blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Last Lemming – Chris Chalmers*

TV naturalist ‘Prof Leo’ Sanders makes it to his deathbed without a whiff of scandal — then confesses his career-defining wildlife discovery was a hoax.

A National Treasure shattering his own reputation on YouTube is enough to spark a media frenzy, and the curiosity of part-time journalism student Claire Webster who makes him the subject of her dissertation.

Her investigations lead to Prof Leo’s estranged family, and a high-flying advertising guru he also slandered in the video.

Ultimately Claire uncovers the truth behind the discovery of the Potley Hill Lemming — the first new species of British mammal in a century.

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Chris Chalmers was born in Lancashire and lives in south-west London. He’s been the understudy on Mastermind, visited 40 countries and swum with marine iguanas. His first novel, ‘Five To One’, was winner of a debut novel competition and nominated for the Polari First Book Prize; his latest, ‘The Last Lemming’, is out now in paperback and ebook. He has written a diary for 42 years and never missed a night.

Click on a reading from ‘The Last Lemming’, or a Five-To-ONE-MINUTE-MOVIE for a 60-second intro to the main characters and themes of ‘Five To One’. Or search ‘chris chalmers novelist’ on YouTube, for clips of Chris reading from his other books, poems about Christmas Eve and butcher’s shops, and fox cubs dancing to ABBA. (Yep, it’s as high-brow as that.)

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My thoughts:

This book has an incredible number of twists and turns as Claire uncovers the truth, or some of it,behind the Potley Hill lemming and the bizarre video “Prof Leo” posted online posthumously claiming it was all a hoax.

The humour is quite black and the story eye raising to say the least, Claire is a likeable protagonist and Leo is really a rather nasty chap. I felt sorry for the lemmings and the other people Leo caused to suffer.

The flashbacks to Leo’s scheme fill in the gaps in Claire’s research and complete the grim tale of Arctic rodents in suburbia.

*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: Neon – GS Locke*

A detective desperate for revenge. A hitwoman with one last job. A killer with both on his list.

Detective Matt Jackson has reached the end. His beloved wife, Polly, is the latest victim of ‘NEON’ – a serial killer who displays his victims in snaking neon lights – and he can’t go on without her. Unable to take his life, Jackson hires a hitwoman to finish the job. But on the night of his own murder, he makes a breakthrough in the case, and at the last minute his hitwoman, Iris, is offered an irresistible alternative: help Jackson find and kill NEON in return for the detective’s entire estate.

What follows is a game of cat and mouse between detective, hitwoman and serial killer. And when Jackson discovers it’s not a coincidence that all their paths have crossed, he begins to question who the real target has been all along…

My thoughts:

This was an interesting take on the police procedural, with a hit woman drafted in by a suspended detective to help catch a serial killer.

The killer is a strange person, building neon light displays and incorporating the bodies of his victims as sinister art pieces.

I enjoyed this, tight and clever writing, with several twists you don’t see coming.

*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: The Silent Wife – Karin Slaughter*

Atlanta, Georgia. Present day. A young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. The police investigate but the trail goes cold. Until a chance assignment takes GBI investigator Will Trent to the state penitentiary, and to a prisoner who says he recognises the MO. The attack looks identical to the one he was accused of eight years earlier. The prisoner’s always insisted that he was innocent, and now he’s sure he has proof. The killer is still out there.

As Will digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the original case in order to reach the truth. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear. And now he needs medical examiner Sara Linton to help him hunt down a ruthless murderer. But when the past and present collide, everything Will values is at stake.

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 19 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant Sunday Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls, The Good Daughter, and Pieces of Her.

The Good Daughter and Cop Town are in development for film and television and Pieces of Her is soon to be an eight-part Netflix adaptation, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (Mad Men), and produced by Charlotte Stoudt (Homeland) and Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies).

Karin is the founder of the Save the Libraries project- a non-profit organisation established to support libraries and library programming.

She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

My thoughts:

I love Karin Slaughter and this book was no exception, her writing is really gripping and the plots are always so compelling and twisty.

I am usually quite good at guessing whodunnit but I was completely blindsided by the twist in this one. Will and Sara are great characters and their relationship is central to this case as the original investigation was under the auspices of Sara’s late ex-husband.

*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: The Collector – John Maher*

They say human life is the most precious thing. The Collector doesn’t agree.

When world renowned archaeologist Philip Carlton suddenly and unexpectedly commits suicide, the police are called to investigate. Heading up the investigation is Detective Lucy O’Hara, a Forensic Linguist – and she immediately sees something is wrong with the suicide note. In her gut, she knows this was cold-blooded murder.

Battling sceptical superiors and the Irish establishment, Lucy digs for the truth and begins to uncover a shadowy trade in ancient artifacts led by a mysterious figure known only as ‘The Collector’.

As Lucy works to uncover his identity, she soon realises she is up against a ruthless mastermind who is systematically eliminating anyone who might lead her to him. But Lucy won’t give up and soon The Collector turns his attention to her…

The Collector – the first in a gripping new series featuring Detective Lucy O’Hara.

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John Maher has published five novels and a collection of short stories. He has won national awards for radio play and short story with RTE in Ireland. His novel, The Luck Penny, was shortlisted for debut novel on BBC Radio 5.

A former teacher and lecturer, he holds a Phd from the School of Oriental and African Studies (London).

He lives in a small Irish village, between the Atlantic and the Irish Sea, from which he steals away, from time to time, to visit the world outside the island.

THE COLLECTOR will be his first novel published with Inkubator Books.

Website

My thoughts:

This was a fast paced crime ride as detective and forensic linguist Lucy O’Hara unravels what at first glance seems to be an unfortunate suicide but turns out to be part of an international conspiracy masterminded by the mysterious Collector.

Gripping and enjoyable, I look forward to the next book in the series as Lucy is an interesting character and I want to see how forensic linguistics can be applied to other crimes.

*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: Verbal – Peter Murphy*

A good police force is one that catches more crooks than it employs’ – Sir Robert Mark

A clever, accomplished Cambridge graduate with a good job and an attentive lover, Imogen Lester seems to have the world at her feet. But when her parents are murdered abroad while working for the Diplomatic Service, she is suddenly thrown headlong into a murky world of espionage and organised crime.
When she is charged with drug trafficking, even Ben Schroeder’s skills may not be enough to save her – unless a shadowy figure from Ben’s past can survive long enough to unmask a web of graft and corruption…

Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the United States, and served for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He has written eight novels: two political thrillers about the US presidency, Removal and Test of Resolve; six historical/legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder, A Higher Duty, A Matter for the Jury, And Is there Honey Still for Tea?, The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr, Calling Down the Storm and One Law for the Rest of Us. His new series features Judge Walden who will return in 2019 with a fresh series of cases. He lives in Cambridgeshire.

My thoughts:

This was really interesting, rather than being a spy thriller or even a police procedural as I thought it might be, it was instead a clever legal drama with elements of the spy thriller and police procedural, a really enjoyable mix of genres.

Drawing on his extensive legal background Peter Murphy has created a complex and compelling plot, travelling from the sitting rooms of Hampstead to pre-perestroika Yugoslavia to the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey and the pubs of Soho and the West End.

With twists and turns aplenty, dead bodies dropping at the most inconvenient moments and dodgy cops happy to lie under oath, the reader is never quite sure what’s going to happen next. Very satisfying.

*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: Deep as Death – Katja Ivar*

Hella Mauzer has just been fired by the police and is now a reluctant private investigator. Escaping the mind-numbing routine of shadowing unfaithful spouses, Hella finds herself at the centre of an investigation of multiple murders.

It all begins when a prostitute is found floating upside down in Helsinki Harbour. Not exactly a high priority case for the Helsinki police, so homicide chief Jokela passes the job to his former colleague Hella. It’s beginning to look like a serial killer is at work when another lady of the night narrowly escapes being driven into the harbour, handcuffed to the car by her client.

What begins like a taut whodunit turns into something more tantalizing as Hella turns her attention to different suspects, often to the consternation of the fascinating Inspector Mustonen, charismatic, ambitious and trying desperately to live up to the standards of his high-maintenance wife.

Katja Ivar grew up in Russia and the U.S. She travelled the world extensively, from Almaty to Ushuaia, from Karelia to Kyushu, before finally settling in Paris where she lives with her husband and three children. She received a B.A. in Linguistics and a master’s degree in Contemporary History from Sorbonne University. Evil Things was her debut novel.

My thoughts:

This was a clever tale of murder and mystery in 1950s Finland, with a female PI doing her best to solve crimes and keep her business afloat.

At a time when women in the UK were only just about being allowed to join the police, seeing a female detective leading the charge is pretty interesting, makes a nice change from most historical crime novels with their male protagonists.

The writing is crisp and the plot tight, the supposedly straight forward death of a prostitute goes somewhere completely different and twists and turns around the city as Hella and Inspector Mustonen try to solve the mystery.

*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: All Fall Down – M.J. Arlidge*

“You have one hour to live.”

Those are the only words on the phone call. Then they hang up. Surely, a prank? A mistake? A wrong number? Anything but the chilling truth… That someone is watching, waiting, working to take your life in one hour.

But why?

The job of finding out falls to DI Helen Grace: a woman with a track record in hunting killers. However, this is a case where the killer seems to always be one step ahead of the police and the victims.

With no motive, no leads, no clues – nothing but pure fear – an hour can last a lifetime…

My thoughts:

I read the first Helen Grace book a while ago so I was vaguely familiar with the characters, but this can easily be read as a standalone.

A clever, twisted plot, a game played by a cruel and determined killer, and no immediately obvious links between the victims.

Arlidge is an accomplished writer and knows how to keep a reader successfully hooked as the detective and her team come ever closer to the truth.

*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

Cover Reveal: Not The Deaths Imagined – Anne Pettigrew

Today I’m helping reveal the cover for Anne Pettigrew’s new book Not The Deaths Imagined – review to follow.

In a leafy Glasgow suburb, Dr Beth Semple is busy juggling motherhood and full-time GP work in the 90s NHS. But her life becomes even more problematic when she notices some odd deaths in her neighbourhood. Though Beth believes the stories don’t add up, the authorities remain stubbornly unconvinced.

Soon, Beth’s professional reputation is challenged. There follows a chilling campaign of harassment and she finds her professional reputation – and family – are put at risk.

Is a charming local GP actually a serial killer? Can Beth piece together the jigsaw of perplexing fatalities and perhaps save lives? And as events accelerate towards a dramatic conclusion, will the police intervene in time?

From the author of Not the Life Imagined, this slow-burning tartan noir novel from a Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight author follows Beth on another quest for justice. Reflecting Pettigrew’s own medical expertise, Not The Deaths Imagined re-affirms the benefits of growing up in a loving family and the need for friends in hard times, while offering insight into the twisted development of a psychopathic mind.

Ringwood Publishing

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Glasgow-born, 31 years a Greenock GP, graduate of University of Glasgow (Medicine 1974) and Oxford (MSc Medical Anthropology 2004). Worked also in psychiatry, women’s health, and journalism (Herald, Pulse, Doctor, Channel 4). In retirement took Creative Writing tuition at Glasgow University aiming to pen novels about women doctors (rare in literature except as pathologists or in Mills & Boon). Runner-up in SAW Constable Award 2018, chosen as a 2019 Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight Author – ‘one to watch.’ Member of several writers’ groups and a short story competition winner, she lives in Ayrshire and enjoys good books, good wine, and good company.

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The First Lie – A.J. Park*

A freak accident. An impossible choice. But what was…

THE FIRST LIE

When Paul Reeve comes home to find his wife in the bathroom, bloodied and shaking, his survival instinct kicks in.

Alice never meant to kill the intruder. She was at home, alone, and terrified. She doesn’t deserve to be blamed for it. Covering up the murder is their only option.

But the crime eats away at the couple and soon they can’t trust anyone – even one another…

My thoughts:This was a lot more twisted and complicated than it first appeared. As the secrets and lies stack up and the mental states of both Paul and Alice appear to deteriorate things become more complex and a conspiracy comes to light.*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: Before I Die – Jackie Morrissey*

She’ll care for you. Until you’re dead.

Maureen might be getting on in years but she’s fiercely independent and smart as a whip.

But when she falls and injures her ankle, her daughter Alva is convinced Maureen can no longer take care of herself and is determined to get her some help – which comes in the shape of local caregiver, Dolores.

Maureen tries to say no, she’s fine on her own, but it’s not so easy to get rid of Dolores. She seems to be everywhere, poking her nose into every corner of Maureen’s life, implying to Alva that her mother is getting senile and will soon need constant care.

Maureen feels as if she’s under siege 24/7. And she knows in her heart that there’s something not right about Dolores… But no one will listen.

Then one of Dolores’s other charges dies in mysterious circumstances and Maureen realises she may be fighting for a lot more than her independence.

Because once Dolores has you in her care, death may seem like a sweet release.

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Jackie Morrissey lives in County Dublin and worked for many years in adult education. Her job took her into colleges and prisons all around Ireland, and introduced her to a range of interesting people. She loved the buzz of teaching, but came to hate the tyranny of correcting assignments. She has written throughout her adult life and has had many short stories published, one of which won the Molly Keane Short Story award. She has also been a regular contributor of short pieces for the Irish radio program Sunday Miscellany. About four years ago, she took the decision to write full time. The psychological thriller Before I Die is her first published novel.

My thoughts:

This is something I genuinely worry about – the carer who’s out for whatever they can get. As someone with mental health issues, married to a disabled person I fear being left, like the elderly victims in this book, with someone who presents a different face to the outside world.

That being said, most people in the caring professions are nice and would never turn into Dolores.

I liked that the heroine is an older woman – Maureen is in the Miss Marple mold of a sleuth who many overlook due to her age.

There were some genuinely chilling moments and a satisfying denouement, a very impressive debut novel all round.

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