Love on Location by Lynne Shelby

Love On Location by Lynne Shelby

In Love on Location, Laurel is tasked with rewriting the script of the time-slip movie Swords and Sandals, only to find she has been paired up with an archaeology professor to ensure historical accuracy. As Laurel is used to working alone, there is a bit of friction between them to start with but, knowing they have no choice but to make the best of it, they slowly come to appreciate each other’s expertise.

I have read and enjoyed Lynne Shelby’s previous books based in the world of film and theatre. She always shows both sides of working in the entertainment industry, and balances the glamour with a realistic portrayal of the hard slog and disappointments behind the scenes. Here we get fascinating glimpses behind the scenes on a film set, and find out just how temperamental a director can be.   

The large cast of characters are well written and believable, though there were one or two occasions when Laurel and Jason’s behaviour did not ring true.  The idyllic Greek locations are depicted in vivid detail – I particularly enjoyed the sojourn in Athens as Jason shows Laurel round the ancient sites and explains the history behind them. The only aspect I had a slight problem with was that someone who writes screenplays for a living would not read books.

I really enjoyed escaping to the Greek island of Kyros, and look forward to Lynne Shelby’s next foray into life in the entertainment world. Thanks to Headline Accent and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.

Miss Wetherham's Wedding by Linore Rose Burkard

Miss Wetherhams Wedding by Linore Rose Burkard

Miss Wetherham’s Wedding is the third book in the Brides of Mayfair series by Linore Rose Burkard set in London in the early nineteenth century. Having been left a widow at a fairly young age, Lettie Wetherham’s future is anything but secure, especially as she expresses no desire to marry again.

Nicholas Dellacort’s nose is out of joint because Sophia Alden’s father has accepted an offer for her hand from the much wealthier Lord Elston, Earl Brest instead of him. Learning of Lettie’s reputation as a matchmaker, he hires her to disrupt the engagement but things do not go according to plan. Lettie is well out of her comfort zone as Nick promises that each awkward encounter will be the last but, due to her dire financial situation, she really has no choice but to carry on.

The characters are well developed and the chemistry between them makes for some amusing conversations. The authentic period feel of London during the season is convincing, obviously the result of a lot of research, and the helpful glossary is useful for filling in any gaps in the reader’s knowledge. I have read a lot of Regency novels, but still learned some new expressions. I really enjoyed Miss Wetherham’s Wedding and now plan to go back and read the second one in the series.

Thanks to Linore Rose Burkard for a digital copy of Miss Wetherham’s Wedding that I review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

The Killing Kind is a dark and disturbing psychological thriller where nothing can be taken at face value. Ingrid is a barrister who has had dealings with John Webster in the past; now he’s out of prison, but is he up to his old tricks? Ingrid fears the worst, that her life is in danger, but he claims to be trying to protect her. Every time you think you know what’s going on, Jane Casey takes you off in a completely different direction. The well-plotted and gripping narrative jumps back and forward in time until all the layers are exposed and everyone is under suspicion.

The characters are well developed so that, even though there are a lot of them, they are easily distinguishable. John Webster is an interesting character; a manipulative conman whose behaviour is deeply unsettling even when he professes to be telling the truth. Though she is an intelligent woman, Ingrid is also under a lot of stress and for this reason sometimes behaves with complete disregard for her own safety.

I enjoyed The Killing Kind, with its insights into the world of the legal profession, and stayed up late into the night in order to finish it. This is the first book I have read by Jane Casey, but it won’t be the last; I now have the Maeve Kerrigan series to look forward to. Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.     

Dead Man's Grave by Neil Lancaster

Dead Mans Grave by Neil Lancaster

Dead Man’s Grave is a fast-paced and tense crime thriller, about revenge and a feud dating back to the nineteenth century, where corruption is discovered at the highest levels of Police Scotland. A former soldier, and officer with the Met, DS Max Craigie is now based at Gartcosh working for the Serious Organised Crime team. Although a native Scot, he does not quite fit in. DC Janie Calder, a privately educated graduate on the fast-track to promotion, is also having a hard time being accepted. Perhaps this is why they work well together when sent to investigate the disappearance of Tam Hardie, head of the most powerful criminal family in Glasgow, if not the whole of Scotland.

Tam is terminally ill and researching his family history when he goes missing; his last communication with his sons was rather cryptic. With only his mobile phone data to go on, Max and Janie narrow the search area down to somewhere in Caithness. It then quickly becomes apparent just how far the reach of the Hardie family into Police Scotland actually is. Desperate measures are called for as they can trust no one. Tam Hardie’s sons are not just mindless thugs, but educated and subtle villains who should not be underestimated.

Dead Man’s Grave is the first book I’ve read by Neil Lancaster, and I was so impressed I bought his Tom Novak series – Going Dark, Going Rogue and Going Back. If you have not discovered them yet, you are in for a treat. Unfortunately, there are only three of them, but hopefully there will be more. Neil’s background as an officer in the Met gives an authenticity to his writing, and the Scottish setting ensures this series will be a must-read for me. Max and Janie are well-written and credible characters, and I look forward to reading how they develop as the series goes on. Look out for The Blood Tide early next year. Thanks to HQ and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.    

Magpie by Elizabeth Day

Magpie by Elizabeth Day

Magpie is a very cleverly plotted, well-written psychological thriller where nothing is quite what it first seems. The book opens with one of the main female characters viewing a house where she and her new boyfriend are planning to live together and start a family. There is a sense that something is not quite right, but when the POV changes about a third of the way in, it takes the narrative in a totally different direction, rather than the obvious one I had been expecting.

I chose this book with no prior knowledge of what it was about, though I did recognise Elizabeth Day as one of the presenters of the excellent SkyArts book programme, and I think it helped to have an open mind. Magpie deals with some very difficult subjects with a lot of compassion; infertility, surrogacy, mental illness, toxic family relationships, to name but a few, are all woven seamlessly into the tense and unsettling narrative.

The story is told from the points of view of Marisa and Kate, neither of whom are reliable narrators, but I would have like some input from Jake as well. He remained less well defined as we only saw him through the eyes of others. The characters are well drawn, believable and memorable, though none of them are particularly likeable. The ending did seem a bit too neat considering how chaotic the rest of the book had been, but this is a minor criticism. I enjoyed Magpie and will be on the lookout for other books by Elizabeth Day. Thanks to Fourth Estate and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.