Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Book Review: Dead Eyed by Matt Brolly

DCI Michael Lambert thought he’d closed his last case…

Yet when he’s passed a file detailing a particularly gruesome murder, Michael knows that this is no ordinary killer at work.

The removal of the victim’s eyes and the Latin inscription carved into the chest is the chilling calling-card of the ‘soul jacker’: a cold-blooded murderer who struck close to Michael once before, twenty-five years ago.

Now the long-buried case is being re-opened, and Michael is determined to use his inside knowledge to finally bring the killer to justice. But as the body count rises, Michael realises that his own links to the victims could mean that he is next on the killer’s list…

The gripping first novel in a thrilling new crime series by Matt Brolly. Perfect for fans of Tony Parsons, Lee Child and Angela Marsons.

* Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Michael Lambert has to live with the skeletons in his closet. Twenty years ago, he lost a college friend. The guy was brutally murdered in his own room in the college, his eyes removed, his body mutilated with words carved into the skin. An image pretty hard to forget.

Now, twenty years later, another college friend receives photos of a body mutilated just like the one before. But the previous murder wasn't the first one. It was just one more body in the row, a work of the serial killer called The Souljacker. It was the last murder until now, when photos of another body appeared.

Is The Souljacker back? Why did he stop for twenty years? It really him now or is it a copycat? What is the link between the victims? The research shows that the new victim is also a friend from college days. Something strange is going on.

With DI Sarah May breathing down his neck, Lambert starts his own investigation. Two of his college friends are killed in the most horrible way, and the third one is involved. As the investigation shows some progress, the number of bodies arises. Lambert and his friend Klatzky are the main suspects in DI May's investigation. But someone else is the main suspect in Lambert's investigation.

Matt Brolly is not a name familiar to me, but is definitely a name I'll be looking for in the future. His writing is creepy, violent and full of tension, and definitely doesn't lack dead bodies. The murder scenes are vividly described, bringing a dose of horror and panic. The main character is a real action hero, a former member of an undercover police unit. He is not just anyone involved in the killings. He uses his knoledge, connections and skills to find the real killer, 'cause everything points out that he is the target. Still recovering from his little girl's death, he has to put himself all together in order to save the ones he loves.

„Dead Eyed“ is a gripping psychological thriller, a story full of creepy and violent murdering scenes and characters with closets full of skeletons. Unpredictable and adrenaline-loaded, it is an absolute treat for fans of hardcore murders (in books). I absolutely recommend it!

My opinion: 5 / 5

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book review: The Girl Who Broke the Rules by Marnie Riches

The pulse-pounding new thriller starring Georgina McKenzie and Paul van den Bergen.
For anyone who loves Jo Nesbo and Stieg Larsson, this book is for you!

* Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Amsterdam. Black woman, naked, her lifeless eyes staring in the unknown. Her corpse is ripped off, her internal organs missing. Paul van den Bergen has one more murder to solve.

London. Georgina (George) McKenzie is in psychiatric hospital observing a patient, a serial killer. She works on her doctorate in criminology, has a special sense for details, what makes her more than a good detective. She is civil, but she is connected with van den Bergen, and he calls her to help him to solve the murder of the African girl in Amsterdam.

When second body appears, ripped off like an unzipped bag, it is more than obvious that it is a work of a serial killer. Both victims are murdered in similar way, both are from the streets and nobody misses them.

Van den Bergen and George are starting one hell of a journey to find the serial killer who kills people from Amsterdam to London. The lead will take them to the underground world of children's pornography, slave trading and prostitution. It will take them to the finest and most respective surgeons in the world. From one end of the line to the another, when it comes to the twisted human mind, there are no limits, there are no boundaries. Still unhealed from the previous case, van den Bergen and George have to smooth their differences and join the forces in order not just to find the murderer and stop the killings, but to heal their own wounds, physical and emotional.

The relationship between van den Bergen and George is constantly on-off. She has a boyfriend, Ad, but she has a crush on van den Bergen and he has a crush on her. But his consciousness tells him that she is his daughter's age. There is chemistry, definitely, but also many unanswered questions between them. Each one of them lives in his/hers own bubble, not letting the other one in. As the story goes, the differences between them are getting smaller and this relationship is definitely going somewhere.

This is book two from the series and I feel sorry not starting from the first book. The second one can definitely stand alone, but I would like to know how it all started.

„The Girl Who Broke the Rules“ is one hell of a book. There are scenes in the story so tensed that are very hard for reading. Brutal, sadistic, violent, fulfilled with creepy details. Some of them were very hard for me to read. Ms. Riches has written a psychological thriller that won't let you sleep at night. Creepy, scary, violent and emotional, will take you on a journey that you'll never forget. A new turn-over on every page, a lead that goes to a dead end, a creepy scene where new murder is going to happen. This story has it all! Totally recommended! Attention, it will leave you sleepless for couple of nights because you won't be able to put it down till finish reading it!

My opinion: 5 / 5.  

Book Review: Montmartre Mysteries by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noel Balen

Wine expert Benjamin Cooker travels to the French capital, where his is called to help care for some vineyards in Montmartre, a neighborhood full of memories for him. He stops in on an old friend. Arthur Solacroup left the Foreign Legion to open a wine shop good enough to be in the Cooker Guide. But an attempted murder brings the past back into the present. But which past? The winemaker detective and his assistant Virgile want to know more, and their investigation leads them from the the sands of Djibouti to the vineyards of Côte du Rhône.

*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *

And the winemaker detective and his assistant are back! This time they travel to Paris, Benjamin to visit an old friend and Virgil to attend a marathon. But the visit to the favorite wine shop in Paris goes far away from expected. Benjamin is witnessing an attempted murder, his friend has been attacked, and possibly killed, if Benjamin hasn't show up. His old friend, a former member of The Foreign Legion, now is helpless in bed in coma.

The winemaker detective has a difficult task in front of him. Who would like to kill a winemaker? Is it just a robbery that turns out wrong or is it something more? Does his past as a member of The Foreign Legion have something to do with it? But nothing, nothing can prepare Benjamin for the truth he discovers, the truth so unexpected that will literally leave him with his jaw dropped.

In this part of The Winemaker Detective Series, we can enter in Benjamin's life when he was young. The visit to Paris brings him old memories of a forgotten love, a woman once close to his heart. But he never regrets his choice, he loves Elizabeth, his wife, from the bottom of his heart. Every other woman in his life is just a distant memory.

Even this time, the story doesn't lack the wine supply. From Cuvee Vieilles Vignes to Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, you can almost smell the aroma and taste the wine in your mouth. The descriptions of the wines are so vivid and colorful, I almost emptied my own wine supply while reading. The author really knows how to distract reader's attention.

What I noticed different from previous Winemaker Detective stories is the pace of the story. While in previous stories it went up and down with a new mystery around the corner, this time it is more steady with less turn-overs. But the end is a real cherry on the top of the cake. It comes so unexpectedly after that steady pace, a real „BAM“ coming out of nowhere! I was going to give up reading, some parts were very slow (according to me), but the end left me with my mouth opened and I must say to the author: „Well done!“. Because the end saved the story, I am rating it with four stars.

My opinion: 4 / 5.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: Harm by Hugh Fraser

A debut crime novel by Hugh Fraser.

What makes an innocent girl become a contract killer?’

Acapulco 1974: Rina Walker is on assignment. Just another another quick, clean kill.
She wakes to discover her employer’s severed head on her bedside table, and a man with an AK 47 coming through the door of her hotel room. She needs all her skills to neutralise her attacker and escape. After a car chase, she is captured by a Mexican drug boss who needs her radiant beauty and ruthless expertise to eliminate an inconvenient member of the government.

Notting Hill 1956: Fifteen-year-old Rina is scavenging and stealing to support her siblings and her alcoholic mother. When a local gangster attacks her younger sister, Rina wreaks revenge and kills him. Innocence betrayed, Rina faces the brutality of the post-war London underworld - a world that teaches her the skill to kill...

Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Whenever I hear the name Hugh Fraser, the very first thing that pops up in my mind is his very famous role of Captain Hastings from my favorite TV series „Hercules Poirot“. I was so delighted when I heard that he has written a book. But HARM is nothing like HERCULES POIROT series. So who ever expected a new Agatha Christie's novel must be very surprised. I am not using the word 'disappointed“ , because this book is far away from disappointing.

Meet Rina, modern and beautiful woman with faces, a contract killer, a death angel. She is a stunning woman, and men often mistake her beauty for stupidity. But she is far away from stupid. Most of everything, she is tough and knows how to survive. Life hasn't been easy for her. Men took advantages on her since young age. They still do, but now she lets them do that, and that's how she uses them.

Rina kills people for money, but she kills bad people, not just anyone. She has a sense for justice. She would never hurt an innocent person, enough harm has been done to her. It all started when she was a teenager. Her father's business partner rapes her many times. But when he tries to rape her nine-years-old sister, she kills him. His brother blackmails her, she has to murder another person for him. One act of violence triggers another one, one murder leads to another. In the world of gangs where local mafia rules the neighborhood, there is no going back.

The author has created a real kick-ass heroine. We can observe Rina's life since her early childhood till the present day. Rina is an anti-heroine. On one side, she kills people for money and she fights like hell when trapped. On the other side, she is in the search of little peace for herself far away from man's violence. 'Cause she has had it enough. We can follow the story of young Rina, a young girl full of hopes and dreams, all that destroyed by the fear of the shadow of the man entering her bedroom. Her mother is a person that I literally want to kill by myself, what kind of mother allows someone to rape her daughters and not even bother about it? Parallely, we follow Rina in the presence, chasing her next target and in the same time trying to escape being a target. He is not naive anymore, nor helpless at all. She fights not just for her, but for every abused woman that comes along her way.

HARM is a story centered around an assassin with a soul. Rina is a hell of a character. Fulfilled with adrenaline, violence, sex and kick-ass moments, this story is anything but boring. You might expect a nice old-fashioned murder like I did, but you'll find yourself positively surprised by the adrenaline rush that hits you from the very first page of the book. My advice: Don't expect anything, just read! You will totally enjoy this read!

My opinion; 4,5 / 5.

You can buy HARM on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.


Hugh Fraser is best known for playing Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie's 'Poirot' and the Duke of Wellington in 'Sharpe'.

His films include Patriot Games, 101 Dalmatians, The Draughtsman's Contract and Clint Eastwood's Firefox. In the theatre he has appeared in Teeth'n'Smiles at the Royal Court and Wyndhams and in several roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He has also narrated many of Agatha Christie's novels as audio books. Harm is his first novel.

You can find him on Twitter: @realhughfraser