*Book Review* Six Degrees of Assassination (audible version)

Six Degrees of Assassination by M.J. Arlidge

Evening folks! Long time no see guys! Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I lost my Blog mojo but I am hoping to jump right back in with my first review in a while.

I haven’t had chance to read much lately, between working from home, home-schooling and just general life; finding time to pick up a book has not been the top of my priorities. I love a real life book, the smell, the touch and just reading one I slip into my imagination… but as I say its not always easy pick one up and concentrate, enter audible. And what a life saver, now if I’m cleaning, cooking or writing reports, I can listen to a book to my hearts content.

So onto my review of the Audible Original Six Degrees of Assassination by M.J.Arlidge. A five hour political thriller written specifically for audible starring Andrew Scott, Freema Agyeman and Hermione Norris.

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From the blurb “On a sullen, cloudy July day ten years after 7/7, the happy, confident and optimistic British Prime Minister is visiting a charity in East London. Just two months after the general election which saw his government returned to power with a clear majority, the economy is on the mend and the coalition is fast becoming a bad memory.
Suddenly, a man appears out of the crowd and shoots him three times in the chest. Step forward Alex Cartwright, MI5 Chief Counter Terrorism Officer (Andrew Scott) who must find out the truth. But it’s easier said than done, as he discovers that whoever ordered the assassination has covered their tracks very well indeed…”

Excitement from the get go, the action is intense, exciting and fast paced from the start. This is much more than a book, it was a drama for your ears. I love an action packed, political thriller and the voice actors and sound effects really had the imagination whirling on this one.

The plot was possibly a tad over the top but isn’t that the point of an action story, to take you on a journey from real life to larger to than life. With twists and turns, a talented cast and a radio like drama story being told, what more could I ask for from an audible original? Granted it might have been a little predictable but aren’t all dramas.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait to sink my teeth into my next thriller.

Overall, this was a good listen and I would probably have enjoyed it just as much in a book format, however the sound effects and voice actors really did give the story something extra, so on the whole I really enjoyed it and would recommend it for any one who enjoys a good action packed thriller.

4 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️★

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Would you like to have a listen for yourself – click here to head on over to Amazon?

**Book Review** Memory Man

Memory Man (Amos Decker #1)

By David Baldacci

I picked this book up a while ago but it got added to my to read pile, which has slowly become my to read bookcase. I wanted a crime story and was hoping to start a series I could really get into, so I picked this from my shelf.

I liked it but I didn’t love it.

Amos Decker is a Police Officer and a good one by all accounts. Early on we see that something horrific has happened to him, and he has lost his job, his life has spiralled and he is now living on the streets, and taking small PI jobs to earn a bit of money. The awful event that made his life spiral, his family: wife, daughter and brother in law were brutally murdered.

To add to this sad tale, Decker also had an accident when he was younger, as a school football player. He collided with another player and it caused changes to his brain, he was left with Synesthesia and Hyperthymesia. I didn’t realise these were real things, and I spent a good long time googling them, they are very interesting to read about.

A tragic event occurs at the local school which draws Decker back into the policing game, just as someone also steps forward to confess to his family’s murder. Is all of this linked to Decker, or just a huge coincidence? Is he somehow connected to everything and this is all a revenge plot? Will Decker overcome his personal issues and work out the mystery surrounding all these events?

Unfortunately, I’m not sure the brain issues add to much to the story in this case, I just couldn’t connect with him, I felt bad for him with the murder of his family and as a crime story I think it could have been great, but somewhere it fell flat. I don’t think I was drawn into the world or the characters enough to really feel the story.

For me, having the family die before the story really starts means I don’t really get to love/sympathise and connect to the character. So it’s hard to understand and see where all the characters emotions and feelings are coming from.

I liked how we went through how the stories were connected, and I really liked how we got a clear view of the school and how everything is linked and viewed. He described really well and I could imagine the old abandoned army base and the connection to the school. The crime part of the story, was really good. I just struggled to connect with Decker.

I think David Baldacci builds up Decker to be this awesome detective who just had an awful time and it lead him down this path, but from what we see, the other characters don’t act too much like he is this great detective and if I’m honest, I couldn’t see it myself either.

I really enjoy other David Baldacci books so I honestly wanted to love this, but if I’m honest I struggled. It hasn’t put me off though.

I think I’d like to read the next in the series to see how he grows, and what he does next, as I did enjoy it somewhat, but I don’t think it will ever be a favourite and I won’t be running to buy the next one anytime soon.

Overall, it was a good plot for a story, the linking of the crimes and how it came together sounds like it could be an awesome read, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite live up to what could have been.

⭐️⭐️⭐️3/5 stars I’m not rushing out to buy the next one but I will be trying it. I would recommend to crime readers if they like stories with a twist.

 

*Book Review* The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

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By Agatha Christie

My father and I used to watch old detective / murder mysteries together all the time, it was one of my favourite past times. I have since lost my father but my love for old detective stories has not waned. I love to read but had never picked up a point novel as me and my father always watched the tv series, so it felt wrong to read one without him. But I couldn’t help myself when I saw this in a book store. I picked it up and I could not put it down until I had finished.

Set amidst a village of gossips, family drama and mystery abound, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd tells a unique and intriguing tale which keeps you guessing until the very end. As an aficionado of detective stories, I like to think I am good at guessing the end, but I must admit, this one had me second guessing myself every few minutes. Using all the wits of Hercule Poirot, some amazing use of literary devices and Christies wonderful way of bringing you into the story as a witness to the events; Christies tale of poor Mr Akroyd is a wonderful read.

I do not want to give a full summary of the book, as I think it would spoil it for all future readers. I avoided all reviews before reading it, as I wanted to immerse myself in Poirots world spoiler free. And I think I’ll help keep this story going by not summarising.

I will admit I think this is one of my new favourite stories and I cannot wait to open up my next read. My favourite character on the tv series, although I love Poirot has to be Captain Hastings, but sadly he was absent from this novel. I love how books can truly bring characters to life, in a way tv/film just cannot. I loved how Christie brought Poirot to life. I loved him in this novel, and as I said previously I cannot wait for my next one. Powering through from one twisty turn to another, second guessing yourself at every turn, and always knowing in the back of your mind that Poirot knows who the killer is, he is just waiting for that all dramatic, climatic ending where all is revealed. Every page is read with anticipation and excitement, and I could not bear to part with it until I completed. It was impossible to put down, and I read it in one night.

I think if anyone is considering a Christie and just isn’t sure, do it! Pick one up, borrow one. The tropes, storylines, narrative might have been used in other books, but no one quite holds the drama quite like Christie.

Overall, I cannot wait for my next Christie and this was an amazing start to a wonderful new adventure.

I give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Definitely worth a read.

* THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS I RECEIVE A SMALL COMPENSATION IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE USING THE LINKS ATTACHED TO THE IMAGE OF THE BOOK ABOVE.

*Book Review* Tripwire

Tripwire (Jack Reacher Book 3)

 

I am still loving the Jack Reacher series, and I think I am slowly falling in love with the Jack Reacher character. (From the book, not the movie. Its not a bad movie but I don’t think the character is the same from book to movie.) But anyway, I digress, I think the more I read about him the more he appeals to me. I like the good guy/bad guy trope, he’s not always your typical nice guy but he is a gentleman, he has morals and rules he lives by but he’s tough and strong, and always follows the path he wants to, and always get his justice, just not necessarily by helping put the bad guy away. Finally he has that whole wandering nomad quality, which is really mysterious and makes you want to know his path and yet at the same time you don’t want to know either. I am not quite sure how I feel about this book, the premise to the story was good and showed real promise, their wasn’t as much action as I am used to, but that is sometimes ok. I do think it took quite a long time to get the crux of the book, and I believe the climax could have happened much sooner. I love finding out about the main character and I like a good explanation of certain things if it adds to the story. I found reading some of this book, filled with overuse of explanations and descriptions that possibly weren’t needed.

So onto the story, “Hook” Hobie has a plan for when everything starts to go wrong. He has two parts in place, and he ignores both and decides to go for one last score. This was probably his only mistake. As far as villains/bad guys go, he is quite a scary fellow. Not in the usual way though, he is intelligent and a real psychopath, enjoying pain, and instilling fear, but he is so smart he knows when to use fear and pain to get just what he wants. I think if Jack’s old military friend and mentor General Garber hadn’t been pulled into this conspiracy, “Hook” might have gotten away with his lifestyle, escaped and lived to ruin the next persons life. I liked the follow through with the Garber character from Die Trying. I was sad to hear he had died, but I guess it was needed to get Jack where he needed to be, although, from the first two books, Lee Child doesn’t seem to mind suspending belief long enough for something to happen in just the right time/place for it to be a problem for Jack, so I am not quite sure why Garber had to die to make it so this time.

Anyway, as it turns out, a lovely old couple wanting to find out the truth about their missing son, inevitably caused “Hooks” downfall, and as much as I wanted him caught/dead, I think he was an incredible villain. He was creepy, sick and completely out of his mind. But he was definitely an excellently written bad guy.

For me, Jack Reacher’s honourable and gentlemanly side shone through in the scenes with the elderly couple, and I think as soon as I read this chapter, I knew Jack would never back down until he found out the truth and brought whomever he needed to, to justice.

Once again, we had a love interest, but it was a surprising one. The daughter of the General, whom Jack looked upon like a father, and here we saw a sneaky view into Jack’s past. I am not sure how I feel about the romance side of this story. The fact she was a child when Jack first thought her attractive, even though he was younger, carries a certain icky factor, and I think I like his nomadic lifestyle, meeting women as he goes, and moving from one to the next like his job. I think like everyone maybe he does deserve to settle down, and meet someone but for entertainment purposes, I like him better when he isn’t all loved up. The obvious lovey dovey, couply moments when they visited Nash, were a little full on, and I think it is probably a doomed romance so I can’t find myself getting too attached to Jodie. So I don’t think we needed as much background, descriptions about her. Which I know is unusual for me, I like the background characters sometimes, but I just didn’t feel much depth to Jodie, and I just can’t see a future with a unlikely hero!

I did quite like the secondary character of Marilyn, whom despite her husbands idiotic life choices, , was brave and despite the situation she found herself in carried herself wonderful. I think I would have liked to see some interaction between her and Jack, I think in another life she would have made a formidable ally to Jack. Chester Stone was a bit of a bug bear, quite annoying, whiny and completely foolish, I think the less said about him the better.

Overall, the third in the series was by no means the best but it hasn’t put me off, and I am chomping at the bit to start the next in the Series; The Visitor. I think finding out some of Jacks history and the story as a hole was worth the characters of Jodie and Chester, but if we never see Jodie again, I think I would be ok with this. But I highly doubt this will be the case, I believe we will have at least one more book of the “couple” trying to make the relationship work before it either fizzles out or explodes in their face. This may seem quite pessimistic and negative, but I just can’t see a relationship working between our nomadic, freestyle Jack and the New York Lawyer working out.

I have of course passed Tripwire onto my mum, and I hoping to grill her later for her opinion, as it might be nice to hear someone else’s view. So how about it? Have you read any of the Jack Reacher books? What did you think? Do you have a favourite? Let me know by leaving a comment or get in touch on any of my social media feeds.

*Book Reviews* Credible Justice

Credible Justice: Fighting Back (Credible Justice #1)

by Gerry Stewart

Credible Justice is the first book in a series of crime justice books, based around a vigilante type set of unsanctioned police/agents from UK and USA working together to bring justice to the streets. A self published crime story from Gerry Stewart, I won this book in a goodreads challenge. It is my first experience of self published work, so I had no expectations going in, I didn’t read any reviews just the blurb.

The blurb ends with “Not a group of super heroes, but a team of dedicated men and women, prepared to break the rule of law to achieve a sense of justice. Controversial? Absolutely! Does it work? You decide.” I actually think the idea for this book is really good, I like crime dramas, and I read to escape reality a lot of the time, so even though i believe in our justice system in the real world, reading about police getting justice over the rule of law is still something interesting and intriguing. It is a controversial subject but the challenges the police face, and knowing that bad people get away without punishment is obviously an upset for anyone, so why not have a look into a world where vigilante police are seeking their own justice.

It took me a while to read this story, as you all know, I have two children and I work full time, so I don’t always have time to read. However, if I really love a book, I cannot bare to put it down. But I did enjoy this story, I had a few issues with it, which I think could have been picked up, int he editing and publishing stage, but otherwise it is a good story, I have read better but I’ve also read worse.

For me the biggest pitfall was the disjointed storytelling. It skipped from one scene to another without a paragraph break, a new chapter or any sign that the area, conversation or people had changed. I kept up fine, so it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the book, but it would have made an easier read and perhaps I would have finished it quicker. My other objection, is that for me I want to connect to the characters. I didn’t get a feel for these characters, there isn’t much back story other than what was needed to carry some of the initial mystery of “who is the vigilante?” I want to connect to the characters, feel for them, fall in love with them, cheer along or hate them.
I liked the the main couple of Snyder and Ryan, I would like to hear more of their story, see more personality from them.

This book is described as a story of action, intrigue, romance, humour and moral dilemma. From the bat I could see all the action, intrigue, moral dilemmas etc, but romance. I could see a hint of flirting but I would say it didn’t lead me to believe there would be much romance, however the declaration of love in the middle of the book, may just be the best and probably most realistic declaration I have ever read. In most books, the hero/guy/protagonist has some big romantic gesture or there is some catalyst which causes a romantic moment. In real life, usually gestures/declarations of love are usually a bit more low key or unplanned. The book is worth a read just to see this realistic declaration from one of our main characters.

The book is fairly short, and so the action is kept at the forefront of the story, which is good if you like your action packed books, I think in future books, this could be scaled back a bit, as sometimes the story line felt rushed, and it felt like maybe I had skipped a few pages or missed something. The mystery of the vigilante, which is built up in the first couple of chapters, literally takes pages to come to a conclusion. I actually liked the building up of the mystery, but it was resolved too soon. A little bit of intrigue can really keep a book going.

Overall, I liked the idea behind the story, and I think it could be an excellent book with a little bit of editing and forethought in terms of storytelling, format and continuity. Character development is so important to me as a reader, but this can be remedied as there will hopefully be future books in this series. I’d like to get a feel for a character, and if you have some really strong male and female leads, I want to fall in love, envy, dream about, hate or be intrigued by a character. My hopes are that in future books, I will get more of a glimpse into the characters backstory and personalities.

I am really happy I won this book in the Goodreads challenge, its nice to read a book I might not have picked off the shelves. It also came personalised and signed by the author, which is lovely and I am just sorry it took me so long to read. I really enjoyed it, once I got stuck into it. The writing style could use some work but I could feel Gerry Stewart was connected to his story, they always say write what you know, and I think he has done that, it needs a bit of polishing but its a good story.

 

 

*Book Review* Die Trying

Die Trying (Jack Reacher #2)
by Lee Child

I enjoyed the first Jack Reacher, it was a tad slow and I didn’t immediately warm to Jack and so I found I wasn’t itching to continue straight away with the second one so I put off starting Die Trying for a while.

Once I picked it up, I found I could not put it down. This is generally the case for me, its not often I start book and not finish it in one night. Since having children though, its not that easy. Die Trying was really engaging from start to finish, and I’m slowly falling in love with Jack Reacher, partly because I want to look after him, and feed him soup! I think I have a bit of a thing for under dogs, (waifs and stray if you ask my mother!) vulnerable characters or characters with a bit of an attitude and issues. Jack Reacher definitely falls into this category, we didn’t learn much about him in the first one, and he is still the same stoic character in the second but we do start to seem more of a glimpse of him as a person.

The story is a whole new level of mystery and thriller, again the secondary characters are just as intriguing as the main character.Again we find Jack Reacher living by himself but he is working as a doorman to gain some money before we assume he moves on again. Being a gentleman, he offers assistance to a young woman on crutches and again gets pulled into a thrilling cross country mystery. Holly Johnson is the woman of the hour, an FBI agent that has been kidnapped. But unlike your usual lady victims in novels, you would not want to mess with Holly. There are moments where you can see she is scared and quite rightly so, but she holds herself with such bravado and courage, she quickly become a character you wanted to back and win.

It is exciting, and dangerous and you definitely get sucked into Jack’s journey along with Holly, this is a story that really makes me feel part of the adventure as if your living along with the characters.

My only issue was the ending, for me the first book had a fair bit of action but moved quite slowly, and still didn’t feel like we got very far with character progression. In this instalment, I felt like after all the excitement and adrenalin of the whole book, the ending was anti climatic for me. Plus I get the feeling we are never going to find out what happens to the minor characters, and for the entire book you are so engaged with everybody not just Jack that it leaves me feeling a little sad we don’t get to hear what happens to most of the characters after the story. I know I will hear from Jack when I start the next book, but it would be nice to get more of an ending for more of the characters.

Overall, I enjoyed the second in the Jack Reacher novels and it has left me wanting to read more, as a working mother of two, as much as I cannot wait o start the next book , it isn’t always that easy. But I will be making notes ready for next review when I get chance to read it.

*Book Review* Killing Floor

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1)
by Lee Child

I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started it. I had heard great things about it, but I like to make my own mind up. Although it had some action from the start, it was still quite slow but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. A really good read, I passed onto my mum to read too! We quite like reading the same books sometimes so we can discuss it after reading. Its quite a nice mum/daughter activity.

I know the Jack Reacher series is quite old, and now has to movies but I guess I was quite late to the party. I have managed to avoid hearing much about the series, other than lots of positive comments about the books. So I was quite excited to get started.

The debut Jack Reacher novel kicks off with a good mystery and an intriguing character. I did find it was quite slow, and even though Jack is meant to be a bit of a mystery, I finished the book still not really feeling connected to the character, and for me, when reading its about feeling connected to the characters and the books which makes me carry on reading a series.
Although, I didn’t fully connected with Jack Reacher, I did like the story and some of the background characters.

I like fiction, and I am a fan of Harry Potter and sci-fi and lots of things that dispel belief, but I like it in that context when you are expecting magic and some things to not make sense. The idea of why Jack was in Margate, Georgia and his connection the dead body felt a little strange. It added a level of something to the story but I am not sure why. This was my only issue with it, and I have only read the first book, so maybe more will be explained as the series goes on. I am giving it the benefit of the doubt, as overall I did really enjoy the book.

It’s an ‘ok’ start to a series, and Jack Reachers mysterious life kept me intrigued enough to want to carry on with the series and pass it onto my mum. I am excited to move onto book 2.

⭐️⭐️⭐️★★ (3/5 stars)