Uncommon Cruelty By Liz Mistry

The stunning fourth addition to the McGuire crime novel series. 

 

  DI Gus McGuire and his team are called in to investigate the disappearance of a teenage boy after his parents return from a weekend away, to find their home trashed and their son missing.    But that is just the beginning.       As the investigation unfolds, Gus must discover what links a violent bikers’ gang, a Muslim youth group and a fundamentalist American based Christian church.     Alongside this, two cases from the past come back to haunt DI Gus McGuire and his DS, Alice Cooper.    Gus has a lot to juggle, but will he cope?     Uncommon Cruelty    is the fourth in the DI Gus McGuire series set in Bradford West Yorkshire and is a gritty, Northern Noir read.

DI Gus McGuire and his team are called in to investigate the disappearance of a teenage boy after his parents return from a weekend away, to find their home trashed and their son missing.

But that is just the beginning.   

As the investigation unfolds, Gus must discover what links a violent bikers’ gang, a Muslim youth group and a fundamentalist American based Christian church. 

Alongside this, two cases from the past come back to haunt DI Gus McGuire and his DS, Alice Cooper.

Gus has a lot to juggle, but will he cope?

Uncommon Cruelty is the fourth in the DI Gus McGuire series set in Bradford West Yorkshire and is a gritty, Northern Noir read.

My Thoughts

From the first page to the last word Liz Mistry does not disappoint.

Gus is one of my favoured characters, and more so now. Uncommon Cruelty is the 4th book in the series. Highly recommend you read them in order, or go back and read after this one. They are too fantastic not to!
Having thoroughly enjoyed and devoured the previous three I was anticipating this great read.

Uncommon cruelty has exceeded the previous three books! I didn’t think Liz could as they are high calibre books, but wow she really did.

The depth of the story is sublime and the undercurrent theme was intense, dark and the plot lines were extremely well planned and brought to life on the pages.
This for me is my firm favourite.

Maybe already knowing Gus and his team helps, or the slight shift in character focus on Alice, was why, but I am not questioning it too deeply.


Liz has brought an intense crime thriller series to a new level and I for one thoroughly enjoyed her devious mind being displayed within this book!

Looking forward to book 5! Especially with the teaser at the end of book 4.

Want an in-depth police series focusing on human nature, you have it here in spades! 

She is contactable on:

Facebook: @LizMistrybooks

Email: LizMistryAuthor@yahoo.com

Twitter: @LizCrimeWarp

Blog: https://thecrimewarp.blogspot.co.uk/

Website: https://lizmistrycrimewriter.wordpress.com/

 

 

The Chalk Man By C.J. Tudor

 It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran - the Chalk Man.  He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.  Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.  Is history going to repeat itself?  Was it ever really over?  Will this game only end in the same way?

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran - the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?

I have to thank my friend Timi for buying me a copy of The Chalk Man for my birthday, and then attending First Monday in London to get the book signed. 

I read the first few chapters on the way to the event, and was hooked straight in. 

I haven't read much of Stephen King, however I used to watch his films as a child and this book has reminiscing of his work, the author admits she is a big fan of his. 

Did this put me off the read? No, I found the era, setting, and characters drew me in. 

It is an extremely well written debut novel, it had elements of creepiness that kept me turning the page and I wanted to unravel the truth. 
The book is written in chapters that are headed 1986 and 2016, these are easy to keep track of the timelines. You know where you are. The main character narrating the story has his own agenda to weirdness and although I didn't warm to him, he sure made the story telling develop in a chilling way. 

The Chalk Man has much hype around it, and I usually wait for the hype to ease off before reading. This time I didn't. I did enjoy the book and have already recommended it to friends, but it isn't quite a 5 star read for me. C.J. Tudor is an author that I will be having on my radar and reading her next book if the blurb draws me in. 

I Did It For Us By Alison Bruce

Alison's new stand alone thriller. 

  "From the first time I saw them together I knew it felt wrong. I didn't like the way he touched her or the self-conscious way he played with Molly and Luke. Joanne saw none of it of course. So I did it to prove to her that she was wrong. I did it for us."   Emily's instincts tell her that best friend Joanne's new boyfriend is bad news. Emily fears for Joanne. Fears for Joanne's children. But Joanne won't listen because she's in love. So Emily watches, and waits . . . and then she makes a choice.  But Emily has a past, and secrets too. And is she really as good a friend to Joanne as she claims?

"From the first time I saw them together I knew it felt wrong. I didn't like the way he touched her or the self-conscious way he played with Molly and Luke. Joanne saw none of it of course. So I did it to prove to her that she was wrong. I did it for us."

Emily's instincts tell her that best friend Joanne's new boyfriend is bad news. Emily fears for Joanne. Fears for Joanne's children. But Joanne won't listen because she's in love. So Emily watches, and waits . . . and then she makes a choice.

But Emily has a past, and secrets too. And is she really as good a friend to Joanne as she claims?

I was lucky enough to attend an event at Heffers Cambridge, where Alison's new book was on pre sale! 

Having followed Alison through the journey of the Goodhew series I was really excited to see how she would tackle a stand alone. 

The story is set in and around Cambridge and we get glimpses from a variety of different angles, how sinister places feel and how quickly you can be out on in the countryside, feeling abandoned, whether by design or choice. 

We are taken on a journey through Emily's eyes, she has been estranged from family and friends and making a new chapter of her life. 

Not all is as it seems and I loved that i wasn't quite sure what role she was playing - victim, liar, survivor, someone on the edge, or all of the above. 

I did it for us has a creepy, single white female theme to it and the relationships between the characters was all slightly off kilter. Making this a psychological thriller of an unreliable nature and you are trying to second guess agendas. 

Alison's books have an edge of darkness that are not predictable and this shows her talents in a new light, and I thoroughly enjoy this side of the author's work. 

This is an engrossing read that keeps you on your toes and is slightly voyeuristic and uncomfortable. 

Whether a new series, or a stand alone is on the horizon I shall be looking forward to what is next. 

 

Cambridge Black

Please read Cambridge Blue first, and follow the series - The Siren, The Calling, The Silence, The Backs, The promise, and then Cambridge Black, to get the full background of Goodhew's personality and personal goals to reach his finale from Alison Bruce in Cambridge Black. 

  A cold case waits to be solved . . .   and   a killer waits   in the wings  .   Amy was seven years old when her father was arrested for murder. His subsequent trial and conviction scarred her childhood and cast a shadow over her life until, twenty-two years later, new evidence suggests he was innocent and Amy sets out to clear his name.  But Amy is not the only person troubled by the past. DC Gary Goodhew is haunted by the day his grandfather was murdered and is still searching for answers, determined to uncover the truth about his grandfather's death and find his killer.  But, right now, someone is about to die. Someone who has secrets and who once kept quiet but is now living on borrowed time. Someone who will be murdered because disturbing the past has woken a killer.

A cold case waits to be solved . . . and a killer waits in the wings.

Amy was seven years old when her father was arrested for murder. His subsequent trial and conviction scarred her childhood and cast a shadow over her life until, twenty-two years later, new evidence suggests he was innocent and Amy sets out to clear his name.

But Amy is not the only person troubled by the past. DC Gary Goodhew is haunted by the day his grandfather was murdered and is still searching for answers, determined to uncover the truth about his grandfather's death and find his killer.

But, right now, someone is about to die. Someone who has secrets and who once kept quiet but is now living on borrowed time. Someone who will be murdered because disturbing the past has woken a killer.

It was with trepidation that I picked up this novel, knowing we were heading for the conclusion of this series. 

Alison has a great way of tying in plots with the local areas, cafes, places of interest and more so in Cambridge Black, when a well known café that is mentioned is now closed. 

Nostalgia played a bit part in the storylines and trying to unravel the past crimes with the modern day and how they weaved together. 

We are slowly led through the minds of various characters and how they are challenged by the past, their decisions and actions, and how it is reflecting on the present day. 

The links that hold them together are as strong as they are fragile for others. 

I wasn't sure how the final book was going to go, and I did find i had to concentrate on how the characters played their part, it is a story of finding out the truth and unravelling the past to come to a conclusion for the future. 

It was lovey to have found out a bit more about Gary's Grandmother, and it was one of my favourite parts of this book. 


I found it was a satisfactory ending to the series, but not one of my favourites, possibly because I enjoy a darker, gorier read. Maybe because whatever way the story went I knew it was the ending so it wouldn't be enjoyed as it should. 


I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing Cambridge through fact and fiction and Alison's eye for detail and turning a beautifully diverse City in to a hot bed of crime! Where you can be in a gorgeous open green setting and within minutes lured down a dark alley in to an eerie, claustrophobic street, then back in to the fresh air - if you are lucky. 

If you enjoy police procedures, a bit of a bad boy in Gary with him not always following the lines to get his answers, but like true grit crime then this series is for you and I highly recommend it. 

 

Foul Trade By BK Duncan

There is a free novella available, The Last Post, which gives you an introduction to the main character, it is about half an hour read. Although you don't need to read it as Foul Trade is a Stand Alone, it is always nice to have a feel for a character for a series if you can. 

 

 It is March 1920. May Keaps, the Poplar Coroner's Officer, has never failed to provide a jury with sufficient evidence to arrive at a just verdict.  The poverty, drunken fights between visiting sailors, drug trafficking, and criminal gangs, haunting the shadows of the busiest docks in the world, mean that the Coroner sees more than its fair share of sudden and unnatural deaths.  May relishes the responsibility placed upon her but there are many who believe it's an unsuitable job for a woman. Even May begins to wonder if that is the case when the discovery of a young man's body, in a Limehouse alley, plunges her into an underworld of opium dens, gambling, turf wars, protection rackets and murder.  As her investigations draw her into danger, it becomes increasingly clear that whoever is responsible intends to avoid the hangman's noose by arranging to have May laid out on one of her own mortuary slabs. 

It is March 1920. May Keaps, the Poplar Coroner's Officer, has never failed to provide a jury with sufficient evidence to arrive at a just verdict.

The poverty, drunken fights between visiting sailors, drug trafficking, and criminal gangs, haunting the shadows of the busiest docks in the world, mean that the Coroner sees more than its fair share of sudden and unnatural deaths.

May relishes the responsibility placed upon her but there are many who believe it's an unsuitable job for a woman. Even May begins to wonder if that is the case when the discovery of a young man's body, in a Limehouse alley, plunges her into an underworld of opium dens, gambling, turf wars, protection rackets and murder.

As her investigations draw her into danger, it becomes increasingly clear that whoever is responsible intends to avoid the hangman's noose by arranging to have May laid out on one of her own mortuary slabs. 

Having read the novella that introduced us to May Keaps, I pre ordered Foul Trade straight away. 

May is such an interesting character to read about and faces every situation with a sense of level headiness, even if she isn't feeling so calm inside. 

BK Duncan brought to life the era, hardships and unsavoury characters realistically well. By brining this to be a darker novel, than I expected, even with the blurb. 

May works methodically and fairly and I for one was watching out for her, hoping she made it to the end of the book as unscathed as possible. 

This book is not one to be devoured, there is so much wonderful literature on every page, you need to read, digest, breathe as it is a stunningly impressive novel, that is thought provoking, and plenty of mystery that gripped me and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world through May's eyes. 

 

Dark Skies By LJ Ross

Dark Skies, is book 7 of the Ryan Mysteries, although it reads well as a stand alone, I suggest reading all or at least book 6 to get the full benefit of  this series. 

 

  FROM THE #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF  HOLY ISLAND      Beware what lies beneath…     One fateful, starry night, three friends embark on a secret camping trip but only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now.     Detective Chief Inspector Ryan returns from honeymoon to face danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has escaped justice before and will do anything to protect the secrets of the past. Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, an old foe has taken the helm as Superintendent and is determined to destroy Ryan at any cost.     Who will prevail in Ryan’s most dangerous case yet?    Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

FROM THE #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF HOLY ISLAND

Beware what lies beneath…

One fateful, starry night, three friends embark on a secret camping trip but only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now.

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan returns from honeymoon to face danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has escaped justice before and will do anything to protect the secrets of the past. Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, an old foe has taken the helm as Superintendent and is determined to destroy Ryan at any cost.

Who will prevail in Ryan’s most dangerous case yet?

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

LJ Ross takes us on episode 7 with Ryan and it isn't getting any easier for him. Life just loves throwing curve balls at him, although he is settling in to married life with Anna and it should be rosier than it is. 

We were introduced to Lucas in the last book, and she is very much conquer and divide, we start to see how this affects the lives of those around Ryan, he is aware of ripples, but I am unsure he is ready for the waves that these will cause. 
 

The setting for Dark Skies is Kielder and is a place that I yet again haven't heard of and Ross yet again has brought a corner of the North alive within her pages, even if all her characters aren't so lucky  to stay so. 

A brilliantly written read of the past catching up with the present and quite a few spanners being thrown in to the works to deter Ryan from the result he requires. 

I am unsure what the future holds for our Hero, but I can't wait for the next read to find out. 

The End Of Lies By Andrew Barrett

New Stand Alone, published by Bloodhound Books. 

  My name is Becky. I arrived home to find my husband, Chris, stabbed to death and a gang of men ransacking our house.   Turns out that Chris has something that belongs to them. And if I want to stay alive, I have to find it and return it. They have given me seven days. And a beating.  There is nowhere to hide and no time left to look. So I will stand my ground as the deadline approaches. All I have is a head full of lies and a very bad plan.   This is my story.   Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning and chilling thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

My name is Becky. I arrived home to find my husband, Chris, stabbed to death and a gang of men ransacking our house.

Turns out that Chris has something that belongs to them. And if I want to stay alive, I have to find it and return it. They have given me seven days. And a beating.

There is nowhere to hide and no time left to look. So I will stand my ground as the deadline approaches. All I have is a head full of lies and a very bad plan.

This is my story.

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning and chilling thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

An Authors name I have heard bandied about, but not quite made my reading list until now. 

WOW! if this is what I have been missing I do apologise to Barrett, and will soon be adding his books to my collection of reads. 

The End Of Lies, starts with an enticing beginning and does not let go until the very last page. 

An enthralling, entertaining read, that i couldn't read fast enough. 

Absolutely plotted with brilliance. 


As soon as you think you have a grasp on what is going on, the story tailspins you and you are again hooked on to a new thread and boom! He has taken you down another path of thinking. 

This really is a crime thrilling read with events that take you on a rollercoaster of a read, and you are relived you are reading it rather than living it. 

Superb ending!