Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 1 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

A police procedural story with lots of twists and turns. Some good characters that keep the story progressing in a realistic way.
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This is the first book in a new crime series. I was gripped from the start and couldn't put it down. A body is discovered in a wood and then more bodies are uncovered. I loved the strong female lead, with all of her issues.  A really compelling read.
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I did enjoy the book but I found the double names a bit confusing. I totally understand the need for them, for the storyline of the refuge, but at times I had to retrace to get back on track as to who was who. I read mostly at night over several nights, with hind sight, it's a book that would have suited me better to read in one go. Good book though, very interesting concept and different from many crime thrillers.
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Revenge had a great premise to it, but the writing fell short of it. The characters are unlikable and their issues overshadowed the mystery.
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When bodies are discovered on the land of a wealthy and powerful family questions need to be asked – but how far will they go to protect their reputation?

Revenge for me was a bit like its name – not really a standout and a bit bland. On one hand I enjoyed the idea of a flawed female main character and Jemima certainly has her share of problems; from self-harming to infertility and all the mental health and relationship issues that go along side. Although I think it does help to have a relatable and imperfect main character, I honestly just found Jemima a little bit too much and irritating at times. I get that she wanted a child but having full on mental breakdowns during interviews and bringing absolutely everything back around to children and her own issues made her seem pretty selfish.

I found the crimes themselves to be quite interesting and the story started off at a nice pace. I did feel that there were far too many people introduced by name and it got a little hard to keep track of who was an important character and who was just supposed to be in the background. I didn’t really find myself liking or wanting to find out about any of Jemima’s colleagues as we see them through her very judgemental lens. I thought the investigation was proceeding quite normally and all of a sudden a curve ball was thrown in which changed the field past the realm of plausibility for me. The last 30% of the book was also very disappointing - having caught the killer we then got an endless monologue of what had happened and when and why which wasn’t really that interesting compared to the rest of the book. 

The ending for me completely fizzled – rather than neatly setting the book up for the rest of the series and making me want to pick up the next one I just found myself asking ‘Who’s that again?’

Overall Revenge is an ok thriller but is as flawed as Jemima with characters you find it hard to sympathise with and a plot with too much exposition and explanation needed to tell the story. Thank you to NetGalley & Sapere Books for a chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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If you love police procedure books with a sharp twist then this is for you. I usually enjoy them a lot myself but there were some strange changes to the story line throughout which made things a bit hard to follow. I enjoyed reading it and a few times was really gripped but it's not as good as other similar novels about at the moment, in fact there is a surfeit being published constantly so crime/psychological books really need to be on top form and unfortunately this wasn't..
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DI Jemima Huxley Thrillers Book 1

by Gaynor Torrance

Sapere Books

Mystery & Thrillers , Women's Fiction

Pub Date 07 Oct 2019

I am reviewing a copy of Revenge: DI Jemima Huxley Thrillers Book 1 through Sapere Books and Netgalley:

After mutilated female corpses are discovered in shallow graves located in the woodlands it quickly becomes obvious a serial killer is at large...

No one is reported missing, no apparent motive, an d no suspects leads to an investigation that is far from easy, and definitely not straightforward.

Suspicion falls on those associates with the privately owned woodlands, and soon it becomes clear there are dark, sinister secrets that they are determined to hide.

Detective Inspector Jemima Huxley is put in charge of the case. But Jemima has dark secrets of her own…

Can Jemima lay her personal demons to rest?

Or will the case threaten to overwhelm her?

Can she catch the killer, before more women end up dead? 

I give Revenge five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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Ok, there are a number of great storylines in this book, several of which merit a book of their own if, and when, researched and developed but mixing as many threads into one story..............just doesn't leave space in one book to develop them all to their potential.
I reached the end because I had to, not because I wanted to, I guess that marks it out as a good read in the end, I had to finish it but I became frustrated at the change in focus from fertility issues to mythological links then adding charitable work of a sensitive nature linking the various aspect central to the story line, I'm afraid for me it was just too much, too far fetched and a little too busy. Take one series of crimes mix in the detective team and introduce one issue perhaps not 3 or four to provide side shoots, interest and, potentially humour.
The story in my view became a muti headed hydra and I think it needed one of its heads, at least one, removing and it would have benefited from deeper character development of some of the  lesser characters which could have added more personal interest and caring and reduced confusion.
That said I am keen to see what happens to our two central characters in the investigation team.
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There's not much I enjoy more than a good police procedural and this is a really good one. It has all the necessary ingredients, a varied cast of police officers from the Jack the lad to the senior officer with personal problems, several unidentified bodies and lots of suspects. What makes it a really great read however is the twist that you don't see coming. Hopefully we'll not have to wait too long for book 2 in this series.
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I usually love all murder/thrillers but I just couldn’t get into this one. I didn’t like the characters and the plot failed to hold my attention.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Gaynor Torrance for the advanced copy of this book. I agreed to give my unbiased opinion voluntarily.
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A solid police procedural with an intriguing mystery.  It doesn't stand out in a crowded genre and I found some of the main characters unlikable. I just couldn't get into it as I can with other books of the same type.
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Thank you to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of Revenge.

* Please note there are serious triggers in the book that include self-harm, domestic abuse, rape, incest, torture and mutilation. **

This was a straight forward police procedural which I enjoy, generally, but Revenge didn't capture my interest as much as I thought it would.

When a series of bodies is discovered on the grounds of a lavish estate, DI Huxley is called to investigate. As the identity of the victims are revealed, Huxley discovers they are all linked to the matron of the estate and to horrific family secrets.

I'm always on the hunt for a mystery series with a strong female lead with plenty of flaws because we're human and we all have problems.

But, DI Jemima Huxley is all about her problems. 

The author spends way too much time on Huxley's desire to have a baby, on her repeated self-harming, on her looking jealousy at pregnant women or women with children, on her snapping at her colleague, Broadbent's slovenly appearance, mostly because she's envious of his newborn son.

There is also too much telling, where the people involved in the case get their 15 minutes of fame and explains to Huxley and Broadbent in a monologue about who did what, and why, how the murders were committed and why.

I love revenge tales, and I think Revenge would have worked for me if I had liked Huxley and if the themes hadn't been so dark.
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I was excited to read this book as the blurb completely drew me in. However, I am sorry to say that I was bitterly disappointed! I thought that the plot itself was fairly good , the mythology was an interesting twist to a murder mystery but it was overshadowed by the M.C with her fertility problems and her need to self harm. It turned my stomach when she cut herself, and it didn't seem to be necessary to the character or the story itself. 
 I often found the dialogue to be poorly written, sadly, and seemed as more of an opportunity for a huge info dump at times.
  I am truly sorry to write a negative review but please remember that this is purely my opinion and nothing more. I am sure that there are many who will enjoy this book but unfortunately it was not for me.
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As a first book this was amazing. I will definitely be looking forward to reading the next in the series. It was dark and creepy. There should also be trigger warnings for some of the abusive scenes.
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Whoa! What did I just read?

As the first in a new series by Gaynor Torrance featuring the somewhat troubled DI Jemima Huxley, it goes without saying that REVENGE is a very dark and incredibly twisted crime novel. It is nothing like you would expect. What starts out as a slow moving narrative into Jemima's obsession with conceiving soon becomes an all too real reminder to be careful what you wish for.

But before I go any further, I must begin with a trigger warning. This book is packed full of triggers - rape, domestic abuse, infertility, self harm, incest - not to mention the usual run-of-the-mill gruesome factors of a murder investigation, which are also incredibly detailed and graphic in nature. If any of these issues are a trigger for you or make your stomach turn, then I would consider this as a warning before choosing to read REVENGE.

The Prologue is somewhat graphic, leaving little to the imagination, and yet it is puzzling to the reader as to what it might mean. So we shelve it in our minds to return to when things start to become clearer. If nothing else, this killer is both relentless and sadistic.

We then open with two chapters of narrative surrounding DI Jemima Huxley and her innermost thoughts and the demons with which she struggles in her attempts to conceive. It is almost slow going, bordering on irritating when she passes silent judgement on her DS' inability to form some sort of routine with their now three month old baby - as if she's suddenly the expert on parenting.

DS Dan Broadbent hasn't had a complete nights sleep since the arrival of their little screaming bundle of joy, and habitually turns up to work dishevelled, tired and often wearing the same clothes for three days previous. Jemima silently envies him of having what she so desperately wants - a baby - and thinks him ungrateful to moan about the sleepless nights and nappy changes when he should thank his lucky stars he has been blessed where she has not been.

Thankfully, the tirade of judgement does let up when the investigation begins, but then we find Jemima comparing herself to others whenever she comes across a pregnant woman. It is a little irritating at times, but for anyone who has known the emptiness of being unable to conceive, the struggle is indeed real.

Despite what I have already outlined, it isn't long before what started out as the discovery of one body has turned into several bodies being unearthed in shallow graves on the grounds of Llys Faen Hall, the ancestral home of the Tremaine family, located on the outskirts of Cardiff. David and Helen Tremaine were on their morning constitutional of the grounds when their staffy Corbett sniffed out a hand poking from beneath the dirt in the woodlands, promptly calling the police on their return to the house.

What ensues is an investigation that isn't all it seems. The Tremaines are a strange couple, and their staff are also somewhat questionable, and it's clear from the outset that they're not being completely honest with the police. But what is it that they are hiding? Do they know who the bodies are? Maybe they know who the killer is and are protecting them? Or is it something more sinister? Whatever it is, something strange is afoot in that household and Jemima is determined to get to the bottom of it.

The murders are revealed to be ritualistic in nature and incredibly sadistic. And it isn't long before Jemima connects the victims to a women's refuge that Helen Tremaine had set up some years before. Helen identifies some photographs of missing women as those to have been at the refuge as dental records systematically confirm their identities. So what has the refuge got to do with these murders? These women lived in fear of their partners finding them, so they would only go with those they trusted. Did that mean Helen was somehow involved or knew more than she was letting on?

While the bodies are being retrieved, Jemima and DS Broadbent start to look into the backgrounds of the Tremaines and their staff. They claim to have no family, except Helen's brother, with whom they have had no contact for fifteen years after he shamed the family after being convicted of the brutal rape of several women. Was he, Bernard Shackleton, somehow responsible for these murders which involved a brutal and sadistic form of simulated rape?

In the midst of what she sees as the biggest case of her career, Jemima is left with feelings of inadequacy in both her professional and personal lives. She is a DI and a woman in a man's world, who has to work twice as hard to gain the recognition and respect of her peers, but she is also a wife and woman who yearns to be a mother. Her desire borders on obsession at times as it is all she can think of. And yet, when disappointment looms once does she deal with it? She doesn't talk it over with husband Nick and work it out together or even see a specialist. No, she locks herself in the bathroom, takes out the razor blade she has hidden in a tampon box and cuts herself. Just one small shallow cut, but enough to feel the pain. She even leaves in the middle of an interview to cut herself in an effort to maintain control of her investigation.

Then at the end she has some sort of epiphany and begins to question the stability of her marriage. She doesn't talk to her husband, and yet she yells at him when she comes home to find he hasn't cooked for her or cleaned the kitchen. In (not only) my opinion, it takes two to make a marriage but it also takes two to break a marriage. Laying it at her husband's feet that he hasn't noticed her pain (when she doesn't talk about it, 'cause let's face it, men don't really notice things unless they are naked and in front of them) or saying he doesn't understand her, just doesn't cut it with me.

I didn't really like Jemima very much - she is incredibly self-obsessed in my view - but I would be interested to see more of her and DS Broadbent in the future. I'd like to see how things progress for her both personally and professionally, particularly with the addition to their team at the very end, opening the floor for further investigations in the series.

REVENGE is a hard book to categorise as it is a police procedural but it is also very dark, very gruesome and very twisted. It reads more like something from the gritty streets of Glasgow than the sleepy Welsh locale in which it's set.

Filled with more secrets, more lies and more twists than you could imagine, REVENGE is not for the faint-hearted. And despite it's slow start, this well-plotted tale is a riveting and compelling crime novel of disturbing proportions.

★★★★ 3.5 to 4 stars

I would like to thank #GaynorTorrance, #NetGalley and #SapereBooks for an ARC of #Revenge in exchange for an honest review.
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Jemima is investigating a body discovered in woods near the Tremaines large house. Soon it's more than one body and each is found with pomegranate seeds in their mouths. Theres a connection to a womens refuge where Helen Tremaine works but as Jemima is about to discover it's more complicated. This family is hiding some dark secrets but could they be killers too? 

Wow this was quite a read. A warning that it does deal with some pretty dark themes that may put some readers off. The story is actually interesting though and it wasnt obvious who the killer was until the end. The plot was a slow and steady build with an ending that fitted the book but left me wanting to know more about Jemima.  She's an interesting character with some real flaws and problems making me want to read more about her. A good but dark thriller.
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Detective Inspector Jemina Huxley is having problems with fertility and possibly her marriage while also investigating a body dump site in Revenge.

Called to investigate a body buried on a rural farming estate, Jemina has many personal issues to overcome. She can’t get pregnant. Her partner is a disheveled new father, who constantly complains about his new baby’s interruptions into his married life. When more bodies are uncovered in the same location, the police know that there is a serial killer in their midst. But what could be the motive? And why were none of the victims reported missing?

The suspects were well-characterized and the mystery was difficult to figure out. Jemina had flaws like most people but seemed very genuine. Overall, Revenge is a good solid British police procedural. 4 stars!

Thanks to Sapere Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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A new author for me and the start of a new series. After reading the blurb for this book I was really looking forward to this one, I am glad to say that I was far from disappointed. A suspense full police procedural which had me gripped from the first to the last page. DI Jemma Huxley is the main character, a complex lady with quite a few issues. Jemma has to put her personal issues aside as she has just landed the biggest case of her career. A vicious serial killer, incest, domestic abuse and infertility.  This book has the lot!!!!! I honestly had no idea who the killer was until they were revealed. A real page turner which had me tapping my kindle faster and faster I HAD TO KNOW!!!!!! So looking forward to reading about DI Jemma Huxley and learning about what makes her tick. Personally I think that this is the start of another gripping and addictive series.  An easy five stars and so Highly Recommended. 
I would like to thank the author, Sepere Books and Netgalley for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
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A good, solid detective story. Set in England the police have to unravel a set of gruesome murders after bodies are found in the woods of a local country pile. Who are the victims? Why are they buried there? The family have a lot of secrets. The police characters who I presume will be part of a series are well sketched out and interesting with a variety of personalities on the team. I look forward to reading more of this series.
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A wealthy local discovers several bodies hidden  in a shallow grave. DI Jemima Huxley and her team must make the connections to the victims and the property before the mysterious killer strikes again in this intense procedural. 

I quite enjoyed reading this one. I enjoy a procedural both on page and on screen and found this one to be a refreshing break from the thrillers that bounce back and forth in narration. (I love those too, but sometimes it's nice to read from one POV the entire time) Jemima was a well written character and her struggles with infertility were strikingly written. 
The mystery in itself was predictable, but as I've said before, I don't find it to be a problem in mysteries. It was well written but it did feel a bit unbelievable. Families as wealthy as the Tremaines would be gossiped about to no end and the secrets they harbored would have probably been well discussed in their village. 

In short, it's a good procedural, it follows the female detective with a personal problem trope, but the writing was good enough and the mystery interesting enough that I read the majority of it in one sitting. I'll definitely be watching for more in this series.

*I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my review.
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