I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for this book, so keep an eye out for my review the day after publication.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
It’s the end of another month so it’s also time to share what I’ve been reading. April was a busy month for me; I finished thirteen books and was part-way through another when the month ended. Four of these were five star reads and I may have even found my book of the year. So here is what I read in April:
Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith
As well as making me have the Taylor Swift song buzzing round my head, this book is an addictive and twisty page-turner that will knock your socks off. I was already a fan of Ms. Smith’s writing after reading her debut, but this has confirmed her place on my list of auto-read authors. Read the review here
The Lost Hours by Susan Lewis
The Lost Hours is a compelling mystery that follows a family through their worst nightmare. It was the author’s ability to convey the emotion of the story that made this one so enjoyable for me, though I did also like how she keeps the reader guessing right until the very end. Read the review here
The Source by Sarah Sultoon
A story of survival, strength, power, abuse and justice, this is a book that elicits strong emotions. Unflinchingly and sensitively written, it isn’t an easy read, but it’s one I’m glad I picked up. Read the review here
The Dinner Guest by B. P. Walter
One of the best thriller’s I’ve read in a while, this had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Skillfully written, atmospheric and intoxicating, this might have been my first time reading this author, but it won’t be my last. Read the review here
I enjoyed listening to this anthology of thirteen short stories with a bookish theme which was my first audiobook review for NetGalley. A great listen for anyone who enjoys a mystery with stories from some famous names in crime.
The Plague Letters by V. L. Valentine
I’ve long had a fascination with anything related to the plague of the 17th Century so this book was one of my most anticipated books this year. And it didn’t disappoint. The Plague Letters is a gripping whodunnit with a sinister and supernatural twist that is made me feel like I had gone back in time. A sensational debut, I’m looking forward to seeing what this author writes next. Read the review here
Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth MacNeal
As a huge fan of the author’s debut novel, The Doll Factory, I was so excited to read this book. I was worth the wait. Once again Ms. Macneal has written a magnificent and truly wonderful story. I got lost in the world and characters she created and didn’t want it to end. This was very nearly my book of the month and is one fans of historical fiction don’t want to miss.
The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs
I haven’t read this series in years but it was still like meeting up with old friends. I had forgotten just how amazing this series, and Reich’s writing, are and am so glad I decided to jump back into it. A twisty, taut and tense thriller that I highly recommend. Read the review here
The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea
This book is truly something special. I was unprepared for how much I’d fall in love with this book and it’s characters as they reached into my soul and took up residence there. The writing is exquisite, the imagery so vivid you feel like you are there, and the characters utterly compelling. Dorothy and Cesare will make you believe in true love as they find something beautiful in the darkest and most unexpected of places. Read the review here
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I’m not going to deny the beautiful cover is partly what enticed me to add this book to my tbr. And it lived up to the expectation of beauty for sure, with its luxurious prose and evocative imagery. I also really liked how the author addressed the topic of female agency and power. The only thing that let this down was that it is sold as Fantasy but there was no real magical element to it. It is a great book for those who enjoy historical romance. Read the review here
The Liar’s Daughter by Rona Halsall
This was another amazing thriller from one of my favourite voices in psychological fiction. Halsall had me fooled for a while, lulling me into a false sense of security where I thought I had it all figured out, before pulling the rug from under me and turning everything on it’s head. Read the review here
Don’t Come Looking by A. J. Campbell
The second installment in the Eva Barnes is even better than the first! An intriguing, suspenseful and gripping thriller that I couldn’t put down, keep an eye out for my review soon.
Dead Secret by Noelle Holten
This has become a must-read series for me thanks to the author’s dark and twisty plots and razor-sharp writing. This wasn’t as dark as the previous books in the series and I enjoyed exploring more of the character’s personal lives. Unexpected and addictive, I flew through this in just a few hours. Read the review here
While there were a few books that stood out this month, as soon as I began reading The Metal Heart I knew this was my Book of the Month. It is something truly beautiful and special that reached into my soul.
Did we read any of the same books this month? What was your favourite read in April? Let me know in the comments.
Published: April 23rd, 2021 Publisher: One More Chapter Format: Kindle, Paperback Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction, Hardboiled, Police Procedural
Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…
DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.
Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.
That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.
Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…
“Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…”
The DC Maggie Jamieson series has become a must-read series for me thanks to the author’s dark, twisty and sharply-written plots and compelling characters. Like the previous installments, this fourth installment doesn’t miss a beat and jumps straight into the action with a heart-pounding and mysterious prologue that sets us up for the tense journey we are about to be taken on.
It was great to be back with familiar characters. Even though these books can be quite hard-hitting, there is a comfort to the familiar characters that makes reading a series so enticing for me. This installment is probably the least hard-hitting of the author’s books so far, focusing more on Maggie’s personal life and how Lucy is coping with running her new refuge than on dark and malevolent characters. And as much as I like the twisted characters I enjoyed this change. But don’t let that fool you, there is still plenty of action and the team spend a lot of time investigating two pressing cases: the murder of a young man and the disappearance of DCI Hastings and his family. And as they dig deeper, they unveil shocking secrets that reveal the cases are connected in unexpected ways.
As with all of her books, Ms Holten addresses some tough topics in this book, including domestic abuse and self harm. While it is always written with honesty, it is also sensitive and real, showing things such as the struggle faced by survivors of abuse. Her villains are always scarily sinister, and this book does not disappoint in that regard. They may only appear for a short time, but they make quite the impact and lasting impression.
An unpredictable, gripping and suspenseful thriller, Dead Secret will have you on tenterhooks from start to finish. The author succinctly catches you up on past events, making it readable as both a standalone of part of the series.
TW: Domestic abuse, self harm
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
Thank you to Sarah at Book on the Bright Side Publicity and Promo for the invitation to take part in this tour and to One More Chapter for the eBook ARC. Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.
I can’t quite believe we’re in the start of November and in just a few weeks we’ll putting together our best books of the year! But the clocks have gone back, the weather is cold and wet and October is over. This means it’s time for another wrap-up.
October was a fantastic month for me. I read a total of 19 books and discovered some that will have a place in my favourites of 2020. I took part in twenty-one blog tours, three readalongs and managed to squeeze in some much-needed mood reading at the end of the month. The latter was so refreshing and reinforced my decision to take on less blog tours next year.
Choosing a favourite has been tricky as the last three books I read in October were each outstanding enough to take the title. In addition, The Meaning of Mariah Carey was a sensational memoir that I had thought was a shoe-in for my favourite book all month. After some thought I have decided to give two books the title of BOTM: The Illustrated Child and The Burning Girls. In the end I just couldn’t choose between the two.
Did we read any of the same books this month? What was your favourite read of October?
Published: October 16th, 2020 Publisher: One More Chapter Format: Paperback, Kindle Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Crime Series, Hardboiled, Police Procedural
Thank you to Sarah at BOTBS Publicity for the invitation to take part and One More Chapter for the gifted eBook ARC.
A murdered woman…
When the body of a young woman is found in a local park, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she’s dealing with no ordinary killer. The murder victim has been disfigured; her outfit changed to resemble someone else. Someone Maggie knows all too well…her close friend Dr Kate Moloney.
A determined detective…
Maggie is determined to keep her friend safe, but with Kate already struggling with a threatening stalker, Maggie now fears Kate’s life is in real danger. Who else would want to harm Kate and why else would the killer be turning his victims into exact replicas – his living dolls?
Can Maggie find the depraved killer? Or will Kate become his next living doll?
“Practice makes perfect.”
Dead Perfect is the third installment in the DC Maggie Jamieson series; and it’s the best one yet.
Maggie and her team face their most challenging case yet when they must track a killer who’s altering the appearance of his victims to resemble someone they know. They have few clues and no obvious suspects. But when a second body is found, it is clear they are in a race against the clock to identify and find their killer before he takes another victim. Can Maggie overcome her personal fears to find him before it’s too late?
“He’d been watching her for a while now. She was perfect. Or she would be.”
Holten has a talent for the sinister and macabre, delivering the kind of tense and twisted thriller that I love. Once again she uses one of my favourite tropes of writing from the killer’s perspective, which heightens all the creep factor. This is one sick guy. But it isn’t just the way he incapacitates and mutilates his victims that makes him so scary, or even his obsessive delusion; it’s how patient, organised and methodical he is. The idea that he could do the preparation he does without being caught is frightening, and feels very real.
I’ve read the previous books in this series so I knew the characters. But if you haven’t you can still read this book as the author quickly catches you up on past events. All the characters are relatable, real and well written, and I like Maggie more with every installment. I liked how vulnerable she was in this book and how we see her battle a new challenge when her friend is at risk. She jumps straight into the action and never slows down for a minute. And while you end the book exhausted after an arduous journey, you are also left desperate for more as it perfectly sets the scene for book four.
Dark, menacing and compelling, any thriller lover should read this book.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning new series – from a huge new talent.
The killer is just getting started…
When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.
The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.
And he is Lucy’s husband.
Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?
Thank you to NetGalley, Harper Impulse and Killer Reads, and Noelle Holten for the chance to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Everyone has a motive and you can’t help but think the victims got what they deserve in this dark, gruesome and hard hitting debut novel. Beginning with a prologue that details a woman’s dread as her husband arrives home drunk, how that night something even worse than usual happens as he rapes her for the first time, I knew instantly this would be hard to read in places.
Though this book was filled with lots of characters and is written from more points of view than any other I’ve read, it was never confusing which was a testament to the skill of this author. Some of these were obvious stereotypes while others, like Lucy weren’t. She isn’t what you think of when you imagine an abused spouse and this helped to highlight that anyone has the potential to find themselves in that kind of relationship. Reading her chapters was often difficult but for me the ones I found most sickening were those told from the point of view of the perpetrators. The ones who first come to mind are Patrick and Robert. The insight into their twisted minds, the sheer enormity of their rage over the slightest perceived wrong, and how they recognised and enjoyed their behaviour made my stomach crawl.
Probation isn’t a side of crime usually included in crime fiction so it was interesting and refreshing to read about it in this book. It’s a side of the law I have never really thought about and I was sad but not surprised to read how so many of those convicted of domestic abuse re-offend, as it was to read how many victims are almost complicit in the cycle as they struggle to break free of their abusive partner or spouse.
The unsettling subject matter made this an emotive read. I’d veer from empathy for the victims of abuse to anger and disgust at the perpetrators, to feeling quite glad the men had been killed and thinking the murderer was actually doing society a favour by administering their own version of justice. Though at times predictable, this was a compelling and provocative novel and I look forward to reading the next installment in the series.