Newest Thrillers Reviews

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The Legacy: Children's House Book 1 by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Victoria Cribb (translator)

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What do you wish for in your murder mysteries? An inventive death? Well you couldn't go much further than the unusual murder by household device that Elisa suffers here. She's a mother to a young family, whose husband was abroad at a conference. Do you seek awkward, unusual and/or conflicted investigators? Well, here we have a detective from the lower ranks, but the only one clean enough after post-financial crash investigations tainted all his superiors; and a woman who runs a home that investigates and recuperates child victims of sex abuse. She's here because the only witness to the murder was Elisa's very young daughter. And lo and behold, the two adults have history. Do you require taunting clues as to why this crime will be repeated? You can't do much better than the messages in numerals received by other characters and their untold threat. So it's tick, tick, tick – but what of the question marks left by the prologue, where another young family of children was separated as a best case scenario by the adoption agencies after a different nasty event in the past? Full review...

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

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Christmas is barely over but Amber doesn't have much to celebrate. She's in a coma, trapped with an active mind but an inactive body, able to hear and understand but not respond to what is going on around her. And her mind's a little fuzzy on a few things too, like how she ended up there, who else was involved, and what it all means. Full review...

Follow Me Down by Sherri Smith

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Mia is done with the small town she grew up in, but it only takes one phone call to bring her back. Her twin brother Lucas is missing and, worse still, has been implicated in the death of one of his students. Without him there to speak for himself it becomes her job to defend his reputation while trying to get to the bottom of everything that has gone on. Full review...

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

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Herr Neuroff's circus has a secret: as well as a much needed wartime source of entertainment, it's also refuge to Jews escaping uncertain concentration camp fates. One such person, Astrid, a trapeze and high wire artist, lives a precarious life in which her possible discovery would be more dangerous than her nightly act. She's an expert who has perfected her art over time and therefore resents Neuroff demanding she teach Noa, a non-circus family new comer, quickly. There's a reason behind the circus owner's demand though. Noa arrives at the circus endangered by an act of kindness: a Jewish baby she stole from a Nazi train before leaving the Netherlands. It was a spur of the moment decision that will bind her to Astrid and their future, no matter how long… or short… a time that may be. Full review...

The Blade Artist by Irvine Welsh

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So. In the interest of honest disclosure I should tell you that I love Irvine Welsh's work and I must confess to a particularly gruesome fancy for Begbie, the notoriously violent, terrifying protector/tormentor of the Trainspotting gang. Whilst this means you are unlikely to receive an unbiased review, it does mean you will get a passionate one. It is fair to say that I loved The Blade Artist and my only critique would be that it was over too quickly. For those of you who may not be familiar with Welsh's earlier manifestations have no fear, you can pick up The Blade Artist and be transfixed by Jim Francis, artist, father, husband and elegant thug. For those of you with previous knowledge of Francis Begbie you'll be instantly drawn back into the world of a man previously defined by petty vengeance, violence and blood. Full review...

The Pictures by Guy Bolton

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It's the spring of 1939: in Hollywood The Wizard of Oz is in production at MGM and it's important that nothing interrupts shooting or causes bad publicity for the actors or the studio. The police department recognises that it's good for Hollywood that all goes smoothly and it's Detective Jonathan Crane's job to see that the crimes and misdemeanours of the stars are swept under the proverbial carpet. The studio rewards him handsomely for this and there's perhaps a little bit of antagonism within LAPD that Craine's got it easy and wouldn't know how to investigate a case if it came up and slapped him, but in Craine's mind all that's going to change. Full review...

The Acid Test by Elmer Mendoza

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Mayra Cabral de Melo is dead. Murdered in cold blood in a desolate, dusty field by the side of the road. Once the most adored, celebrated dancer at the local strip club, she had a collection of rich and powerful admirers but who amongst them was deluded and dangerous enough to kill her? And what connects her to the deaths of various associates, arms dealers and Narco kingpins? Lefty Mendieta returns in The Acid Test, following on from Mendoza's first novel Silver Bullets. I haven't read the first instalment of this series and don't believe that had any impact on this story. Lefty has a personal connection to the case, forever haunted by the memories of his brief but life changing night with Mayra and uses his connections to the powerful criminal underworld, his tense relationship with American agents and his consuming desire to avenge her death to track down this violent and deranged killer. Along the way we learn about the growing tensions between Narcos which erupt in explosive levels of violence, meet a host of damaged, humorous and violent residents of Culiacán and follow Lefty on a trail of destruction, death and disorder. Full review...

Condition: Book Two - The Curing Begins... by Alec Birri

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Discovering an infamous Nazi doctor conducted abortions in Argentina after the Second World War may not come as a surprise, but why was the twisted eugenicist not only allowed to continue his evil experiments but encouraged to do so? And what has that got to do with a respected neurologist in 2027? Surely the invention of a cure for nearly all the world's ailments can't possibly have its roots buried in the horrors of Auschwitz? The unacceptable is about to become the disturbingly bizarre. What has the treatment's 'correction' of paedophiles got to do with the President of the United States, the Pope and even the UK's Green Party? Full review...

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G Thompson

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Six years ago, cousins Amy and Dee were abducted. They were never recovered and no trace of them was ever found - that is until Amy suddenly returns home, alone and unable to tell anyone where Dee is or what happened to her. Amy's unexpected homecoming gives hope to her family, but she's a different person after spending most of her teen years in captivity, and she's not sure if she can ever fully go back to her old life. Amy is someone she left behind when she was 10 years old and in the years of her absence, she became Chelsea and Dee became Stacie. But why has she come back now? Who took them in the first place? And where is Dee Full review...

The Breakdown by B A Paris

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Sometimes the way we think we will behave when something happens is not the way we do behave when that same thing happens. Cass never thought she would be the sort of person to leave someone stranded – not least a lone female in a dark wood, late at night – but when she passes a stranded car on her way home she doesn't stop, get out, and go to offer help. She hurries on home, forgets about it, and crawls into bed. Full review...

The Milan Briefcase by Graham Fulbright

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It began with a briefcase, a rather elegant briefcase to be sure, but it had been left in the back of a taxi. When you're the next customer in the cab, what do you do in that situation? The driver isn't part of a group, so there's not going to be a lost-property office and you have a suspicion that if you pass the briefcase over it's not going to be passed on anywhere else. So the red briefcase was taken on a flight to Luritania where it was looked at by various members of the Lenfindi Club. And who were they? Well, they started as as a quartet - three men and a women - who gathered each Sunday morning at Lenfindi Airport to discuss matters of great (or lesser) import. Originally they were called The Sunday Club, but changed the name when they gathered a fifth member (it was easier to make decisions when there were five rather than four) and then a sixth... Full review...

Condition: Book One - A Medical Miracle? by Alec Birri

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It's 1966, but RAF Pilot Dan Stewart isn't celebrating England's win in the World Cup – instead he's awakening from a coma following an aircraft accident. Waking in a world where nothing makes sense, he's unable to recall the crash – but struggles to remember the rest of his life…And what's stopping him from taking his medication? Is it brain damage causing paranoia about the red pill, or is he right to think there's something more sinister going on…And, having suffered almost 100% burns, how is he alive? Are his hallucinations trying to tell him something? Full review...

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

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After a brutal attack, you might be forgiven for thinking losing her memory is the best outcome for Jenny. Without being able to recall the facts from the night in question, she can't dwell too much on her attack and her attacker. But what if she wants to? What if she needs to work through her emotions so she can move past things? What if she is still obsessing, day in and day out, about what did or didn't happen to her, imagining all sorts of scenarios and hating herself for not knowing the truth? Full review...

Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard

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Lisa Fulbrook's best friend is dead – the victim of a brutal attack who fell to her death from her own apartment window. Lisa was there, she too was a victim of the attack that killed her best friend, and she is left with the physical and emotional scars to prove it. Traumatised by the events, Lisa flees to a country village to help settle her frightened mind. But what happened that night still torments her; she is plagued by vicious flashbacks and questions surrounding why she and her best friend Ali were targeted, because the one thing Lisa does know is that she can't remember what really happened that fateful night. How did their assailant know them? Was it planned? More importantly, why were they attacked? Full review...

The Napoleon Complex by E M Davey

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Journalist Jake Wolsey's brush with the Book of Fate and that fatal Etruscan lightening isn't over. Historical quotes, intrigue and a call for help from former lover and MI6 operative Jenny start a whole new search for the source of power and destruction. This time it's linked to Napoleon Bonaparte and the odd inclusion of an Etruscan scroll in his portrait. If the scroll is what Jake and Jenny think it is, where has it gone? Our heroes aren't the only curious people and, while their search takes them across the world, it's as much about fatality avoidance as it is treasure hunting. Who will get the answer first and at what cost to themselves… and civilisation? Full review...

Kill the Next One by Federico Axat

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After getting started with the opening chapters of Spanish writer, Federico Axat's Kill the Next One, you might be forgiven for thinking you are stuck with one of those machismo riddled tales where a middle-aged man with a mysterious past is forced to shoot or blunder his way through a by-the-numbers thriller. The spectre of Lee Child's successful Jack Reacher series creeping in around the edges of the page. The novel opens with Ted McKay and his Browning pointed to his temple. He has the perfect life, including a beautiful wife and two adoring children, but has discovered that he is also in possession of an untreatable tumour buried deep within his brain which is slowly killing him. However, right before he decides to take the shot and end his life, there is a knock on his door. Standing behind it is a man named Justin Lynch who tells Ted that he represents an all-knowing organisation that turns would-be suicides into opportunities to correct the imbalances of the law. Ted, instead of killing himself, could kill someone who really deserves it. Full review...

Evil Games (D I Kim Stone) by Angela Marsons

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When Ruth saw the man who had raped her coming out of a local pub she was traumatised. He'd served his time (albeit it was rather short) and now he was free - and she was frightened. The rapist was murdered and DI Kim Stone and her team were called upon to solve the killing - and quickly. There was a little bit of a feeling that the man had got what was coming to him and didn't deserve a lot of sympathy, but professionalism won the day. Then more revenge killings came to light and it was obvious to Stone that there was something sinister behind what was happening. Full review...

The One by John Marrs

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Everyone needs someone to love and to love them. But how great would it be if that someone was actually The One, tried, tested, scientifically guaranteed? Full review...

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

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We've all encountered pushy mothers - the ones who seem determined not to let their children have a moment's peace between all the extra-curricular activities which they have arranged for them. Karen Bloom is in a different class though. Her son, Ewan, was something of a disappointment, but she's not going to allow that to happen to her daughter, the talented Bronte. There's not a moment to spare between the music lessons, dance classes and extra school work - sometimes they have to eat on the hoof from one lesson to another. The rest of the family can see the cost to Bronte and to the family as a whole, but Karen will not listen, will not change her ways. Then one day Bronte disappears. Full review...

You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

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A woman known only as A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate, B, and boyfriend, C, who wants her to join him on a reality dating show. A eats mostly popsicles and oranges, watches endless amounts of television, often just for the commercials — particularly the recurring cartoon escapades of Kandy Kat, the mascot for an entirely chemical dessert — and models herself on an impossible standard of beauty. She fixates on the fifteen minutes of fame a local celebrity named Michael has earned after buying up a Wally's Supermarket's entire, and increasingly ample, supply of veal. Meanwhile, B is attempting to make herself a twin of A, who in turn hungers for something to give meaning to her life, something aside from C's pornography addiction. Maybe something like what's gotten into her neighbors across the street, the family who's begun ghosting themselves beneath white sheets with holes cut for eyes… Full review...

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

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It's Ireland, it's the 1980s, and a young woman is dead. Whether or not she deserved to die is up for debate, but Lydia, our first narrator, certainly thinks she had it coming. By the end of the book, Annie will not be the only person in whom life is extinguished, and for all the characters life will be irrevocably changed. Full review...

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

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The Chemist is on the run. She's a former government employee who knows lots of classified information and this makes her a dangerous liability. But after 3 years on the run, a surprise offer lures the Chemist back home, could this be her salvation or put her in even more danger than before? Full review...

Under A Watchful Eye by Adam Nevill

4.5star.jpg Horror

Seb Logan is being watched. He just doesn't know who by. When a dark figure appears and shatters Seb's idyllic life, he soon realizes that the murky past he thought he'd left behind has far from forgotten him. What's more unsettling is the strange atmosphere that engulfs him at every sighting, plunging his mind into a terrifying paranoia. To be a victim without knowing the tormentor. To be despised without knowing the offence caused. To be seen by what nobody else can see. These are the thoughts that plague his every waking moment. And once his investigation leads him to stray across the line and into mortal danger, he risks becoming another fatality in a long line of victims. Full review...

Extreme Prey by John Sandford

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Making a long running series evolve organically is a very tricky business; a character that has been around for 26 books, and nearly as many years, is not going to be the same person that started out. Age catches up with us all and many crime writer have come up against the problem of retirement; not their own, but that of their character. Why is a 70 year old still out chasing criminals and shooting things? Lucas Davenport is a character who has always been a maverick, doing what he wants, therefore quitting the police was never going to stop him. Full review...

The Ad Man by Timothy Dickinson

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Tim Collinwood is single and so, working in Morocco as an advertising creative, he's free to enjoy all his host country has to offer: the expense accounts, the opulence and the women. Then it happens. He gets the contract of his life. He just needs to create a PR campaign that will reassure Morocco that French business has her best interests at heart. The truth may be otherwise but creating the façade is what advertising is about. Perhaps Tim should have noticed that there are clues from the beginning as to how shady this job is, including needing to work under an assumed identity. However, the secrecy becomes a side issue as something more important takes Tim's concentration: survival for him and those around him. Full review...

Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

When Sally wakes up in a taxi in the middle of the night, miles from home, dazed, confused and dressed only in her nightie, she is terrified. And so are her friends and family. After the emergency services conclude she's not an immediate danger to herself (despite being found stumbling precariously close to a cliff edge) she's shipped off home where her husband, parents and mother in law rally round to help her care for herself and their two young children. Sally has a battle on her hands, though, as everyone is walking on eggshells, determined not to upset her and yet also unable or unwilling to believe her version of events that night. Full review...

Blood Lines (D I Kim Stone) by Angela Marsons

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Initially it looked like a robbery gone wrong, or possibly a carjack, only the car was still there and so was the expensive watch and the jewellry. Her wallet hadn't been taken either, but she'd been killed by a single, precise stab to the heart. There was no sign of anger: in fact there seemed to be a complete lack emotion and there was nothing to suggest that the victim had attracted the violence - she was a caring mother and dedicated social worker. D I Kim Stone wasn't alone in thinking that something didn't add up. Then a local drug addict was found with an identical wound. There's nothing to link the two cases other than the wounds and Stone's instincts. Full review...