The Fifth Justice

fifth

A new book from one of my very favourite authors, John Ellsworth.

John Ellsworth was a well-respected practising lawyer dividing his life between Flagstaff and Chicago prior to deciding to write full time. So we expect and get great courtroom scenes from him.

However, this book spends little time in the courtroom; but it is heavy time defending a murder charge.

We have met Michael Gresham before. If you have read any of the earlier books in the series, you may recall his first wife was raped, gave birth to a son and subsequently died. Now Gresham is remarried to Verona from Russia, whom he loves greatly.

We are introduced to Andrew Constance who’s wife has been nominated for a position on the District Court in Chicago, but the problem is she has been missing for two months and Andrew hasn’t told anyone that she’s missing.

Andrew also tells Gresham that his wife was raped and impregnated by the same person who raped and impregnated Dani, Michael’s wife. That man is Reno Rivera. Earlier Michael had defended Rivera on a murder charge for which he was found not guilty. But his repayment to Gresham was to rape and impregnate his wife. The next time Michael was on the opposite side and Rivera was sent to prison. But then, Andrew Constance handled his appeal and got the guilty verdict vacated. Rivera’s repayment to Andrew was to rape and impregnate his wife.

So the case became very personal to Michael Gresham.

But added to this, Chloe Constance has multiple personalities and they have few clues where to begin their search. However, Andrew Constance is convinced his wife is out to find and kill Rivera.

The story unfolds as we find Chloe the victim of a car accident, admitted to hospital not knowing who she is and having no memory of her life before or even during the accident. We follow her through this period and meet her other personalities – Maddy a loud mouth teenager and Justin Maybe, her protector.

Life for Chloe doesn’t get better and really this is all I can tell you. Because any more would be a total spoiler.  I know nothing about the complex subject of dissociative identity disorder but I trust Mr Elsworth to have researched this subject well.

As always, we expect and get page-turning thrillers from this author.

And I  do encourage you to get your hands on this book when it is published. and if you haven’t already read the earlier books in the series, to get them too.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read by the author and I choose to write this review.

 

 

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A Long Goodbye

Long Goodbye

 

Simon is living a successful life but when he is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s while in his thirties he determines to have some control over his future. He retires as a partner in his accountancy practice, sells his house and moves into an apartment close to Oxford. Some eighteen months after the diagnosis, he decides to move into a care facility for the final years (?) of his life.

He chooses Orchard Care Home, a care facility that has a pool and a gym and plenty of room for him to continue his daily running exercises. Of course, he is many years younger than the other residents but he soon settles into this new way of living.

Emma is the facility manager and has been in the care industry for twenty plus years. She is married to Michael whom she met when a trainee at Orchard. Michael from being the manager has moved up the corporate ladder and is now based in the company’s London office,  This entails the couple spending much time apart.

The attraction between Simon and Emma is immediate, but while attracted Emma is well aware of her marriage vow and her responsibilities as manager of the care home.

If you read this book, and I encourage you to do so, be prepared to range through all your emotions. It is at times, heartbreaking, and at others funny, loving and sensational. I recommend this book with five stars.

This is Anthony Le Moignan’s first book. I trust it will not be the last.

Note – I was given the book to review by Netflix and I choose to publish this review.

 

Malignant

Another blog blitz and another author new to me. Anita Waller. Anita is a prolific writer and has published eight books in five years. No mean feat.

Anita Waller - Malignant_cover

Claudia and Heather have been next door neighbours and best friends for many years. Each has been married for years and each has a difficult marriage. Heather is married to Owen, an alcoholic and Claudia’s husband, James, is abusive. Things come to a head in both marriages and the friends decide to leave and set up a flat together.

A flat is found and they plan to move in. But before long things begin to go astray. Heather’s husband falls down the stairs and dies and  Claudia is diagnosed with a fast-spreading, malignant melanoma so Heather quits her job to care for her dying friend.

The apartment the two women rent is above a bakery shop owned and operated by Michelle and the three quickly become friends. But Michelle has a secret that she doesn’t immediately reveal to the other two.

In an unplanned meeting between Heather and James, actions escalate and James is dead. Heather determines to get rid of the body and doesn’t tell Claudia what has happened. She buries the body and almost convinces herself that it will never be found.

This is another great read. Hard to put down and one I encourage you to read.

Note – I was given a copy of the book by the publishers Bloodhound Books. I choose to make this positive review.

Anita Waller

Author’s bio

Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.

She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters.

In 1995 she sent Beautiful to a publisher and as they reached the contract stage the publisher went into liquidation. As a result, the book was consigned to the attic in dejected disgust but in 2013 it was dragged out again for an enforced complete re-type. The original was written on an Amstrad 8256 and the only thing that remained was one hard copy.

Anita is not a typist and it was painfully reworked over two years, submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 saw its release into the wide world.

Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.

34 Days followed, with its launch in October 2016. This was a huge success, particularly in the United States. While this, her third book in the psychological thriller genre, was flying out in all directions, she began work on her fourth book.

Winterscroft was a change in genre. It is a supernatural tale, set in Castleton, Derbyshire, and its release date was February 2017.

While she was writing Winterscroft, it became very clear from reading reviews that a sequel to 34 days was needed, and she began work on that. Bloodhound Books launched Strategy, on 10 August 2017.

Her next book, launched February 2018 and entitled Captor, is a psychological thriller, set exclusively in Sheffield. It was an instant success, both in the UK and the US.

Then along came Game Players… once more set in Sheffield, the story involves a group of six children who have each other’s backs to a remarkable extent. The darker, criminal side of Sheffield is explored, with the book launching 18 May 2018.

Malignant arrives in the world on 10 October 2018, today, her eighth book in three years.

In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! The club was particularly helpful during the writing of 34 Days, as a couple of matches feature in the novel, along with Ross Wallace. Information was needed, and they provided it.

Her genre is murder – necessary murder.

Malignant Blitz Banner (1)

 

 

A Great Reckoning

Reckoning

It’s been a few months since I read and reviewed a Louise Penny book. Well, today was a day with nothing planned and so I took the opportunity to read A Great Reckoning.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has resigned/retired from the Surete and is considering where to next. He accepts the post of Commander at the Surete Academy.  The corruption exposed in the Surete, we find has deeper roots and has found its way to the Academy and is affecting the training of cadets. The Inspector sets about making changes, replacing some professors while keeping on others. Of particular concern to some is that he doesn’t fire Leduc, who had been assistant to the former commander and instead, keeps him on as a professor.

In a box of old documents is found a map that seems to be connected to the stained-glass window in the old church in Three Pines to where Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie have retired. He uses the map as a training exercise for four bright cadets, setting them the task of finding out why was the map hidden,  who drew it,  and its connection to the window.

The main characters from previous Penney books are all alive and well and living in Three Pines, but in this novel are more as background to the main activities taking place in the Academy and in the village.

This is the twelfth book in the Inspector Gamache series and is totally absorbing. There is, of course, a murder, people with twisted minds and their own agendas. Gamache is once again shown as a mature, caring, intelligent individual, although as he is quick to point out, everybody including him, makes mistakes.

Gamache is as usual backed up by Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his second in command and son in law.

I love this series and this book lives up to the expectations we now have of Ms Penney.  can’t imagine the talent of writing twelve novels and as a personal aside, all the time is caring for her dearly loved husband, who is suffering from the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cornish Retribution

Another log blitz today and yet another author new to me.

 

 

We meet Sam Lane whose husband Adam, has been killed in a road accident six months ago. Adam had apparently been travelling too fast around a bend when he encountered a herd of cows.

Sam is a published author who hasn’t been able to concentrate on her writing since Adam’s death.

Her daughter, Helena with husband and small child live close, while her son Jack,  is studying at university.

After the death of her husband, Sam sunk into despair but is gradually pulling herself out of it. She learns of a school reunion and on prompting from her daughter she decides to go. Here she meets up with Dan and Penny – Penny was her best friend through school, that is until she had sex with Dan who just happened to be Sam’s boyfriend at the time.

On her return to Cornwall, she has a visit from Robert, her husband’s friend and accountant who tells her there is no money for left for her. Adam had made several foolish decisions and invested their money in plans that came to nothing but used up all their money.

When Dan and Penny come to visit they learn of her changed circumstances and Dan comes up with a solution – she can keep her lovely house and he will purchase 25% and they can run a writer’s retreat together.

Penny is against this idea fearing that Dan and Sam may get together again over this deal.

Eventually, Sam acknowledges her attraction to Dan, and against her children’s wishes, she agrees to marry him.

But all is not well in this beautiful part of the country. This fairy tale has a black side to it. The story unfolds with a suicide(?) and a near-fatal accident, both of which are linked to Dan.

The story is well planned and developed,  and totally believable. A recently widowed, fragile woman, a man determined to get his own way at any cost, a wife who is totally controlled by her husband, two adult children who are concerned for their mother and where does this gathering of people end?

Ms James has written a story of trust, broken trust, whom to trust and who not to trust. I encourage you to read this book.

Note: I was given a copy to read by the publishers, Bloodhound Books and I choose to write this review.

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Author Bio:
Amanda has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published, given that she left school with no real qualifications of note apart from an A* in how to be a nuisance in class. Nevertheless, she returned to education when her daughter was five and eventually became a history teacher. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when her first short story was published. Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published.
Amanda grew up in Sheffield but now has realised her lifelong dream of living in Cornwall and her writing is inspired every day by the dramatic coastline near her home. She has sketched out many stories in her head while walking the cliff paths. Four of her mystery/suspense novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel, Behind the Lie and Rip Current. The Cornish Retribution is also set in Cornwall and will be published by Bloodhound Books in October 2018.
Amanda, known to many as Mandy, spends far more time than is good for her on social media and has turned procrastination to a fine art. She can also usually be found playing on the beach with her family or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.
Links:
Twitter – @akjames61
Facebook mandy.james.33

 

 

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Open Grave

Another Blog Blitz and another author new to me – A. M. (Adam} Peacock.

OPENGRAVE

Detective Chief Inspector Jack Lambert is struggling not only with a vicious knife attack that seriously wounded him several months ago but also with coming to grips with his coming out as gay and how others are handling this. In particular, his ex-partner, pathologist Rosie Lynnes is hurt and cannot forgive him for his treatment of her. Added to these difficulties, he has an ongoing problem with a local journalist and his immediate superior appears to be going to pieces.

In his team, there is an ambitious detective inspector who is keen to get into Jack’s shoes. There is also his earlier relationship, before becoming a policeman, with a local crime boss; his father is dying, and he is scared he is losing contact with his daughter.

The scene is set in South Shields, about 3.7 miles south of Newcastle. Lambert is called to the site where two bodies lie in an open grave. With his team, they discover the names of the victims but can’t find a link between them. The problems increase when two more bodies are found in yet another open grave. Retired criminal psychologist Frank Pritchard is called in to help the team solve the murders.

Into all of this comes Nell Stevens a local media personality who is being stalked and a missing person reported by his pregnant partner, who was known to work with the local crime boss. There’s also talk of somebody trying to take over the boss’s patch.

So there’s plenty going on in South Shields.

The book is cleverly written and keeps the reader involved through to the very unexpected end. There are few clues as to who the murderer is, or in fact who the stalker is. The protagonist and his team are believable as are all the characters on the periphery.

I would certainly recommend this book to any mystery readers.

Note – I was given a copy of this book to read by the publishers, Bloodhound Books, and I choose to write this review.

 

Adam Peacock Headshot-15

Author bio

A.M. Peacock grew up in the North East of England before leaving to study for a degree in music technology at the University of Hull. A subsequent return to his hometown of South Shields saw him spend seven years as a teacher in a local college before changing careers to become a trade union official.

Having always been an avid reader, he took to writing after being encouraged to do so by his PGCE tutor. He has since gone on to produce a number of short stories, winning the Writers’ Forum Magazine competition on two occasions, as well as producing articles for both the local press and a university magazine.

A.M. Peacock is passionate about crime fiction and his debut novel, Open Grave, is the first in what he hopes will become a series of DCI Jack Lambert books.

Away from writing, A.M. Peacock enjoys watching films, playing guitar and can often be found pavement pounding in preparation for the odd half marathon.

Links:

Twitter –  @ampeacockwriter

www.ampeacock.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/ampeacockwriter/

B L O G B L I T Z (4)

 

Their Final Act

Final Act 2.1

 

Another Blog Blitz and this time the latest in Alex Walters’ DI McKay Series.

The body of an almost washed up comedian is found early one morning on the streets of Inverness. DI McKay and DS Ginny Horton are quickly sent to the scene. They learn that the comedian had been garroted. They also learn that he had been part of a double act in the 1990s and his partner had been sent to jail charged with rape.

Soon after another body is found on an abandoned industrial site, killed in the same way as the comedian. But what ties these two murders together? It transpires that this victim, a former musician turned record producer, had also been accused of rape. Is this the connection?

Meanwhile McKay and his boss, DCI Helena Grant are coping with the fallout from an earlier case – Candles and Roses. While that case has been closed unsuccessfully to their way of thinking, they have to concentrate on the case at hand.

Soon more bodies are discovered, having been killed in the same fashion; but apart from a link to show business, they are getting nowhere with finding who the murderer or murderers are.

Again from this author, there is another story running parallel to this and it is only very near the end that we see where the stories impact upon each other, and once again, we are shown what a good thriller and mystery writer Alex Walters is.

This is book No 3 in the Alec McKay series. Did you read my review of the earlier book Candles and Roses?  This is a continuation of where the earlier book left off and it answers some of the questions left hanging at the end of that book. Ths latest book is well written, the characters are all well rounded and believable and we feel for them. We even get an insight, small though it is, into McKay’s private life.

I recommend this book as a very good read.

Note – I was given a copy of this book to read by the publishers, Bloodhound Books, and I choose to write this review.

Blog Blitz:

B L O G B L I T Z (1)

 

Author Bio:

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Alex Walters is the author of Candles and RosesDeath Parts Us and Their Final Act, all featuring DI Alec McKay and set in and around the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. He has also written four books set in and around Manchester – Trust No-One and Nowhere to Hide featuring the undercover officer, Marie Donovan, and Late Checkout and Dark Corners, featuring DCI Kenny Murrain – and three crime novels set in modern-day Mongolia, The Shadow WalkerThe Adversary and The Outcast.
Alex has previously worked in the oil industry, broadcasting and banking and as a consultant working mainly in the criminal justice sector. He now runs the Solus Or Writing Retreat in the Black Isle with his wife, occasional sons and too many cats.

 

 

 

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

 

Three stories running parallel to each other but all the while, impinging one on the other – are they in fact only one story?

A school teacher is outed as a paedophile. How does one prove one’s innocence when everything points to one being guilty? A young underage girl names him as the father of her aborted child and things spiral down from there. He is arrested in front of staff and school pupils and allowed to leave only because the information the police have on him is incomplete.

His wife and children don’t believe his protestations of innocence and so he is on his own.

Meanwhile, DS Braddick and his team are called to a scene where a body is found washed up on the shore, having a distinctive mesh wrapping. This immediately brings to mind an unsolved triple murder case from seven years before. Is there a link?

And then there is a paedophile released after serving a four-year sentence, determined to get back on the people who outed him in a FaceBook group called Predator Hunters. The original six members of the group are murdered one by one.

Yes, an exciting book to read. All the characters are well-defined and the whole is totally believable, from a wrongly accused school teacher to a Detective Sergeant, his team and a retired Detective Inspector and of course the murderer.

This is a book well worth reading and I recommend it to you.

Note – I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley and I choose to make this recommendation.

Author Bio:

Conrad Jones is a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. He spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which he classes as his home. He worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working his way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

On March 20th 1993 he was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day he was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mindset of criminal gangs. He began to read anything crime related that he could get his hands on and links this experience with the desire to write books on the subject.

He signed a three-book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The Alec Ramsey series is now 7 books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. Conrad has also written The Soft Target series, which has received critical acclaim.

 

The Last Time

Yet another author new to me, Sharon Haste. I read that she is a Darwin based writer and this is her first novel although she has previously published short stories and a novella.

In the opening chapter, we briefly meet a young woman but are not given her name.

Then we are introduced to Charli Richter a 16-year-old who wakes chest deep in water and realises she is drowning. She then realises that her mother and baby brother are also drowning. She manages to save herself but is unable to save the other two.

Charli  is a girl who has led a charmed life having to consider nobody but herself and suddenly we are expected to believe that she can not only look after herself while dodging her father and the police, but also involve two young men from ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ to help her. In amongst it all there is a pendant that allows backward time travel where she can attempt to bring her mother and brother back to life, secrets about her father and his family, the background of the first young girl we meet and the relationship between her father and a well known model.

I found this story much too wordy and unbelievable and though  I persevered and read it to the end, I cannot recommend it to my readers.

A copy of the book was given to me by the author and I am sorry that my review has been so harsh.

 

 

A Banquet of Consequences

Banquet

In her own inimitable way, Ms George weaves a tale of jealousy, love, lust, suicide, murder and mayhem set around the most dysfunctional family ever.

We meet Lily and William happily, or not, cohabiting in London. William’s brother Charlie is happily, or not, married to India.

Caroline, their mother is married to Alastair, again happily or not.

Caroline is PA to Clare a well published feminist author.

William is a disturbed soul – and later we find out why – who commits suicide and the outward appearance of the level setting of this family is disturbed

When Clare is found dead, and a second autopsy determines it is murder, Havers and Nkata are sent to Cambridge to assist the local police in their enquiries.

The plot thickens when Clare’s editor and friend is discovered barely alive, suffering from the poison that killed Clare.

Meantime, we find that Alastair is having an affair with his long-time employee, Sharon.; India, having left Charlie, now has a new relationship with Nat; Caroline is getting more demanding and seemingly unhinged, and DCI Ardrey is watching Havers in the hope that she fails, thereby allowing her to transfer Havers from the Met to a force in the north.

Once again, Lynley plays only a minor but supporting role in this story, which is a shame. But we do learn more about his new relationship with Daidre.

This is a cleverly written story and the characters are well defined and although all have problems, and live lives different from most of us, they are believable.

The ending is a total surprise – well it was to me.  And then there is the twist in the tale that I certainly didn’t see coming.  Yes, in spite of the fact that Lynley does not play a very strong part in this book  I recommend it.

Its well written, well told and a book to keep you awake late at night wondering what else can happen to this group of people.