role in it. The way the author drip feeds this information adds to the suspense and I was gob smacked when I learned about her past.

I ADORED Charlie – just what is his game? What hold does he have over Maskim? Can Charlie protect Blaire or is he just exploiting her too? Will Blaire overcome Maskim’s conditioning or is it too ingrained in her psyche? Will Charlie succeed in breaking her hard exterior to reveal the woman beneath and how will this impact on her? Will his kindness save her or lead to her destruction? I was fascinated with the psychology of the relationships in his book and if you love dark romance as much as I’d encourage you do add it to your ‘to read pile.’ I’m relieved that part 2 of Blaire’s story is out at the end of this month so that I can see what happens next.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Purchase Links

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Connect with the Author

https://www.facebook.com/AnitaGrayAuthor/

http://anitagrayauthor.wixsite.com/anitagrayauthor

*REVIEW* ~ The Vodka Trail, by AA Abbott

#crime #thriller

Book Blurb

Orphaned and destitute as a teenager, Kat has made a new life for herself in London. Now she’s determined to reclaim her father’s vodka business in the former Soviet Union.

Birmingham businessman Marty wants to stop her. That alone isn’t why Kat hates him – she blames him for her parents’ deaths. But when she’s taken hostage by freedom fighters, only Marty can help her survive.

My Review

~ Slick and Entertaining  ***** (5 stars) ~

The Vodka Trail is a slick and entertaining crime thriller, with believable characters and plenty of plot twists, taking place in Birmingham, London and the former Soviet Union. It is the second book in the Trail series (the first being the Bride’s Trail), but can easily be read as a standalone, for although it does feature some characters from the first novel, it contains a brand new plot.

Kat travels to the former Soviet Union to reclaim her family’s vodka business. At the same time Marty, a Birmingham businessman,  also finds himself there on what is to turn out to be an ill-fated business trip. The two protaganists have a history going way back, to when Kat was a child, and they are both as stunned as each other when they discover that they are both held captive by freedom fighters. They know that their situation is precarious and that they will be lucky to escape with their lives. Kat in particular finds that she has to rely on Marty to maintain her sanity and recognises that the man she blames for so many past events in her life may be the one man who could save her life.

As Kat and Marty spend time in captivity together they are compelled to confront events which took place in the past, little realising how much of the past and present have collided in their current predicament. Their situation also impacts on family and friends in the UK and it is an anxious time as they await their, fate hoping for the best, yet fearing the worst.

The read is a realistic and harrowing portrayal of kidnapping and of the contrasting lives of those who live in the former Soviet Union and the UK. Not only was I on pins to see if Kat and Marty would survive their ordeal, but also how they would endure their close proximity given their animosity towards each other. Scenes expertly pan from their desperate situation to the lives and motivations of their captors and friends and family (including Kat’s fiancé) in the UK. Their existence is far removed from the shenanigans of some characters and the contrast makes for an entertaining read. I enjoyed both the two main characters as well as the insight into the political situation which has prompted their kidnapping.

The author has a gift for scene setting and I particularly liked her descriptions of Birmingham and London’s business community and those of the former Soviet Union, which I found very insightful. I particularly enjoyed the complex relationship between Kat and Marty and how this develops throughout the novel.

A super crime thriller, which is a thoroughly entertaining read.

PLEASE NOTE: The book is available in e-book and paperback. The author has published this series in a dyslexia free format. See the author’s blog post Fun, Fast Thrillers and Dyslexia Friendly Too

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

Twitter as @AAAbbottStories

Facebook

http://aaabbott.co.uk/

*SALE BLITZ* ~ Water Under the Bridge by Britney King

 

Title: Water Under the Bridge
Series: Water Trilogy #1
Author: Britney King
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Release Date: October 25, 2016

Blurb

As a woman who feels her clock ticking every single moment of the day, former bad girl Kate Anderson is desperate to reinvent herself. So when she sees a handsome stranger walking toward her, she feels it in her bones, there’s no time like the present. He’s the one.Kate vows to do whatever it takes to have what she wants, even if that something is becoming someone else. Now, ten pounds thinner, armed with a new name, and a plan, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s created in her mind.But Kate has secrets. And too bad for her, that handsome stranger has a few of his own.

With twists and turns you won’t see coming, Water Under The Bridge examines the pressure that many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a protagonist whose hard edges and cutthroat ambition will leave you questioning your judgment and straddling the line between what’s right and wrong.

DEAD IN THE WATER (BOOK TWO) IS NOW AVAILABLE.  

ADD TO GOODREADS

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Free for a limited time

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Also Available

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Author Bio

Britney King writes romantic suspense novels and psychological thrillers set in suburbia. She is currently writing three series and several standalone novels.

Author Links

*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Red Cobra, by Rob Sinclair

#crime #spy #thriller

Blurb

Carl Logan dedicated nearly twenty years of his life to the Joint Intelligence Agency. Now living in a secret location, under the new identify of James Ryker, he wants nothing more than to be left alone, the chance to start a new life away from chaos, violence, destruction and deceit.

It’s not long, however, before Ryker’s short-lived idyll is destroyed when he is tracked down by Peter Winter, his ex-boss at the JIA. Winter brings with him news of the murder of a woman in Spain, Kim Walker, whose fingerprints match those of one of Ryker’s former adversaries who’s been missing presumed dead for years – an infamous female assassin known as the Red Cobra.

A cyberattack at the JIA led to the Red Cobra’s profile being compromised, and Winter believes JIA agents may now be at risk too, Ryker included. But Ryker knew the elusive Red Cobra better than anyone, and when he sees the grisly pictures of Kim Walker’s corpse, he has news for Winter – she isn’t the assassin at all …

So just who is the mystery dead woman? And where is the real Red Cobra?

The Red Cobra is a fast-paced thriller filled with twists and turns and intrigue that will appeal to readers of big-hitting thrillers by the likes of Lee Child and David Baldacci, and with echoes in its plotting and breadth of the globe-trotting spy thriller I Am Pilgrim.

My Review ~ Engrossing and Expertly Written Spy Thriller ~ 5 stars TOP READ

This read is  another tour de force from bestselling author Rob Sinclair. In his latest Spy Thriller, The Red Cobra, we are reunited with James Ryker (aka Carl Logan from the author’s page-turning Enemy series). Prepare for a white knuckle ride as Ryker goes up against the mafia, intelligence services, bent policeman and a mysterious figure from his past. The read is a standalone but the book’s conclusion lays the ground nicely for the continuation of the series.

Ryker’s life in Spain has become an idyllic one, far removed from his previous life as an employee of the Joint Intelligence Agency. However, he is tempted out of retirement by his former boss, to investigate a vicious murder in Spain. The victim’s fingerprints match those of a notorious female assassin, the Red Cobra, whom Ryker has encountered in his former life as Carl Logan. Ryker knows that the body is not that of his old adversary and it appears that moves are afoot to compromise the identity of fellow agents rendering them at risk. It is a race against time to track down the perpetrators and prevent more lives being lost.

The plot is fast moving and totally engrossing. Much of the action takes place in Spain, although some chapters pan back to the past in the Soviet Union and beyond where we find out about The Red Cobra and her shared history with Ryker. This added a great deal of depth to the story and helped explain their motivations. There are a number of well drawn secondary characters  who accompany Ryker on his quest to put the pieces of a complex puzzle together. Aside from the main protaganists, I also enjoyed the character of Eva. Ryker certainly has his work cut out to identify friend from foe, find out the whereabouts of the real Red Cobra and the identity of the murder victim.

I enjoyed how in this read the author has further developed the complex character of Ryker, who I met as Carl Logan in his previous books. Although Ryker still maintains his hard and ruthless persona with his take no prisoners approach, as events unfold we witness how this complex man has now developed his own code of honour and is not simply just a blunt instrument of his employers. I loved the role of the enigmatic Red Cobra in the plot and the part she played in Ryker’s past and thought that the author portrayed her role as a female assassin in expert fashion.

There is plenty of action, suspense and some violent and gory scenes as the plot unravels and Ryker carries out his mission in the sweltering heat of Spain’s Costas. The stakes are high and there are twists aplenty! Indeed, The Red Cobra is a real treat for lovers of Spy Thrillers and is, I feel, the author’s best Carl Logan inspired book yet. I am so looking forward to the next in the series.

Please note that an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of  fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

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Connect with the Author

http://www.robsinclairauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Rob-Sinclair-746087495413628/