I purchased another ‘blind date with a book’ from an etsy store and this time it was from FosterLittleBookShop!
As I have said in a previous post I think it is a great way to purchase books as it allows you to reuse and gain a preloved book whilst discovering new authors and books at the same time (as well as supporting a small business!)
In this purchase you got a preloved book, beautifully wrapped, in a genre of your choice. With over 15 categories including adventure, fantasy, feel good and even childrens (10+) to choose from your sure to find something up your street. Or use it as an opportunity to expereince a new ne. I went for Crime (surprise surprise!) and for the price of only £1.50 (excluding shipping) it is great value for money!
It comes wrapped in some brown parcel paper with the genre stamped on the front with the business logo. I received the book Playing with Fire by Peter Robinson and this is a book I haven’t read which is great! I am excited to start reading it. Now with this book you can definitely tell it has been preloved but I don’t find this an issue especially with the price I paid compared to what it would cost newly printed.
Playing with Fire is an installment in Peter Robinsons Inspector Banks series. Although I haven’t read any of the other books in the series I am intrigued to see if this will make any difference with this book or if it is a book that is able to stand alone as well as within the series. From looking at the book and reading the blurb it seems to be a book that follows Inspector Banks as he is solving crimes, and this is a book that I think I will enjoy!
Overall, I would say that this purchase was great value for money and a great way to purchase a preloved book that you can enjoy!
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please feel free to like, comment and share x)
Forensics: The Anatomy of a Crime is a non-fiction book by Val McDermid which was released in 2014.
Personally, I don’t often read non-fiction however I was drawn to this as it delves into the world which many of Vals books are set in. I usually don’t go for non-fiction as if not done well (especially with topics like this one) it can start to seem like a textbook and I don’t find myself interested enough to want to carry on reading. This book is different however, the way it is written doesnt come accross as a textbook and doesn’s just state facts. It shares anecdotes and real life circumstances where the forensics have been used and evolved which gives the book more depth. I feel this is what allows the reader to become engaged and want to continue reading. The world of crime and investigation is something that Val McDermid primarily writes about so it is interesting to see the research that has been done for this over many years of being an author.
I found this book to be very educational, I have read many crime novels and seen how the forensics have been portrayed but this allows you to learn the science behind it all. It shares different aspects of forensics from DNA, entomology (study of insects) to the use of poison as a murder weapon. Not only does Val use this book to share the science behind these but also draws on real cases to share how they have been used in the past and how fornesic science has developed over the years.
The book doesn’t give any false conclusions and allows the reader to understand that although there may be scientific evidence linking this to crimes can often change an outcome. a lot depends on cicumstances and time and even with the forensics nothing is ever conclusive of guilt. It can be used alongside other evidence but rarely can it prove compete guilt.
I think that this was a good insight as often in books it can be seen as very black-and-white. The evidence is there so a conviction is made, in real life however it is often a different story and this book shares this.
I liked the way this book was structured with each ‘chapter’ discussing a different topic related to criminal forensics, including fire and bullet markings. This is something I liked as it allowed me to take the time to know that aspect before moving on. It provides a way to share many aspects without it becoming confusing and hard to read.
I would recommend this book as I thouroughly enjoyed it. If your a fan of forensics, crime novels and any of Val’s work this should definatly be added to your TBR list!
This weeks author Q&A features Douglas Lindsay, author of ‘Song of the Dead’ (the first in the DI Westphall series).
I reached out to Douglas Lindsay to see if he would possibly be able to answer a few of my questions, which he said yes to. Thank you very much for doing so Douglas Lindsay, much apprecieted! my questions and his answers are as follows;
1. What made you want to become a writer?
I’ve always been a daydreamer, a fantasist. I remember reading Walter Mitty in school, and thinking, isn’t everyone like this? Why is this even a character in a story? So, I’d always thought about writing, but I hit my twenties and got a job in an office. Time passed. Then I married a diplomat, we moved to French-speaking Africa, I didn’t speak French, I mentioned to Kathryn that I could become a writer, she foolishly agreed, and that was twenty-five years ago. Kathryn’s still a diplomat, still waiting for the pay-off of me being a writer. On the plus side, I just made butternut squash, chili and crème fraiche soup for lunch, which I wouldn’t have done if I was working in an office.
2. Did you have any specific inspiration to write ‘Song of the Dead’?
Not in terms of story. I decided to write a new, first-person detective series, so the main influence, or non-influence, was my other first-person detective series, DS Hutton. Hutton is an alcoholic, foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, opinionated, melancholic, PTSD-afflicted reprobate. I try to make him roguishly attractive, but I suspect plenty of readers just think he’s a bit of a dick. So, my basic starting point for Westphall was that he wasn’t Hutton. He doesn’t swear, he doesn’t sleep around, he’s calm, he’s reflective. He is melancholic, but all my leading characters are melancholic. The way the narrative develops then really stems from the character. Slow, measured, stopping to think on a regular basis.
The idea of the fellow turning up having been declared dead twelve years previously just came to me out of nowhere. Sounded intriguing, and that was all I had when I started writing the book, trusting myself to come up with a decent explanation along the way.
3. What did the process for writing this book look like? Did it involve much research?
Zero research. We’d just arrived in Estonia, where Kathryn was posted to the British embassy. I loved Tallinn. Straight off the bat, felt at home. We were there three years, and I’d move back in a shot if circumstances allowed.
I wanted to set the book there, but was aware that I really didn’t know the place. So, I used the narrative of an outsider arriving fresh in the country, and we see it through his eyes. It allowed me to be unfamiliar. It did get picked up and translated into Estonian, so hopefully I did a decent job in not offending anyone, or sounding naïve about the local culture.
4. This book has a lot of tough subjects (inc. loss, grief, suicide, crime), were these difficult to write about? And did you find it difficult balancing these within the book?
I find the melancholia really easy to access, very natural to write. There’s no reason for it. No childhood trauma, no PTSD. We all are the way we are, I guess, whatever that is. The story of Dorothy, which is really a small, sad, standalone tale detached from the main narrative, comes from me imagining what I’d do differently with my life if I was suddenly tossed back to university, and thinking through logically how bad that has the potential to be.
It’s interesting though that in the main narrative, there’s not a huge amount of grief, or sense of loss. We don’t really care about the victims, as we don’t particularly get to know them. That’s fairly common in my books. I like the detachment from real life, which is why the narrative is infused with the fantastical.
5. The book has two main settings, Scotland and Estonia, why did you choose to write with two setting and why these specifically?
Well, I’ve explained Estonia. It just felt like home. And the other place that feels like home is Scotland, of course. Since 1992, I’ve only lived there for two years, but the sense of place never leaves you. Those two years were spent living in Dingwall, and I have a lot of family up in that area, so I know it well. Not being a big reader of my fellows’ crime novels, I’ve no idea if there are any other detective series set in Ross-shire. I decided not to be bother checking. Just in case. The Highlands in general are such an extraordinary area to use in literature, and being based in Dingwall, does give scope to use such a huge swathe of the country. Again, no research, so I’ve no idea what area of the Highlands detectives out of Dingwall would cover. Maybe there aren’t even detectives in Dingwall…
6. This book is written in first person, was this a conscious decision?
It’s limiting, of course, in the sense of reporting the narrative of the story. You only ever know what the main detective knows. You can’t have things happening over there, somewhere else, where the detective isn’t. (Unless you cheat, and have third-person chapters, which in fact I do with DS Hutton, but decided not to do with Westphall.)
I do find first person very easy to write, however. Hutton, actually, is much easier than Westphall, because he’s so unfiltered. So, that was partly it, but it was also the issue I referred to previously. Setting the book somewhere with which I was so unfamiliar, if it had been written in the third person, I really would’ve had to get to know my town and the country a lot better. But I enjoyed the first person, stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect, so I didn’t feel like I was cheating in not researching. The narrative felt very natural.
7. I found DI Westphall really interesting, refreshing to have a character who isn’t perfect (eg fear of flying), did you find it importantthat he had flaws?
The flaws are the interesting bits. I also don’t see fear of flying as a flaw, by the way. It’s common sense! That was the downside of living in Estonia, the three-hour flight, which always seemed to last so much longer, back to the UK. I’d’ve driven every time if it had been practical.
The early Bond novels were a big influence on my writing. I remember always being more interested in Bond, his character and his flaws, than in whatever international espionage story he ended up involved in. I could’ve read three hundred pages of Bond being bored in London. And the man in those novels was so much more flawed that Connery or Moore ever were. I guess, now with Daniel Craig, they make him a little more human. But I remember a scene where Bond’s in the Caribbean, flying through a storm in a passenger plane, and he’s terrified, and I thought, that’s more like it.
8. Was ‘Song of the Dead’ always going to be part of a series?
That was always going to be publisher driven. Could I find one in the first place, and what would they like to do with it? I publish a lot of books myself through Amazon, but I wrote this one with intent of finding someone else to do it. It was initially picked up by Freight Books, and when they folded just before they were due to publish the second in the series, it was taken on by Mulholland/Hodder. They wanted three off the bat, but sadly it doesn’t look like they want any more. Unless something happens (in terms of sales or TV rights, neither of which seems likely at the moment), Westphall is probably done.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Get on with it. It’s very easy to get bogged down in detail, to find reasons why you end up not writing much, or to give in to not feeling it on any particular day. I always think you should try to write through the bad days, hope that something comes out of it. You can always rewrite, and if ultimately you have to bin something because it’s bad, then it’s no different from not writing it in the first place. Better to get something down. The story will always grow and develop in the writing.
When you’re done, always, always, always print the book off and read it out loud. And try to do it in a day or two. It doesn’t just help with dialogue, but it really helps spot repetition, general typos, and even plot holes.
Then repeat at least once more, if not a couple of times. It gets boring, but it really helps the final polish.
10. Would you like to share anything else about ‘Song of the Dead’?
I like it. That isn’t always the case. I’m not, for example, particularly fond of the second Westphall book, BOY IN THE WELL. It was unusually a struggle to write, and I never really lost the sense of it not working. If I ever see a good review for it, I think, wow, dodged a bullet there. On the other hand, the third book, THE ART OF DYING, is my favourite of my own crime novels. Think it works really well.
I took the title of Book 2 from the REM song, and for Book 3 from the George Harrison song. Neither book is in any way related to the songs. I have no idea where the title for Book 1 came from. Must just’ve appeared in my head one day.
I loved reading this so I hope you have too! Thanks again to Douglas for taking the time to answer them! I would highly recommend reading this book for yourself but if you want to see my thoughts on this book I have written a previous blog post on it (check it out here!)
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please feel free to like, comment and share x)
SLEEP NO MORE by P.D James is a collection of 6 murderous short stories with a foreword by Peter Kemp.
I picked this book up at a local bookstore/café, The Book Nook, which sells preloved books. As I looked through the shelves I stumbled upon this book, and after having read another collection of P.D James Short Stories (The Mistletoe Murder and other stories) I had to read it.
I loved every one of the stories in this book, all 6 featured mystery, twists and turns and although only short feature some great developed characters.
I really like the format of the book, I like having the 6 short stories so I can read a full story, start to finish, in one sitting with no need to wonder what is going to happen next. Saying that the books are full of twists and turns and keeps you engaged but no need to stop reading mid story.
I would highly recommend these books for someone who is wanting a quick read with the same suspense and mystery as a full novel. Perfect for the month of Halloween!
The Spider and The Fly by Claudia Row is a true story about a reporter and her unique connection with a convicted serial killer.
I stumbled across this book whilst browsing the shelves at a local book store when I was travelling in San Francisco. It caught my eye when looking originally because of its cover, which generally is the case when looking in a book store, which is simple yet intriguing. Once I had read the blurb I felt I had to buy it.
I tend to read the same genre, crime fiction (which I am going to venture from) and although this is a crime novel it is nonfiction. For that reason I decided to give it a go, well that and it sounded really good.
When i started reading I realised I had made a good choice. It shows Claudia Rowes experiences and connection to this serial killer whom she talks with for over 4 years. How it shows the darkness inside, what motivates people, how people connect and how a serial killer and a reporter can forge this unusual connection.
The story of Kendall Francois is an interesting one and seeing this reporter show a different side to it is something I enjoyed. Kendall Francois was convicted of killing 8 women in 1998, and stashing their bodies in the house he shared with his mother, father and sister.
Claudia had many questions about this crime and set out to find answers. She may have found more about herself than she was expecting.
I really enjoyed this book and reading how the connection grew, and changed throughout their correspondence. I think the book was written in an engaging manner and kept you wanting to read on and felt almost poetic. Chapters varied in sizes but were generally fairly short which is something I like as it excited me to read on. I thought it was well written and although it is a true story had the feel of a fictional book. I would say at times it felt a bit all over the place but it didn’t necessarily bother me. I mean it would have enhanced the experience a little if it was structured in a more ordered way.
The book isn’t really a book of suspense (which the title may suggest) but more about the writers journey throughout, understanding more about herself and others. Even though it it isn’t your typical “true crime” book, I almost enjoyed it a little bit more as it gave a different perspective. The perspective of how another’s actions can affect your own (although maybe to the extreme, not everyone has years long connection to a serial killer)
Just thought I would mention where I picked this book up. This book I got when I was in San Francisco and popped into Green Apple Books on the Park. This was a great little bookshop with both new and used books. This one I got was used, yet it was almost as good as new!
Overall, I would recommend this book! Especially if your interested in psychology. I wouldn’t go into this book expecting it to be centred on the crimes committed as it is more about the reporters connection to the serial killer and how that takes her on her own journey.
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(Ps feel free to like and comment, share your own opinion.)
Roadside Crosses is the second installment in the Kathryn Dance series by Jeffrey Deaver.
In a previous blog post I spoke about 2 books in the Lincoln Rhyme series which I won in a competition, that prize also included this book!
Kathryn Dance is a special agent at the California Bureau of Investigation and an expert in interrogation and kinesics.
After having read other books by Jeffrey Deaver I was excited to read this one. I like to read a series as I feel more engaged with the characters and their stories. As I was reading this book I felt that this could be a new series on my TBR list!
Roadside Crosses is a novel where roadside crosses are appearing in memorium to deaths that have not yet occurred. This in intelf intringued me to read this book!.
The roadside crosses and crimes all stem from a blog post on the ‘Chilton Report’ where Chilton questions road safety, the comments soon start to be directed at a young boy named travis who is blamed for a previous crash on the highway. After this leads to an attempted murder on someone who posted about Travis, the blame for that starts to shift to him himself. As Dance investigates this and hunts Travis down the books takes a dive into the online world and how that can be used in an investigation and how someone can confuse real life with the virtual one. This was an interesting angle which I enjoyed reading. It was a page turner and I wanted to continue to find out more about what happened.
Reading about Dance’s expertise in kinesics was really interesting and I felt gave another dimension to the character. She is able to interpret body language in a way that others wouldn’t realise and make deductions which aid the case. I liked the character of Dance, a special agent and mother who uses her expertise to solve the crimes shes faced with.
I felt that the book was full of surprised and twists which I like in a crime/thriller novel and I like this book so much I started to read the nexr book in the series. As you may take away from that, I would recommend this series but would recommend starting at #1!
The Truth Waits by Susanna Beard is a psychological thriller partially set in Lithuania that features many themes including trafficking, crime as well as love and family.
This is Susanna Beards second novel but the first I have read and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed. It is a novel full of suspense and twists which keep you compelled to keep reading. It begins with the main character finding a body on a beach and Lithuania and as she tries to find out what happened for the body to be there she uncovers secrets she didn’t expect to find. Although it is a psychological thriller there is also action and danger throughout. As we follow Anna with this journey we follow her life including her meeting Will, and she begins to fall in love. Through this area of the novel we explore the themes of love and family. We see how Anna life and mindset changes when Will comes into her life.
I really liked Anna as a character and thought she was realistic and likeable. She has her flaws and has made decisions that everyone won’t agree with but I think this helps for the readers to relate, nobody is perfect and its good to see that represented in a novel. We also see the aspects of being in a relationhsip where the woman is older is good to see as it is generally written about with the opposite.
The book has some heavy topics (such as trafficking, abortion etc) and I think that Susanna Beard tackled this really well! I would highly recommend this book.
I reached out to Susanna Beard and asked if I could ask her a few questions and she kindly said yes! (greatly appreciated, thank you!) So the following is those Questions and answers.
What made you want to become a writer, primarily of psychological thrillers?
I’ve wanted to write novels since I was a teenager – but didn’t have the confidence to go for it. In those days there were no creative writing courses, and writing (except for journalism, which didn’t appeal) wasn’t seen as a ‘proper’ job, sadly. I enjoyed writing throughout school and my English teacher gave me a love of reading and books — she was a great teacher and really inspired me.
When I started my first novel, Dare to Remember, I was just writing a story: I didn’t have any idea it would turn out to be a psychological thriller! When my publisher called it that, it was a surprise. At the time, the genre was very popular (and still is), so I decided it was going to be my focus.
2. Did you have any specific inspiration, or influence to write ‘The Truth Waits’?
Well it was around the time of the huge interest in thrillers, so after my first was published, I decided to start with a thriller-y premise – like the body on the beach!
I then added in some themes I was interested in, like the older woman with a younger man, the concept of people being thrown together – as they were when the Icelandic volcano erupted – and sex trafficking.
3. What research or process did you follow in order to write ‘The Truth Waits’?
Having decided to set the book partly in Lithuania, I looked online at images of the coastline, which looked perfect – great long, empty sandy beaches, dark skies, threatening waters. I also researched sex trafficking, mostly online, and talked to agencies like Victim Support to get a good picture of how sex trafficking works and what happens to the victims.
I met the Lithuanian Attaché in London to get further background on the country, its politics and history. I then spent four days visiting Klaipeda and the Kuronian Spit where the beach was, and travelled by train across the country to Vilnius. It was great to visit a completely different place and to learn about the geography, customs (and even the police!).
4. What made you write this book in the third person, rather than the first?
I suppose I felt more comfortable in third, though I have since written some characters in first. I think it depends on how close you want to be to the deeper thoughts and feelings of your character – though in ‘close’ third (where everything is written from the personal POV of your protagonist, including description), you get a similar feel to first.
5. Was it a conscious decision to make the main character a female, a strong, independent businesswoman at that?
It was indeed! There are parts of me in her – although she’s not me. I like strong female characters and would find it hard to write a woman who stayed weak and submissive throughout the story. I would have to make her change as events unfold and become strong.
As I’m writing mostly contemporary fiction, I aim to write my stories as a realistic picture of women’s lives, and I think today there are many, many women (in developed countries, at least) who are independent and successful, in multiple ways.
6. The book features some tough topics, i.e. sex trafficking, was it difficult to write about this?
Actually, no – although I understand why you’re asking this. I’m an avid watcher of dark films, drama and thrillers, including crime. The theme is covered fairly regularly, and sometimes in shocking detail, so I knew how it would be.
I also think sex trafficking needs more exposure – it’s a sophisticated, international activity run by gangs of career criminals. I looked particularly at Eastern Europe and Russia and found that Western Europe and the US are often the destinations for these girls. Once you start researching, you realise that it’s a terrible problem, all round the world.
7. Was there any reason you decided to set the book in multiple locations including Lithuania. I really enjoyed this international aspect but curious whether there was a specific reason?
I was looking for a beach as a setting – but it couldn’t be a holiday beach with sun and tourists; it had to be empty and unknown – for the dark, suspenseful aspect of the story. I started with the idea of Sicily (where my sister was stranded because of the volcanic ash incident) but soon realised it was too beautiful! So I looked on the map for a more northern location, largely unfamiliar to a British audience. The Baltic coast was perfect.
8. The book also features a forming relationship between two people, was there a reason it features a younger male and the themes of wanting a family and balancing this with careers?
Yes. I think there’s still prejudice about women with younger partners (the word ‘cougar’ used for them is evidence of this!), while men have always been looked on as ‘lucky’ for pairing with a younger woman. The theme of balancing family with career is one that will run and run, for women at least!
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors and writers? Yes – be patient, keep writing. The rewards are fantastic. If you can, give yourself confidence through training – there are so many brilliant courses out there.
10. Is there anything else about ‘The Truth Waits’ that you would like to share?
I dedicated the book to my dear friend Sharon, a talented and wonderful TV drama producer, who helped me sort out a plot that turned out to be a bit of an octopus! Sadly she passed away last year. I will always remember her generosity in helping me.
I think we can all agree these answers were fab, so many thanks again to Susanna Beard! I would highly recommend this book and hope you enjoy it the same as me!
A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci is the second book that features FBI agent Atlee Pine. This novel follows Agent Pine as she tried to find out what happened one fateful night when she was 6 years old and her twin sister Mercy was taken and Pine herself was left for dead. When she oversteps her mark on an arrest she is given a leave of absence which she uses as a perfect opportunity to try to figure out what actually happened all those years ago.
I picked this book up when I was browsing one day and it caught my eye immediately, I love investigative books and this one seemed to be one that I would like. Upon reading my initial thoughts were correct.
I feel that as soon as I began reading I was gripped on the story and wanted to find out what happened to Pine and her sister. In the beginning of the book we find out Pine is visiting a criminal in a Colorado maximum security prison who she beleives knows something about what happens and he plays mind games with her which proves to be frustrating to Pine. I thought this was an interesting way to begin. As Pine already believes she has found someone who knows something the book takes off from there and with Pine being given leave of absence brings an opportunity for us to follow her journey to the truth.
As she delves back into her past her memory of that night are hazy but she meets up with people who knew her parents and family or lived in the area at the time. She uncovers shocking surprises and secrets which makes her question her parents and her own past. What did she really know about her family?
As all of this goes on a string of murders begin to occur in her hometown which as an FBI agent she helps out with. It makes you as the reader think about whether the current crimes were connected to those of the past.
Atlee Pine is a strong female FBI Agent who I found was a character I wanted to stay with and was likeable. You want to help her find the truth and seeing the main lead of the book as a female FBI agent was great! as Pine reflects on her memories of the event that lead to her sister being taken you want to help her to find the truth. The book shows how she has never really gotten over what happened that night and not knowing what happened to her twin sister was affecting her. This book allows insight into why Pine is the agent she is today!
I found this book an easy read in the sense that the book made me want to turn the pages. I wanted to find out what happened on the next page and chapter! It was a thriller full of great twists and turns which proved to be a compulsive read. The first in the Atlee Pine books, Long Road to Mercy, is for sure on my to read list after reading this! (although I would say I didn’t find I was missing anything huge without reading in the correct order but I would recommend doing so!)
I found Baldacci writing to be engaging and easy to comprehend. With a book about discovering something that happened in the past it can sometimes become a confusing read with different timelines and tenses but this book never had that problem! I like that the chapters were not too big and allowed me to see progress clearly.
I would recommend this book for sure, especially to those who like a book with twists, turns, investigations and crime!
The Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffrey Deaver conisists of 16 novels, which were the basis for a TV series that was realeased in January 2020.
I am not going to lie and say I have read all 16 (but I will one day be able to say that). I have read two of the series that I was fortunate to have won in a competition. The two I have read, The Burning Wire and The Skin Collector, I loved and has made me add the other 14 books to my TBR list. (the list just got a whole lot longer:))
Lincoln Rhyme is a former NYPD homicide detective, forensic anaylist and crimanalist who after being injured during an investigation becomes a quadriplegic. He is now a forensic consultant who works from a state of the art lab in his own home. He works alongside Amelia Sachs who acts as his eyes as she walks through crime scenes and helps to solve the crimes they are faced with.
The Burning Wire was the fist one I read which also happened to be the 9th in the series. For this reason I was skeptical about how much I would understand or engage with the characters having missed out on the previous 8 books. I would say the main story of the killers whose weapon was electricity was one I found unique and made me want to read on but there was a sub-plot based around the Watchmaker, one of the few criminals to get away from Lincoln Rhyme which I felt a bit of background knowledge could have been useful. Saying that, I still enjoyed the book a lot and it didn’t really affect my reading enjoyment.
I found this book a page turner which is the best kind of book in my opinion. In this novel there is a killer whose unique weapon is electricity. I found this quite a different weapon of choice compared to others in different books which I liked and it felt new to me. Reading how something most of us take for granted can be turned into a weapon and seeing how Rhyme and his team tackled finding this killer was really engaging.
I have to admit I am not sure how much I loved the little bits of input about the watchmaker story line. I get that it is more of a bigger picture moment but I felt it kind of stunted the flow of the book. This could have just been due to the fact I hadn’t read previous books but I felt it took away a bit from the investigation ongoing.
I liked how we got to read this book from different points of view, I personally find this more engaging as we see differences within the characters and there perception of what is happening around them.
I was a fan on the character of Lincoln Rhyme and how even though he was a quadriplegic he is still one of the best in his field of work. How he utilises help from people and equipment was fascinating to read. I felt that this book showed some vulnerability in Lincoln which was nice to see that he wasn’t just a crime solving machine.
The second book was The Skin Collector, this is the 11th installment in the series.
This installment I also found to be a real page turner and I loved getting to read about Rhyme taking on another criminal. In this book the weapon of choice was poison, which was administered via an unvoluntary tattoo by the criminal. I also found this quite a unique way to poison someone and I hadn’t really read of that before which was intriguing. The killer leaves messages with these tattoos and we are able to read as Rhyme and his team try to find the killer and what these messages mean.
I was a fan of this book as well, and I think it gave more of an insight into Rhyme as a Character and more about how he works with his team to find out who is responsible for these crimes. This installment has links back to The Bone Collector which was the very first book in the series which I liked, even though I haven’t read the first one. I liked how even though it was the 11th in a series it is still connected to the book 10 books prior.
I felt this book gave more of an insight into Amelia Sachs as we see her connection with 19 year old Pam whom Sachs has taken under her wing. This relationship does make referals to previous books however I didn’t feel as though I couldn’t understand the relationship and I still enjoyed it!
There is also a TV series, Lincoln Rhyme Hunt for the Bone Collector, which was released in January 2020 which I haven’t watched yet but I do intend to! Comment below if you have seen it !
I feel that book books were skillfully told, with twist and turns to keep your pages turning with them. I would recommend to read these, especially to those who enjoy mystery, thriller crime books!
Hands Up’ by Stephen Clark is a crime/police procedural novel that deals with domestic storylines. It is a book that focuses on the death of a young, unarmed black male who was killed by a white police officer. When I was sent this book by the author to read and share my opinion I was very happy as this sounded like the very type of book I would like to read. All of these opinions are my own!
This is a serious topic that many people can feel effected by. This book is emotive, powerful and gripping. From the moment I was sent it I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know more and find out the conclusions to the storylines.
I found the writing itself engaging as it used language that matched the story and it was not filled with complex words. Occasionally authors will use big complex words to seem more professor but it effects the impact of Thier sorry if you have to read the same thing multiple times to be able to understand it. I did not have that issue with this book and I was able to engage and be fully present with the story.
I liked the fact it dealt with a thought provoking issue and didn’t shy away from the realities. It is not only about unlawful brutality by police but faces issues such as racial divide, police corruption, self harm, drug use and gang culture. Due to this the book can be intense but that isn’t a negative, these are serious topics that need to have a platform and if that is in a fictional book then so be it. I felt it was authentic and could be a real event.
It sharesa story, although fictional, that is similar to those we have all heard of on the news. It was structured in a way that we heard from three main viewpoints throughout the event, the aftermath and the conclusion. We hear from Jade (the sister of the young male (Tyrell) killed), Ryan (the cop who killed him) and Kelly (the parent of Tyrell and jade who has come back after leaving his family years ago).
I liked this as you saw the views from very different views which helped to build reasoning to your own thoughts as you read. It was also nice to hear from Ryan’s pint of view and not just the victim family as it shows that he didn’t just kill. There was a reason and influence by others and we also get the chance to see how he is coping with the events and that it didn’t just happen and that’s that.
The main characters whose viewpoints we hear are strong characters. They all provide different aspects of the event and I really like the way in which Clark has written this book. I think the characters are well developed and realistic. Jade I liked. She was a sister hurt by her brothers death and I felt that anger and upset through Clarks words. Although not necessarily to me I feel that she could be relatable to a large amount of people. She dealt with huge loss. I feel like saying that Ryan is likeable is wrong as he is the culprit in this book, but I did think he was. He was a man that, yes commited a horrible crime that cannot be condoned, was influenced by his corrupt partner and from the outset knew and took responsibilities for his accent. Kelly is a character is did not particularly like. I however do not think this is a bad thing. You need to have character you don’t connect with to add the tension to the book. He had previously left his family after being involved in gangs and when he comes back he claimed he had changed but had he really?. The other characters in the book are all vital parts who we get to meet through these three and although their views are not used as a voice for the story they are just as important to convey the realistic and thought provoking aspect of the book.
One thing I would say is that I’m not sure how I felt about the way thing went in part two between certain characters (you will know once you read it). I mean it’s not a negative thing and maybe it’s just because I wasn’t expecting it but still I felt it lessened the impact of the story just a little. There are other benefits to it however with it bringing the two ”sides” together but I still not 100% how I felt. I’m not sure if it was a real connection or if it was all part of a scheme and that could be completely what the author intended for the reader to feel. So they can make thier own mind up.
Overall ,I would rate this book highly and would recommend that you read this! Even if you don’t like police procedural books this is one that isn’t solely about that. I don’t think you can easily categorise this and there is almost something for everyone!
Again thanks again to Stephen Clark for sending me the book for this honest review. Again everything in this review is my honest opinion.