blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Beginner’s Guide to Murder – Rosalind Stopps*

Grace, Meg and Daphne, all in their seventies, are minding their own business while enjoying a cup of tea in a café, when seventeen-year-old Nina stumbles in. She’s clearly distraught and running from someone, so the three women think nothing of hiding her when a suspicious-looking man starts asking if they’ve seen her.

Once alone, Nina tells the women a little of what she’s running from. The need to protect her is immediate, and Grace, Meg and Daphne vow to do just this. But how? They soon realise there really is only one answer: murder.

And so begins the tale of the three most unlikely murderers-in-the-making, and may hell protect anyone who underestimates them.

My thoughts: this was very entertaining, as three old ladies decide to carry out a murder and rescue two young women in the process.

What’s happened to Nina and Ronnie is horrific, and gets very dark, so contrasting it with the humour of three women with no idea about the criminal underworld planning a hit helps. But Grace, Daphne and Meg have been through a lot in their 70 plus years, some of it dark too, and it has given them all a source of inner strength and determination to rescue Nina and Ronnie from their own nightmare.

*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: The Murder Box – Olivia Kiernan*

At first, Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan believes the murder mystery game sent to her office is a birthday gift from one of her colleagues. But when Frankie studies the game’s contents, she notices a striking resemblance between the ‘murder victim’ and missing twenty-two-year-old Lydia Callin.

As Frankie and her team investigate, a series of grisly crimes connected to the game are discovered across Dublin city and Lydia’s involvement with a shadowy network of murder mystery players becomes clear.

On the hunt for Lydia’s murderer, Frankie is drawn more deeply into the game. Every successful move brings her closer to the killer. But the real question is not what happens should she lose — but what happens if she wins.

My thoughts: this was good, clever and twisted. Drawing on the famous Nutshell crime scene models, escape rooms, online games, and people’s true crime addiction, this investigation is handed on a plate (or should that be, in a box?) to the detectives but there seems to be something very sinister at play. Not helped by the refusal of the other “players” to stay out of it once it becomes clear this is a real crime.

Frankie and her team are racing against time as more clues appear and the amateur sleuths put themselves at risk, getting far too involved. But who is the killer and what is their endgame?

*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: Safekeeping – Eva Mackenzie

No one ever thinks they’ll get caught…

Moments before police arrive on the scene of a car accident in rural Montana, Sonia has time to make one phone call. With one word whispered, she sets off an unstoppable chain of events. Once police arrive, she confesses to the brutal murder of her stepsister, Emma.

After, she’s sentenced to life in prison where she learns her stepfather’s ruthless reach. It’s a game of cat and mouse– a game she has already lost. She only needs to hold on long enough to be sure her secret is kept safe.

Until one day, news of an unidentified man’s death confirms her worst fear, and Sonia must get out of prison, at all cost. What did the dead man say, and who heard him say it?

Because everyone is guilty of something…

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Eva Mackenzie is an author who enjoys twisty, emotionally engrossing tales. Her debut novel has been a work in progress for over a decade. Under the urging of a loved one, it’s finally finished.

She is a wife and mother living on the east coast. When she isn’t writing, she is spending time with her family, training for her next marathon or reading stacks of suspense novels. Some of her favorite authors are Minka Kent, Dean Koontz, Tami Hoag, and Lisa Jackson.

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My thoughts: this book did not go the way I expected from either the blurb or the opening scenes. Alternating between characters, this clever thriller sends you all over trying to work out who the good guys are and how Sonia, stuck in prison, can ever help anyone, least of all herself. Why did she confess to Emma’s murder and who is she so desperate to protect?

The ending felt a little harried – but I suppose that did give a sense of the desperation and terror the characters were feeling in that moment and there were a few loose ends I wanted resolved. But hopefully the author will revisit the law firm (for instance) and round off the stories there at some point. Overall though, this was an enjoyable domestic noir thriller with a suitably awful villain and very brave protagonists.

*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: The Matchmaker – Hélene Fermont*

Perfect Lives Don’t Come Cheap.

Marcia Bailey has it all: a passionate marriage to a rich and handsome man who is utterly devoted to her; fame and success as London’s premier matchmaker; a beautiful home in a posh neighbourhood, and fabulous holidays in exotic places.

But her perfect life turns into a nightmare overnight when a mysterious caller suddenly threatens to reveal secrets from her past she thought she had left behind forever. Who is he and what does he really want? He says he wants three million pounds to keep quiet, and she’s willing to pay. After all, she has already sacrificed so much, and perfect lives don’t come cheap.

But Marcia has a hunch her caller wants more than money from her. He wants to hurt and humiliate her. But why?

As police investigate a brutal murder in a wealthy London neighborhood, they untangle a web of lies, violence, sex and jealousy surrounding Marcia Bailey and the group of wealthy and powerful men who have secrets of their own to keep.

The Matchmaker is filled with unexpected twists and turns — and characters that will haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.

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Hélene Fermont’s a practising psychologist with vast experience of people from all walks of life and background. Her Character Driven Psychological Thrillers are completely fictitious with much emphasis on their journey and interaction, intriguing traits and storylines.

After many years in London, Hélene divides her time between London and her home town, Malmö. Her beloved, beautiful cat, Teddy, is her writing buddy.

Hélene’s the proud author of five Psychological Thrillers; Because Of You, We Never Said Goodbye, His Guilty Secret, One Fatal Night, and The Matchmaker. Hélene’s the author of a collection of crime and romantic stories, Who’s Sorry Now? Currently, she’s working on her second collection, Maisie’s Secret which will be released later this year.

Hélene’s novels and stories are known for their explosive, pacy narrative and storylines.

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My thoughts: this was a twisted tale of love and revenge. Marcia may appear to have it all, but her past is a sad and lonely one. It’s only after her brutal murder that the secrets start to come out as ex-lovers, her sister, her daughter and more are interviewed by the police as they try to find out who killed her.

The book bounces between the different characters as they react to the killing and await a visit from the police, and you see that behind the huge houses and bank balances, many people’s lives are not simple at all. Marcus is having money problems, Julian’s still in love with the one woman he can’t have, Rachel has just found out who her birth mother was. The secrets and lies keep coming.

Slowly the detectives unravel everyone’s connections and after a savage assault, get the answers they were looking for. A slow burner of a crime thriller but interesting and involving.

*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: Dead Man’s Grave – Neil Lancaster*

This grave can never be opened.
The head of Scotland’s most powerful crime family is brutally murdered, his body dumped inside an ancient grave in a remote cemetery.

This murder can never be forgotten.
Detectives Max Craigie and Janie Calder arrive at the scene, a small town where everyone has secrets to hide. They soon realise this murder is part of a blood feud between two Scottish families that stretches back to the 1800s. One thing’s for certain: it might be the latest killing, but it won’t be the last…

This killer can never be caught.
As the body count rises, the investigation uncovers large-scale corruption at the heart of the Scottish Police Service. Now Max and Janie must turn against their closest colleagues – to solve a case that could cost them far more than just their lives…

My thoughts: this was a really enjoyable, clever police procedural taking in police corruption and a centuries’ old family feud – the reasons for which have been lost to time. Max Craigie is a man on a mission – to stop more innocent lives being lost and to root out the corruption and criminals at the heart of Police Scotland.

Despite being put on sick leave, he keeps working the case, convinced a supposed accident is a cover up for murder and that the Hardie family of gangsters have their fingers deep within the agency that’s supposed to be catching them in their crimes. He’ll need all the help he can get from his DC, Janie Calder and some old friends down south. Gripping, fast paced and very clever, this is the first in what looks to be an excellent new series.

*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: Arrowood & the Meeting House Murders – Mick Finley*

Nowhere to hide.
London, 1879. As winter grips the city, a group of African travellers seek sanctuary inside the walls of the Quaker Meeting House. They are being hunted by a ruthless showman, who is forcing them to perform in his ethnic exhibition in the London Aquarium.

Nowhere to turn.
Private investigator William Arrowood and his assistant Barnett agree to help the travellers avoid capture. But when they arrive at the Meeting House, they find a scene of devastation. Two people have been murdered and the others have fled into the night.

Nowhere to run.
The hunt for the real killer leads Arrowood into the dark heart of Victorian London. A shadowy world of freak shows, violence and betrayal, where there are no good choices and only the slimmest chance of survival…

My thoughts: I really enjoy this series – Arrowood is the anti-Sherlock (who he hates) and can sometimes barely stand but always gets his man, or men. The brutal murders in this book lead him all over London, following on the heels of showmen in the PT Barnum mould, as well as a group of South African performers trying to get out of a contract they never should have signed.

However there’s more to it – a deadly theft that traces all the way back to South Africa and a killer in search of gold. Mixing elements of real history with fictional figures, this is a dark and deadly crime story.

*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: Coldharbour – John Mead*

The Met Police’s Major Investigation Team East has its hands full: a rash of tit for tat gang related stabbings, a strangled housewife, the decomposed remains of a woman found in a ditch and more to come. Adding to their woes is their boss, Chief Inspector Matthew Merry, being distracted by his problems at home.
For Matthew’s wife, Kathy, her only concern is dealing with the aftermath of being drugged and raped by a co-worker. Will the trial of the man responsible be enough to give her the justice she demands. Or, as her therapist states, is it revenge she really desires. She doesn’t know. As her emotions see-saw from elation to depression, her only certainty is that her husband seems more concerned about his work than her.
And Matthew is only too aware of his failings both at home and work. But the police machine grinds on, seeking information and sifting evidence — justice is not their concern.

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John was born in the mid-fifties in Dagenham, London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs. When he is not
travelling, going to the theatre or the pub, he writes.
John is currently working on a seies of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.
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My thoughts: this was an interesting novel that started as a simple murder case that grows to have international implications and draws in officers from France and Italy as the police search for the criminal gang involved in trafficking and who lie behind the brutal murder of the young woman found on a Dagenham industrial estate.

The characters were interesting too – DCI Merry in particular. He struggles between the needs of his job and the needs of his family. His wife especially, struggling with her own pain and needing more support than he can give. The book goes to some dark places – the casual cruelty of the gang towards their victims is shocking and the way they act as though it’s just business is a grim reminder of the dark underbelly of London.

*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: The Lesson – Lisa Bradley*

Read my review of Paper Dolls by the same author.

SOMEONE’S GOT TO MAKE HIM PAY.

Evie has just started her second year at University. She is young, beautiful and popular. She should be having the time of her life, except she has something to hide – a one-night-stand with her English Professor, Simon.

Not wanting any of his other students to be used in the same way, Evie reports their relationship to University HR. But hours later, Village Vixen, the student gossip blogger, is baying for blood. She’s found out about the accusation and is firmly on Simon’s side.

But how could Village Vixen possibly have known? Evie can’t help but feel like she’s being watched. As paranoia and fear set in, the one thing Evie knows for sure is someone has to teach Simon a lesson…

My thoughts: this was really good with twists and turns and jaw dropping moments of total “what just happened?” It’s so cleverly done, you can’t tell who you can trust, is Evie a liar, is Simon being set up, and what exactly is Jenny up to? None of them are reliable, all of them have an agenda.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, it was smart and gripping and I dropped my breakfast a few times when another sudden turn appeared. The ending especially is so shocking and unexpected. Brilliant stuff.

*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: The Therapist – Helene Flood*

From the mind of a psychologist comes a chilling domestic thriller that gets under your skin.

What happens when a psychologist begins to question her own sanity?

Sara runs a private psychology practice for troubled youth in the newly inherited house she is refurbishing with her husband, Sigurd. One morning, a voicemail from Sigurd tells Sara he’s arrived at a holiday cabin for a weekend away with the guys. A couple of hours later, Sigurd’s friends call from the cabin asking where he is — according to them, Sigurd never arrived.

Sara is irritated by what she thinks is a practical joke. But as the hours stretch out, her anger turns to fear, and the large empty house begins to feel increasingly threatening.

To get to the root of Sigurd’s disappearance, Sara must question everything she knows about their relationship. But can she trust her own thoughts? And where is she safe?

My thoughts: this took me a while to get into but when I did I found it really interesting. Sara starts her own investigation into her husband’s death, she also starts thinking about her own life – about her parents, her mother’s death and how she ended up where she is. As readers we spend a lot of time in Sara’s head, following her thoughts and sharing her moods.

It was an interesting and complex story – the police keep all their theories and suspects from her, so she builds her own, while being slowly terrorised in her own home. The final scenes are shocking and the answers it offers are a complete surprise.

*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: A Cut for a Cut – Carol Wyer*

Read my review of An Eye For An Eye

DI Kate Young can’t trust anybody. Not even herself.

In the bleak countryside around Blithfield Reservoir, a serial murderer and rapist is leaving a trail of bloodshed. His savage calling card: the word ‘MINE’ carved into each of his victims.

DI Kate Young struggles to get the case moving—even when one of the team’s own investigators is found dead in a dumpster. But Kate is battling her own demons. Obsessed with exposing Superintendent John Dickson and convinced there’s a conspiracy running deep in the force, she no longer knows who to trust. Kate’s crusade has already cost her dearly. What will she lose next?

When her stepsister spills a long-buried secret, Kate realises she’s found the missing link—now she must prove it before the killer strikes again. With enemies closing in on all sides, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to bring them down. But time is running out, and Kate’s past has pushed her to the very edge. Can she stop herself from falling?

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USA Today bestselling author and winner of The People’s Book Prize Award, Carol Wyer writes feel-good comedies and gripping crime fiction. 

A move from humour to the ‘dark side’ in 2017, saw the introduction of popular DI Robyn Carter in LITTLE GIRL LOST and demonstrated that stand-up comedian Carol had found her true niche.

To date, her crime novels have sold over 750,000 copies and been translated for various overseas markets.

Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’, featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.

She currently lives on a windy hill in rural Staffordshire with her husband Mr Grumpy… who is very, very grumpy.

When she is not plotting devious murders, she can be found performing her comedy routine, Smile While You Still Have Teeth.

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My thoughts: I really like this series, Kate feels understandable and realistic, I liked seeing her relationship with her stepsister Tilly, in this book, it made her less isolated and threw her troubles into a different light. She’s still searching for answers about her husband’s death but this new case leads her in different directions, looking for a serial rapist and killer – especially as one of his victims was a police officer.

The crimes are awful, obviously, and the evidence limited but Kate and her team are determined to find the killer. During the investigation she discovers a few new leads for her own case, and starts to gather the evidence she needs.

The writing is gripping and the plot zips along, there are a few false starts and its only when Tilly says something to Kate that it all starts to come together. The team work hard but the fact that the victims offer up little evidence doesn’t help. It was good to learn a bit more about the other officers too – I like Emma, the martial arts expert, who offers a calmer perspective than Kate’s. This series is shaping up to be really good and I’m looking forward to book three.

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