Dark Prayer

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Dark Prayer
By Natasha Mostert

Eloise Blake is on the run from a life she can no longer remember. And from a killer who will stop at nothing to protect a secret as old as time. From the award-winning author of SEASON OF THE WITCH comes a thriller about memory, identity and the murderous consequences of a quest gone wrong.

In the 1980s, a child witnesses the murder of her mother. Twenty years later, Jennilee Gray disappears from her home. When she is found she is no longer the same girl. She has no memory of her previous life and has created a new identity for herself as Eloise Blake.
Her guardian, Daniel Barone, fears for her safety and asks for help from his old friend, Leon Simonetti. Simonetti sends his son, Jack, to help.
Jack is at first unwilling to help but soon finds himself fascinated by Eloise and the life she has created for herself. He soon comes to realise that she is in danger.

The concept of the book is brilliant. Through a riveting storyline, Natasha Mostert deals with the mystery of memory as the key to who we are. She shows how closely linked are science and magic/mysticism. How power and greed and even love can make you do unimaginably cruel deeds.

Something that I had never heard of before is parkour/free running, which plays quite a large part in the story and fits perfectly. The descriptions of the characters pursuing this activity were excellent and had me running to youtube to check it out.

This is definitely one of my books of the year. There is not a dull page in it. It is totally compelling, with vivid descriptions and an intelligent and commanding narrative. Hugely recommended.
*****

Many thanks to the publishers for my copy via Netgalley

Vendetta

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Vendetta
by Dreda Say Mitchell

Two murders. Two different crime scenes. One killer?

Mac wakes in a smashed-up hotel room with no recollection of what has happened. With his lover’s corpse in the bathroom and the evidence suggesting that he killed her, Mac is on a mission to uncover the truth and find the real killer.

But he’s in a race against time with less than a day to unravel the mystery. Still reeling from a personal tragedy Mac isn’t afraid of pain. Hot on his heels is tenacious Detective Inspector Rio Wray. Double-crossed and in the line of fire, Mac has to swim through a sea of lies to get to the truth.

But only Mac knows he’s been living a double life. Can he be sure he doesn’t have the blood of a dead woman on his hands?

This book is a departure from Dreda say Mitchell’s usual style, but anyone that is concerned, need not be; it is a cracking thriller which races along at breakneck speed. It is relentless and I found it difficult to put down.

Mac wakes in a hotel room to find his lover, Elena, has been brutally murdered and his recently fired gun is on the floor. The police are ready to storm the building, Mac realises this does not look good for him: time to escape. From this moment on it is non-stop action.

Mac, the hero of the story, is a complex, heartbroken man, whose compassion is tested to the limit by his need for revenge. The layers of his back story are revealed as we go through the book, showing how he has become what he is and this adds immeasurably to the predicament that he finds himself in.

The novel shows the dilemma of being a good guy working as an undercover policeman or spy, dealing with people who have no morals and finding your own tested to the limit and sometimes pushed beyond. Where decisions that would otherwise be unacceptable have to be made for the greater good, but living with those decisions is not easy.

We are introduced to D.I Rio Wray, a feisty character who is fighting with all her might to get to the top, or at the very least be recognised as being as good as the rest. She is not a woman to be messed with. I really hope we get to see her again in future books.

There are some moments where suspension of disbelief is required, but you would be hard-pressed to find a thriller (or any other book for that matter) where there aren’t one or two such moments.

I would really recommend this book, it has a great storyline and memorable characters. Many thanks to the publishers hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy via Bookbridgr.
****