The Hourglass Killer Trilogy by LR Potter

The Hourglass Killer Trilogy - All 3 BooksWhat a brilliant and carefully written dark, dark crime thriller? Poor Tess!!! Tess Champion is a police detective in Colarado, and we begin the first novel, ‘Dwindling Sands’, with Tess being subjected to a violent, torturous, sexual attack in her own home. As she returns to work, alongside her partner, Anthony Delgado, they are faced with a murder of a woman with similar scenarios that Tess found herself in. Is she going mad? Is she scared after what happened to her? Is she adding two and two together and coming up with five? However, over time there are more murders, each with a possible link to her ordeal.

Tess, although now feeling vulnerable and weak, is actually one of the strongest heroine’s that I have read about. Mentally, she has been teased and taunted, confused and, after the third book, ‘Cascading Sands’, in that much despair that it is a wonder that she doesn’t end her own pain. However, she keeps on going. She is a fighter deep down and her inner strength helps her to survive.

As Tess’ attacker knew her by name, it is believed throughout that it must be somebody that she knew. There are five main characters to keep you guessing; Anthony Delgado, her partner; Carter, her twin brother (even though unlikely, you can’t rule anyone out!); Thom Wyndom, her new love interest; Dominic Wyndom, Thom’s brother and an acquaintance to Tess, and finally; Dane Carver, the first and only true love from Tess’ past. I kept an open mind as different areas of the story led me to believe that each of these characters were capable and had the opportunity but as the story unfolded there were so many possible scenarios that the reader simply cannot determine the culprit until it is all made clear at the end.

Due to the motivation, the obsession, of the murderer and their perseverance it does feel very personal. Therefore, each event that happens with Tess is very believable and horrific. He, the murderer, is referred to as ‘The Angry Man’ and, in the prologue, he is the first character the reader encounters. We learn of his obsession, his need for control and throughout the book we know how he despises those he deems vulnerable and weak. These can be disposed of, as far as he is concerned, as there is no real need for them.

Initially, I was planning to read ‘Dwindling Sands (Book 1)’ of The Hourglass Killer Trilogy and separate each book with another of my choice in between. However, I was hooked! Each book of this trilogy is carefully interwoven with the next that I just had to simply carry on reading. The stories, settings, characters, etc, are so fluent that it felt like I was reading only one novel. ‘The Hourglass Trilogy’ is absolutely gripping, with so many twists and turns and unexpected turn of events. Just when the reader thinks that there are no more ordeals for Tess – bam! – another hits you right in the face.

There are many adult themes in these novels, such as abduction, rape and murder. Hence the strongly recommended 18+ year age warning. LR Potter’s style of writing these horrific scenes is amazing. The reader feels so tense in parts and there are some scenes that are creepy and yet the writing of these scenes is not over-exaggerated. LR Potter displays her sensitivity towards these scenes when she describes Tess at her worst, after each ordeal. It would be so nice just to pick Tess up from the book and pop her in your pocket to keep her safe! She is in trouble, without even realising it at times, and, working for the police department, she feels like she should be able to protect herself. It is so upsetting, knowing that she is vulnerable and a possible target/link to this monster.

I am disappointed to let Tess go – although to be fair she has been through enough. However, the whole setting and characters of these books make me want to read more about her. If you are interested in crime thrillers this is a must-read. If you would like to try a crime thriller for the first time, ‘The Hourglass Killer Trilogy’ will blow you away, at the same time as keeping you on your toes. After this absolutely brilliant introduction to LR Potter’s work , I am definitely looking forward to reading more of her novels.

‘The Hourglass Killer Trilogy’ was sent to me for the purpose of a honest and just review. Received gratefully, with thanks, from the copyeditor, Carolyn Pinard.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Vampire Shift (Kiera Hudson Series One #1) by Tim O’Rourke

Vampire Shift is a fascinating read. Set in a small, remote town in England with the main buildings being an inn, a police station and a church. It is surrounded by fields, cliffs and the sea. For some reason when visualising the fields and the inn I imagined the setting to be similar of that in ‘An American Werewolf in London’. The only difference being is that this novel is about vampires.

Keira was an interesting character from the beginning, having become a police officer so young and with high ambitions. When she decided to take on the murder cases and those of missing people in the Ragged Cove one of the first places for her to visit was, of course, the police station. With a very limited workforce and the sergeant sitting smoking a pipe and wearing slippers in this remote town, I couldn’t help but imagine ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Hamish Macbeth’.

As the story unfolds it covers many readers favourite genres. For me, it began as a drama, turning into a thriller, horror, part romance and throughout is quite adventurous with a few action scenes in there too. It is an exciting read at a nice pace. There is always something interesting happening.

Tim O’Rourke’s love of modern music really shows as he mentions some songs and artists, including Adele.  This gives the story a more current feel to it. However, with phone lines down, population low, and the remote setting it also feels quite eerie, with an older feel to the story too. The difference between the setting feeling older, but with modern characters and music is exciting.

Initially, I would have rated this novel four stars but towards the end something happened that I didn’t expect and I thought that it was slightly too much for the story. This may be ignorant on my part as there are more stories in this series and it could be that what I am referring to will pick up in the next book. Maybe I have been harsh and should have given this novel four stars as was intended.

I will be reading the sequel, ‘Vampire Wake’, next.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker