Monday, 21 March 2016

Little Boy Blue - MJ Arlidge

"Detective Inspector Helen Grace is no stranger to tragedy. But when a body is found in a Southampton nightclub, the death cuts too close to the bone.
Hiding her personal connection to the victim - and a double-life which must remain secret at all costs - Helen becomes a woman possessed, working her team around the clock to chase down every lead.
As the killer strikes again, the investigation takes its toll not only on Helen but also her senior officers. Tempers flare, friendships fray and Helen faces an impossible choice.
Confess her sins and lose control of the case? Or keep living a lie, protecting her darkest secrets, and risk getting trapped in this tangled web?
But whatever she does, this killer will not stop until the truth is revealed: there are some fates worse than death . . ."

I love Helen Grace. She is a TOTAL badass. Plus, she hangs around in my old manor, so she must be alright. 
I've enjoyed every one of MJ Arlidge's books in the Helen Grace series, but this one blew me away. Starting with a shocking murder, one that made me stop for a minute as I couldn't quite believe it (and I recommend you read the others in the series so that you can fully appreciate the impact of the murder in this book!), the team are thrown into the murky world of S&M to try and uncover the killer. 

As usual, Arlidge treats us to a fast-paced roller-coaster ride, with this latest instalment being, in my opinion, the best one yet. The killer is revealed, and is someone that I was NOT expecting, and the explosive ending is superb - I, for one, am definitely left hanging, desperately hoping that Arlidge gets pen to paper as soon as possible, because I cannot WAIT for the next Helen Grace novel. 

Little Boy Blue is out now and you can get it, and the rest of the Helen Grace novels (which you really must do if you want to get fully blown away by this book!) here:

**My thanks to the publisher for my ARC**

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Jihadi, A Love Story - Yusuf Toropov

"A former intelligence agent stands accused of terrorism, held without charge in a secret overseas prison. His memoir is in the hands of a brilliant but erratic psychologist whose annotations paint a much darker picture. As the story unravels, we are forced to assess the truth for ourselves, and decide not only what really happened on one fateful overseas assignment but who is the real terrorist. Peopled by a diverse and unforgettable cast of characters, whose reliability as narrators is always questioned, and with a multi-layered plot heaving with unexpected and often shocking developments, Jihadi: A Love Story is an intelligent thriller that asks big questions.

Complex, intriguing and intricately woven, this is an astonishing debut that explores the nature of good and evil alongside notions of nationalism, terrorism and fidelity, and, above all, the fragility of the human mind."

I can always rely on Orenda Books to send me quality books to review - stuff that pushes me out of my comfort zone, but this one really stretched me. I wasn't at all sure whether I would enjoy it, despite a cracking blurb. All I can say now, after finishing it, is WOW. A difficult, complex read that took me longer than average to read (possibly because I felt the need to let things digest between chapters), this was actually a brilliant read. It's a complicated read, so don't pick it up thinking you'll whizz through it in a weekend, because you won't, but it was one that slowly reeled me in until I felt like I had no option but to read to the end. 
Even now, a week after I've finished reading, I still don't know whose side of the story is the true one - the novel is written in the form of a manuscript, written by unreliable narrator, which is then annotated by ANOTHER unreliable narrator - see what I mean by complicated? Both sides are equally believable, and while some things that are written are slightly distasteful, or shocking, it didn't stop me from enjoying it. I've been left mulling things over, thinking about circumstances and the characters, long after I've finished the book. That, to me, can only be a good thing. 

Jihadi - A Love Story is out now and you can get it here:

**My thanks to the publisher for my ARC**