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SandraL

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  • reviews
  • 40
  • helpful votes
  • 38
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  • Splinter in the Blood

  • By: Ashley Dyer
  • Narrated by: Piers Hampton
  • Length: 12 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

Deceit, betrayal and tension abound in this chilling police procedural from dazzling new voice Ashley Dyer. Sergeant Ruth Lake and DCI Greg Carver are on the hunt for a serial killer who carefully poses his victims and covers every inch of their bodies in intricate, cryptic tattoos. Dubbed the 'Thorn Killer' by the media, the killer uses a primitive and excruciatingly painful thorn method to etch his victims. After many months, a breakthrough feels imminent. Then the killer gets personal....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant Police Procedural/Serial Killer Thriller

  • By SandraL on 18-03-19

Brilliant Police Procedural/Serial Killer Thriller

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-03-19

This is the first book I have read by this author. I discovered it after reading on a Facebook page that the author had received a 1 star review on Amazon because the reviewer had purchased the wrong format and the hardback she'd received was too heavy to read in bed! I was intrigud enough to look the book up on Amazon and the blurb made me buy, adding the audible narration.

I was a bit unsure about the book to begin with, not totally understanding what was going on, but I stuck with it and wow it is one hell of a story! It is an intense police procedural set in Liverpool which follows two investigations. The first is a particularly nasty serial killer who tattoos his victims using a thorn, slowly and very painfully. The second investigates the shooting at his home of the officer in charge of the serial killer case. The storyline has so many twists and turns that I felt I was spinning around, and I can’t believe anyone would be able to guess who the killer is! The writing is brilliant and the book is impossible to put down.

I loved the character of Ruth Lake who is a maverick who isn’t afraid to disobey her superiors if she feels they are wrong. I’m not too sure about the character of Greg Carver as I don’t feel we got to know him very well, though the fact that he began to see auras was fascinating.

The narration by Piers Hampton was brilliant and made the book come to life.

  • Longstone

  • The DCI Ryan Mysteries, Book 10
  • By: LJ Ross
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 121
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 109

Between the devil and the deep blue sea... Viking treasure is discovered beneath the icy waters of the North Sea, and local historian Dr Anna Taylor is called in to help catalogue the most exciting hoard in living memory. But when a shipwreck diver washes up dead, she’s soon out of her depth. Luckily, she knows just the person to call.... When DCI Ryan arrives at the picturesque fishing town of Seahouses, he's faced with an impenetrable wall of secrets and lies.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant..

  • By Salter on 11-03-19

The best book in the series .... so far!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-03-19

AlthoughI did really enjoy The Hermitage and its Italian setting, I was pleased that in the book DCI Ryan is back in the north east, in the coastal town of Seahouses. The North Sea plays a huge part in this book, which is a marine archaeological mystery. The Longstone of the title refers to Longstone lighthouse, which is famous because of Grace Darling’s role in rescuing survivors from the Forfarshire.

It was nice to see Jack Lowerson back at work in this book, as well as the rest of the team. The local people of Seahouses also played a big part in this book, especially the residents of the Cockle Inn, and they were so well drawn I could actually picture them. The storyline was fast paced and so interesting that I couldn’t stop listening. It was narrated once again the the wonderful Jonathan Keeble, and his narration made the book even more special, especially near the end where he built up the tension perfectly.

I loved all the marine archaeology details of this book which seemed to be well researched, and the vivid descriptions of the wild and beautiful Farne Islands. I’d definitely like to visit the area one day. This is one of my favourite books in the series. Can’t wait for the next!

  • The Hermitage

  • The DCI Ryan Mysteries, Book 9
  • By: LJ Ross
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 115
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 115

When an old man is found dead inside the ancient hermitage at Warkworth Castle, Northumbria CID are called in to investigate. With no apparent motive, it’s their job to unravel why he was murdered - and this time they’re forced to do it without their star detective.... DCI Ryan is thousands of miles away. He’s tracked a killer across Europe and has sworn not to return until he has his man in custody. Nathan Armstrong is a dangerous psychopath, but there’s just one problem - he’s also an international celebrity: a world-famous thriller writer with money and connections.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Brilliant DCI Ryan adventure..

  • By Salter on 07-03-19

Ryan and the gang go to Italy

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-03-19

This book sees Ryan pursuing an old adversary with Anna by his side in Florence while Phillips, MacKenzie and the rest of the team try to solve the murder of a reclusive boatman in Warkworth, though Phillips and MacKenzie eventually join Ryan in Florence. Whilst Ms Ross describes Florence beautifully I still missed the beautiful Northumberland locations which we are so used to in the Ryan books.

In this book we get to learn a little more about Ryan’s upbringing when he and Anna stay at his parents sumptuous Italian villa. I loved Magda, the housekeeper, and would like to hear more of her back story. But the hero of this book is definitely Frank Phillips, and the final scenes made me shed a few happy tears.

The story moves at a cracking pace and had me on the edge of my seat and ties up some loose ends from previous books very nicely.

As always Jonathan Keeble was an amazing narrator. His narration is spot on and he does all the different accents perfectly. Definitely one of my favourite narrators.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Crossing Places

  • By: Elly Griffiths
  • Narrated by: Jane McDowell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,494
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,336
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,331

When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, Ruth Galloway lectures at the University of North Norfolk. She lives happily alone in a remote place called Saltmarsh overlooking the North Sea and, for company; she has her cats Flint and Sparky, and Radio 4. When a child's bones are found in the marshes near an ancient site that Ruth worked on ten years earlier, Ruth is asked to date them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Crime and archaeology - what's not to like?!

  • By Adrian on 05-06-11

Archaeological mystery set on Norfolk marches

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-03-19

My first Elly Griffiths book was ‘The Stranger Diaries’ which I loved, so I decided to start reading her Ruth Galloway series. The book is set on the marshes in Norfolk and Ms Griffiths descriptions really help you to see how bleak and desolate the area can be. Ruth Galloway is not your usual heroine. She is short, a bit overweight, a cat lover, prefers her own company, but I liked her very much.

I was soon drawn into the story of two missing girls and I loved the archaeological element of the book, but it wasn’t quite as fast paced as I would have liked, which is why I gave it 4 stars and not 5.

I listened to the Audible version and the Jane McDowell was a brilliant narrator.

  • The Development

  • Cora Baxter Mysteries, Book 3
  • By: Jackie Kabler
  • Narrated by: Zara Ramm
  • Length: 8 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

After a stressful week, TV reporter Cora Baxter is ready for a quiet weekend. What she isn't counting on is witnessing the shocking death of a young woman on her way home. Cora discovers that 17-year-old Leanne has been protesting against a new housing development, angering the powerful establishment. Leanne’s death is ruled a suicide, but when puzzling information comes to light, Cora decides to investigate further.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lovely Cosy Mystery

  • By LeMiliere on 15-03-19

Mozzarella - listen and you'll understand!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-03-19

Cora, a roving reporter for a breakfast TVshow, is driving home from work one evening when a young woman, Leanne, jumps off a bridge straight onto her car. The police believe it’s suicide, but Leanne’s brother is convinced that she would never have done that, so Cora decides to investigate, and becomes convinced that it has something to do with a new housing development at the end of Leanne’s street.

I really enjoyed this cosy mystery (there’s no blood and gore), and though it is the third book in the series it reads well as a standalone. It is well written and fast paced with lots of twists and turns, but I did eventually guess who the killer was, though not until quite close to the end. I enjoyed reading the bits about Cora’s job as a roving reporter and it is clear that Ms Kabler uses her experience in TV to good effect. Cora is a great character – professional, fun, stubborn, a good friend and just plain nosey! The crew were brilliant too, and some of the banter was hilarious.

This book made a nice change from the more gory serial killer thrillers I often read and I have now purchased the first book in the series.

The narration by Zara Ramm was spot on.

  • The Taking of Annie Thorne

  • By: C. J. Tudor
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 263
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 243

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after 48 hours, she came back. Though she couldn't, or wouldn't, say what had happened to her. But something happened to my sister. I can't explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn't the same. She wasn't my Annie. I didn't want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Tudor King / Queen?

  • By Simon on 24-02-19

Better than The Chalk Man

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-19

Joe Thorne has moved back to his hometown of Arnhill, a place he vowed he would never return to. Long ago his eight year old sister Annie disappeared, and then after being gone for a couple of days she returned! Joe now has a job as a teacher at the local school, the one he attended as a child, after faking a glowing reference, and rents a notorious local house where a mother murdered her child. He also has big money troubles due to a gambling addiction, and owes a lot of money to the Fat Man. It soon becomes clear that there are people in the town who don’t want him to stay.

I had already read The Chalk Man, and while I enjoyed it I didn’t think it was worthy of all the hype. I thought this was a much better book. Once again it is clear that Ms Tudor is influenced by Stephen King, and quite soon into the book I was thinking of Pet Sematary, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

I was hooked right from the start. The book has such a dark, creepy supernatural feel to it and there are several familiar horror themes like the creepy one-eyed doll, Abbie-Eyes, and the scuttling beetles. The horror is mostly implied, rather than actually told, which makes it all the more scary.

I’m not sure I liked any of the characters, but they were interesting. Joe is an anti-hero, a mediocre teacher, a rubbish gambler and not particularly nice. Gloria the hitwoman was brilliant and intriguing and could have had a book of her own!

This is a bit of a slow burner, but I loved it and look forward to Ms Tudor’s next offering.

  • Game Theory

  • Katerina Carter Fraud Legal Thriller Series, Book 2
  • By: Colleen Cross
  • Narrated by: Petrea Burchard
  • Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

Someone is siphoning funds from billionaire Zachary Barron's currency hedge fund. Intent on prosecuting the thief to the fullest extent of the law, he hires Katerina "Kat" Carter, the best forensic accountant in the business, to follow the money trail. Both are shocked when it leads to Zachary's father, Nathan. And he's just the tip of the iceberg. Nathan belongs to a shadowy organization with global ties and unimaginable resources.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant 5 star audio book

  • By Simon on 13-03-19

Follow the Money

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-03-19

Before I read Exit Strategy, the first book in the series I was very sceptical about how exciting a book about a forensic accountant could be, but I was proved totally wrong, and was eager to read this book, the second in the series. It was just as good as the first.

It is a story about fraud on a global scale. Kat is a strong protagonist who has to use all her wits to ensure that justice prevails. On top of this Kat finds out that her uncle has Alzheimer's, along with his own money problems. Having had a couple of relatives with this sad disease I felt that it was handled and described sensitively and realistically by Ms Cross. The plot is fast paced and well written, with all the strands nicely tied up at the end. You do have to pay attention when reading/listening though to make sure you understand all the financial stuff.

It was nice to hear Petrea Burchard’s flawless narration again. I like it when there is continuity of narrators in a series.

  • Grey Magic

  • Realm of Smoke & Ashes, Book 1
  • By: JT Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Roshina Ratnam
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

Did real-life witch Raven Kane murder one of her clients? No one appreciates the irony of her situation more than Raven Kane: She’s a burnt-out witch...and that's the least of her problems. Accused of murder, this eccentric hexing-and-texting witch must explore her past lives in order to keep her freedom and find her way back to magic.    

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely GLORIOUS!

  • By Melanie Preston Lewis on 03-01-19

Raven Kane - a thoroughly modern witch!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-02-19

Raven Kane is a modern hexting, texting grey witch (neither black or white) living in a dilapidated house full of animals (I loved the parrot!) which the bank are about to repossess. But that’s the least of her worries when she finds herself accused of murder and her past comes back to haunt her.

I did find the book a bit hard to get into at first but I’m so glad I stuck with it because it took off and I thoroughly enjoyed it and I love the way Ms. Lawrence uses social media so effectively. I also love Raven. She’s quirky, witty and likes to do things her way and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

  • Bring Them Home

  • DS Karen Hart, Book 1
  • By: D S Butler
  • Narrated by: Henrietta Meire
  • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 51

When two young girls disappear from their primary school, the village of Heighington is put on high alert - and not for the first time. Called in to investigate, Detective Karen Hart is sure that parallels with a previous disappearance are anything but coincidental. DS Hart is still reeling from a case she tried and failed to solve eighteen months ago, when a young woman vanished without a trace. She’s no nearer to the truth of what happened to Amy Fisher, but with two children missing now, too, the stakes have never been higher.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Poor narrator

  • By Orvieto on 23-12-18

Enjoyable book but poor narrator

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-02-19

DS Karen Hart and her team are called in to investigate the disappearance of two 10 year old girls who sneak out of school early to meet a friend who says they can ride their pony. The case reminds Karen of one she investigated 18 months ago when a young woman went missing and was never found.

I read these books in the wrong order because I was given an ARC of the second DS Karen Hart book, which I really enjoyed, so bought this one. There were many twists and turns in the investigation, as you would expect, and I didn’t guess the ending. I am now looking forward to book 3 in the series.

I listened to this book on Audible, and although I enjoyed the story, I did not enjoy the narrator and sometimes felt like giving up because she was spoiling the story for me. Authors, please be aware that a narrator can make or break a book.


  • Worse Than Dead

  • Inspector Drake, Book 2
  • By: Stephen Puleston
  • Narrated by: Richard Elfyn
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

Inspector Drake is called from a seminar on cybercrime to meet the ferry docking at the port of Holyhead. Frank Rosen, the chief engineer, lies on the car deck, a knife through his heart. For the first time, Drake knows where the killer is, but he doesn’t know who. When Rosen’s house is ransacked the night after he’s killed, Drake knows the killer was looking for something. The data stick Rosen’s wife finds may hold the clues. But the codes and numbers on it only complicate the investigation.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant series

  • By Simon on 09-03-19

North Wales Police Procedural

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-02-19

DI Drake and his team are called in to investigate a dead body found on a ferry from Dublin to Holyhead. It seems like an open and shut case as the murderer is obviously still on the ship. But it’s not that simple and soon more bodies turn up.

I have already read the prequel and Book 1 of the series and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this one and be transported back to North Wales. The plot is complex, with many characters and red herrings, but not so much that I couldn’t follow. Once again Drake’s OCD plays a big part in the book as he tries to get his rituals under control, whilst working long hours under pressure and trying to cope with family problems too. This is a well written police procedural with realistic characters and situations, and I look forward to reading more in the series.

Richard Elfyn's brilliant narration added to my enjoyment of the book.