A Murder of Crows by Ian Skewis

I wouldn’t say that this is an appealing book, more an engaging one. The story centres on a group of people who hail from Hobbs Brae originally, some still remain, some are returners. And someone is killing them.
Jack Russell is the DCI who needs to solve the case before anyone else comes to harm. His colleague Colin Clements needs to learn to be less impatient for dead man’s shoes!
Jerome regrets the way he brought up his son Scott, and misses his deceased wife, as he struggles to run his farm.
Alice is struggling with fugues and forgetfulness brought on by her dementia. She doesn’t know that her son Alistair has gone missing, presumed dead.
Matthew White has his own secrets and is determined to come out on top, being a successful business man, he has no intention of failing.
And others in the village have their own agendas, good, bad and indifferent.
I enjoyed this book, but I don’t feel like it is finished, maybe the next book needs to be read straight after, to give that satisfied reader feeling!

“‘Have you had a good holiday?’ she asked him. ‘The best,’ he replied. ‘I don’t want it to end.’ ‘Nothing ever ends, not really,’ she explained. ‘Everything is a prelude, a prologue, to something else.’”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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A Murder of Crows

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The most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above a sleepy village on the West Coast of Scotland.

A young couple take shelter in the woods, never to be seen again…

DCI Jack Russell is brought in to investigate. Nearing retirement, he agrees to undertake one last case, which he believes can be solved as a matter of routine.

But what Jack discovers in the forest leads him to the conclusion that he is following in the footsteps of a psychopath who is just getting started. Jack is flung headlong into a race against time to prevent the evolution of a serial killer…

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End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3) by P R Adams

Stefan is ‘retired’, at least he likes to think so, but readers all know that that is never the case in stories!
Stefan is recruited for a job, but wants to use his own team, to do that he needs to locate and recruit them. Not an easy job, he hasn’t been in touch for a while and doesn’t know where any of them are! And he doesn’t really know what his new employers actually want him to do.
After tracking his team, Stefan needs to persuade them to come on board with him. The money stakes are enormous and this should be their final hurrah before each of them retires. Can Stefan persuade his new employers to stump up the huge pay-out for the team?
PR Adams writes a really good story. This is the final one in the three part cyberpunk series. You definitely want to read all three, starting with ‘Into Twilight (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 1)‘, then through ‘Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2)‘ and then this book ‘End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3)‘.

““Twelve million, and a quarter million per egghead after Marshall. And I want fifty thousand now. This mess has cost me a lot more than it should have.””

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3)

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Official description:
In espionage, there are only two types of agents: active and dead.

Stefan Mendoza tried to walk away from the business, but the Agency wouldn’t let him. The Metacorporate Initiative has changed the world, and his bitter enemy has thrown in with one of the biggest of the new corporate powers. The race to rebuild the recently destroyed AI has put a premium on elite software architects.

If Mendoza can wrangle the most coveted architect team, he’ll make enough to disappear forever. But can he allow someone to recreate the AI that wants him dead?

Pick up End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3) to see the thrilling conclusion to this cyberpunk trilogy!

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Lightning Blade by D N Erikson

Ruby Callaway is in prison, in a time loop. She keeps re-living the same day, where an FBI agent releases her from prison in order for her to assist with the removal of a Necromancer. But Ruby and the Necromancer are the only ones that know about the time loop and every time she relives the day she has to convince the FBI agent that she is the one who can do this, but that they need to work together.

Despite being in a time loop, Ruby is in a race against time. The longer the time loop exists, the harder it is to break out. So she must find a way before she is stuck forever. She needs to break out of the time loop, in order to break out of her prison.

A really enjoyable story, it grabbed my attention from the opening lines. There were no blocks to the reading and I did find myself reading late into the night because I didn’t want to put it down. On finishing this book I went straight on to reading the short Novella which gave the prequel information on Ruby’s life prior to ending up in prison. I look forward to reading the next story in the series very soon.

“Words from two hundred years past echoed in my mind as the completed form streamed into the data cube. You’re a hunter, Rebecca Callaway. A killer.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Lightning Blade (The Ruby Callaway Trilogy Book 1)

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When the FBI releases supernatural bounty hunter Ruby Callaway after 20 years, the terms are simple: kill the necromancer killing public officials in return for amnesty. But then the necromancer plunges a blade through her heart, and Ruby reawakens at midnight, back in jail. Alive.

Which means one thing: the necromancer has thrust the world into an endless time loop that only he and Ruby can see. And Ruby is the only one capable of stopping him before the world burns. But as she unravels the necromancer’s sinister plan, two questions repeat in Ruby’s mind: Just how dangerous is a vengeful serial killer with nothing but time?

And what if the necromancer isn’t the worst thing lurking in the shadows of this brave new world?

Lightning Blade is the first book in the Ruby Callaway Trilogy, mixing dark, gritty urban fantasy with a sprinkling of futuristic sci-fi & cyberpunk. Not your typical bounty hunter. Not your typical urban fantasy.

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Enigma Key by Barnes and Wearmouth

This is a really great book if you grew up with the birth of computing and computer gaming (as I did), it really brings back the memories.

Eddie York is the main character of the book, his grandfather Brigham York also plays a lead role, but he is dead. Brigham has left Eddie a trail of clues which he must solve and follow in order to find the Enigma Key and save the world.

The clues need knowledge of the world of Flux, which was a computer game and also a comic that Brigham wrote for Eddie when he was a child.

Eddie’s adventure starts at the point of receiving a letter advising him to visit his grandfather’s grave prior to visiting the solicitors for the reading of his grandfather’s final will. Even getting to the solicitors requires Eddie to have his wits about him. The true race for the prize starts from then on.

Eddie meets up with various individuals during the quest set by his grandfather, some are friendly allies, some are yet to show their true colours and some are outright evil ‘so and so’s’. Some of the allies join up with Eddie to help him move forward with his time critical quest to save the world. Of those, Sol and Gert are two who are with him from the start, while others join him as he goes along (don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say who).

The only thing that mildly irritated me was the ‘love interest’ at the very end. It wasn’t really needed, it was so formulaic really, as if pandering to the masses. It is one of the things that really irritates me in stories – people don’t have to ‘fall in love’!

“A wave hit them. Eddie’s head sank below the freezing water. He kicked his legs, bursting back to the surface as fast as he could.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Enigma Key : A Gripping Adventure Thriller

 

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THE FATE OF THE WORLD HANGS IN THE BALANCE.

ONE MAN IS THRUST INTO AN INTERNATIONAL RACE AGAINST TIME TO SECURE THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS WEAPON: THE ENIGMA KEY

Eddie York—manhunter, codebreaker—is set on a dangerous mission by the last wishes of his deceased grandfather, a prominent member of the Guardian Group, a secret agency designed to protect the world from dangerous new technologies falling into the wrong hands.

Eddie is tasked to recover the Enigma Key, an object that holds the balance of worldly power. Using information from an old computer game that his grandfather had created to hide the key’s location, and working with unlikely allies, he must fight his way through a sequence of challenges for an answer that reaches into history.

If Eddie and his team don’t recover the Enigma Key before their enemies, then nobody or nothing will be safe again.

Enigma Key is the first book in an exciting new series from Colin F. Barnes and Darren Wearmouth. Written for fans of thriller and action fiction who love fast-paced twists and turns. Mixing history and cutting-edge technology, Barnes and Wearmouth invite you into a new world of fast-paced, exciting adventures.

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Murders of Misfortune by Ian D Wright

A mother wants her missing daughter found and contacts an old acquaintance to seek assistance in finding her.

When Steve and Emily are tasked with that same duty they discover that said daughter went missing about 5 years ago and mother is trying to find her in time for a visit to England by her divorced husband.

The mother has very little information about her daughter (she hadn’t even noticed that she was missing straight away), so Emily and Steve interview the housekeeper for more information.

As each piece of information leads to another they build a picture of what has happened. Along the way they end up investigating an old high profile murder case and risk their own lives as they start to get close to the truth about both that and what happened to Felicity.

This is a fast paced story so you won’t get bored reading it. There are one or two bits that can be anticipated, but that doesn’t detract from it. And it doesn’t mean that you can work out what comes next. I did enjoy the book and would definitely read Ian D Wright’s work again.

“When rich perverts, like Threston, overstep the mark, they call her in to put things right. She cleans up the crime scene and gets rid of the evidence, and when all else fails, she will fix it by buying their way out of trouble.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Murders of Misfortune: A gripping story of a missing daughter and a trail of lies, blackmail and murder. (Murders of Consequence, Necessity & Misfortune)

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Murders of Misfortune tells the story of a troubled girl, from a wealthy family, who becomes estranged from her parents and goes to live in 1960’s London. She is soon caught up with a wild set of celebrity party-goers in the drug-driven, anything goes atmosphere that was the swinging sixties.
Up and coming young stars of music, film, theatre and fashion, together with the off-springs of millionaires, politicians and royalty, create a high-octane, free-wheeling setting for this story of misadventure and murder.
Two up and coming young investigative journalists, Emily and Steve Moon, set out to discover what has happened to the lost girl and find themselves caught up in a conspiracy of lies, blackmail and deception. They are also under the spell of the atmosphere in London at that time but are determined to find out what has happened to the missing girl.
They follow a trail from London to Paris and then on to St Tropez. They discover a ring of wealthy, depraved men, who are using the new social freedoms of the time to pray on and exploit young girls in both England and France. Emily and Steve are determined to get to the heart of the ring and those who are organising these orgies of depravity. The tenacious pair stir up a hornet’s nest as they move closer to the powerful people behind the scenes. This leads to kidnapping and confirms that there are people involved at the highest levels of law enforcement and government.
Murders of Misfortune is an intriguing, complex and rapidly moving story, in which Emily and Steve receive support from unexpected sources.
This is the third book in a series of three featuring the investigative journalists Emily and Steve Moon. The other two, Murders of Consequence and Murders of Necessity and also available on Amazon Kindle.

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Wyntertide Rotherweird Book II by Andrew Caldecott

To my thinking this book is best read by those who have already read the first book “Rotherweird“, as there are many characters. And those characters have many aliases. It can become confusing, however, there is a list of people at the front of the book to help those who become lost in Rotherweird.

Nonetheless, although I found myself becoming engrossed in the world of Rotherweird, I did find myself thrown back to the present day and place when a character was inexplicable to me, not the author’s fault I anticipate, as I have NOT read “Rotherweird“.

Despite this it is an engaging story and it does even include line drawings from time to time to illustrate the clever writing. And check out the fantastic cover, it is so detailed! I liked the uniqueness of the story and its telling. Set in the past yet modern in style, with crafty machinations and clever intrigue. The only thing that set me back on my reading was, as I said, when I couldn’t grasp who was who in the tale.

I feel mean giving this book a 3, but I did find that the confusion over who was who in the characters was very off-putting and I kept being ‘thrown out of the story’ when that happened. As I was reading on a Kindle it was not so simple to flick to the front of the book to see who was who.

“Isolated by enveloping hills, Rotherweird will be kept from the rest of England but at a price. Here the study of history will be forbidden.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Wyntertide: Rotherweird Book II

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Welcome back to Rotherweird.

The town of Rotherweird has been independent from the rest of England for four hundred years, to protect a deadly secret.

Sir Veronal Slickstone is dead, his bid to exploit that secret consigned to dust, leaving Rotherweird to resume its abnormal normality after the travails of the summer . . . but someone is playing a very long game.

Disturbing omens multiply: a funeral delivers a cryptic warning; an ancient portrait speaks; the Herald disappears – and democracy threatens the uneasy covenant between town and countryside.

Geryon Wynter’s intricate plot, centuries in the making, is on the move.

Everything points to one objective: the resurrection of Rotherweird’s dark Elizabethan past – and to one date: the Winter Solstice.

Wynter is coming . . .

Get Wyntertide: Rotherweird Book II for yourself.

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Eve of Man: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1 by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher

I think this book would be a really good read for all those romantics out there who need to see a damsel rescued. But it isn’t quite a romance, it is science fiction! And it is good futuristic post-apocalyptic science fiction. And I don’t think there were any out and out swear words in there either (well maybe one)!

Eve was the first female child born in fifty years and those that helped her mum and dad ensure that she was born into the world, created a tower for her to grow up in. She gets to see the sun rise above the clouds every morning and beautiful sunsets before she sleeps. She is being educated and trained in ballet and other physical forms. They have thought of everything, there is even a female companion of her own age to keep her company as she grows. She shares her feelings and thoughts with her companion and feels like she is her best friend.

Eve reaches 16 years and then she is scheduled to meet her potential future mate. Three potentials have been selected and meetings have been arranged so that she can chose one for herself. Eve starts to have doubts about the whole process when things don’t quite go as planned. That’s when she meets Bram, one of the team that looks after her. She can’t get him out of her mind, but he isn’t one of the potentials, could he become one?

Bram’s experience is a lot different than Eve’s. He has his own issues to resolve and they take him far away from Eve for a time. He experiences the world created by man, it isn’t that nice a place, not at all.

I did read this rather quickly for me, I had a couple of late night sessions, hence reading it in two days. I enjoyed it, there was variety in the environment and some clever ideas in there. I really like the way a memorial was held for one of the characters and how it gave everyone peace afterwards, it is a good way to remember someone with joy.

It is a good book, give it a go.

“Against all odds, she survived. She was the first girl born in fifty years. They called her Eve. She represented the rebirth of the human race. She was the answer to their prayers. She was all they cared about, their final hope. Eve was the saviour of humanity.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Eve of Man: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1

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***PRE-ORDER EVE OF MAN: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1, THE FIRST BOOK IN A BRAND-NEW TRILOGY, JOINTLY WRITTEN BY BESTSELLING AUTHORS GIOVANNA & TOM FLETCHER***
AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED. THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS. THEY CALLED HER EVE.
All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past. But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate. Until she meets Bram. Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom. But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?
Eve of Man: Eve of Man Trilogy, Book 1 is the first in an explosive new trilogy by bestselling authors Giovanna & Tom Fletcher.

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The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard

“He can’t let her go by herself. And he won’t, because he’s a gentleman. A gentleman who doesn’t let young girls walk home alone from parties when they’ve been drinking enough to forget their coat, bag and– he lifts the flap on the little velvet envelope, checks inside– keys, college ID and phone too. And he wants to make sure Jen knows that. Mr Nice Guy, he calls himself. He hopes she will too.”

I really wanted to read Catherine’s second novel, her first one was so different to books I’ve tended to read and I enjoy her way of crafting her stories.

Alison has been living in the Netherlands for 10 year’s, only seeing her parents when they come to visit her. She hasn’t been back to visit Ireland in the interim and has no intention to either.

Then two Gardaí turn up at her home and ask them to accompany them back to Dublin to meet with a convicted murderer who will only speak to her, when a copycat murder takes place.

Packing the minimum needed for an overnight stopover, Alison relents and starts on a journey which will bring back everything that she has tried to bury deep in the recesses of her memory.

Will, her ex-lover and now languishing in a psychiatric hospital, pending transfer to full prison status, has something important to tell her in Ireland.

It’s when she gets to Dublin that she is pulled into something more. Things start to happen that drag her further into the ongoing investigation and ultimately put her in danger.

I was drawn into the story and enjoyed watching it unfold. The obvious endings and suspects weren’t quite as I expected, hooray! I like a different baddie and ending to the usual.

I predicted that Catherine would produce further quality novels – I wasn’t wrong! If you like suspenseful crime stories, I’d recommend you read this one.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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An unmissable, utterly compelling thriller from the bestselling author of Distress Signals.

Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.

Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.

Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.

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Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2) by P R Adams

I like reading PR Adams books and this one was no exception. It is book two of the Stephan Mendoza trilogy (I haven’t read book one – so I cannot compare or comment about the links between the two stories). There are quite a few different characters in Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2), who were obviously in the first and therefore there is history between them. This is covered well by PR Adams, so it doesn’t matter so much if the first story got missed.

Mendoza goes back to his home territory in this book and holes up to recover himself and get upgrades body-parts (the non-human bits anyway). While there he reconnects with people from his past and rekindles past relationships (both bad and good).

There is something going on under the radar in this story and Mendoza has to work through solving this. His ‘contacts’ from his previous escapades join him as he works his way through a maze of on- and off- line situations. Always under pressure and more often than not under some sort of attack.

I found this world engaging, rough edged and different. The characters are well rounded (in the way that they are written at least) and the story drew me along with it. I will certainly be interested in reading more.

“I put the device back to my ear, an ear grafted onto me after my torturers had taken everything from me.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2)

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Wounded. Alone. Wanted for a murder he didn’t commit.

Stefan Mendoza is a broken man. The last thing he cares about now is revenge against the people who betrayed him. All he wants is peace. To hide out, he returns home to a town that seems isolated from the world collapsing around him.

But can he really escape the world of the Agency? Can anyone ever really go home again?

Strap in for Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2), and get started on this unforgettable, fast-paced cyberpunk thriller.

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A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon

“The lantern glowed with a silver and blue prismatic light which, seen through the lens of the kaleidoscope, appeared to be a wheel of knives, ever turning.”

John Henry Nyquist is a private investigator living in Nocturna and working (mostly) in Dayzone. Like most PI’s he has a cash-flow situation to manage and has to take what jobs he can to pay his way.

This latest job involves find a rich girl who has run away from home, her powerful father wants her back.

Somehow the case gets more complicated – the Quicksilver murders start to have an impact on things, and for the life of him, Nyquist can’t quite remember why!

His continual switching across time zones begins to affect him and he starts to think he is becoming to suffer from chronostasis.

Yet he continues on, driven, with his inner clock, tick, tick, ticking, keeping him moving onwards. Exploring Dayzone, the Dusk and Nocturna. Moving closer to his moment.

If anything, this book make me edgy, anxious and from time to time I paused in my reading. It was a complex story, fantastic and ghostly. I enjoyed it, yet as I said, I had to keep pausing and coming back to it. I didn’t settle in to it as I would have liked.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
The brilliant, mind-bending return to science fiction by one of its most acclaimed visionaries

Below the neon skies of Dayzone – where the lights never go out, and night has been banished – lowly private eye John Nyquist takes on a teenage runaway case. His quest takes him from Dayzone into the permanent dark of Nocturna.

As the vicious, seemingly invisible serial killer known only as Quicksilver haunts the streets, Nyquist starts to suspect that the runaway girl holds within her the key to the city’s fate. In the end, there’s only one place left to search: the shadow-choked zone known as Dusk.

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