#BookReview MURDER:THE BIOGRAPHY by KATE MORGAN #20BooksOfSummer21 #nonfiction



Book 3 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021


MURDER: The Biography by KATE MORGAN

ABOUT THE BOOK


Totally gripping and brilliantly told, Murder: The Biography is a gruesome and utterly captivating portrait of the legal history of murder.

The stories and the people involved in the history of murder are stranger, darker and more compulsive than any crime fiction.

There’s Richard Parker, the cannibalized cabin boy whose death at the hands of his hungry crewmates led the Victorian courts to decisively outlaw a defence of necessity to murder. Dr Percy Bateman, the incompetent GP whose violent disregard for his patient changed the law on manslaughter. Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in England in the 1950s, played a crucial role in changes to the law around provocation in murder cases. And Archibald Kinloch, the deranged Scottish aristocrat whose fratricidal frenzy paved the way for the defence of diminished responsibility. These, and many more, are the people – victims, killers, lawyers and judges, who unwittingly shaped the history of that most grisly and storied of laws.

Join lawyer and writer Kate Morgan on a dark and macabre journey as she explores the strange stories and mysterious cases that have contributed to UK murder law. The big corporate killers; the vengeful spouses; the sloppy doctors; the abused partners; the shoddy employers; each story a crime and each crime a precedent that has contributed to the law’s dark, murky and, at times, shocking standing

PUBLISHED BY HARPER COLLINS

MY REVIEW


This was a fascinating and detailed exploration of the art of Murder! The infamous, and not so famous, cases over the years that have shaped the way we view murder and how the lines blur from case to case, showing up the gaps in law that can’t cope with the dark and disturbing acts committed by humans.

The author has done a brilliant job of looking back over time at a number of different cases over hundreds of years. How crimes have changed and how the punishments too have differed over the years. From the death penalty to the use of secure hospitals for those claiming mental instability.

Some of the cases I’d heard of so they did resonate, but I was equally fascinated by the cases that had passed me by showing the dark and disturbing and it does a brilliant job of opening topics up to debate – from the appeal system, the difference between murder and manslaughter and how we all become ‘armchair lawyers’ when a high profile case hits the media. And even goes into how crimes cross over into films and tv, and how the public fascination with these horrific crimes never seems to wane.

I learnt so much from this book – including the background to the phrase ‘sweet fanny adams’ to what used to be built on the site of Liverpool Street Station – along with a greater understanding of the process behind the scenes and how cases are dealt with and I found it to be a real eye-opening read.


★★★★★

#AudiobookReview HINTON HOLLOW DEATH TRIP by WILL CARVER

ABOUT THE BOOK


It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.

Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.

Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.

Because something was coming.

Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.

Making them cheat.
Making them steal.
Making them kill.

Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone. Evil had a plan.

PUBLISHED BY ORENDA BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

Blackwell’s

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

My first Will Carver book – definitely not my last!! This was bloody brilliant!!! It was dark, twisted, thought provoking, absorbing….. it’s fair to say I loved it! And I thought the narration on the audiobook was top drawer!

This is a book narrated by Evil!! Yep, you read that right! And Evil has a lot to comment on as he watches over the goings on Hinton Hollow as darkness hits the inhabitants which sets off a chain reaction of more twisted goings on that affect everyone and leaves them all reeling, and leaves you wondering just what darkness will happen next!

Evil explains how people are! He often doesn’t need to manipulate them much, just a little gentle nudge and their own freewill surfaces and shows their true colours. And in the world we live in right now, this book hits home in more ways than one! I never thought I’d be so in agreement with Evil and his perceptions on humanity! Not sure what that says about me!!

The sequence of events are terrifying as they unfold. Someone is picking their victims carefully and it seems nobody is safe. And the perpetrator is seemingly untouchable with little clue as to their motives or identity. There are little hints and flashbacks, but the action mainly takes place over just 5 days. The darkness and the horror seems unstoppable and with Evil narrating, this just adds to the tension and the utter unpredictability of it all.

A truly unique story and I cannot wait to go back and read more of this series – and see what else Will Carver has lined up for us with his future books!! Loved Loved Loved it!!!

★★★★★

#BookReview The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell #bookblogger #TheDevilAspect

About the book

A terrifying novel set in Czechoslovakia in 1935, in which a brilliant young psychiatrist takes his new post at an asylum for the criminally insane that houses only six inmates–the country’s most depraved murderers–while, in Prague, a detective struggles to understand a brutal serial killer who has spread fear through the city, and who may have ties to the asylum 

In 1935, Viktor Kosrek, a psychiatrist newly trained by Carl Jung, arrives at the infamous Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The state-of-the-art facility is located in a medieval mountaintop castle outside of Prague, though the site is infamous for concealing dark secrets going back many generations. The asylum houses the country’s six most treacherous killers–known to the staff as The Woodcutter, The Clown, The Glass Collector, The Vegetarian, The Sciomancer, and The Demon–and Viktor hopes to use a new medical technique to prove that these patients share a common archetype of evil, a phenomenon known as The Devil Aspect. As he begins to learn the stunning secrets of these patients, five men and one woman, Viktor must face the disturbing possibility that these six may share another dark truth. 


Meanwhile, in Prague, fear grips the city as a phantom serial killer emerges in the dark alleys. Police investigator Lukas Smolak, desperate to locate the culprit (dubbed Leather Apron in the newspapers), realizes that the killer is imitating the most notorious serial killer from a century earlier–London’s Jack the Ripper. Smolak turns to the doctors at Hrad Orlu for their expertise with the psychotic criminal mind, though he worries that Leather Apron might have some connection to the six inmates in the asylum. 


Steeped in the folklore of Eastern Europe, and set in the shadow of Nazi darkness erupting just beyond the Czech border, this stylishly written, tightly coiled, richly imagined novel is propulsively entertaining, and impossible to put down.

Published by  Constable

PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk

WHSmith

waterstones

MY REVIEW

Madness and Murder – what a belter of a combination!! And this book has it in bucket loads and kept me terrified and looking over my shoulder at every opportunity!

I loved the setting in a creepy old castle which is now home to the criminally insane – The Devil’s Six – and Dr Viktor Kosarek is a young psychiatrist is brought in to use new techniques to try and uncover just what made these people commit such horrific crimes. i loved how we got to hear the backstory of each of the Six while the Dr interviews them and the author pulls no punches in describing some of the gruesome crimes they committed! This is not a book to be read before bedtime!!

Meanwhile, there is a murderer on the loose, known as ‘Leather Apron’ who butchers his victims, and Kaptain Lukas is in charge of trying to get to the bottom of who this vile creature is and if there is any link to those inside the Asylum. There are links also to murders committed in London by Jack the ripper with the brutality used so this is another connection that needs to be looked into and the story allows for different avenues to be explored both from the police point, the psychiatrist view and that of the criminals themselves.

As Dr Viktor delves further into the past of the Six, he hears how each of them are convinced it wasn’t them committing their crimes but the devil himself. I really enjoyed his time spent with these six characters – they all could have had their own books written about them with the lives they’d led, and the lives they’d taken, but it was so interesting to see them up alongside one another so that Dr Viktor could see what links he could find between them all.

There is a great mix of a very strong plot line with this book alongside those of flawed characters throughout who had suffered in their pasts, and setting it in a dark period of history allowed there to be many twists that lead the reader up the garden path, so to speak, and I found it to be one of those books that you lose yourself in and one of those stories that stay with you for some time after you finish reading the last page! Beware the devil!!!

My thanks to the Author and Publisher for the book in return for a fair and honest review.

★★★★

#BookReview Things In Jars by Jess Kidd

About the book

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.

Published by Canongate Books

Publication Date – 4th April 2019

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Goldsboro Books  – signed first edition £14.99

hive.co.uk  £10.99

waterstones  £14.99

MY REVIEW

Move over Sherlock, Bridie Devine is the new super sleuth in town and I adore her! Jess Kidd has created another dark and wonderful tale set in Victorian times that explores the disturbing disappearance of a young girl, who has been kept hidden away because she’s ‘different’ – she feeds on snails, has an unusual appearance and is also said to possess powers.  The family she is stolen from are never too forthcoming with details about her, so it’s left to Bridie to uncover the dark story behind young Christabel, and that leads Bridie to look back on her own childhood too.

She isn’t alone on her quest as she is joined by the rather wonderful   Ruby, a ghost-boxer who appears in Bridie’s life at a seemingly random time! Is there more to his story than meets the eye?! He adds many lighter moments throughout with his comments and observations but also shows sensitivities which are very touching.

As she confronts many repulsive characters on the search for Christabel, the look back on her own earlier life is also a fascinating glimpse into why she feels so connected to this poor girl and why she is determined to try and save her.  

And while there is much love for Bridie and her quest, the evilness of many characters throughout is another success of this book! The levels of depravity that some of them sink to is eye-wateringly shocking and I just found myself wishing for karma to deal with them as soon as possible – in a very unpleasant way!!

I was utterly riveted by this story! And switching the story from the now timeline to Bridie’s past added more as she also had a very unconventional upbringing which explained her outlook on life – and death – now!  The more she uncovers about various characters, the more you left to be staggered by the goings on and I found that I had my heart in my mouth with the dramatic ending.

  I would love to say more about this book but am sure I would include a spoiler or three, so I’m just going to have to say if you love your stories dark, dramatic, mysterious, macabre, weird, wonderful, tense and thrilling then look no further!!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

#BookReview The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts #TheFlowerGirls

About the book

YOU’LL NEVER FORGET THE FLOWER GIRLS

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose. 

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.

And The Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…

Published by Raven Books

Publication Date – 24th JANUARY 2019

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £10.29

Goldsboro Books – signed first printing £12.99

waterstones – signed £12.99

MY REVIEW

I read this via The Pigeonhole app.

This is how to do a chilling thriller well! The story of The Flower Girls – Laurel and Primrose – is a brutal and gripping tale of 2 young girls and how a shocking incident when they were 10 and 6 has shaped their lives, and the lives of those around them.

A 2 year old girl is found murdered, and The Flower Girls hit the headlines when Laurel, aged 10, is convicted of her murder, and her younger sister Rose is too young to face prosecution but has no recollection of just what happened that day. This book looks back at the story through their eyes, then and now, along with the perspectives of detectives, the family of the murdered young girl, and a writer who is caught up in the latest scandal to hit the headlines. Having these different viewpoints really helped me get a stronger feeling towards this story and the author did a wonderful job of putting doubts in your mind over a number of characters, and to what really happened back then and at the current time when another young girl goes missing from a hotel.

This story has obvious links to the horrific case of poor young Jamie Bulger, and I did find it quite unsettling at times with the similarities, but with this book it turned into a wider look at circumstances, the impact on the family who lost their child so brutally and to question the validity of what was believed to have happened then and now.

There were twists and turns galore throughout this book – I often thought I had events sussed out but then another doubt was raised and my mind was changed once more and that made for a more riveting read.

💮💮💮💮

#BookReview Domini Mortum by Paul Holbrook

About the book

Paddington, London 1883

Samuel Weaver is a tabloid illustrator and reporter for The Illustrated Police News, whose sensationalist style makes him both popular with the public and hated by the authorities. Obsessed with an infamous murderer, Sibelius Darke, he will let nothing get in the way of finding the truth behind the stories.

Meanwhile another set of ghastly murders has begun, linked to Darke’s reign of terror six years earlier.

Perhaps Darke was not the terrifying killer that he was made out to be? Perhaps the real murderers are still at large in London society? And perhaps, in order to prove this, Samuel Weaver will pay the ultimate price for his obsession

Published by Unbound

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

waterstones

unbound – ebook edition

MY REVIEW

I read this via The Pigeonhole app which made the reading experience even more interesting as you got to share your immediate thoughts daily with other readers and the author himself – and he seemed to enjoy the range of responses – mostly shock and horror! -that Domini Mortum brought out in us all!

I haven’t read Memento Mori – but will be rectifying that as soon as I can! – but I found the darkness of this story so instantly entrancing! There were many times I found myself not knowing where the story was going to lead to, a cast of characters who one minute you’re on their side, the next they betray you, and full of darkness in a grizzly murderous kind of way!

Sam Weaver is at the centre of the story. His talent is for drawing and he uses it to portray crime scenes for the local press. And the scenes he gets to witness never seem to turn his stomach, although they turned mine as a reader when described in this book! He becomes obsessed by these crimes that all seem to be linked, but is constantly met with people at the top trying to hush things up.

He meets some very interesting characters along the way – some help, many hinder his investigations – and you also get to find out more about Sam and his past proving that darkness can be found everywhere!!

I loved the ride that this book too me on and the shocking ending has left things nicely poised for more!

✮✮✮✮✮

#BookReview The Puppet Show by M.W.Craven

About the book

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive…

Published by Constable

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk   – £15.85

Goldsboro – signed first edition  – £19.99

waterstones  -£19.99

MY REVIEW

The beginning hooked me in straight away and I just couldn’t put it down once I’d started! It is often brutal and chilling, but the author writes with such meticulous detail that you can’t help but become that ‘fly on the wall’ watching the drama unfold around you, and wondering just what is around the corner, for both detectives and victims!

We are introduced to Washington Poe who thought his crime solving days were behind him, but when a number of murder victims are found after being brutally tortured, he is called back to the force to help out with investigations, seeing as his name is found etched on one of the victims it brings things a little too close to home. What is the link between the victims and himself?

The team around him are a great cast of characters – Tilly Bradshaw in particular. She is very socially awkward and has led a very sheltered life, but Poe takes to her immediately. He loves her honesty and becomes very protective of her when she faces situations out of her control. He can’t stand by and watch people being bullied and it’s fabulous to see the dynamics between these two ‘misfits’!

As the case evolves with more victims found left in historic stone circles, the team have a battle on their hands to stop whoever is behind it all before it’s too late. I loved seeing the process of how they go about solving this case – it was often very unorthodox but it helped them join the dots and helped uncover some very dark stories from the past.

There were so many twists and turns in this book, and it was, at times, a horrific read with the detail of the suffering each victim was put through, but it all just adds to the drama and mystery. I’m so glad to see this is the start of a series and I’ll be counting down the days until the next book is published! Brilliant stuff!!

★★★★★

#BookReview Under The Wig by William Clegg QC #memoir #nonfiction

About the book

How do you chat to someone accused of a savage murder? Or prepare a court case? Or sway a jury?

Step into the shoes of criminal barrister William Clegg as he meets clients in prison, works out weaknesses in the other side s case, and confronts witnesses at tense trials.

In a revealing memoir, he revisits fourteen of his most intriguing briefs, from the murder charge facing Colin Stagg to the shooting of Jill Dando, to the first prosecution under the Nazi war crimes act and the burglar jailed for life by an earprint.

All the while he lays bare the secrets of his profession, from the rivalry among barristers to the moments before a verdict comes back and how system of justice risks jailing you wrongly.

Under the Wig is for anyone who wants to know the reality of fighting a murder trial. Switch off the TV drama and plunge into the criminal law in action.

Published by Canbury Press

Publication Date – 4th October 2018

Pre-order links

hive.co.uk

waterstones

Canbury Press

MY REVIEW

We’ve all seen the TV shows about law and wondered what goes on in the world of ‘real’ lawyers, and this book is a truly fascinating look behind the scenes thanks to one of London’s top murder case lawyers as he looks back at a remarkable career and shares his stories of all he has seen over the years. And when you’ve been involved in as many high profile cases as William Clegg has, then there’s lots to share!

From how he started in the world of law, to going behind the scenes at some of the most infamous trials he was involved in, I found this to be such an interesting read. He shares a number of outspoken opinions on cases he’s been involved in as well as his thoughts on the system as it is and the many changes he’s seen take place over the years – not all for the best! – as well as how technology has changed working on each cases. No such thing as the internet when he first started out!

From war criminals, murderers, the wrongly accused, and fraud cases, this is a book that covers a wide range of dealings inside the world of law and the grim reality of brutal cases which show it isn’t like it is on TV.

The way the book plays out works so well as it spotlights high profile cases he was involved in, alongside his humble beginnings and how he worked his way up. There are flashes of humour that lighten the tone of the book and helped make it a really engrossing read.

My thanks to the author, publisher and publicist Emma Finnigan for an advanced readers copy in return for a fair and honest review.

                                                                        🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Man on the Middle Floor by Elizabeth S.Moore #BlogTour #BookReview

Lionel Shriver meets Mark Haddon in this break-out debut.

Despite living in the same three-flat house in the suburbs of London, the residents are strangers to one another. The bottom floor is home to Tam, a recent ex-cop who spends his days drowning his sorrows in whisky. On the middle floor is Nick, a young man with Asperger’s who likes to stick to his schedules and routines. The top floor belongs to Karen, a doctor and researcher who has spent her life trying to understand the rising rates of autism. They have lived their lives separately, until now, when an unsolved murder and the man on the middle floor connect them all together. Told from three points of view, The Man on the Middle Floor is about disconnection in all its forms; sexual, physical, parental and emotional. It questions whether society is meeting the needs of the fast growing autistic section of society, or exacerbating it.

Thought-provoking and thrilling, The Man on the Middle Floor will leave readers talking.

Publisher Red Door Publishing

Publication Date – 1st May 2018

Buying Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support a local bookstore

Book Depository

About the Author

Elizabeth S. Moore has worked as a journalist since she won the Decanter Young Wine Writer of the Year at seventeen. She has written columns and articles on restaurants, politics, South Africa and all things foodie. She comes from a family that has given her a lot of writing material and is currently finishing her second book, having written the first after completing the Faber Write a Novel course and being approached by fourteen agents after reading an excerpt of her novel to industry professionals. Elizabeth lives in London with her South African husband and has three daughters and a son as well as two lazy Labradors.

Twitter – @LizzyMoore19

 MY REVIEW

It is never easy to review books that are a little ‘out there’ in subject matter and content, but I will give it a go!!  And I know this book won’t be for everyone with its’ quirky nature, its often blunt approach and the things discussed – but for me I found it fascinating and thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the lives of these three fascinating and extreme characters, as their paths crossed and some rather unfortunate events follow!

It centres around a house that contains 3 flats.  In each of these flats live some complex characters – Karen lives on the top floor, Nick on the middle floor, and Tam on the ground level.  All 3 extremely different characters personality wise, but in their outlook on life they all end up being quite similar as they often feel disconnected from the world they find themselves living in.

Nick starts the story off and the book from his viewpoint is very stark. He suffers from Autism so he has his routines, things often upset him and he enjoys being alone. But he’s trying to challenge himself and break free from these chains. His first job at the local hospital morgue seems to be the perfect job for him – the solitude, the routine, the cleanliness…

Tam is a police officer – well he was! He returns after time off after being injured to find they want to move him to a desk job, as his attitudes don’t fit with the modern way of policing. He retreats to a world of drink and sex, and investigating what he sees going on around him… his police training comes in very handy as events unfold!

And Karen is a Doctor at the local hospital researching the rise of Autism amongst. She lives alone, preferring her work to her 3 children who are with their father. When she is called on to be ‘mum’ she doesn’t seem to have a maternal bone in her body, and the kids know it and cannot wait to be back with their father.  She gets Nick the job at the hospital and sees him as the perfect study for her research… at what cost?

This is an often crude book but I think these characters and the situations they find themselves in need and demand that!  They have very extreme personalities which works well in getting the points across that I think the author is trying to make, about how society judges and treats different people.  I felt a number of emotions whilst reading this book – shock, empathy, revulsion to name but a few – and I love how a book can have that impact on a reader. I never knew what was just around the corner and that kept me intrigued throughout.

I’d highly recommend this book if you are looking for something just that little bit different, that is a little challenging and doesn’t stop  making you think!  Can’t wait to see what Elizabeth Moore writes next!!

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton #BookReview

THE BLURB

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

Published by Bloomsbury Raven

Publisher Website

Author on Twitter

BUYING LINKS

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support a local bookstore

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

Wow!  After finishing reading this book I was reminded just why I love reading so much! It’s about discovering books like this!  Such an original, intriguing, captivating, pulsating read!!

Very difficult to sum this up in simple terms! It’s a little bit Agatha Christie, mixed with Cluedo,  Groundhog Day, and a sprinkle of Inception thrown in for good measure!!  How can you not want to pick up a book with those ingredients in the mix?!!

Evelyn Hardcastle is the murder victim – but she doesn’t just die once! She dies daily until her murderer can be found! And if Aiden Bishop doesn’t solve the murder that day, then he wakes up in another guests body and has to start the clue solving process all over again!  You will end up a little confused at times but it’s worth it for the ride you are taken on as you watch over the story unfolding!

The variety of guises he finds himself in are a clever way of watching things from a number of viewpoints.  And the time he spends as these other people begin to cloud his judgement as he starts to deal with their issues on top of trying to get to the bottom of what is happening at Blackheath.  He’s also guided by the  rather strange Plague Doctor who appears at numerous points in the story to try and keep him on track.

Random clues are littered throughout the story and new rules seem to appear as Aiden goes along too – even if a character falls asleep during one day he finds himself going back to that character at another point to finish that day off. And there is no escape from Blackheath until the injustice is rectified.

This book worked well on so many levels for me as a reader! There’s just so much to get your head round that you become immersed in that world and I often found myself thinking most of the guests at one point being the guilty party! Some of the hosts of Aiden are more focused than others and the little sub plots of previous misdemeanours coming back to haunt them at crucial points just adds to the tension and struggle that Aiden finds himself facing.

This book has something for everyone in terms of genre so if you are looking for something completely original, mad and enthralling then look no further! Brilliant!!