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Judas Horse, by Lynda La Plante


A series of burglaries among rich countryside occupants leads the local force to request external help. Detective Jack Warr is dispatched to the Cotswolds to aid the investigation. However, his methods lead to conflict within the team. Can Jack unite the police to capture the burglar before they escalate to violence and even murder…?
Judas Horse is the second book by Lynda La Plante to feature Jack Warr, a detective whose moral sense of justice sometimes sees him flouting the law. It isn’t necessary to have read the first book as there are no spoilers but Buried was great so I would recommend reading it!
Jack Warr’s character is hugely likeable and entertaining. Personally, he has a newborn baby and is adapting to life without his biological and adopted fathers. Professionally, he is trustworthy but an irritant to his fellow officers, playing witnesses, manipulating and disregarding protocol. He was instrumental in solving a complicated crime within his own locality so he is transferred to the countryside when they struggle to deal with a spate of burglaries which are escalating.
The case itself becomes more intricate than it initially appears. The burglaries are getting more violent and Warr urgently needs to find out how the burglars are accessing information. He needs a Judas Horse (see book blurb for a definition!) Jack soon has suspects in mind but needs to go undercover to find the truth and cach the ringleaders.
The relationships between Jack and the other characters underpin the whole book and make it very enjoyable. He is a master at reading people, recognising their strengths and weaknesses. He then uses this for his own ends and I think the police should be grateful he is on their side!
Judas Horse is an engaging and action filled police thriller from a confident author.

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Book blurb:
Judas Horse – Lynda La Plante
 The brand new Detective Jack Warr thriller from the Queen of Crime Drama, Lynda La Plante – now available to pre-order in hardback, eBook and audiobook.
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‘Do you know what a Judas Horse is? When the wild mustangs are running free, you corral one and train it. When he’s ready, you release him and he’ll bring his team back into the corral – like Judas betraying them…’

Violent burglars have been terrorising residents across the English countryside. But when a mutilated body is discovered in a Cotswolds house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary group of opportunist thieves.

As Detective Jack Warr investigates, he discovers locals with dark secrets, unearths hidden crimes – and hits countless dead ends. With few leads and the violent attacks escalating, he will have to act as audaciously as the criminals if he hopes to stop them.

When Warr meets Charlotte Miles, a terrified woman with links to the group, he must use her to lure the unsuspecting killers into one last job, and into his trap. But with the law already stretched to breaking point, any failure will be on Warr’s head – and any more blood spilled, on his hands…

 

 


The Silent Girl, by Kelly Heard

The Silent Girl book cover
A woman is found by the side of a road. Her injuries are consistent with jumping or being thrown from a car. She has amnesia but adopts the name Sophie and hides away at a remote house being renovated. Can she find out the truth about her identity and is she in danger?
The Silent Girl is an atmospheric psychological thriller. We as readers do not know any more than Sophie so the gradually developing plot brings us along with the main character. The narrative is written in the first person so we are witness to Sophie’s gradual remembering of her past.
Sophie learns to trust again through a developing friendship and then romance with Nathaniel, caretaker of Dovemorn House. The gentle love was the highlight of the book for me, obviously restricted by Sophie’s lack of knowledge of herself and her circumstances. Their relationship is further complicated by Nathaniel’s son and ex wife which gave a realism and personal touch to the story.
The descriptions of the setting are particularly good and add to the sinister feeling to the book. There is the added mystery of the disappearance of the previous owner of Dovemorn House a century ago and I wish this had been developed further.
The Silent Girl has plenty of mystery and is driven by the main character’s desire to find the truth about her past. I have previously reviewed The Fortune Teller’s Promise and The Girl I Thought I Knew by Kelly Heard.

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Kelly Heard’s Media Kit:
 
Title: The Silent Girl
Publication Day: April 9th 2021
Author:  Kelly Heard
Buy  Links:
Amazon: http://ow.ly/p5X750DBAOw
Apple: http://ow.ly/2yO950DBAM8
Kobo: http://ow.ly/sBjQ50DBAJc
Google: http://ow.ly/Hyyv50DBARZ
Description:
Sophie wakes in a cold hospital bed with no memory of her life before. She isn’t even sure if Sophie is her real name…
The police tell Sophie she was found alone, unconscious and surrounded by blood-red flower petals, on a remote stretch of highway. She had no I.D., no phone, and no one had reported her missing. But while Sophie’s identity is a mystery, one thing is clear: someone tried to kill her and they almost succeeded.
While she’s recovering, Sophie can’t shake the feeling someone is watching her. When a bouquet of red roses is sent to her room without a note, she is convinced they’re from the same people who left her for dead with crimson flowers woven through her hair…
With no one to turn to, Sophie takes a job working high in the mountains, miles from the nearest town, where she feels she might finally be safe. Until more red flowers begin appearing on the front step of her secluded cottage.
Every cell in Sophie’s body is telling her to run. But she is also desperate to know the truth about who she is. If she lets these people catch up with her, she could finally uncover her past… Or once again place her life in terrible danger…
A totally gripping psychological suspense novel that you won’t be able to put down and will keep you turning the pages late into the night. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the TrainThe Woman in the Window and The Silent Patient.

 

author Kelly Heard

 

Author Bio:
Kelly Heard is a novelist from Afton, Virginia. She published poetry in literary magazines before signing her debut novel, Before You Go, with Bookouture.
Kelly prefers writing to most other pastimes, but you’ll occasionally find her in the garden, hiking, or exploring antique shops.
Author Social Media Links:
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/heardkj1
Website: www.kellyheardbooks.com

 


#Project365 2021 week 14

Day 94: our Easter tradition of decorating eggs

Day 95: a cold walk and by the end it was hail stones. Then at lunchtime it snowed!

Day 96: spotted the first ducklings at the lake, even my parents and the ranger hadn’t seen them yet!

 

Day 97: I took a break from jogging over winter but had it in my head that I’d get back to it in April when it gets warmer. Wasn’t expecting the temperature to be below zero!

Day 98: I bought Pop Up Pirate recently and it has been an instant hit!

Day 99: pretty happy with my picture of a heron from our daily walk

Day 100: birthday boy! Zach is 5 today!

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The Tuscan House, by Angela Petch

The Tuscan House book cover
In 1947 Richard returns to Italy following the end of the war that saw him working as a medic rather than fighting due to his pacifist beliefs. He buys an old house and when clearing the garden discovers a buried secret. But then Fosca arrives back at the house with her small son in tow, searching for her wartime friends. Can the wounds of the past be healed?
The Tuscan House is an historical novel set in the 1940s. We are introduced to Richard and Fosca in 1947 but also see glimpses of Richard’s life in England in the early years of the war. Richard is a hugely likeable character and both his pacifism and grief are easy to relate to.
Fosca’s war years are presented in the first person as she describes her circumstances to Richard. She is a single mother following the death of her lover Silvio and struggling to feed herself and her baby so turns to the nuns who raised her for support. She meets the brave Simonetta who encourages her to fight the German occupiers and Italian collaborators.
The Tuscan countryside and the Blitz spirit in London are vividly described and give an authenticity to the plot. The ambiguity of human behaviour and the juggling of morals is an interesting theme that runs through the book. Characters make choices to save others, to protect themselves, to fight the enemy and to wreak revenge but the right and wrong are not clear cut. The juxtaposition between Richard’s pacifism and Fosca’s resistance is fascinating.
The Tuscan House is a rich historical novel that doesn’t shy away from the brutality of war. I have previously reviewed other books by Angela Petch including The Tuscan Girl and A Tuscan Memory.

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Book Description:
Corbello, Italy, 1947. A woman and a little boy stagger into the ruins of an old house deep in the forest, wild roses overwhelming the crumbling terracotta walls. Since the war, nowhere has been safe. But they both freeze in shock when a voice calls out from the shadows…
For young mother Fosca Sentino, accepting refuge from reluctant British war hero Richard – in Tuscany to escape his tragic past – is the only way to keep her little family safe. She once risked everything to spy on Nazi commanders and pass secret information to the resistenza. But after a heartbreaking betrayal, Fosca’s best friend Simonetta disappeared without trace. The whole community was torn apart, and now Fosca and her son are outcasts.
Wary of this handsome stranger at first, Fosca slowly starts to feel safe as she watches him play with her son in the overgrown orchard. But her fragile peace is shattered the moment a silver brooch is found in the garden, and she recognises it as Simonetta’s…
Fosca has always suspected that another member of the resistenza betrayed her. With Richard by her side, she must find out if Simonetta is still alive, and clear her own name. But how did the brooch end up at the house? And with a traitor hiding in the village, willing to do anything to keep this secret buried, has Fosca put herself and her young son in terrible danger?
An absolutely gripping and heartbreaking page-turner that explores the incredible courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times. Perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen, The Nightingale, and anyone longing to lose themselves in the mountain landscapes and olive groves of rural Tuscany.
author Angela Petch
Author Bio:
I’m an award winning writer of fiction – and the occasional poem.
Every summer I move to Tuscany for six months where my husband and I own a renovated watermill which we let out. When not exploring our unspoilt corner of the Apennines, I disappear to my writing desk at the top of our converted stable.
In my Italian handbag or hiking rucksack I always make sure to store notebook and pen to jot down ideas.
The winter months are spent in Sussex where most of our family live. When I’m not helping out with grandchildren, I catch up with writer friends.
https://twitter.com/Angela_Petch
Buy Links:
Amazon: https://bit.ly/31wEgSJ
Apple: https://apple.co/3uPJlCS
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3qi9V3Y
Google: https://bit.ly/2O6S574

 


Rites of Spring, by Anders de la Motte

 

Rites of Spring book cover

 

In 1986 a girl is ritualistically killed as a sacrifice to the Green Man, a ghostly rider to hail the beginning of spring. In the present day, David and his wife Thea return to the castle where he grew up. She discovers information about the girl that causes her to address the trauma in her own past…
Rites of Spring is a dual timeline book showing the present day and 1986. It is set in Sweden and was originally published in Swedish as the first of four novels about the seasons.
There are plenty of mysteries in the book to sustain interest. Firstly is the legend of the Green Man and Elita’s death in 1986. Then in the present we have David’s reluctance to talk about the past. Finally we have Thea’s own past and who is the mysterious Margaux she ‘speaks’ to at the start of the chapters from her viewpoint.
The personal relationship between David and Thea is harbouring secrets. She is traumatised by her experiences of a war zone while he has been forced to return home following the collapse of his business. David refuses to talk about Elita’s death but Thea is tenacious in wanting to find the truth.
The descriptions of the location are vivid and brought the Swedish setting to life. I did allow myself to get a little bogged down with pronunciation of names and places but this was not a barrier to enjoying the book. I am interested in the superstitions of Sweden based on this book as it is not something I have any prior knowledge of. Googling The Green Man, I see it is a pagan concept in many European cultures.
Rites of Spring is a Scandi thriller about change and secrets with an interesting narrative structure. I liked the chapters from Elita’s perspective to show us events of the past and make her character more human rather than just a victim.

 

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Southern Sweden: Beautiful countryside, endless forests, coastal walks, dark days – and even darker nights. But beneath the beauty lies a dark heart . . .
Skåne, 1986: On the night of Walpurgis, the eve of May Day, where bonfires are lit to ward off evil spirits and preparations are made to celebrate the renewal of spring, a sixteen-year-old girl is ritualistically murdered in the woods beside a castle. Her stepbrother is convicted of the terrible deed and shortly after, the entire family vanishes without a trace.
Spring, 2019: Dr Thea Lind moves into the castle. After making a strange discovery in an ancient oak tree on the grounds, her fascination with the old tragedy deepens. As she uncovers more and more similarities between her own troubled past and the murdered girl, she begins to believe that the real truth of the killing was never uncovered.
What if the spring of 1986 claimed more than one victim?
About the Author
ANDERS DE LA MOTTE is the bestselling author of the ‘Seasons Quartet’; the first three books of which – End of SummerDeeds of Autumn and Dead of Winter – have all been number one bestsellers in Sweden and have been shortlisted for the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year. Anders, a former police officer, has already won a Swedish Academy Crime Award for his debut, Game, in 2010 and his second standalone, The Silenced, in 2015.
To date, the first three books in the ‘Seasons Quartet’ have published over half a million copies, with the fourth, Rites of Spring, publishing in Sweden in 2020. Set in southern Sweden, all four books can be read as standalones.