blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Black Reed Bay – Rod Reynolds

When a young woman makes a distressing middle-of-the-night call to 911, apparently running for her life in a quiet, exclusive beachside neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything suggests a domestic incident. Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn’t sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, lead detective Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case that looks like it can have only one ending. And then the first body appears, and Casey’s investigation plunges her into a darkness she could never have imagined…

Black Reed Bay introduces a breathtaking, powerful and addictive new series, fronted by the fantastic Detective Casey Wray, from the CWA-nominated author of Blood Red City and The Dark Inside.

Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian has called the books ‘pitch-perfect American noir’. A lifelong Londoner, Rod’s first novel set in his hometown, entitled Blood Red City, was published by Orenda Books in 2020. Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. He lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters. Follow him on Twitter @Rod_WR.

My thoughts: this was an excellent crime thriller, set in a sleepy oceanside neighbourhood where things aren’t all they seem. Detective Casey Wray is determined to find out what happened to Tina Grace, and won’t buy the DA’s decision to close the case. If Tina’s dead, where’s her body?

Pursuing the truth despite threats and death, pushing the tiniest scrap of evidence into the light, Casey won’t stop and as it seems that one young woman’s disappearance is linked to something much bigger that will alter everything Casey believes in, her relentless hunt for justice could destroy the department as she knows it.

Clever, gripping and full of red herrings, dodgy dealings and suspects who die rather too conveniently, this is crime writing at it’s best. I could not put it down.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Cover Reveal: Buried Lies – Jenny O’Brien

Today I’m sharing the cover of author Jenny O’Brien’s new book Buried Lies. Read on for details of the book. I reviewed the last book in the series, which you can read here.

HER PARTNER. HER SON. SHE’S NEXT.

Hannah Thomas returns home one morning to every mother’s worst nightmare: a missing child and a dead fiancé. When DI Gaby Darin questions her, Hannah insists she can’t think of anyone who’d want to hurt her family – and yet it all feels disturbingly personal. 

Mere hours into the investigation, a second body is found. As Gaby and her team dig into the victims’ lives, they hit dead ends at every turn – particularly when it comes to Hannah’s past. What is the grieving woman hiding? 

But when Gaby stumbles upon Hannah’s tragic secret, it doesn’t bring her any closer to the truth. Can she connect the dots before the killer strikes again?

Unnervingly twisty, this thrilling police procedural will keep you gripped to the very last page. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, LJ Ross and D. S. Butler.

Born in Dublin, Jenny O’Brien moved to Wales and then Guernsey, where she tries to find time to write in between working as a nurse and ferrying around 3 teenagers.

In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer.

Readers can find out more about Jenny and her books on her blog and she can also be found on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Books in series reading order, although each is stand-alone:-

THRILLERS

Silent Cry (Gaby Darin Book One)

Darkest Night ( Gaby Darin Book Two)

Fallen Angel (Gaby Darin Book Three)

Lost Souls (Gaby Darin Book Four)

Buried Lies (Gaby Darin Book Five)  

The Stepsister

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Family Lie – P.L. Kane

A scream cut through the night as they watched flames engulf the woodland. Fire ripped through the trees, leaving only charred branches behind. And then they saw it… on the ashen forest floor… was a body.

Police officer, Mitchel Prescott answered the phone with a shaking hand. It was the one call he had been dreading. It was the hospital at Green Acres… his father Thomas, had died in the night.

Returning to the small town he had been avoiding since he was a child, Mitch must lay his father to rest.

When he arrives, the close-knit residents refuse to speak about Thomas’ death, other to explain he was found burnt to death in the woods and his dementia was the likely cause.

But when Mitch discovers traces of accelerant on his father’s body, he’s certain it wasn’t an accident. Then his childhood home is broken into, his father’s study ransacked, and a rock thrown through the window warning him to leave.

Mitch is convinced Thomas had discovered something that had got him into trouble… something that would threaten his entire family.

But what secret is worth killing for?

An utterly gripping thriller that will have you reading long into the night. Fans of Shari Lapena and Helen Phifer will love The Family Lie!

P L KANE is the pseudonym of a number one bestselling and award-winning author and editor, who has over a hundred books published in the fields of SF, YA and Horror/Dark Fantasy. In terms of crime fiction, previous books include the novel Her Last Secret, the collection Nailbiters and the anthology Exit Wounds, which contains stories by the likes of Lee Child, Dean Koontz, Val McDermid and Dennis Lehane. Kane has been a guest at many events and conventions, and has had work optioned and adapted for film and television. Several of Kane’s stories have been turned into short movies and Loose Canon Films/Hydra Films have just adapted ‘Men of the Cloth’ into a feature, The Colour of Madness. Kane’s audio drama work for places such as Bafflegab and Spiteful Puppet/ITV features the acting talents of people like Tom Meeten (The Ghoul), Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who/Shetland), Alice Lowe (Prevenge) and Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint).

My thoughts: this gave me definite Hot Fuzz vibes – small towns give me the creeps. So insular and sinister – which this small rural town definitely is. Mitch has no idea what’s going on when he returns to Green Acres to put his late father’s affairs in order. The fact his father may have been murdered, the utterly useless local police, his weird aunt and uncle. He needs answers but getting them proves deadly. Thank goodness for his psychic sister Bella, the true hero of the book – Cat the cat, and Bella’s copper pal, Mitch is out of his depth.

Gripping and sinister, this is a really clever, enjoyable thriller about insidious evil and why you need a cat. Also, cults, small town strangeness and secrets.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Last One Alive – Karin Nordin

Read my thoughts on the previous book in this series – Where Ravens Roost

They survived once. Can he save them this time?

When Detective Kjeld Nygaard is called to the discovery of a body in the burnt-out shell of a house, his heart sinks. He never wanted to see this house again. The house of a notorious serial killer. The house where he rescued Louisa Karlsson from being murdered.

But when they discover the body is in fact Louisa, the mystery deepens. It can’t be the old serial killer. He’s dead.

Then another body is found, again killed in the exact place where Kjeld saved them from another murderer. Another survivor dead.

With the clock ticking Kjeld and his partner Detective Esme Jansson are desperate to stop any more survivors from being murdered. But every clue they find leads to a dead end. Why is the killer picking off people Kjeld rescued? Could it be connected to another of his previous cases?

When Kjeld’s daughter is kidnapped – it’s a race against time to save her life. Can Kjeld stop the killer without paying the ultimate price or will he be the last one alive?

A heart-stopping and gripping crime thriller that will keep you up all night! Perfect for fans of Helen Phifer, Lisa Regan and D.K. Hood.

My thoughts: this was very clever, playing with tropes like “the final girl” and the idea of killers wanting to complete their plan, throwing the detectives off course with cleverly re-staging murder scenes and even getting one death ruled a suicide.

Kjeld’s grip on things is getting weaker, his relationships, both person and professional, are crumbling and he can’t even seem to stop this murderer before they abduct his daughter Tove.

Kjeld is the latest in a long line of detectives with messy lives – and he makes it messier still in this story. We also got a lot more of his partner, Esme, which I enjoyed as she’s an interesting character. The case is a knotty, complex one and I didn’t guess the ending and the killer at all.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Review: The Wrecking Storm – Michael Ward

Read my thoughts on the first book in this series – Rags of Time

1641.

London.

The poisonous dispute pushing King Charles and Parliament towards Civil War is reaching the point of no return.

Law and order in the city are collapsing as Puritan radicals demand more concessions from the King. Bishops and lords are attacked in the streets as the Apprentice Boys run amok. Criminal gangs use the disorder to mask their activities while the people of London lock their doors and pray for deliverance.

No one is immune from the contagion. Two Jesuit priests are discovered in hiding and brutally executed – and soon the family of spice merchant Thomas Tallant is drawn into the spiral of violence. Tallant’s home is ransacked, his warehouse raided and his sister seized by kidnappers.

Thomas struggles to discover who is responsible, aided by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, a devotee of science, maths and tobacco in equal measure. Together they enter a murky world of court politics, street violence, secret codes and poisoned letters, and confront a vicious gang leader who will stop at nothing to satisfy his greed.

Can Elizabeth use her skills to unpick the mass of contradictory evidence before the Tallants are ruined – both as a business and a family?

And as the fight for London between King and Parliament hurtles to its dramatic conclusion, can the Tallants survive the personal and political maelstrom?

My thoughts: the author kindly let me know this book was out as I was on the blog tour for the first one. It’s currently free on Kindle Unlimited, which is how I read it.

I really enjoyed this book, I liked the historical setting – a period of huge unrest and upheaval in Britain as Parliament and Charles I start to fall out and Puritanism is on the rise.

When I studied the Civil War, we focused mainly on Oliver Cromwell so it was interesting to learn more about men like Pym, who were his forerunners in the religious and political conflict that reshaped how our government works.

I like Thomas Tallant and Elizabeth a lot – they’re clever and interesting, sharp minds that sort through all the clues to find out the truth of the matter – who is attacking the family and why? Violence becomes personal and puts even Thomas’ quiet sister Ellen at risk. How does this fit in with the murdered Jesuit priests and other worrying activities in a powder keg London?

I like my historical fiction riddled with real people and events and this book really delivers that, bringing those fevered weeks to life.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Bring Her Home – S.A. Dunphy

She had taken only one step towards the hotel when she heard the car door opening, and then something had her by the shoulders in a grip like steel. Penny tried to fight, but it was no good. The last thing she heard as consciousness drifted away was the whisper of a familiar song…

On a cold night in October a pretty, blonde girl named Penny O’Dwyer is snatched from the quiet main street of a small, coastal town in the west of Ireland. No one saw anything, and a desperate search leads nowhere… Until her abductor sends a video declaring Penny only has ten days to live and a deadly countdown begins.

Criminal behaviourist Jessie Boyle hoped never to work a case in Ireland again. But when her career in London is cut short by a brutal tragedy, she returns to her homeland to grieve – only for her oldest friend to call in a long overdue debt. ‘Help us catch this monster and bring Penny home. We need you, Jessie.’

Throwing herself into the investigation, Jessie makes a chilling discovery: Penny wasn’t the first girl to be taken. As her team find more missing women, she becomes convinced that a serial killer has been hiding in plain sight for years. Nothing seems to tie the victims together, until Jessie realises that that each abduction site is linked to the old Irish myths she read as a child.

Time is running out for Penny, and Jessie’s only hope is to understand the killer’s twisted logic. But he is closer than she imagined… and Jessie is next in his sights. Will she risk everything to save an innocent life?

A totally breathtaking and chilling crime thriller that will keep you gripped to the very last page, perfect for fans of Lisa Regan, A.J. Rivers, Tana French and Lisa Gardner.

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Shane Dunphy (S. A. Dunphy) was born in Brighton in 1973, but grew up in Ireland, where he has lived and worked for most of his life. A child protection worker for fifteen years, he is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the number one Irish bestseller Wednesday’s Child and the Sunday Times Bestseller The Girl Who Couldn’t Smile. His bestselling series of crime novels (written under the name S. A. Dunphy) feature the criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of true crime books written for Audible, has been critically acclaimed and the second title in the series, The Bad Place, is an Audible True Crime bestseller. 

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My thoughts: blending ancient folklore with very modern technology and murder, this was a really enjoyable first book in a new series featuring three unconventional investigators – Katie, Seamus and Terri in rural Ireland.

After the daughter of the former Taoseich is kidnapped, the team are put together and sent to investigate. Penny seems to have been leading a double life, legitimate accountant by day, advising criminals and gangsters how to hide their money by night. She also had a steady stream of “friends” visiting her hotel room in the nights leading up to her disappearance.

But Katie is receiving messages purported to be from Celtic myth Balor – a demonic monster. He claims to be involved in the kidnapping. Adding a strange dimension to the case. How does it connect to missing drug shipments from a local gangster? Or to the kidnapping of women over the last forty years?

Really clever and twisted, the team all bring their differing skills to the task, Katie as a psychologist, Seamus a detective, Terri an ace researcher and hacker. I was disappointed to get to the end of the book and realise I’m going to have to wait for the next one.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Next of Kin – Kia Abdullah

ON AN ORDINARY WORKING DAY…

Leila Syed receives a call that cleaves her life in two. Her brother-in-law’s voice is filled with panic. His son’s nursery has called to ask where little Max is.

YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE…

Leila was supposed to drop Max off that morning. But she forgot.

Racing to the carpark, she grasps the horror of what she has done.

IS ABOUT TO COME TRUE…

What follows is an explosive, high-profile trial that will tear the family apart. But as the case progresses it becomes clear there’s more to this incident than meets the eye…

A gripping, brave and tense courtroom drama, Next of Kin will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final, heart-stopping page.

My thoughts: this really is shocking and sad – the death of a child always is. But the twists in the final third of the book are the most shocking part. Just when you think the case is closed and the details as disclosed in court, Kia Abdullah delivers some incredible new information, casting a different light over everything you’ve read so far. Very clever, very stunning.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Death Comes to Bishops Well – Anna Legat

When Sam Dee moves to the beautiful Wiltshire village of Bishops Well, he expects a quiet life of country walks and pub lunches. OK, so his new neighbour, Maggie Kaye, is a little peculiar, but she’s very nice – and his old pal Richard Ruta lives just down the road.

But when Richard throws one of his famous parties, things take a sinister turn. Sam, Maggie and the rest of the guests are dumbfounded when Richard falls down dead. A horrible tragedy – or a cunningly planned murder?

With a village full of suspects – and plenty of dark secrets – just who exactly would want to bump off their host? Is there a connection to another mysterious death, nearly twenty years before?
Armed with her local knowledge, Maggie – with Sam’s reluctant but indispensable help – is soon on the case. But when the body count starts to rise, will sleepy Bishops Well ever be the same again?

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Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. Murder isn’t the only thing on her mind. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dark humorous comedy, through magic realism to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-
of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.

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My thoughts: this was a really enjoyable mystery novel – with two amateur sleuths hunting out clues and doing better than the police. Putting little things together, references to Richard’s ‘love of his life, which didn’t seem to be any of his wives, the mysterious woman at the airport, without any access to official equipment or information. But the police are right behind them and can put the murderer away for it.

DI Gillian Marsh is only peripherally involved, as she’s supposed to be on sick leave, but she can’t quite leave it alone. Doesn’t help that Maggie keeps trying to get information out of her about the investigation.

A really fun spinoff from the DI Marsh series, set just up the road from Marsh’s beat.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Maggie Dove – Susan Breen

Susan Breen introduces a charming series heroine in this poignant and absorbing cozy mystery with a bite. Maggie Dove thinks everyone in her small Westchester County community knows everyone else’s secrets. Then murder comes to town…

When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.

Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her.

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Susan Breen’s best-selling Maggie Dove mystery series was first published by a digital imprint of Penguin Random House and in the process of being reissued in paperback by Under the Oak Press. She’s proud to have had two of her Maggie Dove stories in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. A new story will be in Malice Domestic’s upcoming anthology: Murder Most Diabolical (introduced by Walter Mosley.) She was also longlisted for the 2021 Margery Allingham Short Story competition. Susan’s first novel, The Fiction Class, won a Washington Irving Award from the Westchester Library Association.

Susan teaches novel-writing at Gotham Writers and she’s also on the faculty of the New York Pitch Conference. She lives in a very pretty little village on the Hudson River with her husband, two sweet cockapoo dogs and two rather aggressive cats. Her three grown children are flourishing elsewhere.

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My thoughts: Maggie Dove used to write mystery novels, and now she’s in a real life one as her neighbour has dropped dead on her front lawn. Lots of people had reasons to dislike him but did anyone dislike him enough to kill him?

Maggie’s an interesting character – suffering from grief after the deaths of her husband and daughter, she gave up writing and seems slightly stuck in place, lonely and a bit lost. She’s a kind and generous person, but has hidden anger that she’s trying to manage.

She knows that the person the police suspect is innocent, and sick of their inaction, she takes matters into her own hands. She also discovers she has more friends than she thought.

An interesting take on the detective genre – I’d be interested to see how future stories shape up with this cast of characters.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: I Shot the Devil – Ruth McIver

FIVE WENT INTO THE WOODS. 

TWO NEVER CAME BACK.

An unforgettable story of murder, trauma and childhoods lost, by Richell Prize-winning debut author Ruth McIver

Erin Sloane was sixteen when high school senior Andre Villiers was murdered by his friends. They were her friends, too, led by the intense, charismatic Ricky Hell. Five people went into West Cypress Woods the night Andre was murdered. Only three came out.

Ativan, alcohol and distance had dimmed Erin’s memories of that time. But nearly twenty years later, an ageing father will bring her home. Now a journalist, she is asked to write a story about the Southport Three and the thrill-kill murder that electrified the country. Erin’s investigation propels her closer and closer to a terrifying truth. And closer and closer to danger.

An unforgettable story of murder, trauma and childhoods lost, I Shot the Devil is a taut, prize-winning debut novel from an electrifying new talent.

Ruth McIver is a Dublin-born, Western Australian and New York City raised writer currently based in Melbourne, Australia. She is represented by the Story Factory. In 2019 Ruth completed her PhD in the field of true-crime inspired fiction with Curtin University. Her unpublished manuscript, Nothing Gold, was runner-up in the inaugural Banjo Prize (2018) and was one of seven manuscript selected to be pitched at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival (2014). I Shot the Devil is her debut novel and won the 2018 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers.

Find Ruth on social media: Twitter: @ruthmciver, Instagram: @rogetstrollope

My thoughts: this was a really interesting way of telling a story – told from Erin’s perspective and several others in the form of written, and highly dubious, accounts, it draws Erin back into a time she thought she’d moved on from.

Looking into the deaths of two of her high school friends – including the boy she was in love with, draws a lot more to the surface. Far from the “satanic panic” the media at the time insisted was involved, there’s a world of drug dealing, dirty cops and property fraud under the surface. And Erin drags it all into the light. Which puts her in terrible danger from unscrupulous people.

The middle section dragged a little, but once Erin decided what to do and heads to Florida to track down her old school friend and other suspects, the pace really picks up. As she digs deeper and the threats increase, the plot kicks into high gear. A dark and sinister thriller.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.