Stronger Than Skin – Stephen May

Stronger Than SkinISBN-10 1910985406

ISBN-13 978-1910985403

Author Stephen May

Publisher Sandstone Press

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

From Goodreads

Mark Chadwick is cycling home from work, eager to get back to his pregnant wife Katy and two children, when he sees the police calling at his house. He knows exactly why they are there and he knows that the world he has carefully constructed over twenty deliberately uneventful years is about to fall apart. He could lose everything.
A story of a toxic love gone wrong, with a setting that moves easily between present day London and 1990s Cambridge, Stronger Than Skin is compulsively readable, combining a gripping narrative with a keen eye for the absurdities of the way we live now.

What did I think?

Stronger Than Skin was intriguing from the offset, Mark is on the run from the police and you have absolutely no idea why and you have no idea for about 80% of the book – amazing how a book that revolves around the Mark man-hunt doesn’t give anything away but somehow manages to keep you turning the pages and reading on.

Stephen May writes about the characters of Stronger Than Skin throughout various stages of their life, it helps you form a connection with the characters as you feel you’ve grown with them. This evokes strong emotions within the reader and makes the shocking parts of the story more hard-hitting. You really get a sense of the love and pain within Marks life and it this kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to know more.

I loved the way Stronger Than Skin ended, it took me by surprise and without giving away too much it’s not something you see in every book – in fact it’s rarer than I would like. I wish I could say more but if I did I would be taking the excitement of the book away from you – it’s unpredictable to say the least, the whole book is!

My Rating? ♥♥♥♥

Will you be adding this to your TBR pile?

(psst. the eBook version is only £1 at the moment!)

Check out the other blogs on this tour!

Stronger Than Skin

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S5 Uncovered – James Durose-Rayner

S5 UncoveredISBN-10 1910782564

ISBN 13 978-1910782569

Author James Durose-Rayner

Publisher Clink Street Publishing

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

From Goodreads

Based around a series of true events. The BBC’s current affairs programme ‘Panorama’ undertook a sixty minute documentary / expose surrounding an elite government task force that went undercover in Sheffield over a period of twelve months. Their remit was to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to fill up the police federations coffers using illegally gained intelligence, on one hand overlooking – and in some cases encouraging – major criminal activity such as murder, kidnap and torture; whilst on the other, surreptitiously acquiring pre-bargained guilty pleas from defendants then reneging on deals, which culminated in some of the heaviest sentences ever handed out in the UK.

But the programme was never aired.

What did I think?

If you want a book that gets you excited from the very first chapter then I would suggest you pick up a copy of S5 Uncovered. I wasn’t expecting S5 Uncovered to build so much excitement within me from the first few pages but it did, it got me hooked and made me want to settle down for a good read.

Now, I know I said that the book got me excited from the beginning but unfortunately the momentum dropped off pretty quickly. At a hefty 908 (!) pages, S5 Uncovered isn’t a read that can be read in a couple of days and I personally think that due to it being such a mammoth read it lost a lot of the excitement building. I found S5 Uncovered to be slightly ‘busy’ and sometimes it did feel a little bit messy. There are a lot of characters in the book and they’re not really that distinguishable from one another all the time – this made for difficult reading as you’re trying to remember what their story is and how they fit in.

The thing that kept me reading despite the struggles I faced was the fact that this is based on a true story. The possibility that this is a situation currently happening in somewhere so close to home kept me wanting to read on – the situations and scenarios did seem quite far-fetched at times which took the ‘reality’ element away from it a bit, but that being said it may well be happening and it could be something we’re all oblivious to!

My Rating? ♥♥♥

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The Breakdown – B.A. Paris

The-BreakdownISBN-10 1848454996

ISBN-13 978-1848454996

Author B.A. Paris

Publisher HQ

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

From Goodreads

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

What did I think?

I feel like I’m missing something with B.A. Paris, much like Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown didn’t impress me as much as it appears to have impressed everyone else around me. I guessed (most of) the ending about quarter of the way through and while this review hasn’t started off great, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy reading The Breakdown. I do think it is a brilliant read and I can see how this can play on a number of peoples fears (especially if you have Mnemophobia!).

It has the potential to be a brilliant psychological thriller but it was just a little bit too predictable for me and I don’t like to know what’s going to happen in books before I’ve even read it! My issue is that I’ve been incredibly spoilt with some thrillers that have kept me guessing until the very last page and with The Breakdown I saw it coming a mile off!

Even though The Breakdown was predictable it still kept my focus and kept me reading through to the end. I think that in itself makes The Breakdown a worthwhile read. You may be one of the many others that rant and rave about this book, you won’t know until you give it a go!

My Rating? ♥♥♥

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Porcelain: Flesh of the Innocents – Lee Cockburn

Porcelain - Lee CockburnISBN-10 191152531X

ISBN-13 978-1911525318

Author Lee Cockburn

Publisher Clink Street Publishing

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

From Goodreads

Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks is back and in charge of tracking down a sadistic vigilante, with a penchant for torturing paedophiles, in this unsettling crime thriller by a real-life police sergeant.

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common — a sinister double life involving pedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets’ twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past — a chilling calling card. Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down but also dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and soon Nicks discovers that she is no longer chasing down a sinister attacker but a deadly serial killer.

What did I think?

Porcelain: Flesh of the Innocents is the 2nd book with DS Nicks as the leading character and it was a book I’d been looking forward to after finishing Devil’s Demise last year! With Devil’s Demise I did make a comment to suggest there was too much ‘erotica’ in the book for my liking (I like a thriller to be a thriller!) and I must admit that Cockburn has turned the ‘erotica’ theme down throughout Porcelain and it didn’t overpower the story-line.

Porcelain is dark, way darker than Devil’s Demise was (which is saying something!) but so well written! There is no stereotypical ‘good guy’ in this book, that keeps it interesting and isn’t very common in books!

At times Porcelain was suffocating, it did not let you catch your breath, Lee Cockburn is an author who knows how to get you hooked! It definitely isn’t a story-line for the feint-hearted, it’s an uncomfortable read (in the best possible way) but Lee Cockburn has been incredibly respectful in her writing.

Porcelain was left fairly open-ended, I really hope that means that we see more of DS Nicks. The cases she investigates and the trials and tribulations her colleagues deal with along the way make for any Cockburn novel a must read!

My Rating? ♥♥♥♥

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Miss Christie Regrets – Guy Fraser-Sampson

Miss Christie RegretsISBN-10 1911331809

ISBN-13 978-1911331803

Author Guy Fraser-Sampson

Publisher Urbane Publications

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

From Goodreads

The second in the Hampstead Murders series opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley. It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link. As with its bestselling predecessor, Death in Profile, the book develops the lives and loves of the team at ‘Hampstead Nick’. While the next phase of a complicated love triangle plays itself out, the protagonists, struggling to crack not one but two apparently insoluble murders, face issues of national security in working alongside Special Branch.

On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed ‘a love letter to the detective novel’.

What did I think?

‘Miss Christie Regrets’ is the second book in the Hampstead Murders series and it is a book I’ve been looking forward too since I read and reviewed ‘Death In Profile‘. Guy Fraser-Sampson is a rarity of the book world today as he focuses on the ‘Golden Age’ of detective work, a true police procedural book through and through.

I do feel that if you haven’t read the first book in the series then ‘Miss Christie Regrets’ may leave you with a few questions of what happened initially…it’s a good excuse to read both books! It has everything you want from a good book, it’s got a rather confusing love triangle and a great whodunit to keep you guessing and to keep those pages turning.

I love how guy based ‘Miss Christie Regrets’ against one of the most famous detective writers, Agatha Christie. I think this adds such a uniqueness to the story and it also makes you feel that you’re having some sort of insight to her life and where she found inspiration for her stories. Guy really excels in painting scenes that you can imagine and he makes it seem effortless.

Much like ‘Death in Profile’ it kept me entertained, it kept me guessing and most importantly Guy’s work upped my rating by one heart…so no more room for improvement in my eyes! I cannot wait for ‘A Whiff of Cyanide’ to be released in summer as I need another dose of the Hampstead Murders in my life already!

My Rating? ♥♥♥♥♥

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