Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #9)

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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.

Murder Ring by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #8)

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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.

Killer Plan by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #7)

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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.

Fatal Act by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #6)

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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.

Stop Dead by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #5)

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My Rating: 4/5

I couldn’t believe it was yet again time for another Geraldine Steel instalment and I was even more excited than usual thanks to getting an early review copy of it. I must say the first thing I loved about this book was the cover; they are brilliant and most certainly eye catching. Geraldine Steel is a Detective Inspector who has recently relocated to London. In the last book (Death Bed) she was thrown straight into a murder investigation and this book picks up a few weeks later. Geraldine is only just getting over the paperwork involved in her last case when she is thrown straight into a new one.

It all starts with the discovery of a successful businessman being found dead in his car. His death is particularly brutal and Geraldine has a lot of work on her hands. The businessman’s wife was involved in an affair so instantly becomes a suspect, as does her lover. As soon as Geraldine gets stick into the new case, the original murder victim’s business partner winds up dead although the two cases don’t seem to be related. They discover DNA which leads them only to a woman serving life in prison, and another woman who is dead.

In the last book, I felt like I was getting to know a whole new host of characters what with Geraldine’s relocation. This made this current book a little easier, as we see the return of Geraldine’s colleague Sam. Although Sam is featured quite heavily, I still miss Ian Peterson who was a colleague of Geraldine’s before she moved. The last book for me focused more on Geraldine as a person and this one was the polar opposite. At the halfway mark I had decided who was the murderer, and then subsequently changed my mind at least three times! This latest Russell novel was what I would call a real murder mystery. It was all the things a mystery should be, intriguing, enthralling, tense and utterly absorbing!

Although I loved this book it still wasn’t quite as good as book 3 (Dead End). There is one major sticking point for me which is the storyline regarding Geraldine’s birth mother. I’m not one for plot spoilers but I am getting impatient to find out more!!! Other than the fact that I miss Ian Peterson and her old colleagues, this latest Steel instalment was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now eagerly awaiting the next one.

Death Bed by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #4)

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My Rating: 4/5

I have read each of the books in this series and was looking forward to this one which is book 4 of the series. However, with the relocation of Geraldine to London I found myself feeling like we were back at the beginning in a certain sense.

After finishing book 3 which I loved and rated a full 5 out of 5, I had high expectations and I think the new setting may have thrown me slightly. Geraldine is once again on uncertain ground as she tries to get to grips with her new role and new colleagues. I loved Ian Peterson, an ex-colleague of Geraldine’s but found myself being introduced to a new sergeant that she will be working with (who I am undecided about at the moment).

When Geraldine is assigned to work on a case, she doesn’t realise the potential media impact, as the case could have a racist element to it. The story itself was as usual a good one, and the descriptive gruesomeness of some scenes was brilliant. However, I think that after finishing this book there were some elements missing. I feel like just as I was getting to know characters and Geraldine’s setting, we are thrown in with new settings and characters which made me feel like it was harder work than it should have been.

I also think that because of all of that, the actual crimes that were taking place seemed to take a bit of a back seat for me. Towards the end of the book the pace was picked up, but there was an element of it being wrapped up too neatly at the end for my liking.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and loved re-visiting a character I have grown to look forward to reading about. I just wish that I didn’t feel like we have gone back a few steps with the character, and can only hope that I grow to like Geraldine’s new colleagues as much as the old!

Dead End by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #3)

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My Rating: 5/5

In Leigh Russell’s third installment of ‘DI Geraldine Steel’ Series we once again see Geralding thrown into a messy and disturbing case. In this particular book, headmistress Abigail Kirby is found dead in a park, but in this instance it seems that her tongue has been cut out. DI Geraldine Steel, along with her colleague Ian Peterson are put on the case, and when a potential witness is blinded and murdered, the case seems to get out of control.

I admit that I am a sucker when it comes to ‘series’ featuring the same people. In particular I liked Leifh Russell as I have read each of her books from her debut novel ‘Road Closed’. This time around the writing is so much better as the story flows so easily. LeighRussell is a writer that is going from strength to strength with every book she writes.

I found that in the first book we didn’t learn enough about Geraldine herself, or the people she worked with. In this book Geraldine’s personal life seems to run alongside her career and we get to see the more emotional side to her which I loved. We also see a lot more of Ian Peterson and this is a true testemant to how much better this book is than her first.

The characters have developed so much more and as reader you feel like you are taking their life journey with them. Geraldine is far from perfect but is a complete workaholic who has some serious personal issues that can sometimes affect her judgement. It is things like this that add the touch of realism to this book.

The crimes in the book are as ususal gruesome and bloody, and extremely well detailed, without being too over the top. We see the workings of real police who make some huge errors along the way (which is always nice).

I only have one criticism about the book and that is that I had a sneaking suspicion of the killer around halfway through. Having said that, I do that with many of the books I read. Apart from being suspicious (and then being correct in my assumption) this book is absolutely, 100% the best book Leigh Russell has written so far. I am now eagerly awaiting the next installment and there were major parts of Geraldine’s life that are unanswered and I realloy need to know more about.

Thoroughly reccommended and I truly think that Leigh Russell has now created a series that can rival other major crime writers out there. I would suggest starting at book one and working your way through as by the time you get to this one you will be itching to read book 4. Can’t wait for the next one!

Road Closed by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #2)

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My Rating: 4/5

When I read Leigh Russell’s first book Cut Short, I enjoyed it but felt like the reader didn’t get to know enough about the characters. This was my main gripe with an otherwise really enjoyable debut novel. I had high hopes for the second instalment and thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. Having said that I think we have yet to see Leigh Russell’s finest work and next year I think book 3 will show that. It almost feels like with each book you read you are building up to the bigger picture of Geraldine’s life.

Initially I felt like again we weren’t seeing the real Geraldine and I was getting frustrated. However, by the time I finished this book I realised that this is perfect character building. She is a far from perfect person but is dedicated to her job. We see a lot more of her personal life in this book and it has given Leigh Russell a great platform for book three with a shock twist from Geraldine’s past. I realised by the end that this type of writing just made me want to pick up another book and read more about her, perfect tactics Ms Russell!

Cut Short by Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel #1)

226x346 (3)My Rating: 3/5

I read this book based on its review for a book that I may have normally overlooked. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found that it got a lot better the further into the book I got. The beginning was a little slow but picked up pace. As a reader I wanted to know a lot more about the character. In this debut novel we meet Geraldine Steel who has taken a DI position in Woolmarsh. She is thrown into the deep end with a serial killer on the loose who is preying on young girls walking in the nearby park. The great thing about this book is we see the serial killers actions as well as that of the police. We meet Geraldine’s boss Kathryn Gordon and her colleague Ian Peterson. The only thing I would say is that I am hoping in the follow up we find out more about Kathryn and Ian, as well as finding out a lot more about Geraldine herself. Would definitely recommend.