Hey bookish friends, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and the bookish fairies brought you all the books on your wishlist. The time has come for the last book haul of 2017. I’ve received some truly amazing books this year from publishers, authors and friends, all of which I’m truly grateful for. I’ve also treated myself to many, many books and I have started using my local library again, in an attempt to cut down on buying books. For the last time this year, here’s a look at all the books I’ve received this month, including a special Christmas gifts section.
Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner (Dutton Books)
In this exhilarating thriller inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer.
In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.
Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style–posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.
To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.
Hydra by Matt Wesolowski (Orenda Books)
In November 2014 Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and sister to death with a hammer. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation. King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out.
Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb (Orenda Books)
Her daughter Dakota is safe, but her cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT – Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything – alive and kicking. Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row. Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson ‘The Fish’ Fletcher, and JT walks free. Teaming up with local bounty hunter Dez McGregor threatens to put the whole job in danger. But this is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything…
Kiss Me, Kill Me by J. S. Carol (Bonnier Zaffre)
She thought she could trust him. She was wrong . . .
When Zoe meets Dan, he’s everything she is looking for in a man – intelligent, charming, supportive.
It’s only after they’re married that she realises that he’s controlling, aggressive, paranoid.
And there’s no way out.
Or is there?
Zoe knows she has to escape, but Dan’s found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.
But Dan has plans of his own. Plans that don’t necessarily include Zoe.
Be careful who you trust . . .
Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird & Richard Newman (Clink Street Publishing/Authoright)
Veronica Bird was one of nine children living in a tiny house in Barnsley with a brutal coal miner for a father. Life was a despairing time in the 1950s, as Veronica sought desperately to keep away from his cruelty.
Astonishingly, to her and her mother, she won a scholarship to Ackworth Boarding School where she began to shine above her class-mates. A champion in all sports, Veronica at last found some happiness until her brother-in-law came into her life. It was as if she had stepped from the frying pan into the re: he took over control of her life removing her from the school she adored, two terms before she was due to take her GCEs, so he could put her to work as a cheap option on his market stall.
Abused for many years by these two men, Veronica eventually ran away and applied to the Prison Service, knowing it was the only safe place she could trust.
This is the astonishing, and true story of Veronica Bird who rose to become a Governor of Armley prison. Given a ‘basket case’ in another prison, contrary to all expectations, she turned it around within a year, to become an example for others to match.
During her life inside, her ‘bird’, she met many Home Secretaries, was honoured by the Queen and was asked to help improve conditions in Russian Prisons. A deeply poignant story of eventual triumph against a staggeringly high series of setbacks, her story is filled with humour and compassion for those inside.
The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson (Michael Joseph)
Before Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik Police is forced into early retirement she is told to investigate a cold case of her choice, and she knows just the one.
A young woman found dead on remote seaweed-covered rocks. A woman who was looking for asylum and found only a watery grave. Her death ruled a suicide after a cursory investigation.
But Hulda soon realizes that there was something far darker to this case. This was not the only young woman to disappear around that time. And no one is telling the whole story.
When her own force tries to put the brakes on the investigation Hulda has just days to discover the truth. Even if it means risking her own life . . .
Spanning the icy streets of Reykjavik, the Icelandic highlands and cold, isolated fjords, The Darkness is an atmospheric thriller fromone of the most exciting names in Nordic Noir.
**Total review copies: 18 books
The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson (HQ)
Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive.
Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As memories of her old life haunt her, she has been forced to forge ahead in the snow-covered Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap to survive.
But her fragile existence is about to be shattered. Shadows of the world before have found her tiny community—most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who sets in motion a chain of events that will force Lynn to fulfill a destiny she never imagined.
Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan (Bookouture)
The little girl curled into a tiny ball as the chamber grew colder around her. “Please,” she whispered, rocking back and forth. “I want to go home.”
When Isabelle Coleman, a blonde, beautiful young girl goes missing, everyone from the small town of Denton joins the search. They can find no trace of the town’s darling, but Detective Josie Quinn finds another girl they didn’t even know was missing.
Mute and unresponsive, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Josie can get from her is the name of a third girl and a flash of a neon tongue piercing that matches Isabelle’s.
The race is on to find Isabelle alive, and Josie fears there may be other girls in terrible danger. When the trail leads her to a cold case labelled a hoax by authorities, Josie begins to wonder is there anyone left she can trust?
Someone in this close-knit town is committing unspeakable crimes. Can Josie catch the killer before another victim loses their life?
Hunted by G X Todd (Headline)
The birds are flying. The birds are flocking. The birds sense the red skies are coming.
One man is driven by an inner voice that isn’t his – this Other is chewing at his sanity like a jackal with a bone and has one purpose.
To find the voice hiding in the girl.
She has no one to defend her now.
But in an inn by the sea, a boy with no tongue and no voice gathers his warriors. Albus must find the girl, Lacey . . . before the Other does.
And finish the work his sister Ruby began.
Hunted is the second book in the acclaimed Voices series, where the battle between Good and Evil holds you in its vice-like grip. #HearTheVoices
Hangman by Daniel Cole (Orion Publishing Group)
A detective with no one to trust
A killer with nothing to lose
18 months after the ‘Ragdoll’ murders, a body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, the word ‘BAIT’ carved into the chest.
In London a copycat killer strikes, branded with the word ‘PUPPET’, forcing DCI Emily Baxter into an uneasy partnership with the detectives on the case, Special Agents Rouche and Curtis.
Each time they trace a suspect, the killer is one step ahead. With the body count rising on both sides of the Atlantic, can they learn to trust each other and identify who is holding the strings before it is too late?
**Total Netgalley copies: 7 books
My Girl by Jack Jordan (Jack Jordan)
Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man. She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house. Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death? Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets. But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me. From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan’s My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won’t want to miss.
From Avon Books
So much goodness in one parcel!
From author Adam Hamdy
I’ve read and enjoyed both Pendulum and Freefall; I’m incredibly happy to now own both books in hardback, and Adam signed them both! They are the first two books in the Pendulum Trilogy featuring John Wallace, I cannot wait to read the third book in this action adventure thriller trilogy worthy of the big screen.
The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo (From Rean)
I thought it worth mentioning, Rean isn’t a publisher or author but my amazing sister – she’s currently living in Spain and has a history of gifting me great books by Spanish authors (but always the translated version because we can’t all read Spanish!)
A killer at large in a remote Basque Country valley , a detective to rival Clarice Starling, myth versus reality, masterful storytelling – the Spanish bestseller that has taken Europe by storm.
The naked body of a teenage girl is found on the banks of the River Baztán. Less than 24 hours after this discovery, a link is made to the murder of another girl the month before. Is this the work of a ritualistic killer or of the Invisible Guardian, the Basajaun, a creature of Basque mythology?
30-year-old Inspector Amaia Salazar heads an investigation which will take her back to Elizondo, the village in the heart of Basque country where she was born, and to which she had hoped never to return. A place of mists, rain and forests. A place of unresolved conflicts, of a dark secret that scarred her childhood and which will come back to torment her.
Torn between the rational, procedural part of her job and local myths and superstitions, Amaia Salazar has to fight off the demons of her past in order to confront the reality of a serial killer at loose in a region steeped in the history of the Spanish Inquisition.
Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate
A woman is on trial for her life, accused of murder. The twelve members of the jury each carry their own secret burden of guilt and prejudice which could affect the outcome.
In this extraordinary crime novel, we follow the trial through the eyes of the jurors as they hear the evidence and try to reach a unanimous verdict. Will they find the defendant guilty, or not guilty? And will the jurors’ decision be the correct one?
Since its first publication in 1940, Verdict of Twelve has been widely hailed as a classic of British crime writing. This edition offers a new generation of readers the chance to find out why so many leading commentators have admired the novel for so long.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
Killman Creek by Rachel Caine
[Full synopsis contains spoilers for book one (Stillhouse Lake) so has not been included]
Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger
In the state of Texas American football is a religion. And nowhere is more fanatical about its football than the small town of Odessa. There, every Friday night from September to November, a bunch of seventeen-year-old kids play their hearts out for the honour of their high school. In front of 20,000 people.
In 1988 H.G. Bissinger spent a season in Odessa discovering just what makes a town pin its hopes on eleven boys on a football field. He lived with the students, coaches and townspeople who dedicate their lives to their team, sharing their joys and triumphs, their pains, injuries and bitter disappointments. He returned with a compassionate but hard-eyed story of a town riven by money, race and class, where a high school can spend more on medical supplies for its athletic program than on its English department.
Friday Night Lights is one of the best books about sport ever written. It is the story of how dreams and reality collide, at once glorious and immensely sad. Because for the 30-odd boys of the Permian Panthers, these days will have been the best of their lives.
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she’d never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital to be treated for depression. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital renowned for its famous clientele – Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor and Ray Charles.
A clear-sighted, unflinching work that provokes questions about our definitions of sane and insane, Kaysen’s extraordinary memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers.
My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland
Can a group of true crime addicts take on the police to catch a serial killer?
KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM DIE…
A young woman is found dead in her bedroom surrounded by rose petals – the latest victim of ‘The Lover’. Struggling under the weight of an internal investigation, DI Dominic Bell is no closer to discovering the identity of the killer and time is running out.
As the murders escalate, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime group determined to take justice in their own hands – to catch the killer before the police. Hiding a dark secret, she takes greater risks to find new evidence and infiltrate the group.
As Starke and Bell get closer to cracking the case neither of them realise they’re being watched. The killer is closer to them than they think, and he has his next victim – Clementine – firmly in his sights.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favourite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil.
**Total owned books to read: 317 books!
Not too shabby for an end of year book haul, if I do say so myself 🙂
Did you see any books that take your fancy?
Did we haul any of the same books?