Kill or Die by Ann Evans – Review

This book has been my surprise of the year so far.

A first in the genre from Evans, Kill or Die is nonetheless a fine display of skill and confidence from a seasoned writer who makes smart choices in her prose and choice of narrative. Evans’ immersive and descriptive prose excels in engaging the reader and in stimulating a cascade of very vivid images of the setting and her characters.

Well-crafted, and natural-feeling dialogue, utilising a mixture of long and short sentence structure, augment the already good characterisation. Combined with Evans use of Body language to covey intent and emotion, this elevates the characterisation to another level and places it amongst the most skilled I’ve read in a while.

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A third-person, past-tense narrative throughout suits the plot and propels the characters and their deeds along at a fair old clip. Kill or Die is seeped in suspense, eliciting a deep sense of unease and conflict throughout. The novel is permeated with a measured tension that I really enjoyed. With her choice to place Julia and her daughter front and centre, Evans appears to effortlessly tap into the subconscious fears all parents harbour and suppress and asks her readers to explore their own unease.

How far would you go to protect your child? Answer: As far as you had to.

A great new addition to the publisher’s catalogue and yet another declaration of Bloodhound’s intent to continue to develop quality books and writers.

 

You can find Ann and her books at Bloodhound Books and a Amazon

Beautiful Liar by Louise Mullins – Review

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Mullins’ Novel is an uneasy read. Shedding many of the characteristics of the bog-standard ‘psychological thriller’ Beautiful Liar flips back and forth between past and present, gradually revealing the path to the murder the reader encounters in the book’s opening pages.

The first-person, present-tense narrative works well enough, mostly because the alternating between Joel and Erica’s segments is startling due to the stark differences between the characters’ personalities. So much so that perhaps using different POVs or tense may have been overkill.

Joel is skilfully manipulative, in the way that many controlling men and abusers can often be. Mullins has done an admirable job of conveying his presence, without ever resorting to moustache-twirling.

Despite the situation she is placed in, and my sympathies with Erica, as well as my support for her dispatching of her husband, I didn’t always like her, which made me like the book more than I might have had I found a Mary-Sue.

I’m unsure whether this is Mullins’ debut novel or not, it certainly doesn’t read like one, rather it shows a writer who is well along in her development and demonstrating her skill.

 

Beautiful Liar is available now from Bloodhound Books and at Amazon

Only The Dead by Malcolm Hollingdrake – Review

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Hollingdrake’s novel cleverly fuses some well-researched- and entirely fascinating- historical references and with equally-well represented modern-policing procedures, producing a tightly plotted and considered read.
An engaging story which manages to avoid the well-trod clichés in plot and character, I associate with ‘crime’ novels, Only The Dead has been a pleasant surprise in a genre I rarely read or connect with.
Hollingdrake’s DCI Bennett is allowed to be a real person, rather than a box-ticking mannequin displaying all the usual detective characteristics. He has his foibles, his flaws, his prejudices and his ethics. I liked the lead character a lot, and sense much more development to come in future books.

The main antagonist, Lawrence, interested me greatly. With convincing motives and excellent methods, he made the book for me.
Hollingdrake utilises a third person, past tense narrative throughout, but has the talent to make he differing voices of his characters ‘sound’ unique despite being written in the same POV and tense. Not many writers have the skill for this.


My first read from Bloodhound Books.
Malcolm is a writer’s writer. Unflashy, but technically competent, his writing style is precise and informative, but never fails to be engaging and entertaining; it perfectly suits the type of novel he has written in Only The Dead.

 

Only The Dead is available now from Bloodhound Books and at Amazon