Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

Fallen Angel

In Fallen Angel we are introduced to the Temple family through Ivy – a young woman so traumatised by her past that she has changed her identity.

She is pretty hard to like at the beginning of the story – what could possibly have made her like this?

As we get to know the rest of the family, and the layers are peeled back and the secrets are revealed, it becomes clear that Ivy had good reason to do what she did.

Told from multiple viewpoints, and with a dual timeline, the truth slowly comes to light in this expertly plotted, chilling and compelling drama; you won’t be able to put it down.

I’m a big fan of Chris Brookmyre’s witty series of novels featuring Jack Parlabane (look out for a cameo), but this character-driven thriller takes his writing to a whole new level.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy to review.   

Cold As the Grave by James Oswald

Cold as the Grave

This is the ninth book in the Tony McLean series and they just keep getting better and better.

Not entirely happy in his new role as DCI, Tony escapes from the growing pile of paperwork to help out at a far-right demonstration. He stumbles across the body of a child that looks almost mummified but, far from being a cold case, this is the beginning of a harrowing investigation into the treatment of refugees and illegal immigrants.

There is also the added element of the supernatural that makes this series so different, but in the hands of James Oswald is made to seem perfectly plausible.

The cast of characters are so well drawn and familiar that you sometimes forget they are fictional – Grumpy Bob, Madame Rose and, my favourite, Mrs McCutcheon’s cat. McLean’s old nemesis (Mrs Saifre) is back too, and he still does not trust her one little bit.

This is a dark and disturbing tale, told with great sensitivity and I look forward to reading the next one.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review  

A Lot of Nerve by Ian McCulloch

A Lot of Nerve

A Lot of Nerve is an impressive debut novel featuring small-time villain, Jonesy. Despite his ‘dodgy deals’, he is somehow a very likeable character; the reader is definitely on his side.

The story is mostly told from Jonesy’s point of view with occasional insights into the minds of others. This helps to move the story forward.

It has a striking cover, touches of humour and some wonderfully quirky characters that come to life on the page; it would be easy to imagine it turned into a movie.

I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Jonesy. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft

A Summer to Remember

I have long been a fan of Sue Moorcroft’s writing, and A Summer to Remember is yet another example of her superb storytelling.

This is no sugar-coated romance, but real characters facing, and dealing with, real-life problems.

At the beginning we feel for Clancy; her life has been turned upside down, but she is resourceful and resilient. She goes to Nelson’s Bar to lick her wounds, but comes to love the place and doesn’t want to leave.  

Sue paints a vivid picture of the North Norfolk coast and you can almost smell the salty sea air in ‘Sunny Hunny’ (Hunstanton).

The characters are well drawn and completely convincing, even the horrible ones. I particularly liked Dilys and Ernie, who stayed married but lived next door to each other, Harry and Rory, whose story is told with great sensitivity, and Nelson the dog.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy to review.   

A Girl's Best Friend by Jules Wake

A Girls Best Friend

I have read other books by Jules Wake (try From Italy with Love) and this is well up to her usual standard.

Ella is in a bad place at the start and just wants to hide away and get on with her book illustrations. To her horror, she discovers that looking after a dog is part of the deal when she agreed to house-sit for her godmother, Magda, who has gone travelling.

I’m more of a cat person but found myself won over by Tess and the beneficial effect she has on Ella’s life. Despite her best intentions, she is not allowed to hide away; the locals are extremely friendly and, of course, there is a handsome vet.

Ella’s backstory is gradually revealed and it becomes apparent why she had to flee to the country. The characters are well rounded, the setting is convincingly real and Tess will steal your heart. I really enjoyed A Girl’s Best Friend and will be looking out for her next one.