ARC REVIEW: The Rules Of Murder – by Rob Sinclair

Title: The Rules Of Murder
(DI Dani Stephens #2)
Author: Rob Sinclair
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 9th 2020
Publisher: Canelo Hera
Finished reading: December 20th 2019
Pages: 318

“What did it say about her that she was still fighting away, still determined to prove to everyone that she could be a good copper, even after all that she’d suffered?”

*** 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 Essence Of Evil back in September, and I really enjoyed my first meeting with DI Dani Stephens. I have been curious about what would happen next to her character ever since, so of course when I was invited to read the sequel I had to say yes immediately. I’m definitely not regretting that decision, because there is no doubt that The Rules Of Murder is another solid and pretty brutal serial killer thriller! Oh yes, fans of heart racing and suspenseful thrillers will definitely be in for a treat.

The first thing that stands out in this series is its main character Dani Stephens. While in a way you can see her as the typical damaged detective lead, her character has so much more dept than that. Not only is she a detective with a serial killer twin who actually tried to kill her, but she also suffered brain damage as a result of that attack and is still struggling with the consequences. It is fascinating to follow her on this journey and while the real progress regarding the brain damage matter was developed in book one, it is still a pretty important element in the sequel. The psychological aspect of the story in general plays a big role throughout the story, although the focus is mostly shifted towards the killer in this case.

Dani’s murdering twin brother Ben once again plays a role in The Rules Of Murder. He is a truly fascinating character and definitely provides for a very interesting angle in this sequel. What does he know about this killer? Or is he simply lying about having any knowledge? It definitely added a whole different layer of mystery and intrigue to the plot. And talking about the plot: if you are looking for a fast, shocking and disturbing plot with brutal murders that simply chill you to the bone, you will be more than satisfied with The Rules Of Murder. The murder scenes are definitely not for those with a weak stomach! The plot itself is quite complex and definitely has quite a few twists and turns, although I do have to say that I saw some of the plot twists coming pretty early on… The action and suspense mostly made up for that though.

The story is told through two different POVs: Dani and the killer. We mostly stick with our detective lead, with intermittent chapters that give us a glimpse inside the disturbed mind of our serial killer. And boy, those chapters are pretty twisted! The writing reflects the state of mind of the killer brilliantly and I felt these chapters added a little something extra to the story as well. The story ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving you wanting to know more and how certain plot developments will continue in the future… The Rules Of Murder is by no means a meek story and it will have plenty of action, suspense and properly twisted and graphic scenes for you in store. If you like your detective/serial killer thrillers fast and dangerous, you should definitely try this series!


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WWW Wednesdays #248 – December 25th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I hope everyone who celebrates is having a wonderful Christmas so far! I gave myself an early Christmas gift and finally started reading Black Summer by M.W. Craven, a title I’ve been eagerly anticipating after being blown away by the first book earlier this year. I might just have finished it by the time this post goes live depending on how much free time I could sneak in to read in between Christmas preparations yesterday. I’m also reading On The Bright Side by Hendrik Groen as a second Christmas gift. Who says I can’t spoil myself? 😉 I loved the first book and I’m enjoying the same snarky tone in the sequel as well. Hendrik reminds me so much of Ove!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton (5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/12
There are so many characters I loved in this story, and they all play their role in teaching us more about Cuba as well. The plot itself is complex, multilayered and shows a thorough research into Cuban history as well as a wonderful romance story to counter the darker elements in Next Year In Havana. This story is an absolute must-read for historical fiction fans!

2. The Rules Of Murder by Rob Sinclair (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/12
The Rules Of Murder is by no means a meek story and it will have plenty of action, suspense and properly twisted and graphic scenes for you in store. If you like your detective/serial killer thrillers fast and dangerous, you should definitely try this series!

3. Are You Watching? by Vincent Ralph (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR STOP 08/01/2020
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour… A little spoiler: it’s a true pageturner!

4. Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 31/12
I really enjoyed my first encounter with this Finnish mastermind of black humor and nordic noir, so I’ve been excited to pick up Palm Beach Finland. It’s without doubt another excellent read and the combination of the dark humor and the nordic noir elements is what makes this story so unique. It might not be for everyone, but I myself was very entertained by what was going on in the coldest beach resort on earth!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m hoping to get through a few more January ARCs and blog tours to take the pressure off next month… First up is A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone, which I’m really excited about as I loved his other title Breakers earlier this year. Then it’s pending blog tour number two (probably): Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain. I’m also planning on reading Caroline Mitchell‘s newest The Perfect Mother soon. My latest TBR jar pick is still Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton, which I probably won’t be able to get to this year even though I’m looking forward to it.


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WWW Wednesdays #247 – December 18th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m finally reading Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton for one of last week’s prompts for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge… And I’m also starting The Rules Of Murder by Rob Sinclair. I really enjoyed the first book a few months back, so I’m looking forward to meet up with main character Dani Stephens again! Also, you might remember I was starting Good Omens last week… I read the first few pages and couldn’t get into it, so I’ve decided to put it on hold for now and picked a different title for the readathon instead.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham (3/5 stars) REVIEW 20/12
Tthere were things I loved in The Secret Messenger, including the WWII setting in Venice, its history and the story of the resistance and Stella’s story as a whole. There were also things that didn’t work for me, incluiding the slow pace during most of the story, the dual timeline and main character Luisa’s POV in general. As a result, I ended up having mixed thoughts about The Secret Messenger despite the fact that this story should have been a perfect fit, but fans of the genre should definitely give it a go as most people seem to react a lot better to the elements that didn’t work for me personally. I guess it was unpopular opinion time once again?

2. Snakes And Ladders by Victoria Selman (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
As soon as I read the first line of the blurb on Netgalley I was sold. I mean: Psycho meets The Silence Of The Lambs… How on earth would I be able to resist that?! Add the promise of a serial killer and profiler angle, and I just HAD to add it to my shelves. I confess I wasn’t aware that Snakes And Ladders was actually the third book of a series when I requested a copy, but thankfully it turns out that this story works really well as a stand-alone as well. Fans of darker, complex and twisted serial killer thrillers who love a profiler and psychological angle will have a great time with this one!

3. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/12
Even though I wasn’t as impressed by the sequel when I finally read it a few months back, when I discovered I had to read an urban fantasy for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge my thoughts went to this series almost immediately. I decided to give Rory another shot, and see if the third book would make me fall in love with the series again… Sadly, it wasn’t ment to be and The Shadow Cabinet turned out to be the weakest link of this series yet.

4. Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/01/2020
The first two books of this series are on my all time favorites list, and I still think this series is brilliant, but I’m starting to think that maybe it’s just better to leave things as it is? Don’t get me wrong, the writing is still brilliant and it is without doubt an intense, twisted and thrilling ride, but you can only have that much stuff happening to the main characters before it starts becoming REALLY unbelievable. Book four, like book three, misses some of that spark of the first two books… I still devoured every single page, but I also started looking a bit more critical at certain aspects of the plot and that is never a good sign. This story will have your heart racing though!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I don’t want to fall behind with the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge, so I’m probably reading Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen next. When I saw the third chapter prompt mention a book with pink or purple cover, I KNEW I had to pick up my pink and fabulous copy of this one! Then it’s back to ARCs and I’m planning on reading two early January blog tour books: Are You Watching? by Vincent Ralph and A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. I can’t wait to read both! My latest TBR jar pick is still Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton, which I probably won’t be able to get to this year even though I’m looking forward to it…


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WWW Wednesdays #246 – December 11th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Between pending DIY projects around the house and the superhot weather (I’m talking close to 40°C here; I’d swap for cold and snow any day), I haven’t been able to read as much as I had originally planned… I was expecting to be finished with The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham by now, but I guess it wasn’t ment to be. I’m hoping to finish it today though! I’m also currently reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett for one of this week’s prompts for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge I’ve decided to join again this month. I still can’t believe I haven’t read this one yet! Afterwards I’m starting Snakes And Ladders by Victoria Selman, a title I’ve been excited to read after all the buzz around it.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Missing Letters Of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller (3/5 stars) REVIEW 07/01/2020
There was just something about The Missing Letters Of Mrs. Bright that made me want to read it instantly. I think it was a combination of the blurb itself and the comparison to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove; two of my favorite books with characters I absolutely adored. I might have set my expectations a tad too high, because somehow I didn’t end up enjoying this story as much as I thought I would…

2. How The Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/12
I’m probably the last person on earth to pick up How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, but somehow Dr. Seuss just wasn’t all that known in the Netherlands back when I was little… Or at least I never came in contact with his books (and trust me, I basically raided the library on a weekly basis back then). I’ve seen the movie adaptation multiple times, so I was very familiar with the story already, but finally being able to read the original book was an absolute delight.

3. Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/12
I think a lot of you know by now I’m a huge fan of the Erika Foster series, so of course I just HAD to try his newest series ASAP. I was stoked when I received an ARC earlier this month, and I can now say that my first meeting with new main character Kate was an absolute success. What a read! I’m already having a feeling this series will be a new favorite…

4. The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/12
I always enjoy Carol Wyer‘s books and I’ve been enjoying my time with Natalie Ward so far, so the decision whether to read book number five was a no-brainer. It’s without doubt another solid sequel with an ending that left me completely shocked, flabbergaster and simply destroyed… Although somehow there were some things that started to get on my nerves, including quite a lot of complaining and nagging going on in book five. Especially those moments related to Natalie’s personal life… The Blossom Twins wasn’t my favorite of the series, but the ending definitely left me desperate to find out what will happen next in Natalie’s life.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up is my second book for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge: Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time so I’m happy I found an excuse to finally do so! Then it’s back to ARCs for a bit… First up is an most anticipated 2020 release: Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine. I can’t wait to dive into this series again! Afterwards, I’ll probably pick up The Rules Of Murder by Rob Sinclair… My latest TBR jar pick is still Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton, which I’m hoping to read soon, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually get to it this year.


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WWW Wednesdays #236 – September 4th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

My shelf of pending Netgalley ARCs has grown way too much in the last few weeks, so I’ve decided to read a couple of them in a row to bring the number below ten again. I’m currently reading Sarah A. Denzil‘s newest title The Liar’s Sister and I hope to finish it later today. I’m also in the need for a change of genre and decided to pick up the romance title Secrets Of The Mist by Kate Ryder… I really like the sound of this one.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/09
I really like the idea behind the Shades Of London series. It’s YA paranormal fantasy and horror with a twist, the snarky humor giving you a break from the darker scenes. I do believe this sequel is not as strong as the first book though… This feeling has to do both with the plot itself, the characters and the romance involved. The plot, while interesting enough, did miss that spark of the first book. It might have been the simple fact that it’s hard to live up to the previous Jack The Ripper inspired plot, but I found certain parts of the plot quite slow and sometimes not all that credible. I also had issues with certain actions and the behavior of certain characters…

2. The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/09
It might have been that I set my expectations too high, but I ended up having mixed thoughts about this book. The first thing that stands out is that I underestimated just how dark this story was going to be… I personally didn’t mind, but I do believe The Hiding Place would be classified more accurately with a (paranormal) horror label rather than just a ‘regular’ thriller. Especially the paranormal aspect took me by surprise, as I have to be in the mood for those kind of stories and don’t always react to them positively. It really shows the author uses the work of Stephen King as her inspiration though; The Hiding Place definitely has that King feel with the horror elements, the bugs and the paranormal.

3. The Passengers by John Marrs (5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/09
I’ve read his work in the past and I already knew I was going to like it, but The Passengers simply blew me away. What a read! The writing, the plot, the near-future setting, the twists, the characters… I loved it all, found myself to be glued to my seat and couldn’t stop reading until I discovered how it would all end. Both plot and character development are well executed and there are so many secrets and twists involved that you will never guess what is going on or who is behind it all… I liked how this story was divided into three different parts, and the ending was satisfying. The Passengers is an absolutely brilliant book and hands down one of my favorites of 2019.

4. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/09
I loved The Archived and have been looking forward to dive into the world again. And while I have to say I didn’t enjoy The Unbound as much as the first book, I can’t deny it was still a solid book. The worldbuilding is still strong, the urban fantasy feeling with a paranormal touch right there and center, and I really like the idea of the Narrows, the Archived and the Keepers and Crew using doors to move around and do their job. My main issue is with the new direction of this story and the focus shifting towards the ‘real’ world, including a lot of private school scenes, cliches and even a love triangle.

5. The Essence Of Evil by Rob Sinclair (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 07/09
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up are more ARCs… The Lies We Tell by Debra Webb and Here To Stay by Mark Edwards are NG ARCs I recently received and I’m looking forward to. And I can’t wait to read Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson for my upcoming stop of the blog tour! The first two books were absolutely brilliant and I have a feeling I’ll find another new favorite here. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Museum Of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman.


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WWW Wednesdays #235 – August 28th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading the final three books for #NEWTsReadathon2019. I’m hoping to have finished The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson by the time this post goes live… I’m also starting The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor and The Passengers by John Marrs; both 2019 releases I’ve been super excited about and can’t wait to finally read.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Sleepover by Carol Wyer (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/09
I’m a fan of Carol Wyer’s books as her detective thrillers are a garantuee for an entertaining and thrilling ride. The Sleepover is already the fourth meeting with detective Natalie Ward and she is really growing on me… Fast, thrilling and entertaining; this is without doubt another excellent addition to the series. Natalie’s personal story evolved a lot this time around as well and I really hope she will stick with her final decision in the next book…

2. The Cellar by Natasha Preston (3/5 stars) REVIEW  15/09
The premise of this story is absolutely fascinating and I’ve been looking forward to read it ever since. But somehow, I didn’t enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would. The elements are there: a twisted serial killer, a kidnapping, a prolonged hostage situation… But somehow it was all overshadowed by just how whiny and annoying the main character Summer was.

3. The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway (4/5 stars) REVIEW 22/09
Confession: I don’t think I’ve ever read Ernest Hemingway‘s books before. *hides in a corner* I’ve been meaning to pick up The Old Man And The Sea for quite some time now, and to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m glad I thought of this title when I was browsing for short reads to fit one of the prompts for #NEWTsReadathon2019, because I ended up enjoying it so much more than I thought I would.

4. Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (3/5 stars) REVIEW 22/09
Warning: it’s unpopular opinion time again! The story started out strong for me and I had high hopes it would be a winner for me… But I guess it wasn’t ment to be in the end. There were a lot of things I loved, but the characters and romance made me enjoy this story a lot less than I thought I would.

5. Keeper by Johana Gustawsson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/09
After so many recommendations as well as loving the first book, I knew I was going to be in for treat with this one. And this story most definitely disappoint. Shocking, harrowing and absolutely brilliant… This sequel again blew me away! I can’t wait to read book three as soon as I can get my thoughts together and finish my review for this one.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As I don’t think I can squeeze in more #NEWTsReadathon2019 books after finishing my current reads, it’s back to ARC business… First up is The Essence Of Evil by Rob Sinclair as my blog tour stop is right around the corner. Then I’m changing genres and get my dose of romance with Secrets of The Mist by Kate Ryder… I also want to finally read VOX by Christina Dalcher some time soon. And I have a new TBR jar pick! The Museum Of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman, a title I’ve been wanting to read for a while and will be looking forward to.


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