The Fourth Sacrifice (The China Thrillers #2) by Peter May

Margaret’s heart is broken but unable to leave China she immerses herself in her work which happens to bring her in close quarters to Li Yan once more. His jealousy when she starts seeing an American archaeologist confuses her but things quickly become more complicated.

Li Yan really shines in this book and his complex personality, restricted by his work and the Chinese way, pushes through the boundaries. His personal troubles, heartbreak, and work mingle until he can’t see what is before him.

I am really enjoying this series as it gives a rare insight into a culture I know little about but I think Li Yan’s character really makes the story, and I can’t wait to read the next in the series. I highly recommend the audio version of this book because Forbes’ voice is a real treat to listen to, combine that with May’s poetic language and you have a winner.

the fourth sacrifice


The Firemaker (China Thrillers #1) by Peter May

Author’s Synopsis

Margaret Campbell, a Chicago forensic pathologist, has been invited by the Chinese government to teach at the Beijing police university. She has accepted the six-week assignment with misgivings but is desperate to escape a troubled life in America. Arriving in Beijing, she checks “nothing to declare” on the health declaration they gave her on the plane—nothing, that is, “except a broken heart and a wasted life, neither of which was contagious.”

She gets off to a bad start when her car knocks senior detective Li Yan off his bicycle. In a furious clash, he dresses her down in perfect English. But Li soon finds himself reintroduced to Margaret by his superiors when the newly promoted detective’s first case requires Margaret’s special expertise to identify a horribly burned corpse. Thrown together to track down the killer, Margaret and Li must bury their personal and cultural differences when they uncover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives, but the lives of millions.

My Views

I’m a fan of May’s work and I prefer the audio versions read by Peter Forbes who gives May’s beautiful language a melodic voice. His books are usually set In Scotland and the Hebridean Isles but these stories centre on an American woman in China and I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first. I soon changed my mind.

The story unfolds and the detective element is balanced nicely with a hint of romance but not enough to put the book in the romance genre. Margaret is a strong female lead but she has very little power in China where, the moment she opens her mouth, every conceivable faux pas pops out resulting in loss of face for anyone nearby.

Li’s reluctance to get involved with Margaret is palpable but when they’re thrown together, he slowly begins to warm to her. Li’s innate innocence is endearing but his current case takes a turn for the personal.

May’s beautiful description and eye for the aesthetics in life still shines through even though the difference between his portrayal of China and that of Scotland are worlds apart and that is what makes his books so addictive.

The Firemaker

The Alamo (John Milton #11) by Mark Dawson

Author’s Synopsis

John Milton has finally found a place to escape the bloodshed: off-season Coney Island. No tourists. No special ops. Just peace and quiet. But when a local boy witnesses a grisly murder, Milton can’t resist investigating.

Milton uncovers a vicious drug kingpin and a group of crooked cops from a notorious precinct known as “The Alamo.” Against such dangerous foes, Milton’s quest for redemption could come to an end.

My Views

No matter where John goes he always runs into trouble and this time is no exception. Wanting to help a family suffering from a bad neighbourhood he begins to root out the evil but pretty soon he’s the one being questioned and he’s not sure who he can trust.

I’m a big fan of the John Milton series but my favourite of the stories are the ones which involved children. John Milton maybe a hard-arsed killer but there’s still a soft centre in there and the innocent bring it out. Milton is a strangely likeable character and I am kind of hoping he gets some romance further down the line – hint, hint Dawson…

The Alamo.jpg

Liar by K. L. Slater

Author’s Synopsis

Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children alone, with the help of his devoted mother Judi. Life isn’t easy, but Judi’s family means everything to her and together, they manage. Then Ben meets Amber. Everyone thinks this is a perfect match for Ben but Judi isn’t sure … there’s just something about Amber that doesn’t add up.

Ben can’t see why his mother dislikes his new girlfriend. And Amber doesn’t want Judi anywhere near her new family. Amber just wants Ben and the children. The further Judi delves into Amber’s personal life, the closer she gets to shocking secrets that could change everything. And Judi must make a decision that could lead to the most disastrous consequences.

My Views

This psychological thriller really got under my skin and I think that is because we get a small glance at the future before delving into the character’s lives. Judi is a warm, loving parent and grandparent but with the hint of danger the reader can’t help but be frightened for her. Amber is terrifying and the shroud of mystery that surrounds her doesn’t help the reader to gauge what’s going on under the surface.

Slater’s use of the innocent to extract the maximum amount of fear from her audience is admirable and effective. If you like a good thriller and you get a kick out of feeling uncomfortable, you will love this book; I did although I did have to stop reading a few times until I ready to continue.


White Silence (Elizabeth Cage #1) by Jodi Taylor

Author’s Synopsis

Elizabeth Cage is a child when she discovers that there are things in this world that only she can see. But she doesn’t want to see them and she definitely doesn’t want them to see her.  What is a curse to Elizabeth is a gift to others – a very valuable gift they want to control.

When her husband dies, Elizabeth’s world descends into a nightmare. But as she tries to piece her life back together, she discovers that not everything is as it seems. Alone in a strange and frightening world, she’s a vulnerable target to forces beyond her control. And she knows that she can’t trust anyone…


My Views

This book is full of tension. I really liked Elizabeth, and I worried about her because she had an air of frailty that had consolidated itself with her life choices. The more I learned about her the more worried I became and with the scary clinic with its foreboding ruler at her heels I had a nail-biting time.

Taylor has created Elizabeth with an intense internal light but then she throws her poor character into terrible dark situations in which the reader also gets completely immersed and it strengthens the suspense of the story and the reader’s fear. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

White Silence

The Sixth Window (DCI Tom Douglas #6) by Rachel Abbott

Author’s Synopsis

After eighteen months of grieving for her husband Bernie, killed in a horrific hit and run accident, Natalie Gray has found love with her husband’s best friend – Ed Cooper – and has moved herself and fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, into his home. But Natalie begins to suspect Ed has a dark side – and even darker intentions.

Desperate to get her daughter to a place of safety, she and Scarlett move to a new home that holds secrets of its own. But has removing Scarlett from one potential threat placed her in far greater danger?

DCI Tom Douglas is also chasing the truth, as his investigation into the suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett. But will he be too late to protect them from the peril they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart?


My Views

Natalie’s weakness at a crucial time puts her in the capable hands of Ed Cooper but something doesn’t sit right with her. Not knowing who to trust she runs to a safe house but the term ‘safe’ doesn’t apply to her teenage daughter Scarlett.

This book was terrifying. It had me on the edge of my seat but I do enjoy Abbott’s timely telling of events. She can keep the reader guessing right until the end and that is exactly what I’m looking for. This is a brilliant series and you don’t have to read the books in sequence to thoroughly enjoy them.

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The Cabin: An Off the Grid Suspense Thriller by John Koloen

Jacob was seeking a less complicated life when he purchased the cabin in a secluded space by a lake on a logging road but that isn’t what he got. When the cabin across the lake shows activity he when the owners are away he doesn’t want to get involved but one tiny peek through the window is all it takes.

This action-packed book takes us through a nightmare situation and the reader is carried along while things stack up against the good guys. Jacob is far from incapable but when the bad guys have the big guns you’re in for a nervy read.

I enjoyed hearing from everyone’s point of view which is something that doesn’t happen often. It helps to ramp up the suspense when your favourite character is at risk.

The Cabin