ARC REVIEW: Who’s Next – by Chris Merritt

Title: Who’s Next?
(Detectives Lockhart & Green #2)

Author: Chris Merritt
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: September 11th 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 13th 2020
Pages: 449

“Lockhart wasn’t a believer in eye-for-an-eye justice. He subscribed to the rule of law, and the judicial process – flawed as it was.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I always have a weak spot for a good detective and serial killer thriller, so I’ve been curious about the Detectives Lockhart & Green series ever since I first saw the reviews of book one Knock Knock back in March. I couldn’t resist getting a copy of the sequel Who’s Next? on Netgalley as a way to make sure I was reading both sooner than later… I guess it worked, as I’ve now read both books and I’m definitely a fan.

My strange obsession with serial killer thrillers is no secret, and Who’s Next? definitely gives us another twisted as well as intriguing take on the genre. While this sequel technically could be read as a stand-alone, you will be missing out on background information as well as the changing dynamics between the main characters in play… So I would personally suggest reading the books in order. Both are more than solid reads in the first place anyway! Who’s Next? once again focuses on both a new police investigation and developments in the personal lives of both Lockhart and Green. This gives us an interesting fluctuation in intensity and suspense, although things will get pretty intense on both sides as things start to escalate along the way.

The story uses a multiple POV structure, where we not only follow main characters Dan Lockhart and Lexi Green, but also other members of Lockhart’s team as well as the killer and more than one victim. Despite the many changes, it was quite easy to keep track of the different angles… Especially since we already know Lockhart and his team as well as Green. I always like being able to get a glimpse inside the head of a serial killer, and Chris Merritt once again as created a very intriguing individual to follow. On top of the murder investigation, Who’s Next? also focuses on a serial sexual assault case once of Lockhart’s team members is helping to solve… Basically a two for one in crime investigations!

I particularly liked how we don’t just have the typical detective angle with Lockhart, but also have a focus on the psychological aspect of the crimes which is analyzed with the help of Lexi Green’s POV. It definitely enhanced the plot; the many different angles in play make for a rich and dynamic plot that is both suspenseful and packs a punch. On top of this, multiple suspects are presented along the way, keeping you in the dark about the real identity and the final reveals definitely came as a surprise. I was totally wrong with my suspicions! This ride will get intense, exhilarating and pretty twisted along the way… It’s perfect if you have a taste for dark and disturbing serial killers hunts like me. I’ll be looking forward to more Lockhart and Green next year!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #178 – The Curator & Knock Knock

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around it’s all about two crime series… One an old favorite and one a new discovery. I’m a huge fan of the Tilly and Poe duo, so of course book number three The Curator turned into another new all time favorite. And Knock Knock by Chris Merritt turned out to be an excellent start of a series I will keep following.


Title: The Curator
(Washington Poe #3)
Author: M.W. Craven
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 4th 2020
Publisher: Constable
Finished reading: September 5th 2020
Pages: 384

“Go and get some rest, Tilly – we’re gonna Sherlock the fuck out of this thing tomorrow.”

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I decided to pick up this title on a whim as I thought it would be the perfect title to beat my beginning slump… Why? Well, I was blown away by the first two books of the series and it features one of my all time favorite character duos, so I thought I couldn’t go wrong with this third installment. And I was right, because The Curator did as expected and more. The holy guacamole is back!! M.W. Craven has written another absolute firecracker and I loved every single minute of my time with favorite characters Tilly and Poe. These books are dark, these books are suspenseful, these books are intense… And they all have that special humor and bantering between two characters that might seem like such an unlikely pairing, but somehow work brilliantly together. They bring that little something extra to what is already a fantastic crime thriller, and they have another nailbitingly intense and shocking case on their hands… Fantastic writing, brilliant plot development, ingenious and highly effective plot twist bombs and holy guacamole, that ending!! This series cannot go wrong for me and The Curator goes straight to my list of 2020 favorites. If you haven’t met Tilly and Poe yet, you are truly missing out on something special!


Title: Knock Knock
(Detectives Lockhart & Green #1)
Author: Chris Merritt
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 13th 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 7th 2020
Pages: 392

“Losing someone who had so much life left to live was tragic. It was the sort of thing that could tear you apart. He knew that more than most.”

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I’ve been curious about this series ever since I first saw the reviews of Knock Knock back in March… When I saw that the sequel was available on Netgalley, I just couldn’t resist getting a copy of both as I thought it would be a perfect excuse to finally try this series. My strange obsession with serial killer thrillers is no secret to those who follow my blog, and this first book of a series I already know I will be following in the future most definitely delivers on that point. While it took me a little while to get in the groove, once I did I simply couldn’t stop reading until that final page. I particularly liked how we don’t just have the detective angle with Lockhart, who I warmed up to quickly by the way, but we also have the psychological aspect analyzed with the help of Lexi Green’s POV. On top of this, the killer itself makes an appearance more than once as well… The story is more complex and intriguing as a consequence, and the psychology angle is further used to describe and analyze the killer and possible motives more thoroughly. I also loved how Knock Knock offered multiple suspects along the way and still managed to pull a surprise final twist out of the hat. I was totally wrong with my suspicions! This ride will get intense, exhilarating and pretty twisted along the way… It’s perfect if you have a taste for dark and disturbing serial killers hunts like me. On to the sequel it is! I’m ready for more Lockhart and Green.


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ARC REVIEW: Save Her Soul – by Lisa Regan

Title: Save Her Soul
(Detective Josie Quinn #9)

Author: Lisa Regan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: August 12th 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: July 11th 2020
Pages: 284

“You can only push trauma down for so long before it starts coming out in weird ways and at weird times.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I know that I’ve said this before, but there is no denying that the Detective Josie Quinn series is one of my favorite detective thriller series and I’m always looking forward to a new installment. I’ve been an instant fan ever since I read the first book back in 2018… It’s been an intense ride so far for Josie Quinn, and it tooks like trouble keeps finding her in the small town of Denton where she lives and works. Not that I’m complaining, as it means more Josie Quinn adventures to read about! Save Her Soul is already book number nine of the series, and without doubt another excellent ride. This series just doesn’t stop delivering!

One thing that keeps standing out for me with the books of this series is just how addictive each book is. I have learned my lesson and always clear my schedule beforehand, because once I start reading the first chapter I just know I won’t be able to stop reading until I reach that final page. A lightning fast pace and an abundance of action and plot twists will keep you on the edge of your seat and time will fly as you keep turning those pages. Save Her Soul is no exception, and while slightly less exhilarating than some of the previous books, it is still a highly engaging ride. Josie seems to be getting a little breather in this book, although there will be personal developments affecting her and hints at the future will leave you wanting for the next book.

Technically you can read Save Her Soul as a stand-alone, as a little background information is provided to refresh memories, but you will be missing out on the dynamics between the characters if you don’t read the previous books. And if you enjoy thrilling and intense detective stories, you will be missing out on hours of entertainment in the first place! In book number nine we get to meet up with our favorite main characters again, and I have loved seeing them develop over time. It was interesting to see them react to the disaster (flood) situation in Denton and later try to unravel the secrets and history around the new case they have to investigate.

I have to admit that Save Her Soul might not have been my absolute favorite of the series, but it was still a more than solid read. This story felt slightly less intense and of course the case affects Josie in a less personal way than some of the previous ones… But there is still plenty of action, danger and suspense to devour. The case is another intriguing one, and the whole flood situation gave the plot that ominous feel. The story ends with a bang as well, and I will most definitely be looking forward to whatever Josie Quinn and the others will encounter next. Save Her Soul is yet another excellent sequel with a high entertainment value that will be perfect for anyone who likes a fast and intense detective thriller read.


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ARC REVIEW: Echoes Of Guilt – by Rob Sinclair

Title: Echoes Of Guilt
(DI Dani Stephens #3)

Author: Rob Sinclair
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: August 3rd 2020
Publisher: Canelo Hera
Finished reading: July 13th 2020
Pages: 294

“There were two parts of her job she really didn’t like, and both involved standing over dead bodies: murder scenes, and post-mortems.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Canelo Hera in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I was part of the blog tour for the first book of this detective series last year, and I enjoyed my second meeting with DI Dani Stephens last December as well… I’ve been looking forward to meet up with her character ever since. Echoes Of Guilt is already book number three and doesn’t disappoint: it’s without a doubt another solid and pretty shocking detective thriller! Fans of suspenseful and darker thrillers will be in for a treat with this series in general.

Once again, the main character Dani Stephens plays a key role in the plot. While in a way she can be seen as the typical damaged detective lead, I think her character has so much more dept than that. Why? Well, not only does she have a serial killer twin who almost killed her, but the brain damage she suffered as a result of that attack has changed her life and personality forever. She is still struggling with the consequences, and it has been fascinating to see her character develop over time. While the psychological aspect doesn’t play as big as a role in this third book, the road to recovery is still present; especially in a different character too after what happened in book two. On that note: since the personal developments in the previous books have a big impact on what is happening in book three, I advice reading these books in order as you might not understand some references otherwise.

I loved the Romanian angle in Echoes Of Guilt, and especially the significance of the Strigoi Romanian folklore element. It really gave the story that creepy and almost horror vibe and took this thriller to the next level. It was also interesting to learn a bit more about the Strigoi and the original myth behind the undead and vampires. Romania plays a big role in general, with multiple characters from that country as well as folklore references. This gave Echoes Of Guilt an international vibe despite the Birmingham setting… And I always love having foreign cultures incorporated into a story!

Dani’s serial killer twin brother Ben once again plays a role in Echoes Of Guilt. While I can’t deny that he is a fascinating character, I did feel that his role in the plot in book three was a bit forced this time around. I think the story might have stood stronger without his involvement… Although I still can’t pinpoint exactly why I felt this way. The case Dani and her team have to investigate is fascinating though, and the whole Romanian folklore angle really took it to the next level. Some of the scenes are quite spooky and sometimes even gruesome, so definitely not for those with a weak stomach. But if you don’t mind things getting dark and twisted, Echoes Of Guilt will provide plenty of detective thriller reading pleasure.


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: Turn To Dust – by Rachel Amphlett #blogtour @RachelAmphlett @BOTBSPublicity

Hello and welcome to my stop of the Turn To Dust blog tour! A huge thanks to Sarah Hardy for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. Detective Kay Hunter is easily one of my absolute favorite detective series, so I was stoked to be able to join the blog tour for what is already book number nine. And as I already expected, it turned out to be another fantastic ride. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts!

Title: Turn To Dust
(Detective Kay Hunter #9)
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: July 13th 2020
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Finished reading: June 6th 2020
Pages: 338

“Life went on, and so did the need for justice.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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!! Happy publication day !!

I confess that I’m a bit late to the party when it comes to the Detective Kay Hunter series, but I finally met her in 2018 and I turned into a fan instantly. I have loved every single book since, and of course book number nine Turn To Dust was on my list on most anticipated releases ever since I first heard about it. I jumped on the opportunity to join the blog tour to help share the Kay Hunter love as soon as the email hit my inbox… Because yes, I was already 100% convinced I was going to love this newest installment as well. And guess what? My instincts were right! Turn To Dust is another worthy sequel and anyone who loves a good detective thriller will be in for an absolute treat. Technically you can read this book as a stand-alone too, although you might not fully understand the dynamics between Kay and the rest of the characters if you don’t read the previous books.

Detective Kay Hunter is easily one of my absolute favorite detective series and I feel giddy every time I’m lucky enough to spend more time with her. These books are a real treat, and I always clear my schedule before starting a new one as I know I won’t be able to stop reading once I read that first chapter. Turn To Dust is no exception, and I literally finished it in one sitting! It felt great to return to some of my favorite characters and see how they tackle their newest case. These books are actually refreshing, as you get more of a glimpse inside real police work with corresponding procedures and more realistic investigating. You will find no serial killer nor non-stop action in Turn To Dust, but instead you get a solid detective thriller that focuses on the police work itself as well as the development of the characters. And while I love my dark detective thrillers too, it is nice to have a little breather and Turn To Dust will still give you plenty of suspense and twists.

The plot in Turn To Dust is another interesting one. Finding a body in the middle of a field, and having no idea about the identity nor cause of death raises an interesting question: how can you investigate a murder if you don’t know the basic facts about the victim? It was intriguing to see this developed and the story offered us more than one shocking plot twist along the way. While it’s true that I had a hunch about those behind it all early on and it turned out to be true, I never guessed the full truth and the development of the plot as a whole was excellently done. There are definitely some darker scenes included too and a warning of the mention of animal cruelty might be in place… It makes you think about how your pet food is really made.

The writing is excellent, but that’s what I’ve come to expect of this series and Rachel Amphlett‘s work in general. Turn To Dust won me over from the very first page, and I had a fantastic time meeting up with Kay Hunter and her team again. I also love finding out what animal Adam brings home next! There are developments in the team as well, and I’m curious to see how that would work out in the future.

In short, if you enjoy detective thrillers and are looking for an engaging read with more focus on real police work, definitely give Turn To Dust and the rest of the series a go. Trust me, Kay Hunter won’t disappoint! Nine books of absolute detective reading pleasure and counting (I hope).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a film extra and freelanced in radio as a presenter and producer for the BBC.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and is a bestselling author of crime fiction and spy thrillers, many of which have been translated worldwide.

Her novels are available in eBook, print, large print and audiobook formats from libraries and worldwide retailers.

A keen traveller, Rachel has both EU and Australian citizenship.

Website // Email: info@rachelamphlett.com // Twitter: @RachelAmphlett // Instagram: @RachelAmphlett // Facebook


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: The Bone Jar – by S.W. Kane #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours

Hello and welcome to my stop of the The Bone Jar Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I knew I wanted to read this story as soon as I first read the blurb and saw the abandoned asylum setting. Talk about a perfect creepy backdrop for a detective thriller! And I most definitely enjoyed my time with this story. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…

Title: The Bone Jar
(Detective Lew Kirby #1)

Author: S.W. Kane
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: July 1st 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: June 11th 2020
Pages: 328

“He wondered what it was like to live here all alone – and not only that, but in the grounds of the very institution that had once removed you from society.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I confess that I was fully intrigued as soon as I took my first glimpse at the blurb of The Bone Jar. I always love a good detective thriller, and the promise of an abandoned asylum setting combined with hints at its past and secrets as well as a former patient involved in a present day murder investigation sounded simply irresistible. Talk about the perfect hair-raising backdrop for this first book of a new detective series! I had a hunch that I would enjoy this story, and my instincts definitely turned out to be right. The Bone Jar is a dark, eerie and atmospheric detective thriller that will chill you to the bone, and not just because of the winter wonderland descriptions. Without a doubt recommended if you enjoy the detective thriller genre!

There is no doubt that the Blackwater Asylum steals the show here. Not only does the majority of the story take place in or around the abandoned asylum, but its descriptions also give the story that spine-chilling feel as well as a hint of forboding. The descriptions are thorough and beautifully done, and really made the setting come alive for me. The fact that The Bone Jar takes place during the cold winter months only adds to the eerie atmosphere… The snow and cold weather used to add obstacles to the investigation as well as influencing how the plot as a whole develops. Especially the focus on the Blackwater Asylum was a huge bonus for me, as I have a weak spot for stories with that angle and its incorporation in the plot was handled splendidly.

The Bone Jar has quite a few characters in play, and I confess that initially I struggled a little to remember how they all connected. This feeling was only temporary though and as soon as I was able to fit them all into their place in the plot puzzle, I was fully hooked. I wish we could have seen more of new main character detective Lew Kirby, but we did get a few hints at his private life and I’m definitely intrigued. We mainly see the story and investigation through his eyes, but both Raymond and Connie are also key to the plot of this first book. Both will soon find themselves in the middle of everything and I quite liked getting to learn more about them. Especially Raymond is a fascinating character with his past and possible knowledge of present events as well as secrets about Blackwater Asylum.

I also really liked the mention of urban exploration and the connection more than one character had with this activity in the plot. It was interesting to learn a little about the urban exploration terms and I would have loved to see it even more present! The Bone Jar mainly focused on the asylum and its hidden secrets as well as the present murder case though. It was interesting to see Lew Kirby and the others investigating the crime and both the building up of suspense and the introduction of plot twists is more than solid. You keep wondering how everything and everyone connects and fits in, and the story will definitely have some surprises for you in store as well.

With its eerie and atmospheric derelict asylum setting, The Bone Jar sets the tone for what is an excellent start of a new detective series. Any fan of the genre will have a brilliant time meeting Lew Kirby as well as exploring Blackwater Asylum!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SW Kane studied History of Design and worked at the RIBA before taking on a series of totally unrelated jobs in radio and the music industry, where she still works as a freelance music PR. She has an MA in Creative (Crime) Writing from City University. She began reading crime fiction from an early age and developed an obsession with crime set in cold places. A chance encounter with a derelict fort in rural Pembrokeshire led to a fascination with urban exploration, which in turn became the inspiration for her crime novels. She lives London.


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: The Collector – by John Maher #blogtour #InkubatorBooks @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Hello and welcome to my stop of the The Collector damppebles blog tour! A huge thanks to Emma Welton for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I always love a good detective thriller and knew I just HAD to try The Collector as soon as I saw that new lead character is a forensic linguist. And I definitely liked what I found! Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…


Title: The Collector
(Detective Lucy O´Hara #1)

Author: John Maher
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: July 5th 2020
Publisher: Inkubator Books
Finished reading: June 23rd 2020
Pages: ?

“But that was the problem with asking yourself awkward questions. You never seemed to get a straight answer.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Inkubator Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I always love a good detective thriller and I knew I just HAD to try The Collector as soon as I saw that the new main character is a forensic linguist. Some might already know that I’m a philologist and I’m always interested in anything involving linguistics… I just couldn’t wait to see how this element was developed in the story and the actual criminal case in this first book of a new series sounded like a cracker too. Instincts told me that I was going to enjoy this one, so I jumped on the chance to join the blog tour and help spread the word. My bookish radar definitely didn’t fail here! The Collector is without doubt an excellent start of a new detective series with an international touch.

There is a lot to love in The Collector. The first thing that stands out for me is the international feel of both the plot and the characters. While the story mainly takes place in Ireland (both Dublin and other places), the plot also takes us abroad. We get a glimpse of both Hamburg (Germany) (which brought back great memories of our Eurotrip in 2018), Alicante (Spain) and flashbacks to Cairo (Egypt) for example… As someone who loves travelling, the different international settings were definitely a bonus.

The same international feel is represented in more than one character as well. First up is of course our new detective lead Lucy O’Hara, who has an interesting personal background with her French mother and Irish dad as well as growing up living in a bunch of different countries due to her father’s job. Lucy speaks multiple languages as a consequence, and I loved the forensic linguist details she helped bringing into the plot (although I kind of wish there would have been even more focus on this element). Lucy is not the only character with an international vibe though. The most obvious ones are the Lithuanian thug Lukas Petraskas as well as his Polish helper, but we also have more than one German character in play for example. On top of the setting and characters, The Collector also offers us little phrases in multiple languages throughout the story to help reinforce this same international vibe.

The plot has a multiple POV structure; the three main POVs are probably the detective and forensic linguist Lucy O’Hara, the Lithuanian Lukas Petraskas and the collector (der Sammler), but the POV of most of the characters in play will make their appearance at least once before you reach that final page. Having so many different POVs and characters to juggle might seem a lot, but their introduction felt natural and I personally didn’t have any issues keeping them apart. The writing is engaging and managed to draw me right in; the use of short phrases in multiple foreign languages added a little something extra and helpt giving the international feel of the story credibility. I liked the development of the plot, the building up of suspense was solid and the plot twists were mostly effective. I did guess part of the truth earlier than expected, but overall I had an excellent time with The Collector.

If you are looking for a new detective series with an original touch, you should definitely consider meeting up with detective Lucy O’Hara. I will definitely be looking forward to read more about her in the future myself!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Maher has published five novels and a collection of short stories. He has won national awards for radio play and short story with RTE in Ireland. His novel, The Luck Penny, was shortlisted for debut novel on BBC Radio 5.

A former teacher and lecturer, he holds a Phd from the School of Oriental and African Studies (London).

He lives in a small Irish village, between the Atlantic and the Irish Sea, from which he steals away, from time to time, to visit the world outside the island.

THE COLLECTOR will be his first novel published with Inkubator Books.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Website

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK // Amazon US


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ARC REVIEW: Left For Dead – by Caroline Mitchell

Title: Left For Dead
(DI Amy Winter #3)
Author: Caroline Mitchell
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: July 8th 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: June 6th 2020
Pages: 336

“She was blind to the danger of her situation; in denial about the trouble she might be in. Her mind was focused on only one thing: apprehending the Love Heart Killer, before he struck again.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been turning to Caroline Mitchell’s thrillers for years now whenever I’m in the mood for a thrilling ride. I first met DI Amy Winter back in 2018 and I was instantly intrigued by the background of this character. I think that it’s no secret that I have a weird obsession with serial killer stories… Having a main character that is first adopted by a cop and now a DI herself, but on the other hand having her biological parents being a twisted serial killer duo? Talk about a background that had me hooked immediately! We learned more about Amy’s past in the first two books, and her personal storyline continues to develop in this third installment. This is one of the reasons why I would recommend reading the first books before tackling Left For Dead, as it would be a lot more difficult to get a proper grip on the dynamics between and development of the various characters in play. Plus, if you like intense detective thrillers with a dark twists, you will be in for a treat with all three in the first place.

Left For Dead continues where book two ended and once again we hear quite a lot of Amy’s biological mother Lillian Grimes and her appeal. The main focus is on the new case and the new dynamics in Amy’s team with the appearance of Donovan as the new DCI of course, but you will feel that Lillian’s presence is never far away and always lurking in the background. I like how the balance shifted a little and we see more of Donovan, although I hope these new dynamics won’t slow Amy down in the future… In book three Amy is still as fierce as ever though and I like how she uses her background and intimate knowledge of the twisted minds of her parents to get inside the heads of other serial killers. She definitely has an instinct for hunting and isn’t afraid to go off the books to get results… Even if it brings danger in the picture.

Left For Dead has a multiple POV structure, helping us follow both sides of the law as well as allowing the story to hide certain facts until the plot is ready to reveal the truth. The plot itself is interesting, and while the identity of the killer is revealed very early on, it was still very much a thrilling ride as Amy and her team try to catch him. The story has lots of twists and turns and while there are no major surprises to speak of, it was still a very satisfying detective thriller read as a whole. The ending was a shocker too, and I definitely can’t wait to discover how things will continue now.

The DI Amy Winter series has provided one solid and dark detective thriller after the other so far, and Left For Dead is no exception. In this third book, we have another twisted case on our hands as well as developments relating to Amy’s mother and her appeal… Recommended if you enjoy the genre.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #169 – Kill You Twice & The Poet X #20BooksOfSummer

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around my first two 20 Books Of Summer titles belonging to two completely different genres… But both were excellent reads. Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain is already the fifth book of the series, and while not my favorite of the bunch I still had a great time reading it. And The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo turned out to be just as good as I hoped it would be.


Title: Kill You Twice
(Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #5)
Author: Chelsea Cain
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: August 7th 2012
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Finished reading: June 10th 2020
Pages: 337

“Life was a series of near misses. Car accidents dodged by quick reflexes. Railings that broke falls. Antibiotics. Seat belts. Helmets. We should all be dead a hundred times over.”

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After finally continuing with this series last month, I decided to work my way through the rest of the books ASAP so I can cross off another series on my unfinished series list. I know that technically the author promised more books were yet to come, but as it’s been seven years since book six was published I don’t think that will happen any time soon. Kill You Twice is book number five and marks the return to the spotlight of Archie’s nemesis Gretchen. After being mostly absent in book four, this sequel benefits from her strong presence once again and it has been interesting to see the dynamics between Archie and Gretchen develop further. The plot introduces us to another killer, but Archie and the rest soon discover there is a lot more going on than they assume initially and they wonder if there is a possible link to Gretchen… Especially as she is determined to make contact with Archie again. Susan makes her appearance as well, and it has been great to see the different characters develop over time. The final reveals are definitely shocking! Kill You Twice is not my favorite of the series though (which might be due to the explicit adult scenes, which are always a turn off for me), and there is definitely a warning in place for more than one disturbing and rather gory description and scene. If you like your serial killer thrillers dark and twisted, this is an excellent series though and the connection between detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell is simply fascinating.


Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Poetry
First published: March 6th 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Finished reading: June 12th 2020
Pages: 368

“She knew since she was little,

the world would not sing her triumphs,

but she took all of the stereotypes

and put them in a chokehold

until they breathed out the truth.”

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Wow, what an absolutely breathtaking read! I already fell in love with Elizabeth Acevedo‘s writing last year in With The Fire On High, but The Poet X has completely blown my socks off. Beautifully rendered, raw and simply stunning, The Poet X is simply slam dunk when it comes to poetry and the story itself is completely written in verse. I think the only reason I didn’t give it the full 5 stars is because of the focus on religion, mostly because I have a personal aversion to this element in stories… I know this exploration of religion was mentioned in the blurb, but I confess that I like going in blind and I didn’t investigate before reading this one. That said, the religious element didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, as I was too busy devouring that glorious writing in verse. I love how the author gives us a glimpse of what it would be like to grow up with strict religious Dominican parents, and I loved the use of Spanish as it added an authentic feel to the story. The poem in Spanish is simply stunning! Xiomara, Xavier and the most of the others are easy to like and connect to, and while I strongly disliked the mother for obvious reasons, it was interesting learning a bit more about where her motivation came from. The Poet X is not an easy read as it covers difficult themes as forcing religious beliefs, parents pressuring their children, lgbt and not being able to come out and sexual harrassment among others. I love how Xiomara tries to find her voice through her poetry, and The Poet X is without doubt a powerful read completely written in verse I simply cannot recommend enough. I can’t wait to read Clap When You Land now as I believe it’s written in verse too!


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ARC REVIEW: Somebody’s Daughter – by Carol Wyer

Title: Somebody’s Daughter
(Detective Natalie Ward #7)
Author: Carol Wyer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: July 9th 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: June 4th 2020
Pages: 379

“Victims of physical and mental abuse are strangled by their own inability to break free. They believe, for some bizarre reason, they actually deserve the hatred, the beatings and the sexual degradation. They lose their self-worth to the point they firmly believe they are worthless and they deserve to suffer.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been a fan of Carol Wyer‘s detective thrillers for quite some time now, and I have been following detective Natalie Ward since the very beginning back in 2018. Somebody’s Daughter is already book number seven of this series, and without doubt another thrilling ride! I can always rely on this series to give me a couple of hours of solid entertainment. A little warning: technically you can read this story as a stand-alone, but you will be missing out on quite a lot of background information about the main characters and you will probably not get the full experience if you don’t read the previous books first. Especially since the last two books focus on some very drastic developments in Natalie Ward’s private life as well as the development of some the other recurring characters in play. Plus, if you are a fan of the genre in the first place, you will be missing out on hours of detective entertainment!

I’ll be keeping this review short to avoid spoilers, but those who have had the chance to read the previous books will know what I mean when I say that life has been no picnic for Natalie Ward so far. Both book five and six had absolutely shocking developments that left me reeling, and definitely had a huge impact on Natalie’s private life…  Somebody’s Daughter once again focuses on the developments in Natalie’s private life as well as the new case. As she is now a DCI, and other known character Lucy has taken over her DI position, the balance between the characters in the team has shifted a little and we see more of Lucy than Natalie in the investigation. This gives the story a slightly different vibe, but I personally didn’t mind too much as it gave the story a fresh angle too.

The writing makes it really easy to keep turning those pages, and while the pace might be a tad slower in points, things will get more intense as the investigation gets more complicated. We have multiple POVs, flashbacks and plot twists to provide us with hurdles to overcome, and the story is packed with secrets to unravel. What seems like an easy case with an easy to identify suspect soon becomes a lot more complicated… The bodies start piling up and the question is how they all connect and if the team is really on the right track. While we see less of Natalie now she is a DCI, we still get the rest of her team and she still makes her appearance throughout the case. Certain aspects of the plot made you wonder about the credibility of it all, but overall the entertainment factor won me over. Somebody’s Daugher can get a bit graphic in points and includes difficult themes as grooming, abuse, rape and addiction. This is definitely  not a story for those with a weak stomach!

This detective thriller series has been highly entertaining and suspenseful from the very first book, and Somebody’s Daughter is already book number seven and no exception to the rule. Natalie and her team have another complicated case to solve, and the bodies are starting to pile up very quickly… Dark, twisted and highly entertaining if you enjoy a good detective thriller with a disturbing angle. If you enjoy the genre, you will most likely have a great time with this series!


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