‘Perfect Crime’ by Helen Fields

‘Your darkest moment is your most vulnerable’

A well-crafted, tense narrative hook opens the fifth book in the D.I Luc Callanach series. It’s great to be back with the Police Scotland where an unusual set of repulsive crimes is appearing. As always Fields’ plotting is intelligent and she weaves the investigation of the crime around the men and women who are tasked to solve it. The central relationship of Luc and Ava is taking a much more personal turn and there’s a lot of focus on it, but I really enjoyed this development and the further insight into their lives and problems.
There’s a lot of backstory in this, so I’d definitely recommend reading from the start to understand Luc’s past and how it links strongly into this story-line. All the books in this series are great reads!
I thoroughly enjoyed this fifth book; the unusual method of crime and the psychology of the killer.
Can’t wait for book six!

Thank you Avon Books UK and NetGalley for the arc and the chance to review this book before publication. Highly recommended for all crime fiction fans.

‘The Stone Circle’ by Elly Griffiths

‘The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly’

This is the 11th Dr. Ruth Galloway and DCI Harry Nelson book and I really enjoyed it. I’ve read all the previous books so it was great to join them again and also to experience the landscape of the salt marshes, as always a character themselves.
This book brings back the story from Griffiths’ first book ‘The Crossing Places’ which I really liked; it allows us dedicated Dr. Ruth Galloway readers a return to those events and also bringing in some new faces.
The central plot is woven well and held my attention throughout. With these books it’s the through-line story for the central characters that keeps us turning the pages and the complex relationship between Ruth and Harry.
Some funny moments and some poignant ones for the reader and I’d certainly recommend this book, but I’d definitely start with book one and watch the characters develop over the years. A cracking series of crime novels.
Thank you so much Quercus and Netgalley for the chance to read and review this book!

‘No Way Out’ by Cara Hunter

D.I. Adam Fawley Book 3

More bumping and twisting for the reader than a Helter Skelter ride!
This is Cara Hunter’s third novel in the D.I. Adam Fawley series of novels and it doesn’t disappoint.
Remaining consistent with the format of her previous novels, Hunter’s writing weaves back and forth between a first and third person narrative. The main story is interjected with mixed forms of police report transcripts, social media, news and forensic reports.
The central mystery surrounds the devastating aftermath of a house fire; there are some harrowing events involving the family’s young children and D.I. Fawley and his team investigate the events leading up to the fire. Hunter uses engaging flashbacks of the days leading up to the incident and the reader is able to shadow the lives of the central victims and their journey, gaining insight into the events leading up to the tragedy. As always, Hunter enjoys a good twist in the tale and this third novel fails to disappoint upon its conclusion.

‘Where the Truth Lies’ by M.J.Lee

‘The case was closed. Until people started dying…’

An engaging premise for this new police procedural: a DI who has returned to work after being diagnosed with cancer, which is now in remission, and is sent on secondment to the coroner’s office. However, the likeable, DI Tom Ridpath finds his new case brings him back to a previous serial killer conviction which is now in doubt. At times this police thriller is fast-paced and thoroughly engaging; there’s some really interesting characters emerging and the working relationship with Ridpath and his Coroner boss is one that could really develop. It’s well plotted and uses forensic and investigative procedures to drive the plot forward to a tense but satisfactory conclusion. I’d look forward to reading a sequel.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this arc.

‘Gallowstree Lane’ by Kate London

‘Please don’t let me die. Please don’t…’

At the heart of this book is a current topical issue of gang culture within our youths and the devastating impact of knife crime.
This is the third book to feature DI Sarah Collins and DC Lizzie Griffiths and despite not having read the previous novels it’s still an engaging and coherent read. I would be interested in the previous two novels to explore the character development to this point, as I’m sure it would have enriched the reading of ‘Gallowstree Lane’.
The title of this book is engaging and mysterious, and fits the plot; the narrative is told via split perspectives of the two police officers aforementioned, also D.I. Kieran Shaw and a young boy caught up in the brutal world of gang crime; it’s this narrative that’s really engaging and how over the course of the book your perception of him really changes.
I certainly enjoyed this book and would recommend it – I’d definitely look out for the first two before though as I think I would have got much more out of it having more understanding of the relationships, but I haven’t judged it overall with those thoughts..
Thank you to both NetGalley and the publishers for a chance to review this upcoming novel.

‘Once Upon a River’ by Diane Setterfield

‘A dark midwinter night…’

I enjoyed this book. Loved the atmospheric setting at the inn and of solstice. This is a real character driven story and there’s quite a few to get to know. This book has a grown-up fairy-tale feel to it.
The writer takes her time with the story-telling and it is fairly long, so it’s something you can savour and take your time with and enjoy the intelligently descriptive prose. It has a little bit of several genres: magic, folklore, fantasy, supernatural, the Gothic, and historical fiction. I enjoy story-telling and listening to stories being told and this book reminded me of that; I loved that the importance of telling stories seems to be honoured in this book.
Overall, an enjoyable read encompassing a variety of themes from love and loss to treachery.

‘The Wolf and the Watchman’ by Niklas Natt och Dag

It is 1793…’

This is a complex mystery novel set in Stockholm in the 18th Century after the gruesome discovery of a body in a swamp. It has quite a gothic feel to it, which I really like. The writing is rich and holds your attention without leaving the plot behind, it’s not a quick read but it’s richness makes it worth it.
The story is split into narrative parts with different character focuses before finally coming together towards the end. It is shocking at times and certainly gruesome, if you’re squeamish for that sort of thing.
I really enjoyed the gritty descriptions of the city, its bleakness and poverty.
The two men drawn into the investigation are a lawyer, Cecil Winge, and the watchman, Mickell Cardell, who discovered the body and this works really well, drawing obligation and justice themes into the story-telling. Another section of the book is about a man called Blix, who was hired by the murderer and who writes his story to his sister, Anna.
It’s a hard read, and stomach turning at times as evil will be, and at times I didn’t want to keep reading, but felt compelled to.

‘Enchantee’ by Gina Trelease

Paris, 1789

‘Enchantee’ is set in Paris during the latter part of the 1700s, however it’s a magical version where three different types of magic occur.
The story centres around a young girl called Camille who lives in fear of her magic due to the high stakes involved. The plot centres around a mysterious magical box that allows Camille to create a illusion to try and change her life and fortune, however there are consequences to using it. It immerses her into the world of Court Politics, and the Palace of Versailles provides a stunning backdrop to this.
It is a YA read and has some romantic tension, a quest and bad guys to defeat; it’s a fun read for those who like magic, fantasy and escaping reality for a while.

‘Wakenhyrst’ by Michelle Paver

‘…into the mind of a psychopath’

Gosh I’ve loved Paver’s writing ever since discovering ‘The Wolf Brother’ books for my students. Such fabulous lessons and readings we had with Torak and Wolf!
Anyway, this is just my sort of book – gothic writing, superb narrative plotting with a slam dunk ending! The descriptions of the landscape are evocative and beautiful even in their bleakness, such a great read for winter’s day.
Set at Wake’s End in 1906, a large house on the edge of the Fen, I couldn’t help but think of Haworth and the Bronte’s home on the edge of the moors and their gothic writings. At the heart of the story, is the home’s owner Edmund Stearne and it’s his psychology that is the most central and fascinating core to the story. Themes of the female at the time, family relationships, religion, psychology, oppression, supernatural, witchcraft, patriarchy and myths.
Gripping! Loved it! A must read!

‘The Quaker’ by Liam Mcllvanney

Glasgow, 1969.

Wow! I really enjoyed this book and sped through it; it’s incredibly well written and you are soon engrossed into the awful crimes and the plight of the central detective and the dramatics and angst of the team he finds himself working with.
The story is gritty and disturbing and is loosely based on real events from 1960s Glasgow. I love the close-up detail in the narrative; the scenes and characters came screaming to life from the pages.
It’s difficult to write about this, as I wouldn’t want to reveal any of the plot, but it’s a 100% recommended read for fans of the crime genre. Some great plot twists, carefully constructed characters and superb overall structure and plotting. A fantastic gritty read!
Thank you so much for the review copy, I shall definitely be purchasing my own copy for a hands-on re-read!