Death Rope by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #11)

51KT1+YDdJL._SY346_ Synopsis: Mark Abbott is dead. His sister refuses to believe it was suicide, but only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel will listen.

When other members of Mark’s family disappear, Geraldine’s suspicions are confirmed.

Taking a risk, Geraldine finds herself confronted by an adversary deadlier than any she has faced before… Her boss Ian is close, but will he arrive in time to save her, or is this the end for Geraldine Steel?

My Rating: 4/5 Continue reading

Class Murder by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #10)

Synopsis: Geraldine Steel is back for her tenth case. Reunited in York with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson, she discovers that her tendency to bend the rules has consequences. The tables have turned, and now he’s the boss.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the confusing case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

Kat’s Rating: 5/5 Continue reading

Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #9)

51LFv5n1XkL._SL250_

Synopsis: Two murder victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt…. Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which threatens not only her career, but her life. And then her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, with problems which are about to make Geraldine’s life turn toxic in more ways than one!

*If you plan on reading the series in order please do not continue to read my review as it will inevitably contain spoilers*

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: Finally! I have been reading this series since its release and would definitely consider myself a fan. However Geraldine has been through the wringer and back and this book seems to answer a lot of questions. Geraldine was adopted and has a good relationship with her adopted sister Celia. However, upon discovering her real birth mother and then losing her the addition of finding out she has a twin sister leaves her reeling. In addition her twin sister is the polar opposite of Geraldine, being a drug user and addict and somebody that is determined to get what she can out of Geraldine. People may question why this is the first thing I mention about the book, but followers of the series will understand. I have enjoyed the last few books but have had a nagging feeling that certain things were left unresolved. That feeling has now gone and been replaced with excitement and what could happen in future books.

As for the cases Geraldine is working on, this time around there are two murder victims and it seems like a simple cut and dried case where the prime suspect is in custody however Geraldine knows that something doesn’t sit right with her. As usual her colleague Sam is by her side and together they work the case both methodically and thoroughly. To be honest the murder cases felt more like the secondary thread for me and Geraldine’s personal life was something that needed dealing with and Leigh Russell certainly did that in this latest instalment,

Because Geraldine’s sister has appeared it means her work on the murder case is hampered somewhat and towards the last quarter of the book the reader gets to see just how far this hampers her work. As a Detective that is so conscientious it makes for compelling reading as Geraldine is faced with situations she has never had to deal with before such as supporting the only family she has, the question is how far she is prepared to go. The book was a great addition to the series but I can say with quiet confidence that I am super excited to see what book 10 brings as I am crossing my fingers and hoping it brings Geraldine back to where she should have been all along. I am going to be waiting rather impatiently for the next one in the series.

Girl In Danger by Leigh Russell (Lucy Hall #2)

51d7lDRuN1L._SL250_

Synopsis: Chasing a story, reporter Lucy Hall plunges into a desperate fight to save her own life.

Lucy Hall’s first summer in Paris promises to be idyllic. She’s fallen in love with the city and enjoys her new job as an investigative reporter. When her friend Nina comes to stay, the girls look forward to a wonderful summer. But Paris is a city of contrasts and Lucy is about to experience its dangerous side.

When an anonymous source promises her a scoop, Lucy can’t resist the chance to make her name. The deeply unsettling meeting with her informant indicates that there may be more at stake than she’d suspected. Returning home with questions instead of answers, Lucy finds her apartment ransacked and Nina gone.

Lucy knows her friend is in danger, but the police are unwilling to help. When her informant is found dead, she realises she may be next. Lucy has something the killer wants and he’ll do anything to get it back…

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: I read the first in the Lucy Hall series and enjoyed it, however they are certainly not the same as Leigh Russell’s series of books featuring Geraldine Steel. These are more mystery type of books and seem to be somewhat a slower pace. The first book in the Series Journey to Death I enjoyed and I thought it was a good introduction to Lucy. However, when we meet her in the second book she has moved to Paris to start a career as an Investigative Journalist. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that she is very new to it all and she takes every tip seriously in her quest to break into reporting. Her friend Nina visits her, however following an anonymous tip, when she returns home she finds her flat ransacked and her friend missing. 

The story moves along and she meets a man who seems willing to help her but Lucy can’t help but be wary as she isn’t sure who she can trust. We also see the story from Nina’s point of view, along with the main man who runs the criminal world in Paris. The reason I felt so indifferent with book 2 is that there were times it all felt a little repetitive. Although Lucy is a newbie, things fitted a little too neatly for her to ‘bag the story of her career’ and the subsequent chain of events lay just the wrong side of believable for me. 

Although I liked Lucy as a character I didn’t feel as connected to her in this book as much as I did the last one. Things seemed too well planned and this made me feel more indifferently about her than I did previously. The story was enjoyable enough and I think is probably a good alternative to those who don’t want hard hitting, gory or violent crime novels. For me I just couldn’t connect and as such didn’t feel it was one of Leigh’s stronger books.

Murder Ring by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #8)

51G9ssVD1bL.SX316.SY316

Synopsis: ‘Hearing footsteps pounding along the street behind him he glanced back, fleetingly worried, then laughed because the street was deserted. All the same, he felt uneasy. Everything looked different in the dark. 

Then he heard more footsteps approaching, and a hoarse voice called out. Turning his head, he made out a figure hovering in the shadows and as it raised one arm, the barrel of a gun glinted in the moonlight…’ 

The dead body of unassuming David Lester is discovered in a dark side-street, and DI Geraldine Steel is plunged into another murder investigation. The clues mount up along with the suspects, but with the death of another man in inexplicable circumstances, the case becomes increasingly complex. As Geraldine investigates the seemingly unrelated crimes, she makes a shocking discovery about her birth mother.

KAT’S RATING: 4/5

KAT’S REVIEW: First off, although this is book 8 in a series featuring Geraldine Steel, this book could certainly be read as a stand alone. I love this series and Leigh Russell has written a believable and likeable character with Geraldine. However, I have some niggles with the last and current book in that I feel like I am waiting for something to happen on her personal life front. A lot has happened with Geraldine over the last few books and currently it feels like she is in a little bit of a rut. Hopefully the next book will see a change in that. One of the reasons is that Geraldine has been searching for her Birth Mother for some time. This issue is addressed in this latest installment, however by the end of the book there are also additional threads opening up so hopefully this will show us a whole new element to Geraldine in the next installment.

That aside, Geraldine is thrown into a new murder case following the discovery of David Lester’s body. When he is found in a side alley it initially seems that it was a mugging gone wrong, however soon becomes apparent that it was no simple robbery. Geraldine’s colleague Sam returns as does a new DCI who is looking to solve this case quickly to prove he is the right man for the job. The plot is well paced and as the story progresses we see multiple suspects emerge from the woodwork.

The book is certainly an easy read and the series is still one I thoroughly enjoy. I hope that in future books we get to see a balance between work and personal life as at the moment this is the only element of this book that doesn’t feel right. I would also love to see additional characters help add to the team that Geraldine works with. I would definitely recommend this series as I think Gerladine is an interesting and very readable character. I always look forward to what comes next in the series and the same applies now.

Journey To Death (Lucy Hall #1)

51KhvPoo5lL._SY346_

Synopsis: Lucy Hall arrives in the Seychelles determined to leave her worries behind. The tropical paradise looks sun-soaked and picture-perfect—but as Lucy soon discovers, appearances can be very deceptive. A deadly secret lurks in the island’s history, buried deep but not forgotten. And it is about to come to light.

As black clouds begin to gather over what promised to be a relaxing family break, Lucy realises that her father stands in the eye of the coming storm. A shadow from his past is threatening to destroy all that he holds dear—including the lives of his loved ones.

A dark truth is about to explode into their lives, and that truth is going to hit them right between the eyes.

KAT’S RATING: 4/5

KAT’S REVIEW::  I was in two minds about how to rate this book, however I think as a Leigh Russell fan (especially the Geraldine Steel series) you have to accept this is an entirely different type of book. This is not a gritty thriller, more a generic mystery type book. Once you get your head around that you can look at the book with fresh eyes (so to speak). Lucy Hall is a character that is easy to read, however at the moment not that memorable (well at least not for the right reasons). Her trip to the Seychelles to get over her ex-boyfriend along with her parents is meant to be a relaxing time for her, to enable her to get herself together. What actually transpires is a holiday nightmare that will leave Lucy and her family reeling in shock.

The story itself was okay and I feel like this is just a mere introduction to Lucy. The characters were probably the thing I disliked most about this book, just in terms of the way there were quite dismissive throughout the book. That aside, the writing flows well and you begin to get a feel for Lucy and her Mother Angela and Father George. It’s revealed little by little why George’s  history on the island is now coming back to bite them in the behind! There was certainly an element of suspense and in some ways I quite liked the way the characters were second guessing themselves. I guess in real life, this is more likely to happen than an automatic launch into becoming your very own Miss Marple.

I loved the island setting and this Leigh did an amazing job of getting the setting and scenery across to the reader. There were certainly a few gripes I had with the book, but not enough to warrant a lesser rating. I think overall if you take this book for what it is…a mystery, then it’s certainly an enjoyable read. I will certainly look forward to book 2 to see what Lucy plans on doing next.

Killer Plan by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #7)

517WU4e2SyL._SY346_

Synopsis: Caroline’s husband is killed, but she can’t turn to the police without implicating herself in his murder. When one of her 10-year-old twins is kidnapped, the desperate mother is forced to resort to drastic measures to get him back. As time runs out, and a second body is discovered, Geraldine realises she has a secret that might just help solve the case. But the truth could destroy her career. Faced with the unenviable decision of protecting herself or the widow she barely knows, Geraldine must grapple with her conscience and do the right thing before the death count mounts any further

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

KAT’S REVIEW: I have been a long standing fan of Leigh Russell’s but her last Geraldine Steel book left me feeling like something was missing. This latest book was certainly a more enthralling read but I still feel like Geraldine is missing something. In the early part of the series she worked alongside Ian Peterson (who has now moved away and has his own series of books). In her last book we see her new colleagues Sam and Nick a little more but that didn’t sit right with me either. In this latest release, things are a mixed bag for Geraldine.

Caroline is Mother to two 10 year old twin boys and an innocent day at the park turns her world into a living nightmare. When her husband is murdered she cannot turn to the police without putting herself firmly in the frame. With Geraldine working the case things quickly unravel and then before you know it a second body is discovered. The readers are also getting to see Geraldine’s personal life uncovered a little more. I must say I was nowhere near prepared for some of the events in this book, but they were a welcome surprise.

Overall I definitely think the story and writing is back with a vengeance from Leigh Russell, however there is still that nagging feeling. It feels like Geraldine is listlessly meandering through her own life and there is nobody by her side, whether that be a colleague or lover. Maybe that’s what it feels like? She has moved to London and aside from her colleague Sam who didn’t make much oif an appearance in this book she has nobody. Her sister and niece make a brief appearance but aside from that she seems a little lonely.

Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed this series to date and am looking forward to reading the next one which is ready on my Kindle, entitled Murder Ring.

Blood Axe by Leigh Russell (Ian Peterson #3)

413sWmkRIUL._SY346_

Synopsis: ‘Silently dipping his oars in the water he made his escape. It was a weary journey, with few spoils to show for it. Next time he would do better. He looked back over his shoulder. The bridge had disappeared, swallowed up by the darkness. From its walkway he too had become invisible. Only the bloody body of a woman showed he had been roaming the streets that night.’ DI Ian Peterson investigates a series of gruesome and brutal murders in York. As the body count mounts, the case demands all Ian’s ingenuity, because these are murders seemingly committed at random, and this is a killer who leaves no clues

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: There is a warrior lurking around York and within the first few chapters we have the most grisly crime scene played out in all its gory glory. The first few chapters are pretty absorbing and I would imagine quite a draw for a reader who maybe hasn’t read any of Leigh Russell’s books in the Ian Peterson series. Clues are lacking at the beginning although the only thing that seems to make sense is that the murder is somehow linked to a Viking Museum.

I like Ian Peterson and his spin off series has in my eyes been a total success. I sometimes feel like I want Ian to return to the Geraldine Steel, which is the series in which we meet him originally. We do see very brief glimpses of Geraldine as Ian and his former boss have stayed in contact. One of my most irritating issues within this series actually revolves around Ian’s wife Bev. Although this certainly isn’t a predominant feature in the series it still forms part of Ian’s life. Thank god Leigh Russell decided to deal with this issue in this current book and I am thrilled at the way the book was left.

The murderer seems to elude Ian and his colleagues and as bodies pile up, there seems to be less and less evidence and clues for them to work from. I liked Ian’s colleague Ted, but was less keen on Naomi. Having said that, the team plod on and work the case to the best of their ability. I was certainly engrossed and read this in two sittings. It still doesn’t quite pull me in like the Geraldine Steel series, but after this latest book I have a feeling that might all be about to change. Another solid read in the Peterson series.  Can’t wait for book 4 now!

Race to Death by Leigh Russell (Ian Peterson #2)

41tXZ3nNQfL._SY346_

My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Paperback, Kindle, Kobo and Nook

Synopsis: When a man plummets to his death from a balcony at York races, his wife and brother become suspects in a murder enquiry. Meanwhile Richard is being stalked by a killer issuing death threats. Richard is reluctant to go to the police, for fear his own dark secret will be exposed. Newly promoted Detective Inspector Ian Peterson is investigating the death at the races when a woman’s body is discovered. Shortly after that, Richard is killed. With three murders and no suspect, the investigation seems to be going backwards. Ian is determined to discover who is responsible. Afraid the detective is on his track, the killer abducts Ian’s wife. Ian must solve the case to find her, before she becomes the next victim of a serial killer.

My Review: I was unsure about the rating of this and felt it was only fair to give it a 4 (although I considered a 3 as there were things I disliked immensely). The Geraldine Steel series that Russell writes took its time to really come into its own and now as the 7th book approaches (next year I guess) it’s a brilliant series.  I feel like it’s the same with this new Ian Peterson series. It’s a slow burner but have a feeling once we are 3 or 4 books in it will come into its own. It always difficult to split a series but Leigh Russell has managed to do that and Ian Peterson (who used to work for Geraldine Steel) now has his own series. This second book in the series starts off re-introducing the readers to Ian and his wife Bev. They have relocated to York due to Peterson getting promoted to D.I. 

I’m going to start with the negatives, and yes I know I gave it 4 out of 5 but there were still things I didn’t like. First off, what is with Ian’s wife? I have never liked her, but for some reason she became even more irritating in this book. There is absolutely nothing to like about the woman and she grated on me from start to finish. Secondly, the book was a little bit slow in places and took some time to get going. I also feel like Ian is almost a novice at policing, which is odd because when he was working for Geraldine he was an amazing copper. Maybe this is him showing his lack of confidence, who knows.

Aside from those niggles the story kept me entertained as soon as it picked up its pace. The murders are plentiful starting with a guy at the races, and then it all seems to go downhill from there. I was a bit bewildered at the relationship with the widow of the first murder victim and the brother. There seemed so much potential and then it seemed to just disappear. We also see a man named Richard on the receiving end of some nasty threats from a stalker.  

I certainly didn’t see the ending coming and was surprised at the turn of events. The second half of the book was much better and it seemed Leigh Russell got into her stride very quickly after that. Overall an enjoyable book but I’m looking forward to the next one much more.

Fatal Act by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #6)

226x346

My Rating: 3/5

 Synopsis: A glamorous young TV soap star dies in a car crash. Returning for her sixth case, Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel is baffled as the driver of the second vehicle miraculously survives – and vanishes. Another young actress is murdered and, once again, the killer mysteriously disappears. Geraldine unwittingly risks her sergeant’s life in their struggle to track down a serial killer who leaves no clues.

 My Review: I have read all of the books in the Geraldine Steel series and this is the 6th book in the series. The series has changed somewhat with her colleague Ian Peterson leaving Geraldine (and now having his own series of books), and Geraldine relocating to London. This latest book starts off with a particularly exciting scene involving a glamorous young TV star who dies in a fatal road accident. When Geraldine is called in it appears to be a standard collision, except for the fact that the driver of the other vehicle appears to have vanished into thin air.

At first I was completely caught up in the story and it all felt like we were back in the middle of an exciting case. Sadly, a few more chapters in, and it kind of felt like it came to a bit of a standstill. I am most definitely a fan of this series but felt like this book was a little bit safe and it seemed we were veering into familiar territory. There was quite a bit of detail while the officers involved followed the case and we certainly see Geraldine interact with her new colleagues including Nick and Sam. We also see a brief appearance if Ian Peterson, and if I’m honest it felt like Geraldine and him just ‘worked’ and as soon as we went back to present day I found myself feeling uncomfortable again.

I think this latest story (although not a bad read) was a little too predictable and certainly laying too much on the safe side. The series having now split Geraldine and Ian Peterson leaves me still undecided about how well it works. I really enjoyed the last Geraldine Steel book (which didn’t include Ian Peterson, but this one just didn’t sit well with me. I feel like the characters are still finding their feet and I’m hoping that the next instalment feels more right than this one. I am most definitely a fan of these books and think that Leigh Russell is a talented writer. Whether or not the split in the series was a good move or not? I’m still undecided. I can only hope that the next books in the respective series put me right.