Review of With Deadly Intent by K.A. Richardson – 4 Stars

I was very lucky to discover this author at a local writers talk at

KA Richardson - Book Signing

Image of K.A. Richardson with her debut novel and novella.

my library. Her passionate for her story-telling came across immediately. Not to mention the fact that she has actually worked in the local crime units described in the book, so her credentials for crime drama are superb. I knew immediately that I had to read her novels and I was not disappointed.

 

This story follows three characters:

  • Cass a crime scene manager for the North East police force, who along with some awful murders has her own personal traumas to deal with. Shutting herself off from the world and creating her own isolation comes with some very big risks.
  • Alex, DCI on the murder investigation. Alex grows increasingly frustrated with the case and lack of sufficient evidence linking the victims. Alex also finds a conflict of emotions when he discovers he has feelings for the slightly odd, very private Cass.
  • The Killer. The author allows brief looks into the killer’s world and his patient observational hunt, prior to the murders.

I enjoyed the authors writing style in this novel, especially the dialogue it is very well written and doesn’t rely on heavy accents as some stories do to represent regional areas.

My only slight (and it is slight) complaint was the introduction of Alex’s brother, it felt unnecessary to introduce the character at a late stage, it was maybe to get out of the tricky situation or to introduce him for any future novels but for me it didn’t quite sit right for some reason. That being said it didn’t detract too much from the rest of the story which is very fluid and very enjoyable.

Readers of any crime novel will really enjoy these books. The use of a crime scene manager gives this novel a really unique perspective, which makes it stand out in the genre. The closest in author style that I have read is Karin Slaughters Grant County series (medical examiner with a police officer) but it’s quite nice to come across something different written like that (with a slant on the police team).4 stars

Summary – A very enjoyable read, and a fresh take in the crime genre. I am looking forward to reading more from this exciting new author.

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One Day

The babysitter was asleep on the sofa, mouth hanging bikers-in-city-image-by-sunayaopen, a slight dribble making a break down her chin. I crept quietly behind it then made my dash for the window, dropping to the floor then hid my tiny form behind the curtains. I stole a glance back to the sitter, she hadn’t moved. Taking it as a sign I raised myself a little higher until I could see out. My eyes soaked in all the flurry and excitement on the streets below, shimmering streetlight displays, late-night food sellers, market stall holders even a gang of bikers had joined in what seemed to be the after-dark party of my neighbourhood. How I longed to be part of the commotion. One day, when I am just a little bit bigger, no-one will be telling me bedtime.


Short fiction piece of 136 words for FFfAW challenge – This week’s photo prompt is provided by Sunayana with MoiPensieve. Thank you Su!

Click on the frog to see more flash fiction inspired by this image 🙂

 

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Flames – #Writephoto

She swallowed the concoction, trying not to wretch as it burned its way down her throat. It was the only way, the way to see what had come before and what would come next, her spirit journey her grandmother had called it. Sure it had settled within her she closed her eyes sending a silent prayer to her grandmother, flame-image-by-sue-vincentthen opened them and gazed into the burning flame. The dancing embers relaxed and calmed her and soon her mind emptied of all thoughts just focussed on the glowing gambolling flickers of light. Soon they merged as one and a face reflected in the flames, at first she didn’t recognise it but soon she realised it was her own aged features that were looking back at her as the realisation hit her the journey took over.

***********************************************************************

Flinching at the light she blinked wildly. Where was she? The harsh white room didn’t look like anywhere she had been and the smell was so invasive. It was a hospital, a modern hospital. But why? Her people did not attend hospitals, they had no need, they had years of medical knowledge that had been lost or ignored by so many of today’s world.

“Hello?” she shouted but no-one answered. She looked at the machines but they made no sense. Giving up she tugged on the thing that was linked into her arm. It hurt but she thought she would get it loose, she gave another sharp tug and it came out. She rifled through the drawers in her cabinet and came across her clothes and a head scarf, that would do. She quickly got changed then wrapped her headscarf around her arm where the hospital thing had been.

Slowly she emerged from the room and out into the corridors. Everything seemed so quiet. Walking to the closest doorway she peered inside. Gasping at the sight, it was Merriam, the group elder, everything bandaged except her face. She tried to open the door but it wouldn’t move. She moved on slowly, guilt already consuming her at the thought of leaving Merriam behind. At the next door, she could see four beds in the room, two people were turned away from her but the two people closest she could see clearly, Abel and John. Again they were both fully bandaged but their faces were exposed, their bodies asleep. She tried the door but again it wouldn’t open. She turned to move down the corridor again but as she looked down her feet were bare, the clothes she had put on had vanished and she found herself once again in the hospital gown. She tried to move forward but her feet rebelled and she found herself returning back to her room and climbing into the bed. As she glanced once more at her scarf covered arm it had vanished and the thing had reappeared back in her arm. Despite her will to stay awake, her body refused and down her eyelids closed.

***********************************************************************

When she awoke the flames had died down and the cold that surrounded her bit into her skin. Ignoring it she pulled a blanket and rose to her feet. She had to go warn Merriam of what she had seen. Something bad was about to happen to her people, she knew it and she had to stop it. She prayed Merriam would listen.


I love this image, so intriguing. If you want to give it a go too, head over to Sue’s Page Thursday Photo Prompt – Flames #writephoto and join in the prompt.KL ❤

5 stars

Review of Servants by Lucy Lethbridge

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth-Century to Modern TimesServants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth-Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is made up from a wide range of sources showing the history of servants and those that have spent life in service. The book includes not only those in service and their memories but also their employers. The book also includes various size households showing a vast array of living throughout the classes and ages.
One of the things I liked most about this book was the author’s writing style, incredibly interesting, informative but not patronising. All the source data provided was very clear but did not read like a PhD textbook!
This thing about this book is, it is really thought-provoking. You start to think that these roles in so many cases are still taken for granted: – cooking, cleaning, childcare, gardening, caretaking, nursing etc. Yet they are so critical. Obviously, there are some things in place now to help these roles (couldn’t live without my Dyson!). The book also does give you an appreciation for society and how it has evolved in the past 100 years or so.
Overall this is a very insightful and informative book and I would recommend to anyone that has an interest in social classes, Victorian history or even just a big Downton Abbey fan .

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Review of Miss peregrines home for peculiar children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Miss peregrines home for peculiar children is based on a young boy called Jacob and the stories he was told by his grandfather. When his grandfather passes away in unusual circumstances Jacob begins to question the events his grandfather he was told about. When a psychologist suggests that Jacob goes to the remote Scottish Island that his grandfather based the stories on Jacob knows he has to go and find out the truth.
This book will really appeal to fans of Harry Potter and X-men stories. Something that is a little different but told from the viewpoint of someone that seems to be normal, finding out the truth about himself. Yet it is darker than either of those tales, almost in the genre of horror.
Ransom Riggs has quite a quirky writing style and I really enjoyed it. The use of the images throughout the book was so sinister and intriguing. It was a really refreshing approach to story-telling, which I really enjoyed.
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My 2016 in Books

Despite my writing dwindling down last year (mostly due to coursework taking over) I am proud that I still managed to read quite a lot throughout the year! I also managed to visit quite a few little independent bookshops which I always love – you never know what treasures you might find!

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Book Review of The Ritual by Adam Nevill – 4 Stars

The RitualThe Ritual by Adam Nevill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An atmospheric book about four old university friends who begrudgingly take a trip together to go hiking and camping in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. The story is told from the viewpoint of Luke, who is looking forward to a trip with his old friend Hutch. Frustratingly Hutch invites two additional friends from the group Phil and Dom onto the trip. Immediately tensions have risen as Luke begins to analyse the friendships and the differences in each of their lives soon coming to the realisation they have little left in common. Eager to get the trip over and with the poor fitness level of Phil and Dom hindering progress, the group soon decide a shortcut is the best solution. Quickly the men are lost, isolated and terrified as the forest begins to unveil its strange secrets to the group.
This novel is very intriguing from the first page, and the old folklore of the forests is quite addictive. Nevill really ramps up the tension throughout and the forest atmosphere and “abandoned” building as a backdrop really help add to this. I did enjoy some of the challenges the group came across more than others but I did enjoy the overall story that was woven together. I think this book has such vivid story-telling it really could be a movie or even a TV series (although a heads up there is an odd gory scene but I do think it adds to the story unlike some other horrors).
Characterisation for me was the foundation of this novel. From the off the main character is a bit selfish, a bit irritating and quite ‘unfriendly’ despite being on holiday with friends. Yet you still feel sympathy for him, and his frustrations and of course his fear. You also sympathise for Hutch, playing peacekeeper of the group. You want the group to get out of the forest safe, yet you also want to find out what is after them.
A really great read that is certainly full of intrigue, horror and the unexpected. As other reviewers have said the first half of the book is so much stronger and scarier than the second, but I wouldn’t let this put you off as the second half of the story is still very good, it’s just that the first half is superb.
Very creepy book, along the lines of something James Herbert would write for those that enjoy his work.
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