10 Books of Summer 2017 – Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millenium #1) by Stieg Larsson


10 Summer Books of 2017 read.


Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family.

He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history.

But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.


This is the first of the Millenium Series from Steig Larsson. It has well drawn characters, a good plot and keeps a reasonable pace.  I like both the main characters Michael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander even though one or two actions are rather extreme, if deserved, and Looks to be part of the ongoing series story. When first published this book was surrounded by quite a lot of hype, I think it was deserved.  I look forward to reading the two other books in the series.

Rating: 4*


Format: Kindle Edition
Print Length: 561 pages
Publisher: MacLehose Press (1 Jan. 2010)


The Childfinder by Rene Denfeld


A haunting, richly atmospheric, and deeply suspenseful novel from the acclaimed author of The Enchanted about an investigator who must use her unique insights to find a missing little girl.

“Where are you, Madison Culver? Flying with the angels, a silver speck on a wing? Are you dreaming, buried under snow? Or–is it possible–you are still alive?”


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own harrowing experience that allows her to succeed when others have failed.

Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they’d gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure.

But Naomi knows that Madison isn’t dead. Can she find the child – and also find out why this particular case is stirring the shadows of her own memories? Could her future be bound to this girl in a way she doesn’t understand?


This is a gripping story of The Childfinder, Naomi, who is searching for an eight year old child, Maddison, missing for three years. The story is told by two voices – Noami and the Snow Girl. Not a style that I always enjoy but in no way did it detract from my enjoyment of this book. It is set in the brutal, yet beautiful landscape of Oregon a place that would be impossible for a five year old girl, not dressed for the weather, to survive. In her search Noami recalls her past – as much as she can – and it is one that has made her uniquely capable to perform this special role and motivates her to search, to believe she can give parents back their children – alive or dead.

There is another storyline of a missing baby which interweaves the main story which I felt enhanced the book as it further showed how Naomi dealt with people and situations.

The characters in the book are very well drawn. Naomi is a wonderful character. The voice of the Snow Child is stunning and told with great understanding and knowledge. There is great empathy in the writing of this book both story and characters.

There is heartache and joy in this story which is well told, well written and well worth reading.

Highly recommended.

Rating:  5*

With thanks to HarperCollins for an uncorrected manuscript proof e-book provided via NetGalley, also thanks, for an unbiased review.

Paperback:  ISBN-10: 0062692690
Hardback:  ISBN-13: 978-006269269
Publisher: Harper; International ed. edition

Published: 5 Sept. 2017
Language: English



Rene Denfeld is an author, journalist, and death penalty investigator. She has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and is the author of four nonfiction books. The Enchanted received the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger in France


He Said/She said by Erin Kelly

‘A breathless psychological thriller from the crime author on everyone’s lips, HE SAID/SHE SAID is *the* suspense novel of 2017’



Laura and Kit are in Cornwall it’s 1999, they are there for the eclipse. On the way back to their tent after the event Laura finds a purse, follows a trail of coins and stumbles upon a man and woman – Jamie and Beth. Laura realises all is not right. Kit catches up just as Jamie walks away so Laura sends him off to follow. Laura rings the police.
Thus begins a series of events which have Laura and Kit changing their names, moving home and living in fear for the next seventeen years.

The story is told by Kit and Laura in alternate chapters jumping back and forth over the years, overarching sections are linked to phases of the eclipse. I found this style of writing detracted from the fluid reading of the book although I understood why it was used – partly for the shock value, partly to build tension, partly to make the book stand out – it irked. You may not be bothered by this and so the book should be even better for you.

There are so many of these psychological thrillers available to read, I have read some, with He Said/She Said Erin Kelly writes well and provides an interesting and unique tale.

This is a good book telling a story of consequences when we lie, of guilt and of actions we take because of the lies and guilt and those consequences. It’s worth a read.

Rating  3*


Format: Kindle Edition
Length: 401 pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (20 April 2017)



The Mother by Yvvette Edwards



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Out in Paperback, 9 February 2017

“A provoctive and timely novel about an emotionally desolated mother’s struggle to understand her teenage son’s death and her search for meaning and hope in the wake of incomprehensible loss.”


Today, Marcia is heading to the Old Bailey. She’s going there to do something no mother should ever have to do: attend the trial of the boy accused of her son’s murder.

She’s not meant to be that woman; Ryan, her son, wasn’t that kind of boy. But Tyson Manley is that kind of boy and, as his trial unfolds, it becomes clear that Marcia’s greatest hope for closure lies with Manley’s girlfriend, Sweetie. But can Sweetie be trusted?



I was given this book for my birthday and wasn’t sure it was my kind of story, even though I am a fan of crime fiction. This book isn’t quite that genre. It is about a mother, Marcie, who is attending the trial of  17 year old Tyson accused of murdering her son Ryan, 16 years old. So not about finding the murderer rather will he be found guilty? Indeed, more than that it is about the aftermath of a murder. The consequences of actions that result in a violent death of a teenage boy. The guilt, not of those responsible for the killing, but of those not responsible who feel they are. The coping, or not coping, when someone you loved has been taken from you. Violently, suddenly and for what reason…… Why? That’s what Marcie wants to know. Will there be a resolution, will it be the one Marcie hopes for?

This book in it’s quiet telling of this harrowing story is very much worth reading. I am glad I added it to my 10 books of Summer reading list, I am glad I took the time to read it, I hope you do to.

Rating:  4.5* Highly recommended


Yvvette Edwards lives in London. The Mother is her second novel. Her first novel, A Cupboard Full of Coats, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize.

ISBN 978 1 4472 9454 2

Publisher: http://www.panmacmillan.com


The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

“When Nina’s husband dies, she looses everything. Torn between the past and the future, she must learn what it means to stand on her own.”



This slideshow requires JavaScript.


in paperback



Nina’s husband, Finn, dies in a car crash. Nina is devastated at this sudden loss but thinks that having to tell Connor and Declan, their two sons, that their father is dead will be the hardest thing she will ever have to do….

And then Nina’s world really comes crashing down around her. Finn has gone but his business was bankrupt, he had mortgaged their home and stopped paying the school fees. There was £8 million of debt and Nine hadn’t a clue.

Finn had always dealt with their finances, had encouraged her to give up on having a career, discouraged her from getting too close to others because, after all, they were enough for each other – their happy, idyllic family. now it had allcome tumbling down and the one person she needed was dead and, perhaps, even the cause of all this pain.


Nina finds herself without a home, no money, no job, no skills she is in mourning and  floundering. She and the boys are grieving, in shock, devastated, confused, angry and still clinging on to Finn as they knew him, or thought they did. Tiggy, her sister, reaches out. Tiggy is a terrific character in the book. With her support Nina starts to sort her and the boys lives out. There is quite a bit of guilt from Nina and frankly a lot of readers will agree – she had lived in a cocooned world of luxury giving little heed to the realities of life. Perhaps the angst is a bit overdone at times. Nevertheless, Nina needs to pull herself together and build a new life for her, Connor and Declan. Indeed had she really had a happy life with Finn, was it as perfect as she had thought?

This is a well written story of loss, what really matters in life and rebuilding lives from heartbreak and devastation. I would certainly recommend this book.

Rating:  4*


I would like to thank Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for a pre-approved copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.



Published by: Lake Union Publishing

Published in Paperback: 22 August 2017

ISBN: 9781611099553

The Seagull by Anne Cleaves

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


“The Seagull is a searing new novel by Sunday Times bestselling author Ann Cleeves, about corruption deep in the heart of a community, and fragile, and fracturing, family relationships.”

From Ann Cleeves, winner of the CWA Diamond Dagger Award, comes The Seagull.

A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper – and Vera played a key part in his downfall.

Now, Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer who disappeared in the mid-nineties, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, and that his body is buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.

This cold case case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as ‘the Prof’, were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were the ‘Gang of Four’, regulars at a glamorous nightclub called The Seagull. Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. As the past begins to collide dangerously with the present, Vera confronts her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth . . .


This is the eighth book in the DI Vera Stanhope mysteries from Ann Cleeves.  I have read several of the series and, for me, The Seagull is the most engrossing and the one I have most enjoyed reading. It flows well and brings back all the characters we have come to know alongside Vera.

Whilst this is a story in which Vera and her team are trying to resolve more than one murder it is not gory but a well told tale of detection.  It brings with it the human side of life lived in the shady areas of prostitution, drugs and organised crime rather than the gritty side but nor does it allow you to bury your head in the ground of how difficult and dangerous these worlds can be. Rather this is a book that concentrates on resolving the crimes through solid police work and detection.

Vera is a wonderful character and is most certainly central to unravelling the mystery, especially as this one involved her father Hector, and solving the crimes but the rest of the team – Joe, Holly and Charlie – play their part. It brings us more of Vera’s history, touching so much on the past – her mother, neighbours old and new and Hector who, despite his criminal activities, Vera staunchly protects the memory of. Is she right to now that he may be linked to murder?

Well written and engaging I am happy to recommend this book.

Rating ****


This book, in the form of an e-galley, was made available via NetGalley from St Martins Press for an honest review. My thanks to them both.




Minotaur Books
St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250124869
416 Pages

Publish date: 05 Sept 2017 (US and UK)
Available Editions: Hardcover

10 books of Summer 2017 Review – Last Bus to Woodstock (Morse #1), Colin Dexter

At last I am starting my reviews of my 10 books of Summer 2017.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last Bus to Woodstock

‘The death of Syvia Kaye featured dramatically in Thursday afternoon’s edition of the Oxford Mail.

By Friday evening Inspector Morse had informed the nation that the police were looking for a dangerous man – facing charges of wilful muder, sexual assault and rape.

But as the obvious leads fade into twilight and darkness, Morse must follow his instincts if he is to unearth the culprit of this heinous crime.”


Rating: ****

This is the first in the series of the Morse books, it is also the first book by Colin Dexter that I have read.  I am so pleased that I added this to my ten books because as a fan of the TV Morse, Lewis and Endeavour I often wondered what the Morse books were like and I have not been disappointed.  I do like books were the detective figures it out, uses the clues and finds the answer. This is a wonderful example of that English detective novel and I would recommend it to all.

The book was published in 1975. It is the first in a series of thirteen ending with The Remorseful Day.


Colin Dexter lived in Oxford from 1966. Amongst the many awards for his novels he won CWA Gold Daggers for The Wench is Dead  and  The Way Through the Woods in 1997 he was presented with the CWA Diamond Dagger for outstanding services to crime literature, and in 2000 was awarded the OBE.

Publisher: Pan Books


The Last Bus to Woodstock

ISBN: 978-1-4472-9907-3