blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Long Shadow on the Stage – Nichole Heydenburg*

Jackson Birkman has the perfect life: the lead role on the popular detective show “Dispatching David,” millions of adoring fans, celebrity status, and a beautiful girlfriend. After five seasons, “Dispatching David” has just been cancelled. With the final episode quickly approaching, Jackson is worried about more than just his future acting career. His once massive fortune is dwindling and his girlfriend Clara is pressuring him to propose.

When Jackson unexpectedly dies on the set of the TV show during filming, everyone speculates whether it was suicide or murder. Why would Jackson commit suicide? If it was a setup, who would want Jackson to die? And most importantly, what was the motive of the murderer? As the investigation continues, Officer Wilson inches closer to the truth, uncovering Jackson’s secrets. She begins to think no one really knew Jackson at all, but is determined to solve the case, no matter the cost.

As the investigation continues, Officer Wilson inches closer to the truth, uncovering Jackson’s secrets. She begins to think no one really knew Jackson at all, but is determined to solve the case, no matter the cost.

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Nichole Heydenburg earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English with an emphasis in writing and a minor in theatre from Adrian College in 2014. Her one act play “The Hidden Story” won a playwriting contest and was performed at her alma mater in 2015. She also had several poems published in “The Oxcart” literary magazine. Nichole has been working full-time as the Content Manager for a start-up company for 3 years. When she isn’t writing, Nichole enjoys going on adventures with her husband, reading, playing board games, and the occasional mimosa. “The Long Shadow on the Stage” is her first novel. She currently resides near Asheville, NC with her husband, Zed.

To stay up to date on news about her second novel, as well as read writing and self-publishing tips, subscribe to her monthly newsletter on her website.

My thoughts:

A twisted tale of love, friendship and fame. Edgar and Jackson have been friends all their lives, Jackson and Clara are engaged.

Jackson has secrets, could those secrets be what gets him killed?

Twisted and dark, this story weaves between narrators, showing you glimpses of the killer as well as the victim, his friends and the officer determined to solve the case.

The ending leaves enough hanging that the brave Officer Wilson could easily be on the case and tracking the killer into a second book. *I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Say No More – Karen Rose*

Perfect for fans of James Patterson and Karin Slaughter, this is the second gripping instalment of the Sacramento series from Sunday Times bestseller Karen Rose. An explosive crime thriller, Say No More will keep you gripped until the final page.

If they ever catch you, say nothing. Admit nothing. Never tell.
Mercy Callahan never thought she’d be able to talk about her past. When she arrives in Sacramento to make peace with her brother Gideon, and to help find the brutal cult that took away her childhood, she is finally ready to talk. But when Ephraim Burton – the man who made her life a living hell – follows her there, she realises she might never be safe.
Rafe Sokolov would do anything to have Mercy back in his life and would go to any length to protect her. But when it becomes apparent that Ephraim is more determined than ever to get Mercy back, even Rafe might not be able to stop the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake. As Ephraim draws near, it’s clear it’s not just Mercy who is in danger; those closest to her are firmly in his sights.
Will Mercy sacrifice herself to help bring Ephraim down? Or will he finally get what he’s always wanted…

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Karen Rose was introduced to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep. Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat, Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby – knitting.

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My thoughts:

I really enjoy Karen Rose’s books, while there’s always some awful murderer that her characters are after, it’s more about the relationships between the people she writes about than the chase.

This is the second Sacremento set book, I read the previous one a while ago, but I think you pick up enough of the gist to go in cold if you want. There’s always some romance, lots of food and pets, in this case a little dog and two cats, all of whom act as emotional support for their humans.

I love the Sokolov family, especially Irina and Zoya, they provide the levity amidst the grim goings on that bring the group of Feds and cops and family members together around Mercy.

The search for serial killer and all around monster takes the crew across Northern California as they try to stop him from killing anyone else or getting his hands on Mercy; the object of his violent obsession.

Her relationship with Rafe blossoms, as her does the one with her brother Gideon – they both lived through horrors as children and still bear the mental scars, but are starting to heal.

I cannot wait for the next book in the series – I want to know if they find the cult Mercy and Gideon escaped from and whether they can finally lay their nightmares to rest.

*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: One Fatal Night – Hèlene Fermont*

One woman’s quest for revenge unearths a fatal secret from her past.

Astrid Jensen holds one man responsible for her mother’s suicide, and she’ll do whatever’s necessary to get close to Daniel Holst and destroy his life – even if it means sleeping with him to gain his trust. Astrid knows he’s not who he pretends to be. But before she can reveal his dark secret, people from her mother’s past start turning up dead, and it looks like she and Daniel are next. In order to survive, she might have to put her trust in the man she has hated for so long.

Daniel Holst has worked hard to climb into Norway’s most elite and glamorous circles, and he’s not about to let any woman bring him down. But when a psychopathic killer starts murdering people from his shadowy past, he discovers that the only person who might be able to save him is the woman who wants to destroy him.

As Astrid digs deeper into her past, she uncovers secrets long buried and realizes everything she once believed is based on lies. What began as a quest to avenge her mother’s death becomes a desperate struggle for survival and leads to the truth about what happened one fatal night ten years ago—and the surprising mastermind behind the most recent murders.

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Hélene is an Anglo-Swedish fiction author currently residing in her home town of Malmo, Sweden, after relocating back from London after 20 years.

Her thrilling character-driven psychological fiction novels are known for their explosive, pacy narrative and storylines.

Hélene is the proud author of four novels – One Fatal Night, Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret.

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My thoughts:

A lot happens very quickly in this novel as everything Astrid believes to be true unravels and the race to find the real killer of her mother kicks into high gear.

The body count increases and more secrets are revealed as both Astrid and the police desperately search for a killer with no remorse.

Fast-paced and full of twists, the plot unfolds in snowy woods outside Oslo as the killer goes to ground.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Hinton Hollow Death Trap – Will Carver*

It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened. Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120. Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow. Because something was coming. Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves. Making them cheat. Making them steal. Making them kill. Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone. Evil had a plan.

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

My thoughts:

Sort of following on from Nothing Important Happened Today (a book that scrambled my brains) this is narrated by Evil, and is another brain scrambler of a book.

Someone is shooting children in a small suburban town, an abattoir worker has taken to cruelty and people are having affairs, breaking windows and going missing.

I feel sorry for DS Pace, he’s trying to solve these awful killings while also maintaining some semblance of order in his own life (and failing).

The ending did a number on my noggin and Evil somehow triumphs despite insisting they did very little to affect events.

Will Carver is an evil genius of a writer and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next, once I’ve rested my poor scrambled brain.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Written in Blood – Chris Carter*

A serial killer will stop at nothing…

The Killer. His most valuable possession has been stolen. Now he must retrieve it, at any cost.

The Girl. Angela Wood wanted to teach the man a lesson. It was a bag, just like all the others. But when she opens it, the worst nightmare of her life begins.

The Detective. A journal ends up at Robert Hunter’s desk. It soon becomes clear that there is a serial killer on the loose. And if he can’t stop him in time, more people will die.

If you have read it. You must die.

Born in Brazil of Italian origin, Chris Carter studied psychology and criminal behaviour at the University of Michigan. As a member of the Michigan State District Attorney’s Criminal Psychology team, he interviewed and studied many criminals, including serial and multiple homicide offenders with life imprisonment convictions. He now lives in London.

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My thoughts:

This is a dark thriller with a determined detective and a man insensible to others’ suffering pitched against each other in a race against time.

When a pickpocket steals a serial killer’s diary and the LAPD become involved, the killer determines to get back his property – no care for the consequences.

Hunter is a sympathetic protagonist, the hero cop with nothing but his job to live for, I would have liked Angela to have been a bit more central, but the cat and mouse game between Hunter and the mysterious murderer is very cleverly done. The killer’s diary is an interesting plot device, the cold dispassionate tone of his observations clinical and then emotionally driven.

The denouement is satisfying and the final showdown cinematic in its execution.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Lost Souls – Jonathan & Jesse Kellerman*

A DETECTIVE UNDER PRESSURE

Deputy Coroner Clay Edison is juggling a new baby who won’t sleep with working the graveyard shift. For once he’s trying to keep things simple.

A HAUNTING DISCOVERY

When infant remains are found by developers demolishing a local park, a devastating cold case is brought back to light.

A DESPERATE SEARCH FOR ANSWERS

Clay has barely begun to investigate when he receives a call from a man who thinks the remains could belong to his sister – who went missing fifty years ago. Now Clay is locked in a relentless search that will unearth a web of violence, secrets and betrayal.

Because in this town, the past isn’t dead. It’s very much alive. And it can kill.

About the authors

Jonathan Kellerman is the Number One New York Times bestselling author of more than forty crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, True Detectives, and The Murderer’s Daughter.

With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes.

With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored Crime Scene, The Golem of Hollywood, and The Golem of Paris.

He is also the author of two children’s books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars.

He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award.

My thoughts:

This was a compelling novel of investigation and excavating the past. There are two cases, one that of a dead child’s remains found buried in a park and the other of a child, missing or perhaps dead, fifty years ago.

Clay is an engaging protagonist, juggling his job as a coroner’s deputy and new fatherhood, the scenes between him and his tiny daughter are gentle relief to the cases he’s working.

The deaths of children are highly emotive, and the remains found spark protests and political wrangling, even as Clay is trying to reunite them with their family.

The cold case of the missing child from fifty years ago isn’t remotely clear cut – there’s little to no evidence that there even was a child, making Clay’s life even harder.

The cases are compelling and the investigations detailed and engaging, it’s clear the authors are confident and knowledgeable in their field, making the narrative flow and keeping the reader connected.

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

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Blog Tour: Blackwatertown – Paul Waters*

When maverick police sergeant Jolly Macken is banished to a sleepy 1950s Irish border village, he vows to find the killer of his brother – even if the murderer is in the police. But a lot can happen in a week. Over seven days Macken falls in love, uncovers dark family secrets, accidentally starts a war, and is hailed a hero and branded a traitor. When Blackwatertown explodes into violence, who can he trust? And is betrayal the only way to survive?

Paul Waters is an award-winning BBC producer and co-presenter of the We’d Like A Word books and authors podcast, shortlisted for 2020 Books Podcast of the Year. Paul grew up in Belfast during ‘the Troubles’ and went on to report and produce for BBC TV and radio.

His claim to fame is making Pelé his dinner. Paul has covered US politics, created a G8 Summit in a South African township, gone undercover in Zimbabwe, conducted football crowds, reported from Swiss drug shooting-up rooms, smuggled a satellite dish into Cuba and produced the World Service’s first live coverage of the 9/11 attacks on America.

He also taught in Poland, drove a cab in England, busked in Wales, was a night club cook in New York, designed computer systems in Dublin, presented podcasts for Germans and organised music festivals for beer drinkers. He lives in Buckinghamshire and has two children.

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My thoughts:

This is a blackly comic tale of an unfortunate Catholic cop in hotly contested Protestant country close to the Northern Irish border. Macken is sent to Blackwatertown as punishment, and to replace another police officer who has died in a tragic accident; he also happens to have been Macken’s brother.

Unfortunately for Macken, his investigation into Danny’s death is derailed by a flare up of Republican violence, dragging the small barracks into chaos.

He’s also distracted by romantic entanglements and local politics.

Macken is a sympathetic figure, a man just trying to do his best in a world gone mad.

The twists towards the end are absolutely shocking and totally unexpected, spinning the story off in another direction entirely.

A lot of research has clearly gone into the 1950s setting and it makes it feel more real – these conflicts were real and affected many people.

A really interesting addition to the genre of historical crime fiction.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Shed No Tears – Caz Frear*

Four victims. Killer caught. Case closed . . . or is it?

Growing up in a London family with ties to organized crime, Detective Constable Cat Kinsella knows the criminal world better than most cops do. As a member of the city’s Metropolitan Police, she’s made efforts to distinguish herself from her relatives. But leading an upstanding life isn’t always easy, and Cat has come close to crossing the line, a fact she keeps well hidden from her superiors.

Working their latest case, Cat and her partner Luigi Parnell discover a connection to a notorious criminal: serial killer Christopher Masters, who abducted and killed several women in 2012. Though the cops eventually apprehended him, his final victim, Holly Kemp, was never found and he never confessed to her murder, despite the solid eyewitness testimony against him. Now, six years later, the discovery of Holly’s remains near Cambridge seems to be the definitive proof needed to close the case.

Still, a few key items of evidence don’t quite line up. As Cat and Parnell look closer, they find discrepancies that raise troubling questions. But someone will do anything to keep past secrets hidden—and as they inch closer to the truth, they may be putting themselves in jeopardy . . .

My thoughts:

This started off as a pretty average police procedural but then took off in a completely different direction, the plot gathering pace as the investigation sped up. The brilliant twists towards the end were not easy to spot and very little foreshadowing suggested where it might all end.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Rags of Time – Michael Ward*

‘Rags of Time’ is set in London in 1639. It tells the story of spice merchant Thomas Tallant, accused of murder and fighting to clear his name, and the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is only matched by her addiction to tobacco and the gaming tables.

Can Elizabeth’s brilliance untangle the web of deceit that threatens to drag Tom under, as England slides into civil war?

‘Rags’ is a murder mystery but not just a procedural thriller. Tom’s hunt for the real killer takes him on a journey through the ferment of new thinking that’s sweeping London in the 1640s. Change is everywhere – science, street politics, commerce and religion – and this shapes the plot, action, characters and outcome.

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Writing has been central to Mike Ward’s professional life. On graduating from university he became a journalist, working in newspapers and for the BBC. He then went into journalism education, teaching and researching journalism practice before becoming head of the UK’s prestigious Journalism School at UCLan. For the last eight years he has run his own content creation company.

‘Rags of Time’ is Mike’s debut novel. Its sequel is due to be published late in 2020.

My thoughts:

This was a fun and intelligent historical crime novel, with an engaging protagonist in Thomas Tallent and plenty of period detail.

A suitably knotty plot, replete with conspiracies, religious conflicts and grim murders in squalid Stewart London in the lead up to Civil War.

The reveal at the end was a twist indeed and the plot far more fiendish that it first appeared. An excellent debut that holds it’s own in a growing field.

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

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The Big Chill – Doug Johnstone*

Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver’s shadowy life. While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly. But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears, and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves immersed in an unbearable darkness – but could the real threat be to themselves? Fast-paced, darkly funny, yet touching and tender, the Skelf family series is a welcome reboot to the classic PI novel, whilst also asking deeper questions about family, society and grief.Doug Johnstone is the author of more ten novels, most recently Breakers (2019), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and A Dark Matter (2020), which launched the Skelfs series. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home, which he drew on to write A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

My thoughts:

The Skelfs are back. I loved Dark Matter, and this is an excellent sequel. Blackly comic and full of bathos, things pick up six months after the shocking events of the previous book and everyone is trying to move from murder and mayhem.

Hannah is still a mess (but I don’t blame her), Jenny is trying to keep her relationship with Liam alive, and Dorothy is sussing out things no one is paying her for. In short, business as usual for the multi-hypen family businesses.

With missing teenagers, tragic homeless people, a one eyed dog called Einstein and the ongoing trial of Craig, Hannah’s dad and Jenny’s ex to keep them occupied, the chaos continues.

Dorothy is still my favourite Skelf, with her drumming skills and determination to always find the truth. I love her friendship (and perhaps more) with copper Thomas, and her adopting yet more waifs and strays as the story unfolds.

I raced through the book with all its twists and turns, cannot wait for the next one, as there’s a cliffhanger or two at the end.

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