Source: Audible

Book Review: The Night Stalker by Chris Carter

Posted August 26, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 3 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: The Night Stalker by Chris CarterThe Night Stalker by Chris Carter
Series: Robert Hunter #3
Published by Simon and Schuster on August 18, 2011
Narrator: Thomas Judd
Length: 10 hours and 37 minutes
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 464
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

four-half-stars

When an unidentified female body is discovered laid out on a slab in an abandoned butcher's shop, the cause of death is unclear. Her body bares no marks; except for the fact that her lips have been carefully stitched shut.

It is only when the full autopsy gets underway at the Los Angeles County morgue that the pathologist will reveal the true horror of the situation - a discovery so devastating that Detective Robert Hunter of the Los Angeles Homicide Special Section has to be pulled off a different case to take over the investigation

But when his inquiry collides with a missing persons' case being investigated by the razor-sharp Whitney Meyers, Hunter suspects the killer might be keeping several women hostage. Soon Robert finds himself on the hunt for a murderer with a warped obsession, a stalker for whom love has become hate.

Ah Chris Carter, the only author where I feel the need to put a content warning on when I do a review. This book is seriously violent, right from the beginning. If you are the least bit queasy and offended by violence then you do not want to read this. Now I’ve got this over with, lets review – this book is really good! I did a buddy read with a couple of people from my book group and for much of the book our comments consisted of WTF and 🤢🤮 emoji’s.

Detective Robert Hunter & his partner Detective Carlos Garcia are called in to investigate the murder of a woman who has been found in a butchers shop. Her mouth has been stitched shut, as has her genitals. Surprisingly, this isn’t actually the worst of it. The repercussions from the mutilated body lead to further deaths.

Soon, the body count escalates. More women are taken and found mutilated, all of them bear a striking resemblance to each other. Why these particular women and why the extreme violence?

I love the two main characters. They have a great relationship although they are both completely different, Hunter tackling the case from a psychological POV and Garcia putting in the grunt work of searching through databases. Hunter’s brain is very organised and clever, he knows so many things from reading books. He has a past that he keeps to himself but which has implications on his current abilities. He has a keen eye for detail and can reach conclusions long before anyone else. At the same time there is no arrogance to him. Garcia is much more human, he is affected by the murders much more than Hunter, having to walk away from some of the murder scenes in order to empty the contents of his stomach.

This book seriously gave me the chills. There were times when it really scared me, in a similar way to the tv series The Fall. We have a murderer who can break into people’s houses and be feet from them, while they have absolutely zero clue he is there. Even writing about it now sends a shiver down my spine.

four-half-stars

About Chris Carter

Biographies can be an absolute drag, so I won’t bore anyone with a long life story.

I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.

I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.

A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full time writer.

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Book Review: Madame Burova by Ruth Hogan

Posted August 24, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Book Review: Madame Burova by Ruth HoganMadame Burova by Ruth Hogan
Published by Hachette UK on April 1, 2021
Length: 7 hr 55 min
Genres: Women's
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

four-stars

Tarot Reader, Palmist and Clairvoyant is retiring and leaving her booth on the Brighton seafront after fifty years.

Imelda Burova has spent a lifetime keeping other people's secrets and her silence has come at a price. She has seen the lovers and the liars, the angels and the devils, the dreamers and the fools. Her cards had unmasked them all and her cards never lied. But Madame Burova is weary of other people's lives, their ghosts from the past and other people's secrets, she needs rest and a little piece of life for herself. Before that, however, she has to fulfill a promise made a long time ago. She holds two brown envelopes in her hand, and she has to deliver them.

In London, it is time for another woman to make a fresh start. Billie has lost her university job, her marriage, and her place in the world when she discovers something that leaves her very identity in question. Determined to find answers, she must follow a trail which might just lead right to Madame Burova's door.

I’m finding this a really difficult book to review. It’s not a book that I knew anything about or had even heard of, prior to it being chosen as the August read for the book club that I’m in so I went into it with absolutely no expectations.

Although I enjoyed this book, there wasn’t actually a lot that happened. If I had to sum it up it would be that Madame Burova tells Billie that she is adopted but she refuses to tell her who her parents are. Billie then works to figure this out for herself, knowing that her father is one of the Larkin’s holiday camp staff in a photo where Madame Burova used to work. The story takes place “then” the summer that someone became pregnant with Billie, it lets us get to know the characters so that we can begin to guess at who the parents might be. And “now” where Billie is getting to know Madame Burova and an assortment of characters who she is friendly with, while trying to investigate who her parents might be.

There is a large cast of characters, only a few of which are given centre stage and who’s storyline we follow. There is a secondary storyline of Treasure, a mixed race child who is bullied at school during the 1970’s, although beautifully written and an interesting storyline, it doesn’t really go anywhere and I’m not entirely sure why it was there.

Due to such a huge number of characters I struggled to remember who all of them were, except for those that were talked to by Clive. Clive believes he is working undercover for MI5, communicating with them through elastic bands. He is tolerated by everyone who accept him for who he is, he’s on the periphery throughout the novel. I actually loved how he remembered people – he is MI5 Clive, Billie is Billie in the bowler hat. Others are identified by the exact wording that was used when they were introduced to him.

The beauty of this book is in the writing, there’s not a huge amount of character development, there’s a large cast of characters who you don’t really get to know in any great detail and there’s not a great storyline. And I know that all sounds really negative, but I still enjoyed it. It could have been boring and a dnf, but it wasn’t, it was a “nice” book to read.

four-stars
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Faithless by Karin Slaughter

Posted May 17, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Faithless by Karin SlaughterFaithless by Karin Slaughter
Series: Grant County #5
Published by Random House on May 16, 2022
Narrator: Francie Swift
Length: 5 hours
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 393
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-half-stars

Karin Slaughter brings back her two most fascinating and complex characters -- medical examiner Sara Linton and her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver -- in a heart-pounding tale of faith, doubt, and murder. The victim was buried alive in the Georgia woods -- then killed in a horrifying fashion. When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver stumble upon the body, both become consumed with finding out who killed the pretty young woman. For them, a harrowing journey begins, one that will test their own turbulent relationship and draw dozens of lives into the case. For as Jeffrey and Sara move further down a trail of shocking surprises and hidden passions, neither is prepared for the most stunning discovery of all: the identity of a killer who is more evil and dangerous than anyone could have guessed.

Having just read the previous book in this series and not enjoyed it as much as I was hoping to I was happy to see a return to form with this installment.

While out walking Jeffrey takes a fall over a pipe sticking out of the ground, which leads to the discovery of a dead body.

There is something that is niggling me about this series, something I’ve noticed in all of the books so far. As the Chief of Police and the Medical Examiner, Jeffrey and Sara should be investigating all of the murders that these books are centred around. What really gets me is that it’s always one of these two who discovers the murder, does nobody else in the town leave the house? Where are all the dog walkers, it’s always a dog walker that discovers a body!!!

I’ve read a few books recently which have had a similar premise, even though I didn’t actually know what they were about when I went into them (I don’t usually read the blurb on books, or read it months before I actually read the book).

I really love the Lena storyline, I like that it shows that even someone in the police force who was a strong independent woman can get caught up in a situation and struggle to get out of it. I can’t wait for the next book to see where this is going given how this one ended.

four-half-stars

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 40 million copies sold across the globe, her 22 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, PIECES OF HER, and FALSE WITNESS. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is now streaming on Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Will Trent series are in development for television.

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The Executioner by Chris Carter

Posted May 6, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
The Executioner by Chris CarterThe Executioner by Chris Carter
Series: Robert Hunter #2
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 3, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 496
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Inside a Los Angeles church, on the altar steps, lies the blood-soaked body of a priest. Later, the forensic team discover that, on the victim's chest, the figure 3 has been scrawled in blood.

At first, Detective Robert Hunter believes that this is a ritualistic killing. But as more bodies surface, he is forced to reassess. All the victims died in the way they feared the most. Their worst nightmares have literally come true. But how could the killer have known? And what links these apparently random victims?

Hunter finds himself on the trail of an elusive and sadistic killer, someone who apparently has the power to read his victims' minds. Someone who can sense what scares his victims the most. Someone who will stop at nothing to achieve his twisted aim.

What are you most afraid of? Snakes? Spiders? Needles?

This is the second book in the Robert Hunter series by Chris Carter and I can confirm that some scenes are as stomach churning as the first book, if not more so. This is not a book (or series) for the faint-hearted. I’ve got a strong constitution but there were times when I was reading through my fingers.

The book opens with the murder of a priest and it’s not long before we have a rising body count. We get to view these murders from all sides. The story focuses on different people depending on where we are; for the most part the story focuses on Hunter but in the set up of a murder we follow the victim, then we get inside the murderers head, I loved the scenes where the victim is going about their life, doing their job and then you get to see the moment that the penny drops that something isn’t right.

Although Hunter is the star of the show we also have Garcia, his partner, following him where neither of them should be but doing everything necessary to save a life and catch a killer. While they’re trying to figure out who will die next and why they hear from Mollie, a teenage runway who is having visions of the murders. Given that these murders are so horrific that many of the police on scene are struggling to cope with them, can you imagine what it’s like for a teenager unexpectedly seeing visions of them when alone in the dark. No thank you.

No matter how mentally fit anyone is, there’s only so much savagery one can stomach. There’s only so much psychological abuse one can take before becoming detached. She’d read that somewhere, and she believed every word of it,

I love Hunter as a detective, obviously he’s flawed (aren’t they all) but he has a vast knowledge and is happy to use it without being arrogant about it. He also has a good heart, the way he worked with Molly is great, he goes against the rules because he needs to do what is right for her, not what is wanted by his superiors.

four-half-stars

About Chris Carter

Biographies can be an absolute drag, so I won’t bore anyone with a long life story.

I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.

I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.

A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full time writer.

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