books, reviews

Book Review: We Begin at the End – Chris Whitaker

‘You can’t save someone that doesn’t want to be saved . . .’
Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.
Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.
Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.
Murder, revenge, retribution.

How far can we run from the past when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?

My thoughts:

Occasionally you come across a book that does the unexpected and rips your heart out. This book does just that.

Duchess Day Radley, outlaw, sister, broken hearted child; such a compelling and moving protagonist, so young but life has been brutal and happiness will be ripped away from her over and over.

The adults around her are stuck in the past, suffering from events thirty years ago, dragging their guilt and pain around with them.

This whole book is a treat to read but also one that leaves you breathless, the prose is so crisp and precise, a masterclass in imagery and creating in its readers a deep empathy and understanding.

I was kindly gifted a copy of this book with no obligation to review but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: Fifty Fifty – Steve Cavanagh

Alexandra Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body, and needs the police right away. She believes her sister killed him, and that she is still in the house with a knife.

Sofia Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body and needs the police right away. She believes her sister, Alexandra did it, and that she is still in the house, locked in the bathroom.

Both women are to go on trial at the same time. A joint trial in front of one jury.

But one of these women is lying. One of them is a murderer. Sitting in a jail cell, about to go on trial with her sister for murder, you might think that this is the last place she expected to be.

You’d be wrong.

My thoughts:

The Eddie Flynn books are very popular in my house and so there was a little unseemly squabbling about who got to read this first.

The plot is so clever, the twist at the end I couldn’t even see coming, and I’m pretty good at spotting them.

Cavanagh is an excellent writer at the top of his game and knows how to deliver a clever, witty plot and play with his readers’ brains in the process.

I was kindly sent a copy of this book with no obligation to review.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Babysitter – Phoebe Morgan*


Who knew her secret? And what happened that night?

‘I loved it, those twists!’ B A Paris, Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors and The Dilemma

‘A cracking page-turner’ Cara Hunter, Sunday Times bestselling author of All the Rage

On the hottest day of the year, Caroline Harvey is found dead in Suffolk. Her body is left draped over a cot – but the baby she was looking after is missing.

Hundreds of miles away, Siobhan Dillon is on a luxurious family holiday in France when her husband, Callum, is arrested by French police on suspicion of murder.

As Siobhan’s perfect family is torn apart by the media in the nation’s frantic search for the missing baby, she desperately tries to piece together how Callum knew Caroline.

What happened that night? Was Caroline as innocent as she seemed – or was she hiding a secret of her own?

My thoughts:

So I totally got the guilty party wrong when reading this and playing guess the murderer, the twists at the end were very clever, and the title suggests the babysitter as the villain not the victim so I was wrong footed from the start, which shows just how good Phoebe Morgan is at what she does.

This was a cracking read, lots of red herrings and turns, really, really good stuff. I’m not sure what more I can say really!

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

books, reviews

Book Review: Daughters of Night – Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Lucia’s fingers found her own. She gazed at Caro as if from a distance. Her lips parted, her words a whisper: ‘He knows.’

London, 1782. Desperate for her politician husband to return home from France, Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham is already in a state of anxiety when she finds a well-dressed woman mortally wounded in the bowers of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The Bow Street constables are swift to act, until they discover that the deceased woman was a highly-paid prostitute, at which point they cease to care entirely. But Caro has motives of her own for wanting to see justice done, and so sets out to solve the crime herself. Enlisting the help of thieftaker, Peregrine Child, their inquiry delves into the hidden corners of Georgian society, a world of artifice, deception and secret lives.

But with many gentlemen refusing to speak about their dealings with the dead woman, and Caro’s own reputation under threat, finding the killer will be harder, and more treacherous than she can know . . .

My thoughts:

A sort of sequel to Blood & Sugar, this is a fantastic historical romp of a novel as Caro has to solve a murder and several other crimes and misdemeanors along the way.

I really enjoyed this book, the writing really flows and the plot carries you along with it.

I was kindly sent a copy of this book with no obligation to review.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Rules – Kerry Barnes*

Holed up in prison, Mike Regan is offered a deal – his freedom in exchange for his firm taking down the gang that is supplying a new dangerous drug that has hit the streets. What starts as a game soon becomes a shocking revelation with devastating consequences.

Meanwhile, Mike’s fiancé, Zara Ezra, has her own firm to run. But when the so-called Governor is out to take her down, she has her own decision to make – either fight, run, or write her own rule book…

My thoughts:

If you like the gangsters are the heroes genre of thrillers, then you’ve probably already heard of Kerry Barnes.

Rather than a police procedural this book is on the other side of the tracks and the bad guys make the rules.

An enjoyable romp through a London that most people wouldn’t recognise,of gangs and guns, is at heart about people. And people can be messy and complicated, even while trying to rise to the top and stay alive.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: These Lost & Broken Things – Helen Fields*

Maiden-Mother-Murderer
How dangerous is a woman with nothing left to lose?
The year is 1905. London is a playground for the rich and a death trap for the poor. When Sofia Logan’s husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her penniless with two young children, she knows she will do anything to keep them from the workhouse. But can she bring herself to murder? Even if she has done it before…
Emmet Vinsant, wealthy industrialist, offers Sofia a job in one of his gaming houses. He knows more about Sofia’s past than he has revealed. Brought up as part of a travelling fair, she’s an expert at counting cards and spotting cheats, and Vinsant puts her talents to good use. His demands on her grow until she finds herself with blood on her hands.
Set against the backdrop of the Suffragette protests, with industry changing the face of the city but disease still rampant, and poverty the greatest threat of all, every decision you make is life or death. Either yours or someone else’s. Read best-selling crime writer Helen Fields’ first explosive historical thriller.

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An international and Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen is a former criminal and family law barrister.

Every book in the Callanach series claimed an Amazon #1 bestseller flag. Her next book, the sixth in the series, ‘Perfect Kill’ is due out on 6 February 2020. Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and last year released legal thriller ‘Degrees of Guilt’.

Her previous audio book ‘Perfect Crime’ knocked Michelle Obama off the #1 spot. Translated into 15 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition.

Her first historical thriller ‘These Lost & Broken Things’ comes out in May 2020. A further standalone thriller published by HarperColllins will come soon.

She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, where she lives with her husband and three children.

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My thoughts:

It took me a while to get into this book, but once Sofia had stopped flapping about and started working for the less charming than he thinks Vinsant the story picked up and I enjoyed it more.

Told through a mixture of flashbacks to Sofia’s past and her present predicaments, the story of a woman with a taste for killing is interesting, a lot of crime (especially historic crime fiction) often embraces the idea that women aren’t ruthless enough to kill and those few that do won’t use violence or force.

Sofia kills for two reasons – to protect those she loves and for revenge. Her strength and weakness is this need to take lives.

A much more complex and rich story than it at first appears, These Lost & Broken Things is ultimately redemptive as Sofia comes into contact with the growing women’s rights movement.

*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: Lake Effect – K.C. Giles*

Mysterious marina accidents. Destroyed evidence. Can a tenacious reporter decipher the twisted clues at a small-town lake?

Jordan Reed is burned out from all the attention on her previous high-profile story. But when a new lead lands in her lap, she reluctantly postpones her vacation to investigate a classic New England marina. With hundreds of dead fish washing up on Copper Lake’s otherwise pristine shores, Jordan suspects a sinister cover-up.
But by the time she arrives on the scene, she’s surprised to discover the police chief eliminated every last carcass and seems hellbent on blocking her inquiries. And her search for the culprit takes a perilous turn when gambling kingpins descend on the city and a string of unexplained calamities plague the docks.
Can Jordan expose the corruption, or will she be the next to go belly-up?
Lake Effect is the second book in the fast-paced Jordan Reed mystery series. If you like steely female sleuths, gripping action, and clever twists that’ll keep you guessing, then you’ll love K.C. Gillis’s page-turning mystery.
Buy Lake Effect to dive into dangerous waters today!

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K.C. (Kevin) Gillis is the author of the Jordan Reed mystery series. Despite being a lifelong lover of stories and books, writing took a distant back seat as his professional career travelled through the Canadian Air Force, a decade as a chemist, followed by a long and continuing run in corporate America. With writing no longer in the back seat (but not quite yet in the front seat), Kevin how has the Jordan Reed series well under way. His personal interests focus on endurance and water sports. Having grown up in the Canadian Maritimes, he now lives in the US northeast with his wife, teenagers and a pair of black cats.

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Published in ebook format on 26th May 2020 by Chesterfield Press

My thoughts:

This was an interesting twist on the crime novel – some dead fish lead to a whole range of conspiracy and scandal and the local sheriff is right at the heart of it all – not the hero cop common in crime fiction.

Jordan is a complicated character – she’s initially reluctant to investigate but gets drawn into the strange goings on at the lake, and draws in others to assist her.

The plot is compelling and as the schemes pile up and the villains surface, it gets knottier.

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