#FridayFreebie – Exit .45 Ben Sanders

Today is my first give away for 2022 nd I am very excited to be able to offer the opportunity ( Thanks to the author and Allen & Unwin Aust) a copy of the tension packed read Exit .45

**Open to Australian residents only. In the comments list another great read by this author, easy as that 🙂 Entries close Thursday 27th January. The winner will be notified by email.**

Review: Exit .45 – Ben Sanders

Exit .45

Ben Sanders

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781761065590

RRP 29.99

Description:

Marshall Grade returns in an action-packed thrillride through the New York underworld.

When a former NYPD colleague is shot dead in front of him, private investigator Marshall Grade discovers there’s far more to the killing than meets the eye.

Ray Vialoux is in trouble. Big trouble. And he needs Marshall Grade’s help.

Reluctantly, Grade agrees to meet. Over dinner in a Brooklyn restaurant, he learns that his former NYPD colleague owes money – a lot of money – to the wrong people. But the conversation is cut short by gunfire, and suddenly Ray is lying dead on the restaurant floor.

As Marshall investigates the circumstances leading up to the murder, tracking down the drug dealers, bag men, bent cops and mob players within Ray’s orbit, it becomes clear there’s far more to the killing than a gambling debt. Just who is responsible for Vialoux’s death . . . and why? What secrets are his family hiding? And can Marshall find the answers before his own history marks him as the prime suspect?

‘It’s easy to see what the fuss is about. Sanders’ prose is sharper than a switchblade . . . It’s like Raymond Chandler, Lee Child and Elmore Leonard rolled into one.’ – Sydney Morning Herald on American Blood

My View:

If you are a fan of crime fiction, if you love a great procedural, if you turn over the last page and sigh and mutter “oh…”under your breath in disappointment that you have reached the end of an excellent, engaging, tension packed read, then this book is for you 🙂

5 stars. Encore.

Guest Review:Deception Creek – Fleur McDonald

Deception Creek

Fleur McDonald

Allen & Unwin

ISBN 9781760878825

Description:
A returned criminal, a cult-like family and cybercrime all clash against the backdrop of the Flinders Ranges in this thrilling new rural suspense novel from the best-selling Voice of the Outback.

Emma Cameron, a recently divorced farmer and a local in Barker, runs Deception Creek, the farm that three generations of her family have owned before her. Every day Emma pushes herself hard on the land, hoping to make ten-year-old memories of a terrible car accident disappear. And now there are more recent nightmares of an ex-husband who refuses to understand how much the farm means to Emma.

When criminal Joel Hammond is released from jail and heads home to Barker, Detective Dave Burrows and his officer Senior Sergeant Jack Higgins are on high alert. Joel has a long and sorry history with many of the townsfolk and they are not keen to see him home to stay.

Not all of the Barker locals want to see Joel run out of town though. Some even harbour doubts about Joel’s conviction. The town finds itself split down the middle, families pitted against each other with devastating outcomes.

Brenda’s View:
When Joel Hammond returned to Barker, to his hometown and the home his parents had left him when they died, he’d known it wouldn’t be easy. But he hadn’t expected the anger and hate directed at him by a prominent family in town. Joel had been convicted of fraud at his job in Adelaide and went to jail for five years, before adding another four years for assault while inside. He was a changed man, but he just wanted the past behind him.

Emma Cameron owned and ran Deception Creek, the property which had been in her family for generations, and she loved her work. She had farm hand Matt working for her and he’d been reliable and a great support with all his farming knowledge over the six years he’d been working on Deception Creek. Emma had been first on scene to a fatal accident nine years prior and still had nightmares from the memories; now with her recent divorce, she wanted to bury herself in her work on the farm and try to forget her worries.

Detective Dave Burrows and Senior Sergeant Jack Higgins both felt there was something dangerous hovering over their town. With Joel back, unhappy residents, strangers in town, Jack and Dave were both on high alert. What would be the outcome of the uneasy atmosphere in Barker? Would Dave and Jack be able to keep the peace?

Deception Creek is another outstanding, tense suspense novel from Aussie author Fleur McDonald which I absolutely loved. The author is up there on my favourites list – I always look forward to her next book! Well crafted characters, and of course my favourites – Dave Burrows and Jack Higgins – lead the way in this phenomenal read which I highly recommend.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin AU for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review: The Way It is Now – Garry Disher

The Way It Is Now

Garry Disher

Text Publishing

ISBN:9781922458162

Description:

Set in a beach-shack town an hour from Melbourne, The Way It Is Now tells the story of a burnt-out cop named Charlie Deravin.

Charlie is living in his family’s holiday house, on forced leave since he made a mess of things at work.

Things have never been easy for Charlie. Twenty years earlier his mother went missing in the area, believed murdered. His father has always been the main suspect, though her body was never found.

Until now: the foundations are being dug for a new house on a vacant block. The skeletal remains of a child and an adult are found—and Charlie’s past comes crashing in on him.

The Way It Is Now is the enthralling new novel by Garry Disher, one of Australia’s most loved and celebrated crime writers.

Brenda’s View:

Twenty years prior, Charlie Deravin’s mother, Rose, went missing. She and his father were in the middle of a divorce and Charlie and his brother Liam had just evicted a tenant from their mother’s home. But when Rose disappeared, the police blamed Rhys, Charlie’s father. Rhys was an ex-cop and Charlie was a cop on suspension – Charlie had moved back to the little seaside town and was living in the shack his parents had called home before it all went pear-shaped. Charlie had spent a lot of the last twenty years interviewing people and trying to find his mother, ruining his own marriage in the process…

When the news hit the town of the skeletal remains of a child being found on a vacant block, and then underneath the child, the remains of an adult, Charlie was sure it would be his mother. He was positive he knew the identity of the child as well. The police homicide department was soon on the scene, opening the case once again and interviewing all those who were interviewed twenty years prior. Rhys and his second wife, Fay, were overseas cruising and wouldn’t be home any time soon. But still Rhys was a suspect. What would be the outcome for Charlie and his family as this cold case once again came to life?

The Way it is Now is a standalone novel by Australia’s master crime writer Garry Disher, and it was outstanding. A relaxed but twisty, tension filled story of a family and their ongoing grief, the divisions throughout the family and the grievances which were the result of what happened, made for an excellent crime novel which I highly recommend.

With thanks to Text Publishing for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Big Sky – Kate Atkinson

Big Sky: A Jackson Brodie Novel

Kate Atkinson

Doubleday

Penguin Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780857526113

 

Description:

Jackson Brodie makes a highly anticipated return!

Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son and an ageing Labrador, both at the discretion of his ex-partner Julia. It’s picturesque, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes.

Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, is fairly standard-issue, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network—and back across the path of someone from his past. Old secrets and new lies intersect in this breathtaking novel by one of the most dazzling and surprising writers at work today.

 

My View:

Superbly plotted, complex in themes and design, mysterious and heart breaking, it was amazing to discover the intersection of characters’ lives, landscapes and crimes (committed against and by whom.)  Past and present worlds collide in a mystery where valour and doing the right thing are triumphant. Justice is well served, the law is not.

 

I love a character lead narrative in the crime fiction/literary crime read. The details wash the canvas in grey not emphatic black and white. Life is complex, messy, sometimes our perspective of the outside does not match the inside view, and sometimes there is hope and compassion where you least expect to find it. This contemporary read is perfect!

 

Enough said – go out and order/purchase this one now. You will not regret it.

 

 

Post Script: I am Death – Chris Carter

Violent and sadistic.

Cover I Am Death

I Am Death

Chris Carter

Simon & Schuster Australia

Simon & Schuster UK

ISBN: 9781471132247

 

 

Description:

AN EVIL MIND was Chris Carters’s most acclaimed novel to date, described by the Daily mail as: ‘A chilling, compulsive portrait of a psychopath, and proves that Carter is now in the Jeffrey Deaver class.’ It spent three weeks in the Sunday Times top ten and received brillant reviews and sales.

 

This terrifying new standalone thriller reunites Hunter and Garcia in their most explosive case to date.

 

 

My View:

There has been much fanfare surrounding the books written by this author and so I thought I had better check this one out (this book is part of the Hunter and Garcia series but is touted as a standalone read). With a bit of trepidation I started reading (I had heard/read that this author’s work is extremely violent), rumour was not wrong! I have read Pierre LaMaitre’s Camille Verhœven series and thought the violence here, was, at times extreme – however the characters were likable, the writing superb and I was able to empathise with the Commandant – his personal pain and grief and empathy for the victims of the crimes.

 

This was not my experience with I am Death. I found Hunter and Garcia bland and one dimensional, I did not connect at all with the protagonists and didn’t feel that these two cops had much of a personal connection either; the attempt at humour in the first few chapters did not work for Hunter and likewise did not work me either; as a device it failed to show any real rapport between the two cops. The humour feel flat and felt stilted and staged – the opposite of the affect the writer was intending. As I continued on I really did not warm to any of the characters; we knew very little about the victims, mostly superficial information and although their deaths by torture were vile, they did not affect me as they should have; once they were in the hands of the villain we heard little more from them except the details of their horrific wounds and violent deaths. A part of me is pleased that no more details were forth coming, details were “told “ not “shown” their death had little impact on me, their lives as their deaths, had little impact on me and Hunter and Garcia remained as they first appeared; bland and did not connect with me as a reader at all. I think you do need to read the earlier books in the series to connect and invest yourself in the books, to perhaps grow to like Hunter and Garcia, to get to know them and share their experiences, feel some empathy…

 

But my main concern with this book was the level of what I experienced as gratuitous violence – fodder for the violence seeking voyeur. The details were beyond grim and sadistic – without giving away too much detail – murder by an electric disc sander (with a deliberate choice of “low grade” disc – so that more than one disc was needed and therefore the pain dragged out, the torture excruciating, before death was realised), grinding off the victims face was extreme and just one example of the horror that lies within.

 

Lastly I felt that the author did not “show” me the narrative, he spent too much time “telling” me the book. ‘While “telling” can be useful, even necessary, most people don’t realize how vital “showing” is to an effective story…. Showing allows the reader to follow the author into the moment, to see and feel and experience what the author has experienced. Using the proper balance of showing and telling will make your writing more interesting and effective.’ http://www.dailywritingtips.com/show-dont-tell/ I whole heartedly agree with this sentiment, the imbalance in style here left me with a “disconnect” that I could not shift. And I realised who the murderer actually was, not his alias, but his real identity.

 

Sadly, this not a book or author for me but maybe for you.

Post Script: Life or Death – Michael Robotham

Outstanding, seductive and intriguing!

Life or Death

Michael Robotham

Hachette Australia

Sphere

ISBN: 9780751552898

Description:

The chilling new psychological thriller from one of the most brilliant crime authors of today.

Why would a man escape from prison the day before he’s due to be released?

Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of his gang. Five million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is.

For ten years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled and threatened almost daily by fellow inmates and prison guards, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he’s due to be released.

Everybody wants to find Audie, but he’s not running. Instead he’s trying to save a life . . . and not just his own.

 

 

My View:

Michael Robotham hits another home run! This narrative is so brilliant it shines like a beacon calling you to read, except… I couldn’t; I was seduced by the story and the character of Audie Plamer and I could not bear to read that yet another disaster had knocked him down to his knees. Instead of reading in one night as I would normally do for such an intriguing narrative, I had to force myself to keep reading, I was so entrenched in Audie’s world and the belief in his innocence and seduced by this character’s serene voice that each time corruption and conspiracy of the highest levels attacked him and I could not see a way out, I feared for Audie and I had to stop reading. I couldn’t see a positive conclusion, just more hurt. It took me days to read…I didn’t want it to end.

 

This is a brilliant narrative, with meaningful dialogue, characterisations and settings that are authentic and a plot that twists and turns with conspiracies a plenty (and did I mention a beautiful love story?) Robotham writes masterfully and seductively. His passion for his craft is obvious in the execution of his work – intriguing, enchanting and fast paced and action packed, his words never tired or dreary or forced. Another brilliant standalone from the master of the psychological thriller.

 

Post Script: The Butcher – Jennifer Hillier

The Butcher

Jennifer Hillier

Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Gallery Books

ISBN: 9781476734217

 

Description:

From the author of the acclaimed suspense novels Creep and Freak and whom Jeffery Deaver has praised as a “top of the line thriller writer,” The Butcher is a high-octane novel about lethal secrets that refuse to die—until they kill again.

 

A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous “Beacon Hill Butcher” was finally hunted down and killed by police chief Edward Shank in 1985. Now, some thirty years later, Shank, retired and widowed, is giving up his large rambling Victorian house to his grandson Matt, whom he helped raise.

 

Settling back into his childhood home and doing some renovations in the backyard to make the house feel like his own, Matt, a young up-and-coming chef and restaurateur, stumbles upon a locked crate he’s never seen before. Curious, he picks the padlock and makes a discovery so gruesome it will forever haunt him… Faced with this deep dark family secret, Matt must decide whether to keep what he knows buried in the past, go to the police, or take matters into his own hands.

 

Meanwhile Matt’s girlfriend, Sam, has always suspected that her mother was murdered by the Beacon Hill Butcher—two years after the supposed Butcher was gunned down. As she pursues leads that will prove her right, Sam heads right into the path of Matt’s terrible secret.

 

A thriller with taut, fast-paced suspense, and twists around every corner, The Butcher will keep you guessing until the bitter, bloody end.

 

My View:

A love hate relationship with this book:

I have been ruminating over my opinion about this novel for several days and I am still unsure how I feel about this narrative; I loved the premise, I enjoyed some of the characters – I think that the character of The Butcher was a true and vile picture of evilness and horror, (I thought the reveal re the wife’s death early in the piece was dynamic and so unexpected) this character was so well done, yet some of the other characters I thought were a little stereotyped and flat.

 

There were elements the narrative that was compelling and then a lot that wasn’t. And the biggest let down was I guessed (no reveals here) about Lucy and the final reveal involving Matt and that was disappointing; I like to be surprised and unaware of such things until the very end of a story.  Maybe I had too high an expectation of this novel, consequently I have mixed feelings, and maybe the best way to sum this up the writing is inconsistent with a brilliant characterisation of evilness.

 

Post Script: Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

Cop Town

Cop Town

Karin Slaughter

Century

Random House

ISBN: 9781780890012

 

Description:

Karin Slaughter, author of the New York Times bestselling Will Trent novels, is widely acclaimed as “one of the best crime novelists in America” (The Washington Post). Now she delivers her first stand-alone novel: an epic story of a city in the midst of seismic upheaval, a serial killer targeting cops, and a divided police force tasked with bringing a madman to justice.

 

Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

 

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.

 

Relentlessly paced, acutely observed, wickedly funny, and often heartbreaking, Cop Town is Karin Slaughter’s most powerful novel yet—a tour de force of storytelling from our foremost master of character, atmosphere, and suspense.

 

 

My View:

How can I do justice to this work of the crime writing super star that is Karin Slaughter? Once again Ms Slaughter has provided the reader with an entrée, main course and dessert in the one sitting – if you have not eaten your fill of cordon blue crime fiction at the end of this novel I suggest you…are jesting.

 

This is another brilliantly written, evocative, deeply moving and exceptional read from the master of crime fiction – she is so good at her craft she makes writing and reading this seem easy. Well-developed empathetic protagonists and, bad guys – there are many – which you simply abhor. Slaughter captures the flavour of the 70’s and reduces it down to a piquant stock that flavours the entire narrative. The 70’s are a transforming time – not just in Atlanta but all over the world and Slaughter captures it so well.

This is a brilliant standalone novel or perhaps the start of another series? I could easily read more of the Lawson’s story or Kate’s story. Devote an evening to Ms Slaughter’s fare – you will not be sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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