Blogmas #17: Books I meant to read in 2018 but didn’t get too… Whoops!

Blogmas on The Bibliovert

Where do I start!  For me, there’s always way too many books on my “to read” list, Here are my top 10 books that I had hoped to read this year, but didn’t get too.

  1. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

  2. Summer Wives By Beatriz Williams

  3. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarity

  4. Becoming by Michelle Obama

  5. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

  6. In the Woods by Tana French

  7. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

  8. The Outsider by Stephen King

  9. Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

  10. You Do You by Sarah Knight

Bough

Were you able to read all of the books you had hoped to in 2018
or do you have some carry over into 2019?

 Bough Up

Blogmas #5: Goodreads Choice Awards

Yesterday Goodreads released the results of the 10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards.  It’s “the only major book awards decided by readers.”(Goodreads)  There were a total of 5,027,741 votes cast!

I was so excited to see Stephen King’s book, The Outsider, as one of the winners! I bought the book as soon as it came out and it has been on my list to read since. It is such a large book that it seems a bit overwhelming when I have a bunch of other books that I need to read before their publication dates.  I want to be able to sit down and enjoy reading it and not feel rushed.  So, for now, it will stay on my TBR list, but I can’t wait to read it!

Below you will find some of the winners.  If you would like to see the complete list of winners and all the nominees, stop on over to Goodreads (click here)

The Outsider by Stephen KingCategory: Best Mystery & Thriller

The Winner: The Outsider by Stephen King

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

(Summary & Image from Amazon)

The Great Alone by Kristin HannahCategory: Best Historical Fiction

The Winner: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.

In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.

(Summary & Image from Amazon)

The Kiss Quotient by Helen HoangCategory: Romance

The Winner: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

(Summary & Image from Amazon)

Elevation by Stephen KingCategory: Best Horror

The Winner: Elevation by Stephen King

The latest from legendary master storyteller Stephen King, a riveting, extraordinarily eerie, and moving story about a man whose mysterious affliction brings a small town together—a timely, upbeat tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences. 

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

(Summary & Image from Amazon)

I'll Be Gone In the Dark by Michelle McNamaraCategory: Best Nonfiction

The Winner: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

The haunting true story of the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California during the 70s and 80s, and of the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case—which was solved in April 2018.

Introduction by Gillian Flynn • Afterword by Patton Oswalt

“A brilliant genre-buster…. Propulsive, can’t-stop-now reading.”   —Stephen King

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle’s dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.

(Summary & Image from Amazon)

Educated, A Memoir by Tara WestoverCategory: Best Memoir & Autobiography

The Winner: Educated by Tara Westover

An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

“Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

(Summary & Image from Amazon)

Congratulations to all the winners!  

Did your favorites win? 

Book Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen Cover Image

Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (January 8, 2019)

ISBN: 9781250133731

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

Pre-Order it here: An Anonymous Girl

Source: I received an eARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Blurb

The next novel of psychological suspense and obsession from the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.

Praise for The Wife Between Us:

“A fiendishly smart cat-and-mouse thriller” —New York Times Book Review

“[A] seamless thriller that will keep readers on their toes to the very end…Readers will enjoy the dizzying back-and-forth as they attempt to figure out just who to root for and as the suspense ratchets up to one hell of a conclusion.” —Booklist

My Thoughts

I was so excited when I was granted this book through NetGalley!  I had read their previous collaboration, The Wife Between Us, and loved it.  So, to say I was thrilled to read this book is an understatement.

From the first to the last page I was drawn into the story. Truth be told, when I was 90% of the way through this book I took a day break from it because for one, I wanted to reflect and see if I could figure out the ending (which I couldn’t ), and two, I just didn’t want it to end.

I LOVED IT! 

There are so many twists and turns in An Anonymous Girl, that it is the perfect read for anyone that loves mysteries and thrillers.  Pre-Order it now.  You will not be disappointed!

Another Great book by Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks!

Quote

“Sometimes a test is so small and quiet you don’t even notice it’s a test.”

“Sometimes a relationship that appears caring and supportive carries hidden dangers.”

“Sometimes a therapist who coaxes out all of your secrets is holding the biggest one in the room.”

Rating

5-stars

About the Author

Greer Hendricks Co-Author of An Anonymous Girl

GREER HENDRICKS is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Wife Between Us and the forthcoming An Anonymous Girl (January 8, 2019). Prior to becoming a novelist, she spent two decades as an editor at Simon & Schuster. She obtained her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Allure, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.

Website | GoodReadsTwitter

 

 

SARAH PEKKANENSarah Pekkanen co-Author of An Anonymous Girl is also the co-author of the New York Times bestseller THE WIFE BETWEEN US and the upcoming AN ANONYMOUS GIRL, both cowritten with Greer Hendricks.

AN ANONYMOUS GIRL has been optioned for a television series by eOne, with Sarah and Greer executive producing. THE WIFE BETWEEN US has been optioned for film by Amblin Entertainment, with Sarah and Greer screenwriting the adaptation.

Her prior solo novels are: THE EVER AFTER, THE PERFECT NEIGHBORS, THINGS YOU WON’T SAY, CATCHING AIR, THE BEST OF US, THE OPPOSITE OF ME, SKIPPING A BEAT, and THESE GIRLS.

Sarah’s linked free short estories, published by Simon&Schuster exclusively for ereaders, are titled “All is Bright,” and “Love, Accidentally.”

Sarah is the mother of three young boys, which explains why she writes part of her novels at Chuck E. Cheese. Sarah penned her first book, Miscellaneous Tales and Poems, at the age of 10. When publishers failed to jump upon this literary masterpiece (hey, all the poems rhymed!) Sarah followed up by sending them a sternly-worded letter on Raggedy Ann stationery. Sarah still has that letter, and carries it to New York every time she has meetings with her publisher, as a reminder that dreams do come true.

Website | GoodReads | Twitter

eARC Book Review: The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

Cover ImageAuthor: Thomas Christopher Greene

Print Length: 288 pages

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (January 15, 2019)

Publication Date: January 15, 2019

ISBN:  9781250128218

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Pre-Order it here: Amazon

 

Source: I received an ARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb

A seemingly perfect marriage is threatened by the deadly secrets husband and wife keep from each other.

Susannah, a young widow and single mother, has remarried well: to Max, a charismatic artist and popular speaker whose career took her and her fifteen-year-old son out of New York City and to a quiet Vermont university town. Strong-willed and attractive, Susannah expects that her life is perfectly in place again. Then one quiet morning she finds a note on her door: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

Max dismisses the note as a prank. But days after a neighborhood couple comes to dinner, the husband mysteriously dies in a tragic accident while on a run with Max. Soon thereafter, a second note appears on their door: DID YOU GET AWAY WITH IT?

Both Susannah and Max are keeping secrets from the world and from each other —secrets that could destroy their family and everything they have built. Thomas Christopher Greene’s The Perfect Liar is a thrilling novel told through the alternating perspectives of Susannah and Max with a shocking climax that no one will expect, from the bestselling author of The Headmaster’s Wife.

My Thoughts

This was an entertaining read for me. It was mystery/thriller that was a bit unrealistic, but that didn’t bother me any.  The chapters are nice and short, which make it a quick read. The characters are likable, despite their shortcomings. I found it simply an enjoyable book that I couldn’t put down.  It’s an easy read that leaves you wondering.

Quote

“…it was all as simple as having been born wrong. He was born into the wrong family, into the wrong name, and into the wrong identity. He didn’t become a fraud, in his view, but emerged into the world that way fully formed.”

Rating

4-stars

About the Author

Author

Thomas Christopher Greene was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. Tom has worked in a staple factory; as an oyster shucker; a speechwriter and spokesperson for a presidential campaign; the director of public affairs for two colleges; and as a professor of writing and literature. In 2006, Tom founded the Vermont College of Fine Arts, a top New England arts college, making him the youngest college president in America at that time. The Headmaster’s Wife is Tom’s fourth novel. He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.

Website | GoodReads 

 

I would like to thank Thomas Christopher GreeneSt. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book.

 

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Blog Tour: The Savage Shore by David Hewson

The Savage Shore CoverAuthor: David Hewson

Category: Crime & Mystery – Police Procedural

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd; First World Publication ed. edition (31 July 2018)

ISBN-10: 0300220413

ISBN-13: 978-0300220414

Buy it here:  Amazon UK | Amazon US

Blurb

Roman police detective Nic Costa has been sent undercover to Italy’s beautiful, remote Calabrian coast to bring in the head of the feared mob, the ‘Ndrangheta, who has offered to turn state witness for reasons of his own.

Hoping to reel in the biggest prize the state police have seen in years, the infamous Butcher of Palermo, Costa and his team are aware the stakes are high. But the constant deception is taking its toll. Out of their depth in a lawless part of Italy where they are the outcasts, not the men in the hills, with their shotguns and rough justice, the detectives find themselves pitched as much against one another as the mob. As the tension rises, it’s clear the operation is not going to plan. Is Nic Costa getting too close to the enemy for comfort – and is there a traitor among them …?

Excerpt

From: Part One

At three o’clock on a sweltering late summer afternoon Emmanuel Akindele sat behind the counter of the Zanzibar feeding Jackson the marmoset his first fierce cocktail of the day.

A thin, nervy thirty-year-old, Emmanuel had been rescued off Lampedusa the previous spring. Two thousand dollars that cost him to the Libyan people smugglers, pretty much all his family back home in a Lagos slum possessed. He’d thought himself dead already by the time the Red Cross boat came along and pulled him from a sea so cold it seemed to freeze his bones.

Now, in a kind of life, he spent hour upon hour with this sad and savage little animal, a miserable bundle of bone and fur, barely the size of a cat. Something trapped and helpless, and probably beyond hope. The creature kept thrusting a skinny arm through the bars of its rusty metal cage, holding out a grubby shot glass. A simian alcoholic and Emmanuel couldn’t think of anything else but to dull its senses in place of his own.

He’d inherited Jackson when the gang boss put him into the Zanzibar nine months earlier, after he’d earned what the mob men called promotion from pushing cheap counterfeit bags to the tourists on the beach at Locri. The creature was part of the furniture in the cramped, windowless bar, like the broken Playboy pin table, the cheap paintings of Marilyn Monroe, the satellite TV system with an illegal card to pick up premium sports channels from around the world.

He’d thought about letting the monkey go. About driving out of the grey and sprawling city to one of the bare back roads that led to the desolate hills rising from the coast. There the sparse tracts of scrappy brown vegetation reminded him of the countryside back home. He could see himself taking the cage out of the boot and watching the scrawny broken animal limp off into the dry, barren lower reaches of Aspromonte, the sprawling mountain that rose behind Italy’s extended toe like the humped back of a slumbering giant.

Jackson would be a corpse in a few hours, a day at most. Nothing foreign lived long in that bleak wasteland. Some things were dead before they even got there. The gang men who employed him, members of the Calabrian mafia, the ’Ndrangheta, saw the place, with its wildernesses full of snakes and spiders and, some said, wolves too, as their natural home. The worst thing that could happen to a man was to be told he was going for a ‘walk in the hills’. You never came back. This was where the mobsters took their victims, where they hid the men and women they kidnapped for money, slicing off a finger or an ear when they needed to raise the temperature a little. Even life in a cage, begging for drinks, getting laughed at by the scum who made up the Zanzibar’s clientele, was better than abandonment in that brutal, inhospitable expanse of desolate rock and thorns. 

 

About the Author

David Hewson ImageDavid Hewson is a former journalist with The Times, The Sunday Times and the Independent. He is the author of more than twenty-five novels including his Rome-based Nic Costa series which has been published in fifteen languages. He has also written three acclaimed adaptations of the Danish TV series, The Killing. He lives near Canterbury in Kent.

Twitter | Instagram GoodReads | Website

Severn House Publishers | Love Books Group Tours

 

I would like to thank Mr. HewsonSevern House Publishers, and Love Books Group Tours for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour. Please feel free to stop by and check out the other bloggers that are on this tour!  See the list below!

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Book Review: The Case of the Golden State Killer by Michael Morford and Michael Ferguson

The Case of the Golden State KIller

Author: Michael Morford and Michael Ferguson

Print Length: 427 pages

Publisher: WildBlue Press (August 29, 2018)

Publication Date: August 29, 2018

ISBN: 9781947290549

Genre:  Mystery, Thriller, True Crime

Buy it Here: Amazon 

 

 

Source: I received a copy of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb

In 1976, a serial rapist terrorized Sacramento County in California. The masked predator made his way into the homes of his unsuspecting victims, leaving a trail of devastation and destruction behind him. He moved on to other areas in Northern California, and then onward to Southern California where he sank to an all new level of depravity, and his evil urges drove him to murder; again, and again.

In Northern California, he was known as the East Area Rapist. In Southern California, he was called the Original Night Stalker. When his crimes all over California were finally connected, he would become known as the Golden State Killer, and by 1986, he had racked up a staggering tally of over 100 home break-ins or burglaries, 50 or more rapes, and at least 12 murders.

On the heels of their wildly popular 2017 Season One podcast series on the Zodiac killer, veteran podcaster Mike Morford, and true crime research/blogger Mike Ferguson, the hosts of true crime podcast Criminology teamed again in Spring 2018 to unmask this killer in a story that spans more than 40 years. Joined by the investigators who hunted him, the witnesses who saw him, and the survivors who lived to tell their stories, Criminology Season Two: The Case of the Golden State Killerexamines the story of the most prolific serial rapist and murderer in American history.

Now, Criminology True Crime Podcast presents Season One: The Case of the Zodiac Killer based on the podcast with additional commentary, photographs and documents is available in digital and print book formats.

My Thoughts (*Details may be considered spoilers*)

The East Area Rapist.

Original Night Stalker.

The Golden State Killer.

However, you know this man, it is sheer terror that he brought upon a 400 mile stretch of California over a 10-year period. Over this timeframe, he escalated from breaking and entering to murder. This killer evaded capture for 40 years!

This book captures the killer’s routines, scripts, and planning that went into these chilling accounts. It also includes victims survival stories. It is heartbreaking, terrifying, tragic and horrific.

The book itself was well written, fast-moving. However a bit repetitive at times, but only because of the killers routine and covering different cases, the MO remained fairly consistent.  I could picture the events in my head, and knowing that this really happened to someone, was horrifying.

As I read this book, I couldn’t even fathom the fear that these people experienced. The way that the book explains that this perpetrator accessed these houses that were locked,  some guarded by dogs, others that had guns in their nightstands. Yet, he was able to get in without issue and commit his crime. That was terrifying to me and made me wonder how many monsters like this are out there? How many monsters are out there preying on innocent people, that no matter the preparation, the criminal will get access and will commit their crime?  It is a scary thought.

At the beginning of the book, the killer had yet to be caught. However, because of the advancement of technology and the use of DNA to identify perpetrators, he was arrested in April of 2018. His next court date is December 2018.

Riveting. Captivating.  Heartbreaking.
Dark. Creepy. Intense. TerrifyinG

Rating

4-stars

About the Author

You can hear more from Michael Morford and Michael Ferguson on their podcast  or on Twitter 

I would like to thank Michael Morford, Michael Ferguson,  WildBlue Press and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book.

 

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Blog Tour: Chasing Monsters by Paul Harrison | Excerpt

Chasing Monsters_chosen.indd

Author: Paul Harrison

Print Length: 389 pages

Publisher: Urbane Publications Limited (October 4, 2018)

Publication Date: October 4, 2018

ASIN: B07H3Y5JGL

Buy it here: Amazon UK | Amazon

Blurb

The first thrilling book in the Will Scott series.

In a sleepy northern seaside resort, The Eastborough Police Force is shocked into action when a heavily mutilated body is found in a quiet suburb. Murder rarely happens in these parts. Within a short space of time, the body count begins to rise rapidly, as a serial killer runs amok.

DI Will Scott is tasked with finding the murderer. In so doing he treads paths he never expected to traverse and uncovers a web of deceit where no one can be trusted.

The killer relentlessly continues to strike terror across the community, but without warning, the killing ground changes. Where will the killer strike next …?

About the Author

Author PhotoPaul Harrison has spent much of his professional life working within the UK’s criminal justice system, primarily as a police officer. Working closely with the now-defunct FBI Behavioural Science Unit in Quantico, he gained a unique and remarkable insight into the minds of some of the world s most violent criminals. His conversation portfolio reads like a Who’s Who of murderers. As an author, he s penned thirty-three traditionally published books (mainly true crime) and completed his first novel last year. A seasoned event speaker, Paul is popular across the entire crime genre (fiction and non-fiction). He s in discussion with several TV production companies across the globe for future Crime related television series. Paul currently lives in Leeds.

Twitter  |  Website  |  Urbane Books  |  Love Books Group

Excerpt

CHAPTER TWO

As he turned into Bessingby Gate, Will was confronted by a crowd of people who were standing across the road and effectively blocking it. Most of them were morbid onlookers satiating their sanguinary desires, and hoping to get a snippet of detail, no matter how farfetched, that they could turn into fact.

‘Why the fuck are these people here?’ he muttered to himself, giving his car horn three distinct blasts in an attempt to get people to move. The assembled throng begrudgingly parted, allowing his car to slowly move between them and up to the police cordon. As he parked up and got out of his car, he heard a voice he instantly recognised, ‘Will, Will, DI Scott.’ Looking up, the detective saw Lucien Palmer, local journalist on the Bridlington Free Press. The two men had grown up as friends, both respected each other’s professional position and never pushed the respective boundaries. Lucien wanted a story, whereas Will didn’t yet have a story to give him. He gave a nod of acknowledgement as he ducked and moved through the ribbon of blue and white police cordon tape.

It was a warm humid night which didn’t help with the crowd’s behaviour. Many had been drinking and were full of Dutch courage, shouting obscenities at the officers guarding the property. Jeff Powell, an experienced uniform sergeant, moved forward to greet the detective. ‘Sorry to call you out sir, but we had no option.’

‘No problem Jeff, we need to get this crowd well away from the scene, get the dog handlers down here to help move them.’ Both men moved slowly towards the front garden of the property.

‘Run me through what’s happened, who was first on scene and make sure we have full details of everyone who has been inside the house.’

‘The first officers to arrive were PCs Smith and Gaskell. They’re at the front gate if you need to speak to them. The only people to have entered the house are those two PCs and myself.’

Will approached PC Smith and asked what he knew.

‘Sir, pardon my French, but its fucking grim in there,’ he nodded towards the house.  Will frowned and thanked Smith for his thorough appraisal of the situation.

‘Jeff, can you arrange for a forensic tent to be erected outside the front door. Without seeing the internal layout, is it worth having a second one set up at the rear?’

‘Yes sir, I’ll get forensics to sort that once they get here.’

The detective was deep in thought. ‘I don’t suppose you know who the victim is, it’s probably going to be one of our usual CRO’s isn’t it? So next of kin are bound to be local. Can you get someone to speak with the immediate neighbours on each side of the property, Jeff?  Once they know anything, come directly to me, I

don’t want loose talk so the officer is to tell no one else.’

‘He’s not CRO sir, I’ve never clapped eyes on him before this evening. I’ll get all of that done straight away. Do you want me to take you to the crime scene and show you the body?’

Will was showing some reluctance in entering the house, he wasn’t good with the unique smell of murder nor with dead bodies, yet he knew he had to confront this one as senior investigating officer.

‘Yes please, Jeff, go and get an officer to speak with neighbours and visit those premises I mentioned, and I’ll grab us a couple of Tyvek suits.’

Minutes later, Scott and Powell were donning the high-density polythene forensic suits., They were far from flattering, but they were super-efficient at keeping crime scene areas sterile and free from cross-contamination. As they walked towards the bright red front door, Powell grabbed the detective by the left arm and stopped him in his tracks. ‘Sir, it’s like PC Smith said, it’s fucking gruesome in there, and it stinks to high heaven.’ Will nodded but in his own mind he thought the sergeant meant the house was unclean and smelled dirty.

He followed his colleague into the house, first passing along a tiny front hall and through a door on the left that led to the living room. He was surprised at how clean and smart it was, he couldn’t smell anything and wondered whether the uniform boys were taking the piss out of him. As he moved into the central area of the room, Jeff Powell stepped to one side, and pointed to an area directly in front of Will. ‘Here he is, the poor bastard’s really suffered.’

The detective’s eyes darted around the room, scanning his surroundings until they finally came to rest on the back of a man’s head. The body was seated in a wooden chair facing away from him. ‘Christ, what’s that fucking smell, has he burnt his bacon sarnies under the grill or what?’ Will gagged before stepping closer to the body, edging to a position where he was standing in front of the corpse. The sight caused him to take a deep breath. ‘Fucking hell Jeff, what is this? It’s like a scene from a slasher movie.’ He ran from the room, out into the front garden and doubled over, projectile vomited his spaghetti Bolognese dinner into the manicured green grass.

Jeff Powell emerged from the house soon after, and stood beside the detective, giving him a reassuring pat on the back, ‘I told you it was bad sir, it’s a little bit easier to stomach the second time you see it, you can kind of prepare yourself for the horror. Sir, DS Wright is here, I think you need to stand up.’

Daisy Wright was Will’s sidekick. The pair had worked together for almost two years. She slim with blonde hair neatly tied in a bun on top of her head.  Daisy had transferred on promotion to Eastborough from Northamptonshire Police two years previously. Like Will she was sharp, eagle eyed and intuitive – very little got past her.

‘You okay boss?’ she asked as she approached the doubledup form of her DI. ‘What do you think?’ he replied sarcastically. Jeff Powell walked away and left the detectives to talk between themselves. Daisy was writing down notes on a clipboard.

‘What have we got here, boss? Drug related? Have you heard about the other body in the mortuary? The police surgeon was examining it and discovered it’s got no hands and the tongue has been cut out.’

‘Christ, that sounds extreme,’ exclaimed Will ‘Two in one night. As you say, both probably drug related and territorial.’

Daisy nodded. ‘Yes, the other body was found on the beach, naked and tucked under the sea wall. Some kids found it. Poor buggers.’

Will took a deep gulp of the warm night air. ‘Daisy, this crime scene is anything but normal. Fuck, to be honest, I’ve never seen anything like this before.’ He shook his head in disbelief. ‘Get suited up, we’re going back inside. But be warned, this is the most disgusting sight you’re likely to see – this bloke is a real mess.’

Daisy had never seen her boss so shaken up and couldn’t imagine what the scene must be like to affect him so badly. Within moments, the pair entered the house, this time Will led the way. As they moved through the rooms, Daisy busily took down notes and points of interest that were identified by her boss. These areas would be further examined by forensics when they arrived. Reaching the body Will tentatively moved around the corpse until he was standing directly in front of it. He then gestured to Daisy to join him, warning her to get out of the house if she thought she was going to be sick. The smell was overpowering, it wasn’t bacon as flippantly suggested by Will a few minutes earlier but burning human flesh.

‘Think of it as an object, not a human being,’ he told his sergeant. ‘Try to detach yourself from your emotions.’ He glanced towards her and was surprised to see that she didn’t seem fazed by the horrific state of the body. ‘What do you reckon, what’re your thoughts?’

There was so much to take in. The corpse had been nailed to the chair and the floor, two large nails through the back of each hand and a further two through his feet through the carpet and into the floorboards. The body was naked, the clothes neatly folded on a sofa behind him. Dark red blood covered the groin area and pooled on the seat of the chair before dripping onto the carpet beneath. Moving up the body, Daisy noted the victim’s stomach had rows of symmetrical gouges. Both nipples had been removed, cut away, probably with a knife or scalpel. His face was simply a mess. Protruding from each eyeball was a slim wooden kebab stick, not that the eyeballs were recognisable, they had been burnt like the rest of his face. On a table nearby was a small kitchen blow torch, the obvious cause of the burning. Beside that was a cheese grater with what appeared to be human skin hanging from its rough cutting blades. The remains of the eyelids were open, only because they had been stapled into that position. As Daisy looked more closely, she thought his mouth had an odd shape about it. ‘There’s something in his mouth I think,’ she said as she pointed to a small trickle of blood running down the dead man’s chin.  Both officers knew not to touch anything until the forensics’ team had done their work.

Daisy took countless photographs of the scene and of the body in situ. She knew that forensics would be hours taking the crime scene and surrounding area apart, so it was useful to have something to work with. As she photographed all areas of the room she saw a flicker of light on a table full of papers. A laptop.

The computer lid hadn’t been closed properly, the machine was still on. She called Will. The two officers carefully opened up the screen part of the laptop, gently lifting it away from the keyboard, causing it to spark into life.

‘See if you can see what it is he’s been looking at, it might give us a clue what this bloke was up to.’

They saw a word document that held lists of names, dozens of them, none of them readily recognisable. ‘We need to seize this Daisy. Take plenty of photographs of it as we found it, make sure you record its exact position on the desk. This is so fucking weird, this guy must have been a dealer I reckon, maybe that list is all of his clients?  I can’t think of anything else that might warrant such a bloody awful death.’

Daisy agreed. Jeff Powell walked in.

‘Sir, I think we have a name for the victim,’ he said. ‘He’s not

CRO but he is known to us.’  ‘Who is it?’ enquired Daisy.

‘Allan Roberts.’

‘Will looked bemused. ‘Who the fuck is Allan Roberts when he’s at home?’

‘He’s a local councillor sir, you must know him. He’s the Crime and Disorder portfolio holder, a Conservative I think?’

‘Do we have a wife, a family, any relatives?’ asked Will.

‘Not that I know of sir, the neighbours say he lives here alone, although he does have regular visitors, but they don’t seem to stay long. He was last seen alive at about 3pm yesterday afternoon, carrying shopping from his car into the house.’

Behind Powell, a crowd of forensic officers all suited up arrived at the front door.  A gruff Yorkshire voice enquired, ‘Who is the SIO here? What have you got for us?’

Will stepped forward and ushered everyone outside the house, while he briefed Mark Daniel, the senior crime scene officer. He instructed that the body should remain in situ until he authorised its removal.

‘I want you to give this place a thorough going over please. The offender or offenders must have left their DNA all over that room. The victim has been tortured, suffering serious injuries. There is no way on earth that all of those injuries could be inflicted without leaving some trace behind. I’ve seized a laptop computer from a table in there. It may help us identify the killer or killers. I’ll show you where it was Mark, okay?’

Daisy returned to the police station ahead of Will. The forensics team were left to their scientific processes. The sheer logistics of the crime would create manpower issues for the general policing of the town and the place was packed with tourists. The presence of a second body at the mortuary added to the mayhem.

Acknowledging this, Will again approached Powell. ‘I want uniform to protect this scene until further notice, 24/7. Have we got any PCSO’s on duty or can we call some specials out to cover this Jeff. We can clear away the onlookers, take the road cordon right back in all directions and control entry and exit for the locals. I’d better get back to the nick, make some calls and arrange a press briefing. I’ll get some CID and spare uniforms down here for house to house. They can liaise with you.’  Powell nodded.

In the crowd Will saw his friend Lucien, still waiting to speak to him. He beckoned him through the cordon, away from prying ears. ‘Lucien mate, how are you?’ he said gripping the journalist’s outstretched hand.

‘I’m fine Will, how about you? I take it you’re duty officer this weekend? What’s going on – surely with all this fuss it’s got to be a

murder, another druggie I suppose?’

‘I’ll be honest Lucien, I don’t know. It’s early stages, we are obviously treating it as a suspicious incident, but I can’t say any more. I’m heading back to organise a press conference.  I’ll get the press officer to give you a call when it’s arranged and we have something to say. Please don’t promote any theories about murder or anything else. We don’t want panic, the bloody town’s busy enough already. We don’t want the curious and the morbid swarming in. I promise, once we know anything, you’ll be made aware. I have to go – my superintendent is waiting. Be safe, mate.’

As he made his way back a hundred thoughts were spinning through Will’s mind. Primarily, he needed to let Mel know he wouldn’t be home until tomorrow at the earliest.  As he pulled into one of the police parking bays in Ashville Street, a pale-looking Daisy Wright was waiting for him.

‘Christ boss, I’m shaking like a leaf. What we saw back there has just hit me. Who the hell would do something like that?’

With his arm on her shoulder Will and guided her up to the CID office.

‘Well, what the hell do we do now. Who do we notify first?’ she asked.

‘First things first Daisy. We have a mug of tea, and then we call home. Your fella needs to know that you won’t be home until God knows when, and I’m going to ring Mel. Then we prioritise our calls thereafter. We need a script to report it to the Chief and the

governors. They’ll ask the same questions and want to be absolved of any ownership or responsibility for the investigation, so we make it clear that everything is under control and that we’ll keep them updated. Don’t complicate matters by mentioning the other

body in the mortuary. We’ll deal with that shortly.’

‘I tell you what boss, if it is that Councillor Roberts, there’ll be loads of media enquiries, political interest and without doubt, interference.’

Will agreed and questioned the motive for killing a mere councillor in such a horrific manner.

‘If it is him, then he must have seriously pissed someone off. It’s not like his position is full time or controversial even, he’s an amateur politician living in a little Yorkshire seaside town. He’s hardly likely to be involved in anything of national importance. I always think that people connected to the local authority tend to be a bit wishy washy. Once we’ve notified everyone who needs to know we can start digging into his background. It would be a whole lot easier if he had previous for something.’

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Book Review: The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

The Other Woman By Sandie Jones

 

Author: Sandie Jones

Hardcover:304 pages

Publisher: Minotaur Books (August 21, 2018)

ISBN-10:125019198X

ISBN-13:978-1250191984

Buy Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review

Synopsis:

HE LOVES YOU.

Adam adores Emily. Emily thinks Adam is perfect. The man she thought she’d never meet.

BUT SHE LOVES YOU NOT.

Lurking in the shadows is a rival, a woman who shares a deep bond with the man Emily loves.

AND SHE’LL STOP AT NOTHING.

Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother, Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

Quote from The Other Woman, by Sandie Jones

My Thoughts:

I couldn’t wait to dive in to this psychological thriller. Upon starting the book, I was drawn to Emily. Within the first few pages, she finds the love of her life, Adam. In her eyes, he’s perfect. However, Emily quickly finds out that his mother, Pammie, isn’t so perfect. I quickly became concerned for Emily, as Pammie’s behavior towards her was less than desirable. It was frustrating to me as a reader that she allowed herself to be treated in such a manner by her future mother-in-law.  There were SO many red flags that she let slide. I guess when you’re planning to marry the perfect man, you also marry his not-so-perfect family. BEWARE OF PAMMIE! I look forward to reading more of Sandie Jones books in the future.

I want to thank St. Martin’s Press for sending me an ARC copy of Sandie Jones’s debut novel, “The Other Woman”.

Rating:

3-stars

About the Author:

Sandie Jones has worked as a freelance journalist for more than twenty years and has written for The Sunday Times, Woman’s Weekly and the Daily Mail, among other publications. She lives in London with her husband and three children.  The Other Woman is her debut novel.

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