Kid to Killer by Paul Elliott

Kid to Killer by Paul Elliott

A fifteen year old boy sees it as his duty to rid Edinburgh of the scum that prey on the innocent people of the city. He finds that to punish the guilty he must first face fear,loss and betrayal.

He will soon discover things aren’t always as they seem, and there are other people who have uses for a young killer as well as bigger forces at play.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Kid to Killer follows a 15 year old boy, Paul, from a relatively affluent background. He transfers to a school in a more rough part of Edinburgh. He quickly falls in with a group of boys on the fringes at school, those considered strange. He becomes fast friends with them, and learns about how life works in the darker parts of Edinburgh.Kid To Killer CoverThe streets are riddled with vagrancy and drug abusers, known as zombies. Crime lurks in the darkest corners, waiting to strike. Most residents in the Wester Hailes accept that life is what it is, and not much can be done about it. But Paul feels obligated to help clean up the city. Following run-ins with a known addict, Paul and his friends find themselves targeted once again by a group of “zombies”. An act of self-defence sees the demise of the two addicts and a life changing injury for one friend changes the lives of them all.

This one event sets Paul of on a track of vigilantism, a personal mission to clean up the city with the help of a group of people financing and guiding him to his next kill. The story flows from kill to kill, each target just as despicable as the last. The rest of the book charts one kill to the next, and Paul’s evolving relationship with his co-conspirators.

While the victims for the most part are worthy, the ethics of those giving Paul his targets become muddied over time. My other problem with the book is one of remorse. It almost struck me as though the story is glamourising murder as a means to deal with societal problems. The story is well-written enough, but the sense that there was little remorse from the characters combined with what felt a bit of an abrupt ending did slightly temper my enjoyment of the book.

My rating:
okaybook

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Dead Man’s Badge by Robert E. Dunn

Dead Man’s Badge by Robert E. Dunn

Career criminal Longview Moody, on the run from killers, assumes his dead, twin brother’s identity as the new Chief of Police of a Texas town that’s being terrorized by a Mexican drug cartel. To pull off the deadly deception, Longview desperately works to become the kind of cop and man that his brother was. But when the two lives he’s living converge, he’s forced to embrace the violence within him to get justice…and vengeance.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

I have to confess, I wasn’t certain how or where this books was leading to when I started out. We start out meeting our leading man, Longview Moody, digging his own grave in the Mexican desert in the dead of night. It looks like running money across borders for the drug cartels has caught up with him. I did have a concern though: was Dead Man’s Badge going to end up being a story of how Moody ended up here? Was there going to be a “3 weeks earlier” moment? Thankfully that didn’t turn out to be the case at all.
Dead Man's Badge CoverWhat I got instead was an intense roller coaster ride of political and agency corruption and powerful drug lords. Longview Moody escapes his early grave but the trouble keeps following him around. The untimely death of his police officer half-brother in his trailer, potentially mistaken for Longview, gave him a chance to assume the identity – a bad guy gone good.

As Moody discovers more about his half-brother, he begins to wonder if the hit really was a case of mistaken identity. In too deep, he decides to keep going and growing into his new, rejuvenated life to root out the corruption engulfing the small border town of Lansdale. The multiple factions vying for control over the area ramp up their intimidation tactics testing Moody and his new identity to the limit.

Dead Man’s Badge makes for a fun read, dark and brooding with a fast pace to boot. What I thought was an obvious direction for this book totally surprised me and kept me entertained until the final page.

My rating:
goodread

The Truth Will Out by Brian Cleary

The Truth Will Out by Brian Cleary

The novel is set in Ireland. The friendship of Jamie, Shane and Mary Kate is tested to the limit after Mary Kate is brutally raped and lies in a coma. The evidence against Jamie is overwhelming and is compounded by the fact he maintains he cannot recall what happened that night. However, the one secret that Jamie has never disclosed can prove his innocence.

Corrupt guards, a narcissistic film director and his mercenary private detective, an ex-girlfriend, a serial killer and an inept solicitor all weave a complicated compelling plot with twists and turns right to the end. A gripping read.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Having recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Olivia Kiernan’s Irish crime-thriller Too Close To Breathe, I was really looking forward to another Irish book in the same genre. The Truth Will Out follows Jamie Ryan; a troubled boy with a short fuse and a violent, ferocious temper. Something that would normally not trigger more than a flash-in-the-pain argument would trigger Jamie to react with his fists. He struggled to control it throughout the years, attacking friends, school rugby opponents, anyone who angered him.
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As he grew his discovery of religion seemed to help him settle, calm himself and regain control when the rage swept through him. That is, until one fateful night celebrating a 21st birthday. The significant amount of alcohol imbued clouded his judgement, causing him to explode over a minor situation and storm out. Having passed out drunk, Jamie is awoken by police in the apartment of best friend Mary Kate who has been assaulted in the most violent, and ultimately fatal way. Maybe Jamie isn’t so in control of his anger.

Things may not be exactly as they seem in this case, and slowly the intricacies come to late. A major plot twist only serves to confuse this story unfortunately. It becomes unclear who we are following, and even when that comes out it is not immediately clear why. I think the intention was to make a mystery with some plot twists to keep the reader guessing, however it feels a confused jumble.

The Truth Will Out offered up a lot of potential for a thrilling crime mystery, and my hopes were high following my previous crime mystery novel set in Ireland. Sadly, the jumble of story lines made for a somewhat confusing read that really broke my immersion in the story. By no means the worst thing I have read, it was difficult to love this book.

My rating:
okaybook

Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan

Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan

TOO SOON TO SEE
Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.
TOO LATE TO HIDE
DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.
TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE
As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.
Olivia Kiernan’s debut is a bold, brilliant thriller that will keep you guessing and leave you breathless.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a must read for me from the moment I read the description. I immediately responded to the email asking for bloggers to take part in a blog tour for Olivia Kiernan’s debut novel and the first in a series featuring tough-as-nails Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan. When I came home from work to find a black bubble pack waiting for me, I couldn’t wait to open it. And my excitement was well-justified; the publishers having put together a fantastic promo pack. Alongside the book was a printed copy of the coroner report for victim Eleanor Costello, along with a pocket notebook and pencil to keep notes and a bag of (very nice, might I add) coffee to keep me going throughout the case. Colour me impressed, I am such a sucker for a good PR gimmick!

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More importantly though, on to the book – Too Close To Breathe. Having read my fair share of murder mysteries this year, to date Kiernan has taken the top spot. Set in the dark and dreary Autumn and Winter of the Emerald Isle, tortured DCS Sheehan finds herself staring down the barrel of what appears to be a straightforward suicide investigation. Following an assault while chasing a murder, this looks like a simple case to ease her way back into detective work. But nothing is as it seems as the body count begins to rise, as does the list of suspects with one motive or another.
With her own tortured past to come to terms with Sheehan and her team need to ensnare the killer before they strike again. But how do you stop a monster that loves to play dead? This case forces Sheehan to delve into her tortured past, the mind of a calculated and devious killer and the darkest corners of the Dark Web just to stay on an ever-cooling trail.
I have read a lot of murder mysteries of late, all entertaining books, but most at some point reach a stage where the identity of the murderer becomes clear before the reveal. Kiernan has managed to keep the murderer a mystery all the way up until the point Sheehan works it out. A host of possible, and entirely plausible suspects all with reasonable motives make this one of the best murder mysteries I have read. Too Close To Breathe offers a damaged protagonist, a twisted killer and an horrific insight into the dark web. I look forward to seeing future cases involving DCS Frankie Sheehan.

My rating:
I feel the need to preface my rating for this book. Maybe I need to create a new icon. This book rates so highly with me, that it is one of my books of 2018 at this early stage of the year! Once I come up with a badge, I will update it here and maybe start a new annual review feature for my top books of the year!
goodread

Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe by Richard Dee

Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe by Richard Dee

Meet Andorra Pett; with her trusty sidekick, she’s taken over a derelict cafe. On a mining station. It just happens to be orbiting Saturn! She’s hoping for a fresh start, away from all the drama of her old life. It’s a chance to relax and start again in a place where nobody knows anything about her or her past.

But the cafe holds a secret, and secrets have a habit of coming out; whether you want them to or not. And being accident prone doesn’t help. The more you try to pretend that you know what’s going on, the worse it gets.

Andorra’s plans for peace and quiet get lost amid the revelations and skulduggery and she soon realises that the fate of the whole station lies in her hapless hands.

In space, you can still trip over your feet; the question is, will you land upright?

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

From the off this book caught my eye. The cover intrigued me with a very 1950s Americana style to it which I love. The book itself didn’t let me down either. Having read the synopsis for the first installment of the Andorra Pet series I was looking forward to a mystery read with a bit of a lighthearted slant.

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The story follows our protagonist, Andorra Pett, having fled her cheating ex on Earth and ending up on a mining space station orbiting Saturn. Andorra and her best friend and business partner, having left their clothing shop in London behind them, take on the cafe on the station in an attempt to make a new life for themselves.

It seems even in space Andorra cannot avoid drama. Her dreams for a new life of peace and quiet are scuppered when she discovers the body of the previous owner taking an eternal sleep in the cafe freezer. From here things only get stranger and stranger for Andorra and Cy. Twists and turns abound as the duo meet friends and foes in equal measure.

Richard Dee has crafted a fantastic crime mystery, but rather than being typically bleak, Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe is filled with humour. The mystery winds its way around a well-crafted setting with an unexpected resolution. A series of almost-comical characters help create an entertaining world including genius twins, the confident Andorra and an almost mob boss-like villain. These all help contribute to the thrills and spills Andorra and Cy find themselves in. There are clearly more adventures awaiting Andorra that I cannot wait to read.

My rating:
goodread

Leaving Styxworth by Danny Beattie

Leaving Styxworth by Danny Beattie

The second part of the Styxworth saga sees Peter and Bex embark on an epic quest to rescue his father from the clutches of the Corruption.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Leaving Styxworth is the follow-up story to Danny Beattie’s Welcome to Styxworth. Having enjoyed the first book I was keen to see how the author was going to carry on the story, develop the core characters, all without the concept becoming stale.

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The feel in this second book is very different, the transition from the discovery of Styxworth – a kind of limbo between the worlds of the living and the dead to a place where our key character, Pete, is fully aware of its existence, even though he resides in the land of the living. This awareness permeates his day to day life in a way that is somewhat poignant. Loss is an emotion that cuts through things in Pete’s everyday life, as does a curiosity to see his friend Bex back in Styxworth.

Bettie creates a carefully crafted story bringing a good reason for Pete to return to Styxworth. The story focuses on the concept of Dante’s classic, Inferno which is something I have always had an interest in. It is a loose connection to the classic work, building solidly on the concept creating a sense of foreboding as Pete and Bex descend through this version of hell.

My rating:
goodread

Killed by Thomas Enger

Killed by Thomas Enger

Henning Juul sits in a boat on a dark lake. A man with a gun sits opposite him. At the man’s feet is a body that will be soon be dumped into the water. Henning knows that the same fate awaits him. And he knows that it’s his own fault. Who started the fire that killed Henning’s young son? How is his sister, Trine, involved? Most importantly, who can be trusted? Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-waited finale of the internationally renowned series featuring conflicted, disillusioned but always dogged crime reporter Henning Juul, and one of the most chilling, dark and moving crime thrillers you may ever read.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Here on Books and Beyond Reviews, I’ve read and reviewed a lot of crime thrillers. So you might think by now that perhaps I have tired of this genre by now. That’s not the case, though I do feel like my expectations for a thriller have risen. So when I was offered the opportunity to join a blog tour for Norwegian crime thriller, Killed, I was thrilled to give it a shot.

KILLED COVER AW 2.indd

Killed follows Henning Juul, a man seeking answers as to who caused the death of his son, bringing more trouble upon himself as he goes. The story starts with Henning staring down the final moments of his life, accepting the inevitable. The opening casts a dark cloud over the book, that only deepens as the story unfolds.

Many of the thrillers I have read recently tend to be fast-paced, high-octane books with a lot of action. Killed follows what appears to be the basis for many Scandinavian noir books and films. Though I must confess this is a judgement made without any personal experience until now. It is slow, methodical and dark. The story progresses, but rather than with a frenetic pace, it does so with a steady flow from one theory, one lead, to the next.

I really enjoyed the Killed. It moved at a more sedate pace than I have become accustomed to but Enger still manages to ratchet up the tension, building a sense of impending tragedy. The threat throughout feels real and the book moves along towards a well-crafted ending. I will be looking out for further Scandinavian noir to add to my growing list of books to read.

My rating:
goodread