SYNOPSIS: With snow falling in a quaint Surrey Village, it’s the perfect setting for Holly and Christopher’s dream Christmas wedding. But instead of enjoying mince pies and mistletoe, their happiness is threatened by old secrets and someone harbouring a grudge. When the truth is finally revealed, can the couple enjoy the festivities with their family, or is their marriage doomed from the start?
Kat’s Rating: 4/5
My Review: This is a perfect short story to read even for me as I am not a huge fan of short stories. I am LOVING Tara’s series featuring DI Hamilton and also enjoyed her last standalone. This is like a little glimmer of a treat and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can only hope we get another fix of Hamilton soon or another standalone…can’t wait!
Synopsis: Paramedic Abi Quinn is hailed as a hero by the patients she saves with the London Ambulance Service; but a secret she’s kept since she was a teenager now threatens to shatter that perfect illusion.
When her daughter Rose goes missing while studying at Brighton university, and ghosts from her past return to haunt her, Abi’s caught in a race against time to untangle the web of lies she set in motion over twenty years ago.
Everyone has something to lose.
Everyone is trying to protect themselves.
Everyone is broken.
But what lengths will they go to in order to stop the truth from being exposed?
My Rating: 5/5
My Review: Woahh okay I kind of didn’t expect this book to be what it was…so let me explain. So Tara is somebody I met a few years ago and we talked about her book she had released etc. However we also became firm friends and I can tell you now for a fact I have at various points on reading a book of hers actually picked up my phone and messaged her to say I hated something. She knows I will never write a fake review and will always be completely honest about it so I am going to try and do both. What happened was, I began to read her series of books featuring DI Hamilton, I started out liking them (not loving them) but her latest release with Denis Hamilton was awesome and a smashing 5 star read. When I picked this up I assumed it was another in the series. I was wrong, but a few chapters in realised I actually didn’t want to stop reading. However, there were things I didn’t like about the book but I still had that overwhelming urge to continue.
I read quite a few chapters the first time around and then the next time I picked it up, well… I finished it in one sitting. On one hand this was a TRUE psychological thriller and on the other there were things I just couldn’t gel with. Even after having negatives about this book I absolutely refuse to give it anything other than the full 5 out of 5. I didn’t want to put the thing down and was totally and utterly absorbed in the story line. My main gripe was the lead character Abi, I just didn’t like her. She felt a bit too much like a neurotic Mother for my liking. However, even though I didn’t like her it was pretty clear there were quite a few sinister things going on from the very early stages of the book.
Her daughter Rose appears to have gone missing and it becomes apparent that Abi’s own secrets may well have played a part in her disappearance. The first quarter of the book was a little slow as it felt a little bit like listening to a Mother harping on about her child constantly, but the last three quarters literally took my breath away. Just when I thought the story couldn’t get any better I reached the last chapter….and all I can say is I was a little in shock! An absolute belter of a book that is a must read for psychological thriller fans!
Synopsis: Torn away from his family life, DI Denis Hamilton is urgently called into a briefing in the early hours of his weekend off. He must unravel an investigation he thought had long closed.
Putting his personal worries to one side, Hamilton and his Murder Investigation Team come up against a patient with a mental disorder hell-bent on revenge.
Comparing the present day with memories of his tragic past, can Hamilton open his mind to the difficulties of mental illness in order to catch a murderer?
And when a colleague’s life is threatened, can Hamilton unlock the truth of the stranger within before it’s too late?
Kat’s Rating: 5/5 Continue reading “The Stranger Within by Tara Lyons (DI Hamilton #4)”
Synopsis: Who can you really trust?
Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is dragged into a gruesome murder investigation, while on annual leave at Lake Windermere. A handwritten note, with a woman’s name, is found inside the corpse.
When a direct link to London is identified, Hamilton must race against the clock to make the connection before the body count rises.
Meanwhile, four friends with strained relationships, are reunited. What past event do they want to keep buried and is there something linking them to the murders?
Then, when a person from Hamilton’s past returns, he must ask himself: how well do we really know our friends?
Kat’s Review: I really enjoyed book 2 featuring Denis Hamilton and was thrilled to get my hands on an early review copy of book 3. DI Hamilton is on holiday with his wife Elizabeth when lo and behold he stumbles across a murder scene. Denis being the type of man he is, decides to give the local police a helping hand. As his holiday quickly turns to a distant memory it becomes clear than Denis wants this case for himself and his team. Lucklily his boss pulls some strings and before you know it their wish is granted.
The dead man was a relatively well known celebrity Warren Speed. The discovery of his body uncovers the dissapearance of a close friend of his in the same spot some a couple of years prior to his body being found. That gives the team two angles to work with. It was lovely to see the return of Hamilton’s team all of whom are quickly becoming integrated in my mind as one unit. Rocky, Fraser and Clarke return along with the newest member Dixon. The interaction between the team was what made this book for me, and the storyline a close second. Now I know that sounds strange but for me it’s crucial that your become involved with all the characters and this third book in the series encompasses all that I want from a book like this.
Although the main storyline focuses on the what starts with the death of Warren Speed, I also liked the sub plots that appear and it keeps the book fresh and interesting. Hamilton is a character I am quickly becoming quite attached to and I love how close the team are and they all have their place firmly in this series in my mind.
Synopsis: Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is haunted when the suspicious death of a teenage girl triggers suppressed memories. With a stalker targeting vulnerable women in Central London, and his team rapidly diminishing, Hamilton must conquer his emotions before another family is destroyed.
In a sleepy town in Hertfordshire, Katy has worked hard to rebuild her life after leaving behind everything she knew. But when her past catches up with her, and her young son’s life is threatened, Katy must admit her true identity if she has any hope of surviving.
A home should be a safe place, shouldn’t it?
But sometimes it is hard to know who you can trust…
London’s murder investigations team returns in the second novel from the bestselling author of In the Shadows.
Kat’s Review: I was looking forward to reading the next in this series by Tara Lyons. The first book was a great read but a little slow to start with. Thankfully this one wasn’t the same in that respect and it only took a chapter or two before I was back in the life of Denis Hamilton and his colleagues. Their first case is something that Hamilton is struggling with and his colleague just can’t work out why. As a reader, we begin to learn a little more about Hamilton’s history and why his reaction to this particular crime scene was so unusual for a man with his experience. Hamilton’s colleagues Clarke and Fraser are likeable and easy to read about but my favourite had to be the addition of a new rookie team member Rocky. The team dynamic is great and more than anything very realistic.
The other element of the story involves Katy, a woman and her small child that are clearly hiding from someone. They live their life in fear and it seems the safe place that you should call home, just doesn’t apply to them. Tara did a great job of translating Katy’s fear and paranoia to the reader and although I was frustrated for Kate, I also felt fear for her too. Reading her tale in conjunction with the murders being investigated by Hamilton and the team add even more tension to an already pretty tense situation.
As the story progresses, we learn more about the characters as well as the reasons behind all of their choices. Sadly, the situation just becomes increasingly more dangerous for Katy and her son and I found myself wondering who was responsible. I wasn’t entirely sure and was exceptionally pleased at the last quarter of the book. Lyons ups the ante and I read the last part of the book in one sitting. There were a couple of things that bugged me, which is why I couldn’t rate it the full 5, however they were small and insignificant enough for me not to care too much about them! I think this was so much better than the first book and if the next one is better still it will hopefully be a full 5 stars for the next book. This will definitely be a series I now follow and would recommend starting from book 1 even though this can be read as a standalone.
Synopsis: The first gripping book in The Organised Crime Team series by NY Times bestselling author of the Justice series, M A Comley and co-author Tara Lyons, author of In The Shadows.
When The Caller rings… what would you do?
The Organised Crime Team is a newly-formed unit with one of the toughest tasks in London. Led by DI Angie North, their first investigation is a cold case that has foxed several officers in the Met for months.After Angie holds a TV appeal regarding the case, a number of similar aggressive attacks are brought to her attention. The team call on their contacts on the street for help. Their interest is sparked when several local names surface.
To bring the criminals to justice a member of the Organised Crime Team is asked to risk their life in a dangerous covert operation.
Kat’s Review: Okay so I have read books by both Tara Lyons and Mel Comley and was looking forward to seeing what they produced as a team. The Organised Crime Team (OCT) is run by a really likeable character DI Angie North, her team are pretty likeable too. They are tasked with findng the people responsible for a cold case of robberies and attacks. We get a glimpse of the people behind it from early on in the book and I actually liked this element as there was something of a cat and mouse play going on between them and the OCT.
The pace is okay although in all honesty not the fastest pace but certainly enough to keep me hooked on reading it. What I really like in this book is the fact that as a reader you feel like you are really getting to know the team. Each member is explained and it gives you a fantastic base for the follow on books.The storyline makes it clear that the basis for these robberies is a very simple thing, which in real life wouldn’t be that difficult to imagine (scary). As the book continues Angie and the team have to find enough evidence to nail the people responsible but that means putting a member of the team deep in the heart of it all and potentially at great risk.
There were certain things in the book I felt were too easy for the team and I though weren’t plausible enough (hence the drop from a 4 star read). That said, the characters were really likeable and the writing flowed well and was so easy to become immersed in.Overall I think this a brilliant base to a series, and I could see myself quickly becoming attached to the characters and wanting to see where it goes
Synopsis: Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is tasked with apprehending a brutal murderer stalking the streets of London – and leaving not a shred of DNA evidence. As the suspect list mounts, his frustration and pressure from his superiors intensify.
Grace Murphy, who is dealing with the recent loss of her beloved grandfather, falls deeper into despair when her friends’ bodies are discovered. Fearing she may be the killer’s next target, she begins to question if her horrifying nightmares are the key to unravelling the murderer’s identity.
How far would you go to uncover the truth? Would you venture into the shadows to unmask a killer?
KAT’S RATING: 4/5
KAT’S REVIEW: Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is the main character in this debut novel by Tara Lyons along with Grace Murphy. The story started off a little slowly but in all honesty it gives you time to find out a little more about the other characters which make up this debut novel. Out of Grace and Denis, Grace was the one that held my interest initially. Grace seems like an ordinary woman, however she has recently lost her Grandfather who she was extremely close to. We see her struggle to cope with the loss and as the story unfolds she seems to spiral deeper into her own depression. The other element which makes Grace seem to spiral so quickly is that the recent murder that took place was somebody she knew.
On the other side of the fence Hamilton and his colleague Lewis Clarke start to investigate the initial murder. However, before long it’s not just one murder they are dealing with and it become clear that the killer is extremely clued up as there is absolutely no DNA evidence making the investigation seem like a fruitless task. As the story progresses the tension mounts because it seems that each victim has a link to either Grace or the Theatre that she works at. I must say that I was pretty smug thinking I knew who the killer was after the first half of the book. I was wrong!
The whole book is written in such a way that you are drawn to reading about Grace and also you feel like you are almost part of the investigation. You don’t only see Hamilton and Clarke just swoop in and save the day, you see the whole team pulling their weight and going through the arduous tasks day by day and the frustration mounting. The last quarter of the book was absolutely brilliant and although I could see where it was going it took me until the last quarter of the book to figure it out. This is an outstanding debut novel and I am really looking forward to seeing what else Tara Lyon’s produces. This is certainly an author I would recommend and think fans of the ‘psychological thriller’ type genre will love this.