Book Review: The Crucifix Killer (Robert Hunter #1) by Chris Carter

Name:  The Crucifix Killer (Robert Hunter #1)
Author:  
Chris Carter
Number of Pages: 
448 (Kindle)
Published: 
October 1st 2009 by Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime

Goodreads

When the body of a young woman is discovered in a derelict cottage in Los Angeles, Robert Hunter is thrown into a nightmare case. The victim suffered a terrible death, and on the nape of her neck has been carved a strange double-cross: the signature of a psychopath known as the Crucifix Killer.
But that’s impossible. Because two years ago, the Crucifix Killer was caught and executed. Could this therefore be a copycat killer? Or could the unthinkable be true? Is the real killer still out there, ready to embark once again on a vicious and violent killing spree, selecting his victims seemingly at random, taunting Robert Hunter with his inability to catch him?
Hunter and his rookie partner, Garcia, need to solve this case and fast.

My Rating:

4halfdiamonds

My Thoughts:

The Crucifix Killer certainly starts as it means to go on. If you’re not sure or hesitant about the level of violence and gruesomeness in a series, you’ll get a feel for what you’re in for within the first couple of chapters of The Crucifix Killer.
Gruesomeness aside though, what an opening. Talk about leaving us hanging, quite literally.

The Crucifix Killer is a great introduction to the Robert Hunter series, as both central characters Robert Hunter and his new partner Carlos Garcia are immediately thrown into peril just before the narrative switches back to several weeks earlier. So, a violent beginning, and then the character development begins.

Hunter and Garcia make a great pairing, Hunter with his previous experience and past losses, Garcia new to the team and thrown in at the deep end with the case of a violent killer who is very imaginative in their methods.
They’re very different; Hunter lives alone and doesn’t really have any ties, Garcia is married to his childhood sweetheart and happy, although the things he sees during his work may start to impact on his personal life.
Hunter’s past is brought to the fore as the case evidence casts doubt on a previous conviction, one that ended in the execution of the supposed Crucifix Killer. Now it seems that the killer is back in action once again, so, what’s going on?

The plot is fast paced, the chapters are mostly short and there are many mini-cliffhangers that make the book very hard to put down as you’re in search of answers as much as Hunter and Garcia. There are many exciting moments as our duo go in search of a dangerous killer, following where the leads take them, into all manner of unsavoury places, meeting a whole host of characters from the decent to the downright violent, hoping they can work it out in time before another victim is claimed.

So, what really happened in the original Crucifix Killer case? Did they convict the wrong person? Is this a copycat? Only one way to find out, get started on the Robert Hunter series.

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Monthly Summary: September 2022

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

Autumn is here, Readers Imbibing Peril is happening, and my first month of Peril reading provided to be a mixed bag, all of which I enjoyed. I’m not sure what I’ll be reading for the second month of #RIPXVII yet, but I have many books on my TBR list, so I’m sure I’ll find something.

WitchFirst up this month, Witch. This tale of a young woman and her sister in search of revenge for the death of their mother had a style it took me some time to get into, but ventured into magic and fantasy towards the end so I enjoyed it and ended up wondering what could have happened next for certain characters.

Next, I couldn’t resist, I went back to the Robert Hunter series. I recently talkedCrucifixKiller about how much I enjoyed An Evil Mind and Hunting Evil, and wanting to read the rest of the series from the beginning, so I picked up the first book, The Crucifix Killer. This really starts as it means to go on, and I’m still surprised how much I’m enjoying these books given the gruesome factor involved.

NightWhispersMy final read of this month was The Night Whispers, the second of the Slayton Thrillers. I really enjoyed The Midnight Man, so couldn’t wait to pick this up and return to the spooky town of Slayton. This time the case involved a series of grisly murders and rumours of ghostly black-eyed children spotted around the town just before these people met their ends. I think my favourite out of the two was still The Midnight Man, but I’d still read more from this series.

Elsewhere on the blog I posted a new Challenge Check-In update with my latest book bingo cards progress. I’ve managed to full quite a few prompts on each of the cards but am starting to find it a little more difficult now. Hopefully I’ll fill a few more before my next update.

Here’s what happened during September on Pages and Tea…

Book Reviews

HuntingEvil Witch

Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter

Witch by Finbar Hawkins

Featured Posts

Other New Posts

Challenge Check-In July to September 2022

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2022

September Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Read-A-Thon Updates

#RIPXVII – Readers Imbibing Peril XVII – Sign Up and Progress Post

Events

RIPVXII

#RIPXVII – Readers Imbibing Peril XVII

Reading Review: September 2022

Welcome to my Monthly Reading Review.
This post is my attempt to keep track of how I’m doing with my reading challenges and resolutions.

BOOKS I’VE READ

Witch CrucifixKiller NightWhispers

Witch by Finbar Hawkins

The Crucifix Killer (Robert Hunter #1) by Chris Carter

The Night Whispers (Slayton Thrillers #2) by Caroline Mitchell

Total Loaned Books Read This Month:  2
Total Own Books Read This Month:  1
Overall Total Books Read This Month:  3

Total Loaned Books Read 2022:  12
Total Own Books Read 2022:  10
Overall Total Books Read 2022:  22

MY READ OF THE MONTH

CrucifixKiller

Last month’s Read of the Month was a book from the Robert Hunter series and this month it’s another book from the same series. The Crucifix Killer is the first book in the series and I enjoyed it just as much as the other two I’ve read so far. I’m surprised I’ve not come across the series before now, but at least that means there are plenty of books still to pick up. I’m also surprised how much I’m enjoying something so gruesome because this book definitely has its moments, but I still found it hard to put down.

BEAT THE BACKLIST

BTB-2022-twitter-banner

My total for this challenge is currently 19 books read.  So far I’ve read:

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Buried (DC Jack Warr #1) by Lynda La Plante
The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) by Stephen King
Murder is Easy (Superintendent Battle #4) by Agatha Christie
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas
Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17) by Agatha Christie
Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie
The Hollows by Mark Edwards
The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell
Billy Summers by Stephen King
An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter
Witch by Finbar Hawkins
The Crucifix Killer (Robert Hunter #1) by Chris Carter

Beat The Backlist Bingo Progress

BTB-2022-24-Prompts-Bingo

This year Bingo is back with a great collection of prompts.  While my main focus is the 24-prompt card I may choose a few from the 52-prompt list as well (both cards can be viewed here).
I recently posted updated versions of each of the cards for my progress from January to March, April to June, and July to September, which can be viewed over at my Challenge Check-In posts.
Here is a collection of covers that fulfill a prompt on either of the cards featured:

OnceandFutureWitches NothingButBlackenedTeeth Buried
WindThroughtheKeyhole MurderisEasy Foundryside
BeautifulOnes RoomintheAttic DeathontheNile
DeathComesastheEnd   Hollows MidnightMan
BillySummers EvilMind AngryPlanet
NothingMan HuntingEvil Witch
CrucifixKiller

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – A book about siblings
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw – Novella
Buried (DC Jack Warr #1) by Lynda La Plante – One word title
The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) by Stephen King – Your favourite trope on the page
Murder is Easy (Superintendent Battle #4) by Agatha Christie – Murder, mystery – or both!
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett – New-to-you author
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Discovered via social media
The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas – Indie or self published
Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17) by Agatha Christie – You watched the show or movie first
Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie – Forgotten on your shelf or eReader
The Hollows by Mark Edwards – a book set in the season you read it in
The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell – title is an alliteration
Billy Summers by Stephen King – superheroes/villains OR character in disguise
An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter – a book in a genre you never/rarely read
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers – set in space OR on/in the ocean
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard – a book about books
Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter – everyone has read it but you
Witch by Finbar Hawkins – Debut novel
The Crucifix Killer (Robert Hunter #1) by Chris Carter – First in a series you’ve been putting off

PICTURE PROMPT BOOK BINGO

BookForagerPicBingo

You can find out more about the Picture Prompts Book Bingo over at Bookforager. Unfortunately I have no progress to report on this card for this month but I have recently posted an updated version of my progress so far over at my latest Challenge Check-In post. I have managed to fill 10 of the picture prompts so far with:

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas
Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17) by Agatha Christie
The Hollows by Mark Edwards
An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter

You can view a recent update of my progress on this bingo card over at my Challenge Check-In post.

Challenge Check-In

January to March 2022

April to June 2022

July to September 2022

GOODREADS

I’ve read 22 books so far this year so I‘ve managed to meet the target of 20 books I originally set for myself. Now it’s a matter of how many more I’ll be able to add over the next few months.

GOALS

  • I’m still progressing through a number of books from my backlist, although this month I added in a more recent title as well.
  • I’ve made a good start on #RIPXVII and am already thinking about books I’d like to read next month.
  • I added books to my Beat the Backlist challenge this month and updated my bingo card.
  • I posted a new Challenge Check-In, with the latest versions of the bingo cards for each challenge I’m attempting this year.
  • I’m continuing my monthly update posts to record my reading and any challenge progress I’ve made.

So concludes September’s Reading Review. See you again next month.

Challenge Check-In: July to September 2022

Welcome to Challenge Check-In.
This post is an attempt to keep track of my reading challenges and bingo cards.

Welcome to my third Challenge Check-In (the first and second are here and here). This year I’m attempting a couple of reading challenges which feature bingo cards, so I decided to create a check-in style post to post updated versions of each card and see how I’m getting on with my challenges. I’ve certainly managed to add a few books to each of my bingo cards since my last update. So, here’s how my reading challenges are progressing so far this year…

First, a quick glance at my total number of books read this year.

Total Loaned Books Read 2022: 12
Total Own Books Read 2022: 10
Overall Total Books Read 2022: 22

MY BOOK OF THE CHECK-IN

Choosing my book of the check-in is as difficult as ever, and I’ve still not managed to narrow it down to a single book.
Instead, I want to give a mention to Billy Summers by Stephen King, which I really enjoyed, but I’m giving Book of the Check-In to…

EvilMind HuntingEvil

…the duo that is An Evil Mind and Hunting Evil by Chris Carter. You can’t really read one without the other as both tell the story of Robert Hunter and his encounters with one of the most evil characters I’ve come across in my recent reading. These books are tense, gruesome, and exciting, and a great change from my usual reading choices, and they’ve left me wanting to read the rest of the Robert Hunter series.

BEAT THE BACKLIST

BTB-2022-twitter-banner

My total for this challenge is currently 19 books read.  So far I’ve read:

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Buried (DC Jack Warr #1) by Lynda La Plante
The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) by Stephen King
Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas
Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17) by Agatha Christie
Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie
The Hollows by Mark Edwards
The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell
Billy Summers by Stephen King
An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter
Witch by Finbar Hawkins
The Crucifix Killer (Robert Hunter #1) by Chris Carter

Beat The Backlist Bingo Progress

This year Bingo is back with a great collection of prompts.  My original idea was to make the 24-prompt card my main focus, but, for now at least, I seem to be doing better with the variety of the 52-prompt card.  Here are updated versions of both cards showing my progress so far (both original cards can be viewed here) and a collection of covers that fulfil a prompt on either of the cards featured:

BtbBingo24JulSep

BtbBingo52JulSep

OnceandFutureWitches NothingButBlackenedTeeth Buried
WindThroughtheKeyhole MurderisEasy Foundryside
BeautifulOnes RoomintheAttic DeathontheNile
DeathComesastheEnd   Hollows MidnightMan
BillySummers EvilMind  AngryPlanet
NothingMan HuntingEvil    Witch
CrucifixKiller
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – A book about siblings
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw – Novella
Buried (DC Jack Warr #1) by Lynda La Plante – One word title
The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) by Stephen King – Your favourite trope on the page
Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie – Murder, mystery – or both!
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett – New-to-you author
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Discovered via social media
The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas – Indie or self published
Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17) by Agatha Christie – You watched the show or movie first
Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie – Forgotten on your shelf or eReader
The Hollows by Mark Edwards – a book set in the season you read it in (for example, reading a book primarily set in winter during the winter season)
The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell – title is an alliteration (the title features at least 2 words starting with the same letter back to back)
Billy Summers by Stephen King – superheroes/villains OR character in disguise (a story about superheroes/villains or one that features a character in disguise)
An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter – a book in a genre you never/rarely read
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers – set in space OR on/in the ocean
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard – a book about books
Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter – everyone has read it but you
Witch by Finbar Hawkins – Debut novel
The Crucifix Killer (Robert Hunter #1) by Chris Carter – First in a series you’ve been putting off

PICTURE PROMPT BOOK BINGO

You can find out more about the Picture Prompts Book Bingo over at Bookforager, where you can also view the original bingo card. I like that this challenge is so open to interpretation based on the pictures provided. I’m still making slow progress with this one but I have managed to add a couple more since my last update. Here’s my progress so far and a list of the titles I’ve used:

BookForagerPicBingoCompleted-3

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17) by Agatha Christie
The Hollows by Mark Edwards
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter
An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

GOODREADS

I’ve read 22 books so far this year.


So concludes my third Challenge Check-In of 2022. See you again soon.

Book Review: Witch by Finbar Hawkins

Name:  Witch
Author:  
Finbar Hawkins
Number of Pages: 
277 (Kindle)
Published: 
October 1st 2020 by Zephyr
Genre: Historical, Fantasy

Goodreads

Set in the 17th century, a breathtaking debut, and a potential prize-winner, about the power of women, witchcraft, fury, revenge and the ties that bind us.
After witnessing the brutal murder of her mother by witch-hunters, Evey vows to avenge her and track down the killers. Fury burns in her bright and strong. But she has promised her mother that she will keep Dill, her little sister, safe.
As the lust for blood and retribution rises to fever pitch, will Evey keep true to the bonds of sisterhood and to the magick that is her destiny?

My Rating:

3halfdiamonds

My Thoughts:

Witch is the story of a young woman willing to risk all for revenge against the people who killed her mother. When Evey’s mother is named as a witch her fate is more or less sealed. These women live in a time when it was potentially dangerous to be thought of as a witch, unless of course it suited other people’s purposes. For example, at earlier times most of the people involved in the capture had consulted Evey’s mother at one time or another for healing remedies or help for their families. All of which serves to ignite Evey’s rage and desire for revenge. Escaping before she too is captured, her sole focus centres on finding and punishing the people who killed her mother.

Evey and Dill are sisters but they’re very different, and their differences irritate Evey to such an extent that her choices drive the two apart, which may have dire consequences later on. There are some good characters here. Setting out on her own Evey meets a young woman called Alice. I liked Alice a lot. The pair meet first just as Evey is about to get into more trouble, and Alice gives her shelter and friendship. Her kindness means a great deal to Evey in a world where everyone seems to have turned against her. Through Alice Evey also finds other people will to offer support in various ways.

Initially I found the writing somewhat distracting. I couldn’t seem to connect with it somehow, and I felt it slowed my reading at times which is a shame because I did enjoy the story as it progressed and Evey found a way to take on those who had harmed her family.

I enjoyed the magic and fantasy elements, which came into play more towards the end of the book, by which time Evey was coming to terms with her own strengths and powers, and without giving anything away about the ending, I would like to know what happened next for certain characters.

Book Review: Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter

Name:  Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10)
Author:  
Chris Carter
Number of Pages: 
496 (Kindle)
Published: 
May 2nd 2019 by Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime

Goodreads

‘Every story one day comes to an end.’
As roommates, they met for the first time in college. Two of the brightest minds ever to graduate from Stamford Psychology University.
As adversaries, they met again in Quantico, Virginia. Robert Hunter had become the head of the LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit. Lucien Folter had become the most prolific and dangerous serial killer the FBI had ever encountered.
Now, after spending three and a half years locked in solitary confinement, Lucien has finally managed to break free. And he’s angry.
For the past three and a half years, Lucien has thought of nothing else but vengeance.
The person responsible for locking him away has to pay, he has to suffer.
That person … is Robert Hunter.
And now it is finally time to execute the plan.

My Rating:

5diamonds

My Thoughts:

Hunting Evil is book 10 of the Robert Hunter series and the second book that I’ve read. It’s the sequel to An Evil Mind, so I’d say read that one first. You could pick up Hunting Evil without having read the previous book, there’s enough description of past events to go along with the current narrative, but you get a much deeper understanding of the relationship between Robert Hunter and Lucien Folter through reading the first book. Long story short, they’ve encountered each other previously, Lucien then spent over 3 years imprisoned, and in that time occupied himself with thoughts of revenge against Robert Hunter.
And now Lucien has escaped.

An Evil Mind has massive amounts of tension despite (or perhaps because of?) Lucien being captured for the majority of the book. Even from a cell the amount of damage and chaos he inflicted seemed limitless.
Hunting Evil has a different feel to it altogether. Lucien is free, has had many hours of confinement to think about his revenge, and has all the tricks and tools to evade detection until it suits his purposes to come out of hiding. And he has a plan, to go bigger and more extreme than anything he’s ever done before. There seems to be little that Lucien cannot and will not do, which makes him one of the most evil and dangerous characters I’ve come across. I thought this reading the previous book, and it remains true here.

There’s a great dynamic between Hunter and Lucien. He goads Hunter and his colleagues, asking them to go through his ‘research’ to discover at least one thing that Lucien has yet to try, and they’re horrified when they realise what he has planned. Through a question and a well-thought-out riddle which has the authorities clutching for answers, the stakes turn out to be higher than ever, yet at the centre of the chaos are Robert and Lucien, with a clear eye for each other. One intent on revenge, the other intent on recapturing one of the most dangerous men he’s ever encountered. The antagonism is mutual and personal and the lengths both men will go to to ensure their preferred outcome is extreme.

Short chapters, switching viewpoints, misdirection, great reveals, all these kept me reading, and wondering just how far each of the main characters would go. The body count inevitably mounts; from the outset Lucien’s brutality is laid out clearly, and there are more gruesome scenes ahead, so perhaps not one for the squeamish (although I may have applied that to myself and my own reading choices prior to discovering this series so who knows?!).

I enjoyed every fast-paced moment of Hunting Evil, and the Robert Hunter series is one I am going to read more from. Now I’ve finished this two-part tale of Robert and Lucien I think I’ll go back to the beginning and read the rest of the series in order. I imagine there will be more gruesome, thrilling escapades ahead, and my newfound enjoyment of this genre cannot wait.

Readers Imbibing Peril XVII – #RIPXVII

RIPVXII

The days are growing cooler and the nights are beginning to draw in, which can mean only one thing – Autumn is on its way! I love this time of year, so what better way to mark the changing seasons than by participating in a suitably eerie Readathon? Two whole months of reading to enjoy. Want to know more about RIPXVII? Here you go…

Welcome to the SEVENTEENTH year of Readers Imbibing Peril, or RIP, as it is affectionately called. The challenge runs from 1st September to 31st October. There are Twitter and Instagram accounts where you can find out more about the various ‘perils’ on offer, and whilst participating you can use the hastag #RIPXVII.

The R.I.P. Reading Event includes books/movies/shows/podcasts that could be classified as:

Mystery
Suspense
Thriller
Dark Fantasy
Gothic
Horror
Supernatural

The goals are simple.

1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.

The Perils

This year multiple perils await you. You can participate in just one, or participate in them all.  You can find out more about all the events on offer by visiting the Twitter and Instagram accounts linked above, and also over at Readers Imbibing Peril.
I’ll be attempting:

Peril of the Fiction Read: 

Read one (or more!) fiction books that you feel fit (our very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature.

This is the one I usually participate in, reading as much as I can from any of the categories mentioned above, and anything else that catches my eye during the event.

Peril of the Screen: 

This is for those who like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious or gothic fare. It may be a television show, or your favorite film.

I don’t have a definite reading/viewing plan at the moment, so this year I’m not posting a potential TBR list, I’m going where the reading mood takes me. I do have a few ideas for books I might like to read throughout this event.

Progress

Peril of the Fiction Read

Witch   CrucifixKiller NightWhispers
Executioner Wehrwolf PracticalMagic

Witch by Finbar Hawkins

The Crucifix Killer (Robert Hunter #1) by Chris Carter

The Night Whispers (Slayton Thrillers #2) by Caroline Mitchell

The Executioner (Robert Hunter #2) by Chris Carter

The Wehrwolf by Alma Katsu

Practical Magic (Practical Magic #1) by Alice Hoffman

Peril of the Screen

I Came By
Doctor Sleep
Devil in Ohio
My Best Friend’s Exorcism
The Black Phone
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone


I’m really looking forward to one of my favourite reading events during my favourite season. Are you tempted to join in with #RIPXVII?

Monthly Summary: August 2022

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

EvilMindAugust sent some really good reads my way, and started with a new-to-me author in Chris Carter with the Robert Hunter series. I didn’t start at the beginning of the series, I read An Evil Mind, which follows Robert Hunter as he encounters a prolific serial killer who no one knew existed until recently. What an exciting, tense and occasionally gruesome read this turned out to be. So many revelations, so much evil over such a long period of time, and high stakes between the detective and the killer. I don’t tend to read this sort of thing very often, but this turned out to be a 5 star read for me, so it’s probably no surprise to find that my final read of theHuntingEvil month turned out to be another of the Robert Hunter series, Hunting Evil, which is the sequel to An Evil Mind. Those two books devoured I’ll probably go back and start at the beginning when I return to the series.

AngryPlanetFrom one under-explored genre to another as my next book was The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I haven’t read much science fiction at all, but I enjoyed this character-driven first book in the Wayfarers series as the crew of a tunnelling ship make their (long) way to their next job, encountering many new places and species along the way.

Next, back to serial killer fiction (it seems to have been a theme for me this month)NothingMan with The Nothing Man. This is a different take as the survivor of such a killer writes a book about her experiences and the other crimes perpetrated by The Nothing Man in the hopes of drawing him out of hiding so that he can finally pay for the pain he caused. When the man himself picks up a copy of the book and reads of his own tale, it sets the scene for one final confrontation.

It’s been a good month of reading, and now my thoughts are turning to potential reads for next month and also next season (and Readers Imbibing Peril, which takes places throughout September and October).

Here’s a summary of August on Pages and Tea…

Book Reviews

BillySummers EvilMind
AngryPlanet NothingMan

Billy Summers by Stephen King

An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2022

August Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Reading Review: August 2022

Welcome to my Monthly Reading Review.
This post is my attempt to keep track of how I’m doing with my reading challenges and resolutions.

BOOKS I’VE READ

EvilMind AngryPlanet
NothingMan HuntingEvil

An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter

Total Loaned Books Read This Month:  1
Total Own Books Read This Month:  3
Overall Total Books Read This Month:  4

Total Loaned Books Read 2022:  10
Total Own Books Read 2022:  9
Overall Total Books Read 2022:  19

MY READ OF THE MONTH

EvilMind

An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter. I couldn’t put it down. The battle of wits between a detective on loan to the FBI and a prolific serial killer who until now no one knew existed was tense and exciting. There was so much going on, so many twists and increasing stakes that I flew threw the latter half of the book. Also of note, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such an evil character as the killer in this book in my recent reading, so a very apt title as well. And, there’s a sequel, which I enjoyed just as much.

BEAT THE BACKLIST

BTB-2022-twitter-banner

My total for this challenge is currently 17 books read.  So far I’ve read:

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Buried (DC Jack Warr #1) by Lynda La Plante
The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) by Stephen King
Murder is Easy (Superintendent Battle #4) by Agatha Christie
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas
Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17) by Agatha Christie
Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie
The Hollows by Mark Edwards
The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell
Billy Summers by Stephen King
An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter

Beat The Backlist Bingo Progress

BTB-2022-24-Prompts-Bingo

This year Bingo is back with a great collection of prompts.  While my main focus is the 24-prompt card I may choose a few from the 52-prompt list as well (both cards can be viewed here).
I recently posted updated versions of each of the cards for my progress from January to March, and April to June, which can be viewed over at my Challenge Check-In posts.
Here is a collection of covers that fulfill a prompt on either of the cards featured:

OnceandFutureWitches NothingButBlackenedTeeth Buried
WindThroughtheKeyhole MurderisEasy Foundryside
BeautifulOnes RoomintheAttic DeathontheNile
DeathComesastheEnd   Hollows MidnightMan
BillySummers EvilMind AngryPlanet
NothingMan HuntingEvil

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – A book about siblings
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw – Novella
Buried (DC Jack Warr #1) by Lynda La Plante – One word title
The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) by Stephen King – Your favourite trope on the page
Murder is Easy (Superintendent Battle #4) by Agatha Christie – Murder, mystery – or both!
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett – New-to-you author
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Discovered via social media
The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas – Indie or self published
Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17) by Agatha Christie – You watched the show or movie first
Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie – Forgotten on your shelf or eReader
The Hollows by Mark Edwards – a book set in the season you read it in
The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell – title is an alliteration
Billy Summers by Stephen King – superheroes/villains OR character in disguise
An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter – a book in a genre you never/rarely read
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers – set in space OR on/in the ocean
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard – a book about books
Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter – everyone has read it but you

PICTURE PROMPT BOOK BINGO

BookForagerPicBingo

You can find out more about the Picture Prompts Book Bingo over at Bookforager. I have some good progress to report again this month. I’ve added another four books to this card (which I’ll update fully at my next Challenge Check-In). I have managed to fill 10 of the picture prompts so far with:

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas
Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17) by Agatha Christie
The Hollows by Mark Edwards
An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6) by Chris Carter
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
Hunting Evil (Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter

You can view a recent update of my progress on this bingo card over at my Challenge Check-In post.

Challenge Check-In

January to March 2022

April to June 2022

GOODREADS

I’ve read 19 books so far this year.

GOALS

  • I’m still making progress through my backlist books. Everything I read this month was from the backlist so…
  • … I added four books to my Beat the Backlist challenge this month and managed to add each of them to my bingo cards too.
  • I added four more books to the Bookforager Picture Prompt Bingo card which is the most I’ve managed in one month so far.
  • I’m continuing my monthly update posts to record my reading and any challenge progress I’ve made.

So concludes August’s Reading Review. See you again next month.

Book Review: The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Name:  The Nothing Man
Author:  
Catherine Ryan Howard
Number of Pages: 
270 (Kindle)
Published: 
August 4th 2020 by Corvus
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime

Goodreads

I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man.
Now I am the woman who is going to catch him…
You’ve just read the opening pages of The Nothing Man, the true crime memoir Eve Black has written about her obsessive search for the man who killed her family nearly two decades ago.
Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle is reading it too, and with each turn of the page his rage grows. Because Jim was – is – the Nothing Man.
The more Jim reads, the more he realizes how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…

My Rating:

3halfdiamonds

My Thoughts:

The Nothing Man, so-called because despite a growing list of crimes, escalating eventually to murder, the police have no real leads. He’s methodical, calculating and controlled, and so eludes the authorities and eventually disappears and the case goes cold.

It’s no spoiler to say that in fact the Nothing Man didn’t just vanish, he’s been living an everyday life in plain sight, and we discover this right at the very beginning when in his job as a security guard in a supermarket he discovers a newly published book, one in which he is the lead character.

So begins the hunt for a killer and the story of a survivor of one of his attacks.
It’s quite a creepy read, as Jim reads about his own activities of years ago, entering homes in the dead of night and subjecting his victims to cruelty and torment. None of it disturbs him, either then or in the present day, where he’s playing the role of husband and father as though there’s nothing abnormal about him at all. Even creepier as the part of his mind driving him to commit such crimes turns to this new intrusion into his life, the author of the book, Eve Black, and how to deal with her.

The tension mounts as Jim reads the book, and decides how to approach Eve and what her eventual fate must be, for she’s determined to catch him, which motivated her to write the book in the first place and relive the horrors she’d tried for a long time to shut out.
I like the story within a story used here, the way the past and the present gradually play out. Things escalate, not always in ways Jim imagines, and the idea of this man who planned everything so carefully and managed to escape undetected for so many years finally not being one step ahead keeps you reading.

The way the story is told means there is no big reveal as such, we already know who the villain is, but it still delivered in terms of twists and reveals, and finding out how things would eventually be resolved, and whether the Nothing Man would indeed be caught after so many years did lead to a race to the end of the book as I hoped Eve would finally get justice and that her plan to draw out the man who robbed her of her family would work out.