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All engrossing, pure escapist, nail-biting anxiety, mind bending terror and psychological twists. We’re not sure why it’s so appealing. Good though, isn’t it! You might also like to browse our Crime and Mystery category.
It was him, Graham was sure of it. He might not have seen him for years, but no one forgets their oldest friend's face. But as much as he tries to get Adi Varney's attention through the window, the local football legend stares straight through him. Why had Adi ignored him, and why had Graham seen him in the company of an American businessman reputed to be involved with the Mafia? Graham begins asking around. He visits the Sports Centre Adi founded and quickly learns that the charity is on the verge of closing down. A firm of lawyers is trying to take it over and a name is mentioned - Rocco Lonza - the same business man Graham saw with Adi. Convinced that something is very wrong Graham is determined to work out what has happened to his friend and quickly discovers Adi is in well over his head. Will he be able to save his friend's life again, like he did when they were kids, or will the local star finally be snuffed out?
The atmosphere in the lab is toxic. It is only a matter of time before there is a flu pandemic with the potential to kill billions. Or so wealthy entrepreneur Lyle Lynstrum believes. That is why he is funding research into transgenics - the mechanism by which viruses can jump the species barrier - at a high security lab on a tidal island off the North Devon coast. A suspiciously rapid turnover of staff has him worried. He sends in scientist Katie Flanagan as an undercover lab technician. Something is clearly very wrong, but before Katie can get to the bottom of what is going on, a colleague is struck down by a mysterious illness. Has the safety of the facility been compromised, allowing a deadly virus to escape? Katie begins to suspect that the scientists are as deadly as the diseases - and that her cover has been blown. Then the island is cut off by high seas and a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse begins...
I was completely and utterly consumed by this debut, it slowly took hold, crept into my thoughts, drew me in, and then refused to let me go. I really didn’t want to stop reading, and even now Cora Burns enters my mind and stops for a while. Cora Burns born in gaol and raised in a workhouse, finds herself in gaol once again before a scientist takes her on as a servant, just what exactly is his current experiment? The story starts in savage darkness, then spins forward in time before rolling between 1865, 1874 and 1885, slowly answering questions yet creating more. Carolyn Kirby has created the most deeply felt and amazing character in Cora (to me she isn’t a character but as real as real can be). There were times when I almost didn’t want to read her story, I wanted to shut my eyes, hum, and put my hands to my ears, and yet I simply couldn’t stop, the words haunted me, called to me, devoured me. The Conviction of Cora Burns enthralling, fascinating and so incredibly worthwhile, developed into the most unexpectedly fierce and beautiful read (I think you will understand if you step between the pages).
Expect the unexpected from the get-go as the prologue lights the touch paper to an intense, smirky, carnival ride of a fabulous read. You wont want it to stop! A valuable meteorite crash lands in a small Finnish town causing absolute mayhem. As Joel, the local pastor, guards the meteorite, he not only faces a crisis in his marriage but also a number of people who decide that the meteorite should be theirs, come what may! After the fiery prologue, chapter one slapped my attention to face a different direction. By the time chapter two arrived, I was sitting wide-eyed, this was setting itself up for a cracking read. I adore Antti Tuomainen’s books, he writes with a finely balanced pen, darker than dark humour hits with a provocative wallop, while feeling fresh and different. I was consumed by Little Siberia and all too soon, as the events around Joel unraveled, the ending hurtled towards me. Not only sharp, amusing, and provocative, this is also an incredibly thoughtful read, so Little Siberia receives an enthusiastic thumbs up from me.
A simply fabulous conclusion to the unique and penetrating Reykjavik Noir Trilogy. You must start with Snare and Trap, and if you’ve already read them you will be drumming your fingers in eagerness, waiting for the arrival of Cage. Agla is in prison for financial misconduct, with no idea as to why Sonya abandoned her. Surrounded by drugs, smuggling, fraud, and violence, can they survive the maelstrom heading their way? Lilja Sigurdardottir pursues individual stories, setting up a chain of events that begin to slither together. The translation by Quentin Bates continues to shine. Crisp, punchy, tight writing ensured I devoured this read, from the first word through to an ending that completely and beautifully hit the spot. The cover of Cage, when sitting alongside the previous two novels is just divine and ensures the books stand out as much as they deserve to. With shocks and surprises in store, and that oh so satisfying end, Cage provoked, chilled, and thrilled me.
“Big sisters look after little sisters,” declares the mother of the two sisters at the centre of this fiercely enthralling novel and that’s taken to the extreme when big sister Korede helps little sister Ayoola dispose the body of the boyfriend she’s murdered. And not for the first time either. Femi is the third boyfriend to be killed by beautiful, untouchable Ayoola, and Korede can’t not come to her aid. “I am the older sister – I am responsible for Ayoola. That’s how it has always been. Ayoola would break a glass, and I would receive the blame for giving her the drink”. The writing is razor sharp, courtesy of Korede’s wry narration. She’s a mistress of observation and insight, all-seeing, all-knowing and - so it seems – all-loyal to her self-serving little sister. Ablaze with dark humour and strident originality, this wickedly explosive debut heralds the arrival of a smart new voice in contemporary fiction.
TWO BODIES One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who's really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik? TWO COINS Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man's eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition. TWO WEEKS Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who's to say the Ferryman will let her go?
Berlin in 1960 is a city that is very much still trying to cope with the after-effects of World War II and the subsequent division between East and West. Among those trying to pick up the pieces are Angelika and Christian, a brother and sister whose childhood was torn apart by Russian soldiers, and Max, Bastian and Ottilie, police officers who are investigating a series of brutal murders. I found this book to be really gripping and moving on many levels. The murder scenes were very gruesome, which is not always to my taste, but as the story unfolds and the reason behind the vicious way the victims are treated becomes clear, I began to understand why the murderers felt it important for the victims to die that way. Although it was clear from the outset who the murderers were, this didn’t detract from the enjoyment at all – the story was a great interplay between hunter and hunted and brought to light the fact that there is both good and bad in everyone and that sometimes very good people do very bad things that they perceive to be fully justified. The characters were well developed; people who I came to like and to want to know more about, so I hope there will be more books in this series. Issues such as the everyday sexism faced by Ottilie, the ethics of co-workers forming relationships, vagrancy, and the moral issues involved when a crime is committed but even the prosecution sympathises with the actions of the criminal are all sensitively dealt with. Finally, one small touch that I really liked was the technique of giving each chapter a title that was a brief but relevant quotation from Shakespeare. Jane Willis, A LoveReading Ambassador
Mental health is something that most don’t understand or even feel comfortable speaking about often for fear of getting it wrong. The author has taken us into the minds of what it could be like to suffer with mental health conditions. The story tells a tale about finding a cure to help the world rid of these conditions which on the basis is a well-written story but it can also help you consider how you can help, what it could be like or simply that listening & acknowledging could start to help. I enjoyed the story as a novel but also as a thought-provoking story as we engage in the ‘real’ world. Cathy Small, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘Behind Closed Doors’ is an intriguing, sharply gripping debut thriller. For a fairly short story, there’s an awful lot packed in. Jack and Grace appear to be a perfect couple however on meeting them, little disturbing jolts of information flicker emerge, all is not as it first seems. I initially found myself frustrated with Grace, however as the layers built and the story evolved, my irritation melted away. B.A. Paris starts each chapter as either ‘past’ or ‘present’, and they run in a disconcerting way, keeping you on a serrated edge of understanding, as the two pictures gradually fuse into one. I recommend turning away any small moments of disbelief, just allow yourself to be captivated by the story, because ‘Behind Closed Doors’ transforms into a cracking and fiercely intense story.
Three missing women When three teachers disappear without a trace, Sergeant Lindsay Boxer takes the lead in the investigation. But with no clues and no suspects, the odds of finding the women alive are getting slimmer by the second. Two impossible cases Under pressure at work, Lindsay needs support at home. But her husband Joe is drawn into an encounter with a woman who's seen a ghost - a notorious war criminal from her Eastern European home country, walking the streets of San Francisco. One determined detective When Joe's informant disappears, the two investigations collide. It will take the combined skills of Lindsay, Joe and the entire Women's Murder Club to protect their city, and themselves, from a monster.
Burning with an intense, provocative fire, this is a debut that doesn’t flinch from the troubled world it creates. 25 years ago, a 16 year old school girl and her teacher disappeared, now a journalist investigates the mystery at the heart of the boarding school. The prologue intrigues, answering a question while bursting open many more. I felt a seductive unsettling call and settled in. Three women sit centre stage in this story, the missing Louisa, her friend Victoria, and the journalist. I gained access to the school and sank into the heady highs and lows of teenage years. A veil of mystery covers Temple House, the school sits in both time periods, a chilling constant between the two. It is as much about the unsaid, the unseen, as it is what is revealed, and Rachel Donohue handles the balance with surety. The ending really spoke to me, it opened my thoughts and encouraged them to travel. I have no doubt that The Temple House Vanishing will stay with me for some time to come, it is an assured and compelling debut.
When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending ... a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author SJI Holliday Carrie's best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they'd planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone. Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available. When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend's place. Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel - because one of these women is not who she claims to be... A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there's a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers...
When strangers take part in a series of group suicides, everything suggests that a cult is to blame. But how do you stop a cult when no one knows they are members? A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller from the critically acclaimed Will Carver. Nine suicides One Cult No leader Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They've never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today. That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another. Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe: a decapitation in Germany, a public shooting at a university in Bordeaux; in Illinois, a sports team stands around the centre circle of the football pitch and pulls the trigger of the gun pressed to the temple of the person on their right. It becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist. But how do you stop a cult when people do not know they are members? One week after the two witnesses jump to their deaths, twenty letters are opened across London that all say the same thing. Later that day, the strangers all know to meet at Tower Bridge. The Teacher will jump first. The Detective will be last… A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller, Nothing Important Happened Today confirms Will Carver as one of the most extraordinary, exciting authors in crime fiction.
She's watching over them. And he's watching her... Ria Taylor is everything to everyone. Wife and mother, the centre of her family. And the manager of a refuge for women whose partners have driven them out of their own homes. But one night, with her husband away, Ria receives a terrifyingly sinister message. Someone is watching her. Someone who seems to know everything about her. She knows what she should do - seek help, just like she tells her clients to. But Ria is the help. As events escalate, and terror takes hold, Ria must decide whether to run or hide...
A thoroughly modern, entertaining and seductive murder mystery, it felt as though I was reading a fabulously delicious and very guilty secret! It is New Years Eve in the Scottish Highlands, nine friends gather for a celebration, one is victim of murder, deep snow prevents the police from arriving and the killer from leaving. This is Lucy Foley’s debut crime novel, I love her writing style and have simply gobbled up all of her historical fiction. My attention was well and truly snared when I read the premise of The Hunting Party, I snatched it up, and oh boy, was it worth it! Skating between ‘now,’ set after and ‘earlier’ set before the murder, the two time frames hurtle towards each other until they implode in quite spectacular style. This is one of those novels where I veered from being sure I knew where it was going, to realisation that I really didn’t… I almost felt as though I overheard too much, knew too much, and nearly started to fear for my own wellbeing. The mystery element certainly gave my mind a workout and the relationships are written quite beautifully too. I adore this change in direction by Lucy Foley, a wonderfully rewarding and fascinating read awaits if you dare to join The Hunting Party. Highly recommended and one of my picks of the month.
Oh. My. Word. This is an absolute belter of a novel. Awaiting you is a stunning, murderous mix of Eastern European folklore and a serial killer, set during 1935 in rural Czechoslovakia. Psychiatrist Dr Viktor Kosarek takes up a position in Hrad Orlu Asylum for the criminally insane to study the ‘Devil’s Six’, while in Prague, a serial killer is announced. The page and a half prologue sets the novel up brilliantly, the last sentence, so starkly delivered, chilled me to the bone. My mind entered the most vividly real locations, I slipped through the streets of Prague and flinched as I entered the Castle. Craig Russell crosses several genres and balances a number of themes seamlessly, which I just adored. My thoughts pushed and pulled at my emotions as they balanced together on a cliff edge. The Devil Aspect, is a dark, haunting whopper of a story and it set my imagination on fire. So good, it has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book and just had to be one of my Liz Robinson picks of the month.
It is twenty years since the events of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One unfolded and saw the baby Lyra Belacqua begin her life-changing journey. It is almost ten years since readers left Lyra and the love of her young life, Will Parry, on a park bench in Oxford's Botanic Gardens at the end of the ground-breaking, bestselling His Dark Materials sequence. Now, in The Secret Commonwealth, we meet Lyra Silvertongue. And she is no longer a child . . . The second volume of Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed. Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right. Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost - a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust. The Secret Commonwealth is truly a book for our times; a powerful adventure and a thought-provoking look at what it is to understand yourself, to grow up and make sense of the world around you. This is storytelling at its very best from one of our greatest writers.
Seven guests. Seven secrets. One killer. Do you dare to SLEEP? All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn't feel so guilty... To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare. Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying - about who they are and why they're on the island. There's a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they've set their sights on Anna. Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie. The million-copy bestseller is back in her darkest, twistiest book to date. Read it if you dare! Perfect for fans of Lesley Kara's The Rumour and Cara Hunter's DI Fawley Thrillers.
Sneaking into an everyday life, this powerful and darkly dramatic tale smashes open the past to create a compelling read. When his mother goes into a home, John Docherty starts to sort through her belongings. The mention of a brother he knew nothing about sends his life into a downward spin. Orenda Books describe this novel as domestic noir, which is absolutely perfect. The writing is punchy tight, Michael J. Malone immediately gave me a sense of who John was as his thoughts travelled into mine. This is a book that crawled under my skin and had a good creep around. As John investigates and his every moment is consumed, his memories start to return. I knew that something was coming, the hints tripped me up and laid me flat. Challenging and emotional, In the Absence of Miracles enthrals as it corkscrews to a shocking, yet ultimately rewarding end.
Blood Song continues in truly wonderful style what is an enthralling, astute, and absolutely cracking series. In 2016, members from a wealthy family are murdered in Sweden. With Profiler Emily Roy and true crime writer Alexis Castells on the case, the investigation heads into the past. This is the third in the Roy and Castells books, the plotting is fairly intricate, so it isn’t a series you can join half way through. My advice if you haven't met them before is to go back to the beginning and start with the equally fabulous Block 46 followed by Keeper. As with previous books, we have multiple settings and time frames, this time the past focuses on the horrific civil war in Spain. The Author’s Note sits well at the beginning, with information about Franco’s regime, which I felt I needed before I started to read. Johana Gustawsson wields a seriously eloquent pen, she creates an acutely vivid picture while tackling the most difficult of subjects with a beautiful balance. David Warriner the translator ensured the thought of translation didn’t cross my mind while I was reading but I really appreciated the skill afterwards. Blood Song caught and has held onto my thoughts, it is clever, provocative, and a seriously good read.
It is time to celebrate a new and truly fabulous Stephen King novel. Children with special gifts such as telepathy and telekinesis are being abducted from across the USA, then they are tested, exploited, and kept prisoner. Is there any hope left for the kids incarcerated in the Institute? I opened the first page, settled in, and just read… isn’t it wonderful when you can do that? When you so implicitly trust the author, trust that they are going to take you on amazing journey? Stephen King has written the most readable and electrifying tale here, I didn’t doubt for one second that any of this wasn’t true, wasn’t possible, wasn’t happening right now. I just inhaled the words, fully immersed myself in the story, and squirmed on the edge of my seat as the ending hurtled towards me. The Institute knocked my socks off, it is a thrilling, chilling ride, and sits not only as a Liz Robinson pick of the month, but one of our LoveReading Star Books too.
This is the final book in Daniel Cole's Ragdoll series. As mentioned in Cole's letter to the reader, for this one you really will benefit from reading Ragdoll and Hangman. The plot kicks off in the immediate aftermath of Hangman too, it might also be a good idea to have a refresh, but I didn't find it absolutely necessary. After what feels like forever, police detectives Wolf and Baxter are finally back! This time they're working on a case much closer to home. A Christie-esque mystery ensues - a completely sealed room with no way out and only one set of prints on the gun. Is it suicide as it first appears, or something more? This book highlights some of the best aspects of the previous books: the characters. Wolf's wonderful and hilarious (if somewhat misplaced) sense of humour and Baxter and her endearing standoffishness remained. I felt like I was greeting them as old friends. This is simply an amazing end to one of the best series I've read in recent years and is a must-read for all crime fans. I'm heartbroken that the series is over, but I know I will return to read it again and again.
Picture it. You’re going on holiday. The bags are packed and the family is ready, you’re at the gate, the plane is boarding, you’ve decided to start your brand new, especially purchased thriller right away. Suddenly, you’re immersed into the corridors of intrigue, conspiracy, murder, espionage and you don’t know who to trust. The plane has left without you. So has the family. You haven’t even noticed. At least you have a good book … and the whole house to yourself for a week!
This section is crammed with dangerously compelling adventures that will have your nails bitten and nervous system tested to the full. From Dan Brown, Stieg Larsson and James Patterson to Fred Vargas, Bernard Minier and C.J Sansom, there’s enough here to keep you ‘head-down and out-of-it’ for years. There’s certainly time to read one more before the family gets back from Torremolinos … and that’s where we come in!