Silenced – Anne Randall

silenced

About the book:

He buried his victim alive. And now he’s escaped from prison and is on the run in the city.

Fiona Henderson, the daughter of the victim who’d descended into a world of silence following her mother’s murder, has gone missing. Her sister Annabelle scours the city in a desperate attempt to find her. And then the body of a homeless person if found among the rubbish in a deserted alleyway.

As DIs Wheeler and Ross investigate, more suspicious deaths occur and a pattern emerges: the victims are all homeless. And so the police are pitched against a killer who is hellbent on a mission
to rid the streets of the vulnerable and dispossessed.

As Wheeler and Ross descend further into Glasgow’s netherworld, their investigation reveals not only a flawed support system for the disaffected, but also a criminal class ruthlessly willing to exploit them. A city of double standards, where morality is bought and sold.

But it’s when the killer begins stalking DI Wheeler, that she and Ross realise that the threat is now personal.

My review:

Silenced is the 2nd book in the Wheeler and Ross series. I had not heard about this series or Anne Randall before coming across this book in the library. The cover and blurb enticed me in.

A notorious killer, Mark Haedyear has escaped from prison while on compassionate leave to attend his mother’s funeral. He was doing life for killing Amanda Henderson.

DI Wheeler and DI Ross are on the hunt, however, a body gets found in an alleyway. Cameron Craig has been murdered with a clue left next to his body. Was Cameron Craig murdered by Mark Haedyear?

Meanwhile, we are introduced to the Henderson family and in particular Amanda’s daughter Fiona, who is now estranged from her father and sister and wishes to live on the streets and to not be found. She has also chosen to be mute, so makes you question what exactly does she know about Cameron Craig’s murder. Was she involved? Why won’t she speak out if she does know?

Soon the story steps up a notch, as DI Wheeler starts receiving letters from the killer. Even communications to her own home. As it gets personal, it turns into a race against time for DI Wheeler and DI Ross to catch the killer.

In hindsight, I think it would have been better to read the first book in the series to get an idea of the background of DI Wheeler and DI Ross. Unfortunately, I couldn’t decide whether I liked these two particular characters or not.

You get introduced to a lot of characters throughout, this can get confusing, as sometimes they get called by their nicknames. I’m also not 100% sure why some characters were even including in the story. Maybe it was just to add chapters?

Although the story is an easy read and fast paced, as well as making you feel that you do want to carry on reading to find out the truth, for me, there was one big let down. The dialogue between characters annoyed me at times, it was very much “he said”, “she said” and it seems the dialogue was used purely for the reader to know what happened previously, when maybe this could have been portrayed a different way. Sometimes dialogue was used purely to show the relationship between Wheeler and Ross, but I just found this quite cringe and it didn’t help me to like either character.

I did guess who the killer was before the big reveal, but I still felt the ending tied everything up nicely.

All in all, this was a fairly good read, although at some points I felt a few characters and the dialogue could have been addressed as possibly not needed.

I would give this title 3/5 stars!

About the author:

Glasgow-born Anne Randall is the author of the gritty, award-winning Wheeler and Ross series set in her hometown.

Her first novel RIVEN (written as A. J. McCreanor) won first prize at the Wells Festival of Literature in 2011

Anne has also had poems and short stories published in various anthologies.

Anne previously worked as a cadet nurse, flower-seller, civil servant and English teacher in Glasgow before retraining as a psychotherapist.

She now works in private practice in Glastonbury, Somerset where she lives with her husband, bespoke furniture-maker Don Storey, their two pesky rescued cats and an inherited and remarkably handsome collie dog.

 

 

 

 

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A Time To Die – Tom Wood

a time to die

About the book:

It takes a bad man to hunt evil

If the assassin known only as Victor once had a moral compass, it is long since buried, along with his many victims. Yet some men are so evil even Victor accepts they must die for reasons other than just money.
One such is Milan Rados, a former commander in the Serbian army who has escaped trial at The Hague to become a formidable criminal power. Tracking down and killing this brutal man will win Victor a reprieve for his own recent crimes on British soil.
But Victor isn’t the only one who wants Rados dead. Ana, whose family was butchered on the tyrant’s orders, will do anything to see Rados’ blood spilled on the snow of Eastern Europe. Now Victor has an unlikely ally – but an army stands between them and justice.

My review:

This is the sixth book in the Victor The Assassin series, however, it works well as a standalone.

From the very first page, you meet Victor and you instantly know that he kills for a job. Victor gets sent to Serbia to hunt down a human trafficker by the name Rados, someone who is very much wanted by the CIA. During the train journey over, which occurs within the first few chapters, the reader already gets a taste of the action sequences that get described in clear detail by Wood.

Surprisingly, even to Victor, he catches up with Rados fairly early on, which means that he must bide his time before the kill. The two characters get to know one another very well, and it means that Victor gains an ally in one of the female captors, in order to try and find a moment to kill Rados.

Throughout, there is a sense of cat and mouse, as Victor is so close to doing the job, yet so far as there is so much standing in his way. While he is waiting for the perfect moment, he also learns that there is a bounty on his own head. Victor then has to play both the hunter and hunted as he tries to survive long enough to carry out his job.

The writing style is superb and everything is described in brilliant detail. Wood has definitely done his research into assassins and portrays this across to the reader. Even though we know what Victor does for a living, Wood shows the character so well, that you’re in fact routing for Victor throughout the book and hoping for him to make the kill. He’s even quite a likeable character, which is different for an assassin in a book.

A Time To Die is a riveting read and will keep you guessing right through to the end! Definitely a fast-paced thriller that can be easily enjoyed.

I highly recommend this read and will be purchasing book 7 of the series!

About the author:

Tom was born in Burton Upon Trent in Staffordshire, England, and now lives in London.

He is the author of THE HUNTER, BAD LUCK IN BERLIN and THE ENEMY.

Tom’s books are known by different titles in some countries so please be careful when purchasing.

 

Hide and Seek – M J Arlidge

hide and seek.jpgHide and Seek is the 6th book in the Helen Grace series. Unfortunately, I haven’t read the previous five, however, I have heard that it’s best to the read the 5th book in the series prior to this one. Personally, I still felt that I learnt enough about Helen Grace and the other characters to still enjoy this read.

About the book:

Prison is no place for a detective
Helen Grace was one of the country’s best police investigators.
Now she’s behind bars with the killers she caught.

Framed for murder
She knows there is only way out:
stay alive until her trial and somehow prove her innocence.

Locked up with a killer
But when a mutilated body is found in the cell next door,
Helen fears her days are numbered.

A murderer is on the loose.
And she must find them.
Before she’s next . . .

My review:

The first couple of chapters we meet Leah, a former police officer who has now ended up in prison. We quickly learn her fate as she is brutally murdered in her cell, which happens to be next door to former DI Helen Grace who is quickly on the hunt for the murderer.

The setting is within the prison walls and there are many tense moments while Grace is looking for the murderer, especially when a further 2 prisoners are found murdered and mutilated in their cells. Grace feels that her days are numbered and so takes it upon herself to try and find the main suspect.

Meanwhile, on the outside, you learn more about how Helen Grace came to prison, as her former colleague, Charlie, is convinced of Grace’s innocence and goes on the hunt for Grace’s nephew who she believes is behind the killings and framing that got Grace behind bars. This section of the story is also gripping and sometimes frustrating as there seem to be so many people against Charlie finding out the truth.

As both stories conclude, there is so much suspense that you are truly gripped. You can keep trying to guess who you think could be behind the prison murders, but one final big twist will completely shock you!

Overall, I enjoyed this book, however, I do wish I had known to read the 5th book from the series first, as it would have helped to get to know the characters better. Maybe if I had read the previous book, I might have been routing for Grace more if I felt I knew her character well. I would still recommend this book, but maybe more for those who are already aware of the Helen Grace series by Arlidge.

About the author:

M.J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last 15 years, specialising in high end drama production. Arlidge has produced a number of prime-time crime serials for ITV In the last five years, and is currently working on a major adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans for the BBC.

The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena

the couple next door

I’ve just finished The Couple Next Door, so thought I would upload my review before going out to watch some planes at the Bournemouth Air Show! 🙂

About the book:

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

My review:

A couple leave their 6-month-old daughter at home while they attend a party next door (Who would even do this?!?) The husband convinces the wife that it will be fine as they are just next door, but how wrong he turns out to be! The baby goes missing!

The story then takes on a fast pace frenzy as they try to find the baby, however, there are twists and turns throughout. As a reader, you learn fairly early on the main person involved in the kidnapping yet the remaining characters have no idea and there are more twists to the story as you delve in deeper.

I enjoyed the story to a certain point, but then the final third wasn’t really my cup of tea. There are too many unrealistic things happening that makes the story a bit less enjoyable and I’m not keen on the ending at all.

Overall, I loved the first two thirds, although I felt that in a real world situation no one in their right mind would leave a six-month-old baby alone. There is a fast pace to the book but it seems to fall flat towards the end, almost as if it were rushed.

I would still recommend this book, as throughout, you just want to know what happened to the baby so it definitely lures you in and keeps you reading, which I like in a novel and maybe many others will like the conclusion to the story, even if I weren’t overly keen. I would give The Couple Next Door a rating of 3/5 and I would still try a future novel from Lapena.