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Hunger Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff – #Huntress 5

Source: Netgalley     

Publication: Thomas and Mercer on 24th October 2017

Revenge has no limits.

Special Agent Matthew Roarke has abandoned his rogue search for serial killer Cara Lindstrom. He’s returned to the FBI to head a task force with one mission: to rid society of its worst predators. But as the skeletal symbols of Santa Muerte, “Lady Death,” mysteriously appear at universities nationwide, threatening death to rapists, Roarke’s team is pressured to investigate. When a frat boy goes missing in Santa Barbara, Roarke realizes a bloodbath is coming—desperate teenagers are about to mete out personal, cold-blooded justice.

Hiding from the law, avenging angel Cara Lindstrom is on her own ruthless quest. She plans to stay as far away from Roarke as possible—until an old enemy comes after both her and the FBI, forcing her back into Roarke’s orbit. This time, the huntress has become the hunted . . .

I am a massive fan of the Huntress books. If you haven’t read them, I urge you to do so, but read them from the start, as they benefit from being read in order. The last book, Bitter Moon, which I adored, told Cara Lindstrom’s story almost from the beginning and the reader now has a much rounder feel for Cara, what drives her and why.

This is something that Special Agent Roarke now also understands only too well. Cara has taken his moral compass and turned it on its head until he is barely hanging on to it. The relationship between Roarke and Lindstrom isn’t quite symbiotic, but they are inextricably linked and where one goes, the other is bound to follow.

A female serial killer isn’t totally unheard of – Chelsea Cain’s Gretchen Lowell springs to mind, but in the Huntress series Alexandra Sokoloff has created a female serial killer whose rationale is readily understood and where the feminist perspective is very strong.

The blend of murder and mysticism is an alluring one and in Hunger Moon, the spiritualism helps to lift the actions of Cara and others to another plane.  I have always enjoyed the very real sense of repressed rage in Lindstrom; the cold and steadfastly calculating way in which Sokoloff has her go after her prey – never without reason, always with a plan; yet nothing prepared me for the hissing, crackling anger that burns through this book.
It is the fusing of fact and fiction that gives this novel its bite and if you are not just as angry as me by the end, I will be astonished. Sokoloff never shies away from citing  very hard facts and this book is full of terrible, hateful truths that you hope you never have to face, but know that unless you do, you will not stand up to be counted.

Hunger Moon is set in the era of Trump’s Presidency; an America which now, more than ever, is polarising not only its own people but across the world.

Sokoloff does not miss and hit the wall with her writing. This Presidency is shown to be impacting on everything that happens. Early on in the book Roarke is frustrated by his boss’s priorities. ‘If the Bureau is so concerned with cyber-terrorism, where was it during the election, when democracy was being hacked by a totalitarian power? He thought it, but didn’t say it. It was one of the ongoing questions of the new world order.’

In Hunger Moon, the focus, as you might expect, is on the impact on women. Hunger Moon references the massive and peaceful Women’s Marches following the U.S. Presidential election and the President’s own attitude to women which has allowed if not encouraged hostility to women to foster and grow.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the fear faced by Roarke’s colleague, Singh, a computer specialist who left India in part to be free of a culture that fails to condemn rape. Every day, Singh trawls the web for the trolls who post vile racist, sexist and violent abuse directed at women in an attempt to silence their voices. As Singh observes: ‘These trolls have only been emboldened by the ascension of the ultimate troll; a sexual predator now determining national policy.’ If that observation does not make you shiver, nothing will.

This Huntress book is again brilliantly paced – a real can’t-put-it-down read, made all the more compelling by having it firmly rooted in reality and drawing on observations of privilege.

As a crime story it sings out loud and proud, though there is blood and savage behaviour aplenty –  these books are not for the weak hearted.

By the end of this story I wanted to stand up and shout ‘We are all Cara’, though I’m pretty positive that when it comes down to it I’m probably more Roarke.

A terrific read. Very highly recommended.

About Alexandra Sokoloff

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Alex is the Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated and Thriller Award-winning author of the Thriller Award-nominated HUNTRESS MOON crime series (HUNTRESS MOON, BLOOD MOON, COLD MOON, WOLF MOON), the HAUNTED supernatural thrillers (THE HARROWING, THE PRICE, THE UNSEEN, BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE SHIFTERS, and THE SPACE BETWEEN), and the non-fiction workbooks SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS, STEALING HOLLYWOOD and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog.

As a screenwriter Alex has sold original suspense and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA, west (the screenwriters’ union) and the Board of the Mystery Writers of America. She is a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she majored in theatre and minored in everything Berkeley has a reputation for. She now splits her time between Los Angeles and Scotland, where she lives with the Scottish noir author Craig Robertson. In her spare time (!) she performs with Heather Graham’s all-author Slush Pile Players, and is of course one of the all author Slice Girls. She is also very active on Facebook. But not an addict. No, seriously, it’s under control.

You can follow Alex here:
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The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau by Graeme Macrae Burnet @Arcadepub @GMacraeBurnet

Source : Netgalley     

Publication: Arcade Publishing on 27 October 2017

Manfred Baumann is a loner. Socially awkward and perpetually ill at ease, he spends his evenings quietly drinking and surreptitiously observing Adèle Bedeau, the sullen but alluring waitress at a drab bistro in the unremarkable small French town of Saint-Louis. But one day, she simply vanishes into thin air. When Georges Gorski, a detective haunted by his failure to solve one of his first murder cases, is called in to investigate the girl’s disappearance, Manfred’s repressed world is shaken to its core and he is forced to confront the dark secrets of his past. The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau is a literary mystery novel that is, at heart, an engrossing psychological portrayal of an outsider pushed to the limit by his own feverish imagination.

 

Graeme Macrae Burnet writes beautifully and that’s what sets this novel apart from the crowd. With exquisite detail, he lays out the ordered, humdrum life of Manfred Baumann, a 36 year old bank manager in the sleepy small French town of Saint-Louis near the Swiss border. Manfred would rather eat food he dislikes than disrupt the pattern of his life and thus draw attention to himself.

He dresses in the same boring suits, eats at the same bistro every day and orders the same food. He drinks his wine in the evenings in the same bistro and his carefully constructed and fastidious life follows a pattern that seldom varies. Even his somewhat functional sex life, conducted wholly without attachment, is accorded a place in his routine. His companion drinkers in the bistro with whom he has a nodding acquaintance after years of patronage, casually allow him to play cards with them one evening a week, but even then the convention is that he waits to be invited. He is the eponymous Outsider and the echoes of Camus are strong in places.

Though he strives to affect detached indifference, he is curious about the bistro’s waitress, Adele in whom he sees a languorous dormant sexuality which makes him both curious and somehow uncomfortable.

When Adele suddenly disappears, Manfred finds himself caught up in the speculation over her disappearance and it is not long before the detective assigned to the case, Gorki, begins to treat it as a murder.

Gorski is haunted by a past failure, a case he failed to solve when he was in his twenties and just at the start of his career. A teenage girl was murdered in a wood and though someone was convicted of her murder, Gorski has never been satisfied that they had the correct result.

With lovely echoes of French noir in a Simenon novel, Gorski begins to look at all the people Adele came into contact with, and it is not long before his gaze falls on Manfred.

Manfred, overly given to being concerned about what people think of him, struggles to tell Gorski the truth about his movements, and thus the  mystery begins to entangle both characters in a twisted path which cannot do other than lead to tragedy.

As Manfred’s carefully constructed life slowly disintegrates under Gorski’s scrutiny, the secrets of his past and his present become one big lie he struggles to hold on to.

I really enjoyed this book because of its literary antecedents, its psychological complexities and the fabulous characterisation of time, place and people.

Beautifully done and with a nice afterword, which really must be read as part of the novel, this is a gem of a book.

Graeme’s third book, The Accident on the A35 also published this month, features the same detective Gorski in the same part of France.

The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau is re-published by Arcade Publishing on 27 October 2017

Amazon

About Graeme MacRae Burnet

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Graeme is the Author of the Year – Sunday Herald Culture Awards 2017

He is the author of three novels, The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau (2014) , the Man Booker shortlisted His Bloody Project (2015), and The Accident on the A35 (October 2017). His Bloody Project is to be published in over 20 countries including Germany, the US, Russia, China and France.

He has appeared at festivals and events in Edinburgh, Los Angeles, Adelaide, Macau, Estonia, Moscow, Cheltenham, Berlin, Paris, Glasgow, London, Ullapool and many more. If you’d like to book him for an event, you can get in touch on Facebook or Twitter or through his publisher, Saraband. He is part of the Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature Database, which can help with funding for events in Scotland.

Graeme was born in Kilmarnock in Scotland and now lives in Glasgow. Previously he has lived and worked in Prague, Porto, Bordeaux and London. He has an MA in English Literature/Film Studies from Glasgow University and an M.Litt in International Security Studies from St Andrews.

 

 

Monster In The Closet (The Baltimore Series Book 5) by Karen Rose

A mother is dead, and now her killer hunts the child that witnessed the brutal crime…

Private Investigator Clay Maynard locates missing children for clients, but has nearly given up hope of finding his own daughter, cruelly stolen from him by his ex-wife twenty-three years ago.

Equine therapist Taylor Dawson has chosen to intern at Daphne Montgomery-Carter’s stables so that she can observe the program’s security director – her father, Clay Maynard. Trying to reconcile the wonderful man she’s getting to know with the monster her mother always described, Taylor never expects to become the target of a real monster, the man who murdered the mother of the little girls she works with at the stable. Neither does she expect to fall for Ford Elkhart, Daphne’s handsome son, who is dealing with his own demons. As family and friends gather for a wedding, Taylor starts to imagine a permanent life in Baltimore.

But not if the real monster gets to her first…

 

It’s a long time since I read a Karen Rose book, though I used to devour her Vartainian novels as soon as they came out, and I chose this one because Karen was coming to Bloody Scotland and I wanted to get up to speed on what she was writing at the moment.

Karen always writes a fast and engrossing book, but this one just failed to catch alight for me. Her characters are as ever, warm and engaging, and the relationships start off full of complexity and interactions come laden with misunderstandings, but of course everything works out in the end.

That, for me, is the problem with this book. From the beginning you could tell what was going to happen, how the love story would play out, what happens to the children, Jazzie and Janie Jarvis who are hiding from their mother’s killer and how the violent encounters with the killer would end.

There was just no suspense and instead the warm and comforting blanket of a love story wrapped in sugar and deep fried in butter; sweet and sugary but with a distinct lack of spice in the middle, making this concoction altogether too bland for me.

Perhaps my tastes have changed, but the Karen Rose I remember had much more edge. I struggled to care about the characters in this book and almost didn’t bother too finish it because I knew how it would pan out.

Overall, this time, I was disappointed. I think this will please the diehard Karen Rose fans, but it just wasn’t for me.

A Monster in the Closet was published by Headline on 1st June 2017

Amazon                            Waterstones

About Karen Rose

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Internationally bestselling, RITA-award winning, author Karen Rose was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn’t concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.”

Her debut suspense novel, DON’T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has published more than fifteen novels and two novellas. Her twentieth novel, EDGE OF DARKNESS, will be released in 2018.

Karen’s books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, London’s Sunday Times, and Germany’s der Spiegel (#1), and the Irish Times, as well as lists in South Africa (#1) and Australia!

Her novels, I’M WATCHING YOU and SILENT SCREAM, received the Romance Writers of America’s RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense for 2005 and 2011. Five of her other books have been RITA finalists. To date, her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

A former high school teacher of chemistry and physics, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of more than twenty years, two dogs, and a cat.

 

 

 

Snare by Lilja Sigurðardóttir translated by Quentin Bates @OrendaBooks @AnneCater @Lilja1972 #Snare

 

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

Oh I really did enjoy this book very much indeed. Its a delight to take part in the blogtour for a book which I am sure will become a massive success.

Sonja and Adam have not long emerged from a bitter divorce; one in which Sonja was caught in the marital bed with Agla, a colleague of Adam’s in the banking industry.

Now Sonja has been left with no income, no house, and worst of all, she has lost custody of her only son, Tomas, whom she can now only see once a fortnight.

Now living in rented accommodation, Sonja is desperate to get her son back, but she knows that to do that she will have to have a secure income and a permanent residence, but all of those seem very far away for this young mother who was Tomas’ main carer and whom Tomas misses a great deal.

With no obvious way out, Sonja is despairing until she is offered a lifeline. Not without danger, but lucrative enough to get her back on the housing ladder if she can play her cards right, Sonja embarks on her new life as a smuggler, inventing a whole new persona for herself and risking everything to reunite her with her son on a full time basis.

But life is never quite that simple, especially when you are a middle class housewife trying to deal with the criminal underworld, and Sonja soon finds herself trapped between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

This is the book’s central storyline and how it plays out is both tense and fascinating. Watching Sonja being sucked in ever deeper as she struggles to try and retain even a vestige of control of her life is chilling and the risks to which she is exposed are very harrowing indeed.

Meanwhile, Agla, with whom Sonja was originally entangled, is experiencing many difficulties of her own. Not only is she being investigated for bank fraud following the Icelandic bank crash, but she is also very conflicted about her relationship with Sonja. She loves the sex and being with Sonja, but she is embarrassed by their relationship; she cannot admit to wanting Sonja.  Between the stress that the investigation is causing and the relationship, Agla is drinking way too much and her relationship with Sonja is somewhat frazzled and occasionally tempestuous.

Bragli is nearing retirement age. He is so close in fact, that his superiors keep suggesting he leaves, but his work is the only thing that keeps Bragli going, outside of the constant visits to his ailing wife, who is being cared for in a home as a result of dementia. All he wants is to be able to look after her properly, as he worries that the care she is getting may not be as gentle as it should be.

The cat and mouse game followed by Sonja and Bragli forms another credible part of this easy to read story. Written in fairly short chapters, Snare is an incredibly pacy book, in which the translation effortlessly carries you from one person’s perspective to another.

It’s a very straightforward read, but also quite different to anything I have read recently and I thoroughly enjoyed it, in particular watching Sonja as a daring and quite dauntless protagonist who will stop at nothing to hold on to what she loves most.

Snare is the first book in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, and I am now champing at the bit to read the others.

Highly recommended.

Snare is published by Orenda Books on 1st October 2017.

Orenda      Waterstones     Amazon

 

About by Lilja Sigurðardóttir

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Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavik with her partner.

Follow the blogtour here:

snare blog poster 2017

 

Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler @bonnierzaffre @AuthorLizLawler

Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table. The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.

The choice he forces her to make is utterly unspeakable.

But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.

And then she meets the next victim.

So compulsive you can’t stop reading.

So chilling you won’t stop talking about it.

 

Apparently this book is the No 1 Best Seller in the Amazon category of Anaesthesia Nursing, which is only slightly more terrifying than the actual book.  Don’t Wake Up plays to all my darkest fears and is an edge of the seat psychological thriller.

A fast paced read, this book sent shivers up and down my spine as the medical and psychological torture inflicted upon the victims is really chilling.  Dark and intense, the story focuses on Alex an independent young doctor with a stellar career, who finds herself the victim of a horrifying attack, but what is worse is that no-one believes her and she is gradually ostracised by her friends and colleagues.

Isolated and afraid, she has no idea how to convince the police that she is telling the truth. Worse than that, as more deaths occur in the hospital, Alex herself becomes the focus of the police investigation.

I enjoyed the storylines around the police investigation and the tension between the cops, though there was one police officer who I thought was a bit too stereotypical. Lawler does a good job of showing Alex’s mental state deteriorating as she fruitlessly tries to convince everyone around her that she isn’t making the whole thing up.

Easy to read and with a compelling premise, I enjoyed this book. It doesn’t especially stand out in this genre, but when you want something that is going to unsettle you as well as keeping you transfixed, this debut novel is just the job. I will look out for more from this author.

Don’t Wake Up is published in paperback by twenty7 on 5th Oct. 2017

Amazon                                           Waterstones

 

About Liz Lawler

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Born in Chatham and partly raised in Dublin, Liz Lawler comes from a large family where she shared underwear and a place at a table for meals with her thirteen siblings. Liz has been a nurse for over twenty years in a hospital emergency department, a flight attendant and a manager of a five-star hotel. She now lives in Bath with her husband and Don’t Wake Up is her debut novel.

You can follow Liz on Twitter

Quieter Than Killing @sarahhilary @katieVEBrown @Headlinepg

It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.

 Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

 

I have been a massive fan of Sarah Hilary’s D.I. Marnie Rome series since her first book, Someone Else’s Skin (which won the Theakston Crime novel of the Year in 2015). That’s why I rushed to sign up for the blogtour because I want everyone to have the opportunity to read and enjoy this series.

This is D.I. Marnie Rome 4 and if you haven’t yet read the others, do yourself a favour and get buying now – you will not regret it.

Marnie Rome’s parents were murdered by her foster brother, Stephen Keele, in their home. He is serving a life sentence for their murder, but Marnie is haunted by the need to know what drove him to it.

Six years later, her parents’ house, let out because she cannot bear either to sell it or to live in it, has been ransacked and both the tenants have been subjected to a severe beating. It seems all too likely that Stephen Keele is behind it, but Marnie needs to know why. Though she is, of course, not investigating the case, still she needs to understand what has happened. This crime is deeply personal to her.

At the same time, Marnie’s partner, D.S. Noah Jake and his live in partner, Dan, are worried about Noah’s brother, Sol. Sol has been too closely involved with some of the teenage gang culture in London and Noah is really worried about keeping Sol on a crime free track.

Hilary creates beautifully drawn characters. You like and respect Marnie Rome and feel just how buttoned up she is. Noah Jake is such a great character, too that you will him to succeed and be happy.

Quieter Than Killing is set during a harsh London winter and we are again in run down council estate territory. As with Hilary’s first three Rome books, each book stands very well on its own, but read seriatim, they form an uncomfortable picture of our fractured society where predators are able to feed on alienated youngsters because deep down, so few of us actually care about the lives of the dispossessed and society does not have the resources to deal with them. I recently read a report from the Child Welfare Inequalities Project which showed that young people from the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods are almost 20% more likely to be on the child protection register. This, then, is Hilary’s territory.

There have been vicious attacks on three released convicts, and Finn, a child, has gone missing, all leading to a tense and thrilling plot which leads Marnie closer to a disturbing truth. Each victim has been punished in a way that reflects the crimes for which they were imprisoned, so when one of the victims dies, Marnie and Noah speculate that they may be looking for a vigilante killer.

The devilish thing about Sarah Hilary’s books is that she raises a lot of questions and sparingly supplies some answers. So, just as you think you are getting closer to understanding what Marnie’s backstory really is, you find once again that you have more questions than revelations, though what we do find out is explosive. But this is a book where Marnie’s story takes centre stage and while she reveals very little to us, when she visits her foster brother, now in Cloverton, an adult prison, he is getting colder and crueller over his need for her to face what he sees as his ‘truth’.

When Noah is attacked with a baseball bat (Sarah Hilary, how could you?!) while investigating the disappearance of someone related to the cases, he thinks he recognises his attacker.

Meanwhile, a prisoner inside Cloverton is beaten up and when Marnie goes to seek answers, she finds out a lot more than she bargained for. It seems that Keele may be connected to the vigilante attacks and then she discovers that there is a shared experience between her and Stephen Keele that she was unaware of, but which connects them intimately.

To add to Marnie’s woes, her lovely boss, Tim Welland, is on sick leave and DCS Lorna Ferguson is brought in. Ferguson is an ambitious woman and Marnie has to carefully negotiate her way round her new boss as the case takes on a deeply personal angle.

There are lots of tense and dramatic twists and turns as the novel reaches its climax, so much so that I could feel my stomach clenching at the end of the book.

Quieter Than Killing is a superbly crafted book. Beautifully written, with characters you care about, it is an exceptional crime novel and Hilary’s best yet. It is a riveting read that is almost explosive in the tension it creates.

I can’t praise these books highly enough. They are all, in my view, 5 star reads, and if I could I’d give this one 6 stars.

Quieter Than Killing is published in paperback by Headline on 5th October 2017

Amazon          Waterstones

About Sarah Hilary

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Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her debut, SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 and was a World Book Night selection for 2016. The Observer’s Book of the Month (“superbly disturbing”) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series continues with TASTES LIKE FEAR (2016) QUIETER THAN KILLING (2017), with COME AND FIND ME out in April 2018.

Follow Sarah on Twitter at @Sarah_Hilary

 

See what my colleague reviewers think of Quieter Than Killing by following the posts on the blogtour

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Sleeping Beauties by Jo Spain @Hannah_Robbo @quercusbooks

The inspector frowned and examined the earth under the trees. As he scanned the glade, his stomach lurched. One, two, three, four. Five, counting the mound of earth disturbed under the tent. Somebody had cleared the earth of its natural layer and sown their own flowers

In five places

Five graves

A young woman, Fiona Holland, has gone missing from a small Irish village. A search is mounted, but there are whispers. Fiona had a wild reputation. Was she abducted, or has she run away?

A week later, a gruesome discovery is made in the woods at Ireland’s most scenic beauty spot – the valley of Glendalough. The bodies are all young women who disappeared in recent years. D.I. Tom Reynolds and his team are faced with the toughest case of their careers – a serial killer, who hunts vulnerable women, and holds his victims captive before he ends their lives.

Soon the race is on to find Fiona Holland before it’s too late. . .

If you are a fan of well plotted, decently paced police procedurals, then you will really enjoy this book.

The regular characters of Tom, Ray and Laura are warm and likeable, the newly promoted boss rather less so, and the crimes they have to solve are difficult and gruesome in a way that contrasts beautifully with the sleepy rural Ireland setting of most of this book.

Though there are two previous books involving Tom Reynolds and his team, each works perfectly as a stand-alone and can be read in isolation.

Fiona Holland has gone missing and while the police search for her in the woodlands of Glendalough they make a grim discovery. Five graves, with the bodies of five women are found and it soon becomes apparent that these women were the victims of a serial killer.

The women have a number of things in common; each has the same flowers planted above her grave; each was given the same gift and each had a certain reputation in their locality. After DNA matching, it seems that Fiona’s body was not amongst the dead, and this, along with other evidence, makes the police wonder whether Fiona might yet still be alive.

What helps to make this a fascinating book is the way in which the old fashioned rural setting throws up the kind of prejudices and misogyny that you hope died out years ago. Yet in this setting, these attitudes are not only alive and well but worryingly are present in some parts of the Garda whose actions have sometimes been influenced by the reputations of women who have gone missing, leading to delays in investigations and sometimes they are ignored altogether. This is a terrible indictment of attitudes to women in contemporary society, but sadly rings quite true.

The way in which this plays out is a nice parallel to the interplay between Tom Reynolds and his ‘modern’ ‘progressive’ boss – who is rather more concerned with image than substance and it is therefore satisfying that it is good old fashioned policing that saves the day.

There are some personal sorrows too in the lives of Tom and his wider family and team, and these make for a poignant counterpoint to some of the misogyny elsewhere in the story.

Overall a good and satisfying read.

 

Sleeping Beauties was published by Quercus on 21st September 2017

Amazon                            Waterstones

About Jo Spain

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Jo Spain has worked as a party advisor on the economy in the Irish Parliament. Her first novel With Our Blessing was shortlisted in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition in 2015. And went on to be a top ten bestseller in Ireland. Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four children.

 

 

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