Posts Tagged ‘Thriller’

Harlot by Tracie Podger

October 14, 2017 - 9:29 am No Comments

Harlot by Tracie Podger
Published 31st March 2017
286 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

After the death of her grandma, 14-year-old Charlotte was thrown into a world of depravity. For 4 years she was forced to have sex with her cousin’s friends and clients. Living in a dilapidated trailer, all she wanted to do was escape. But when she finds a client murdered, she knows that this is her chance to escape. Having no idea where she will end up, she packs her meagre items and runs. Picked up by Beau who seems to be her knight in shining armour, Charlotte is at her lowest, wet, cold and lost. When he drops her off in his home town, she finds help where she least expects it.
To be honest, when I started to read this book, I thought here we go it’s a damaged girl meet a damaged boy and have a relationship. I WAS WRONG. This story tackles difficult subjects human trafficking, drugs and abuse. Charlotte appears to be a strong character, used to fending for herself, however when she meets Rose, Kieran and Cecelia she shows her vulnerability. All she wants is to be cared for. With everything she has gone through you would expect her to be bitter and selfish, but she will fight for what she believes in and has a heart of gold to the people she cares for. Beau is tall dark and brooding. He came across of having everyone problems on his shoulder and he was the only one who could sort it out. As the story progresses, you find out why is like that and the reasons behind the job he does. Charlotte and Beau’s relationship is hard to explain, one moment they hate each other but then they act like bosom buddies. Some of the scenes are graphic and heart breaking, but they are necessary to the story. Each character has their own story to tell and as we learn more about them, they form a story that got me hooked from page 1. The author had a way of leading you down the wrong path and the people you think are good turn out to me some of the most despicable people you will meet. This is a standalone book so even like me, who had not read anything else by this author you will be able to enjoy the story. A story full of suspense

The Real Town Murders by Adam Roberts

September 6, 2017 - 6:26 pm No Comments

The Real-Town Murders by Adam Roberts

Published by Gollancz on 24th August 2017

230 pages

Reviewed by Chris Stocks

Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, where most people spend all their time in a fully immersive successor to the internet, known as Shine. However, Alma’s partner has been infected with a genetically-engineered lipid phage, which renders her bed-bound. Alma must treat her within a five-minute window every four hours or she will die. Consequently, Alma is one of the few people still living wholly in the real world.

Alma is assigned to a murder investigation at an automated car factory. A body has been found in the boot of a newly assembled car – though the CCTV footage shows there was no body present at any point in the assembly process.

She is then warned off the case by a government agent, who is subsequently killed. Now a suspect, Alma must go on the run, evade arrest, avoid the machinations of political conspirators and solve the impossible-seeming murder – as well as return home every four hours to treat her partner! This latter requirement adds an extra layer of dramatic tension to what might otherwise have turned into an extended series of chase sequences.

The near-future setting is convincing. The streets are almost deserted, as most people live in the Shine. Most pedestrians are somnambulant figures dressed in Mesh suits that take their bodies for walks to avoid muscular atrophy, whilst their minds are in the Shine – a high-tech version of The Wrong Trousers! AIs and nanotechnology are used to keep the country ticking over, but the overall impression is of decay. Indeed, the underlying political conspiracy involves different government factions who either want everyone to live permanently in the Shine or to tempt Shine users back to the real world.

This is an exciting, fast-paced and often darkly comic thriller, with all the twists and turns of an Alfred Hitchcock film, albeit in a futuristic setting. Indeed, there are deliberate nods to Hitchcock throughout. Some chapter titles allude to Hitchcock films – “Dial ‘C’ for Caring”, “Strangers on the Terrain”, for example. There are also more overt references. One passage features an attack by a swarm of small drones that could have come straight out of The Birds. Another is a tense chase scene set amongst the nanobot-sculpted faces of famous Britons (William Shakespeare, Winston Churchill etc.) that now adorn the White Cliffs of Dover – an allusion to the Mount Rushmore scene in North by North-West. The great director himself even makes a small cameo – as is only right and proper!

There are also numerous references to other works. Alma at one point gets into an amusing argument with the low-grade AI running her front door about whether it should admit her or not. This reminded me of a very similar scene from the Philip K. Dick novel, Ubik. I also spotted passing references to Catch 22, The Princess Bride and The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy amongst others – and I’m sure I missed many more.

In summary, I really enjoyed Adam Robert’s latest novel and can thoroughly recommend it. It is an intriguing thriller as well as referencing enough Hitchcock films and SF classics to satisfy the discerning fan of both genres.

Grin: A Dani Scott Novel #1 by Stuart Keane

July 2, 2017 - 8:35 am No Comments

Grin: A Dani Scott Novel #1 by Stuart Keane

Published on 30th October 2015

191 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Dani had a great life, doing well at college, doting parents and an annoying little brother, nothing could be better in her life. This was until the night her dad’s boss decided to tie up some lose ends. Killing her family and leaving her for dead, disfigured with Chelsea grin, Dani was alone in the world and the only thing that kept her going was revenge.

Dani is the same age as my daughter and throughout this book I kept imagining what she would be like if it happened to her and I had such admiration for Dani. Going through this life changing event would bring most teenage girls to their knees, where self-image is all the rage, Dani would be looked on as a freak but this just kept her focused and driven. Being alone in the world, she had to learn to be independent.

From the opening scene, you know you know you are in for a thrilling adventure, what starts off being a regular hit for Dani’s dad soon escalates into violence and pandemonium. As Dani was a teenager this helped the story grow as due to her age she was constantly being dismissed as a non-threat. It made the story intense as her actions were calculated and well planned and throughout I was willing her to survive. As this is a book about gangs then expect some violence, as this was necessary to the story. It was a perfect ending and I want to read more. Prior to Grin I have only read this author work in a collaboration and whilst I sort of knew what I was getting into, I did not expect such a great read. A fast pace page turner that will keep you gripped to the end

Scallywag by Stuart Brogan

May 15, 2017 - 4:52 pm No Comments

Scallywag by Stuart Brogan

Published by Midgard Books on 15th May 2017

156 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Callum Benson was a small- time crook. Well known to the police for burglaries and muggings, Callum was a bit of a loner and never affiliated with the criminal fraternity. One afternoon whilst he was mugging someone, he gets kidnapped. Waking up to a group of masked men, he had one task, to save his little sister he needed to murder a “policeman”.  Can Callum step up to the mark and rescue her.

At the start of this story Callum only thought of No1 and didn’t care who he hurt in the process to get what he wanted. However, when his sister was kidnapped he knew that he had to rescue her and he did surprise me that he took on the mission without asking questions. There were times he was cocky and liked to run his mouth but I personally thought this was an act because he was scared. By the end of the story I was feeling sorry for him and I actually began to like him.

The target was a strange character and whilst I read, I felt he was very childlike but the more you read his story, he was highly intelligent, knew exactly what he wanted but was evil in how he did it.

Stuart Brogan has done it again, another book that gave me a book hangover as I read into the early hours. To create a story with very few characters takes skill and Stuart proves he has it. The story intensified when Callum came across his target and the story took on a different pace. It got grittier and when you think you knew what was going to happen, the author adds a twist that completely knocks you back. The ending was a complete surprise but fitting.

Another great read that will not let you put it down until you have finished it.

Visiting Lilly (Jake Talbot Investigates Book 1) by Toni Allen

April 26, 2017 - 9:01 pm No Comments

Visiting Lilly (Jake Talbot Investigates Book 1) by Toni Allen

Published on 31st May 2016

298 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

I downloaded this book on Kindle unlimited.

When DI Jake Talbot overhears Peter Charteris putting a complaint in about Frankie Hayward harassing his grandma. DI Talbot was intrigued and volunteered to look into the case. Thinking this case would be a distraction from his Christmas memories, he was curious to find out why a young man like Frankie is interested in a 90yr old woman. A simple case of harassment quickly becomes complex involving the MOD, astral projection, past meetings and a missing boy, but will Frankie ever meet Lilly.

What was different to other thrillers I have recently read was that DI Talbot was not a rule breaker, he was hard working, stickler for detail who would get the job done. As the story progresses you get to know more about his personal life and the reason why he does not like Christmas. He had an open mind when it came to the astral projection and the further he got with his investigation the more he fought for Frankie’s rights.

Frankie was a loner, even as a small boy he was different to his siblings. Brought up by his grandma and her stories about a mysterious figure who visited her one night, he was free to explore astral projection. As the investigation continued you are introduced to Frankie’s mom and siblings and I personally think he was better off living with his grandma as there was no love for him, to the point that his mom accused him of murdering Keith McKenzie, a childhood friend of Frankie’s who went missing when they were younger.

I was engrossed this story from the moment DI Talbot started the investigation. DI Talbot was like a big brother to Frankie and although Frankie found it hard to make friends there was a brotherly bond with Jake. The introduction of further characters was not confusing to the story but did help explain their past and with the addition of Frankie’s family although detestable had me feeling sorry for Frankie. I loved the idea of astral projection as although unusual neatly explained the fascination between Lilly and Frankie. The story was flowed smoothly and as the story progressed so did the suspense. There was enough twist and turns in this story to keep it interesting and when the MOD got involved I did not expect that. With Frankie talking about saving Jake’s sister, it leads nicely into book 2 and I for one can’t wait to see if he does it. A great thriller with a sci-fi element.