books, reviews

Book Review: Making Wolf – Tade Thompson*

Meet Weston Kogi, a London supermarket store detective. He returns home to his West African home country for his aunt’s funeral. He sees his family, his ex-girlfriend Nana, his old school mate Church. Food is good, beer is plentiful, and telling people he works as a homicide detective seems like harmless hyperbole, until he wakes up in hell.

He is kidnapped and forced by two separate rebel factions to investigate the murder of a local hero, Papa Busi. The solution may tip a country on the brink into civil war.

Making Wolf is the outrageous, frightening, violent and sometimes surreal homecoming experience of a lifetime.

Tade Thompson is the author of Rosewater, a John W. Campbell Award finalist and winner of the 2017 NOMMO Award for Best Novel. His novella The Murders of Molly Southbourne has recently been optioned for screen adaptation. He also writes short stories, notably ‘The Apologists’ which was nominated for a British Science Fiction Association Award. Born in London to Yoruba parents, he lives and works on the south coast of England where he battles an addiction to books.

My thoughts:

I’d read Thompson’s award winning Rosewater, a strange, trippy novel and was curious to see what he’d do with the detective genre.

Making Wolf starts with a small lie told at a funeral and takes in a whole lot of chaos; political factions at war, poverty, murder, kidnap, you name it, Weston encounters it – all the things his aunt sent him out of the country to avoid.

Having been assigned a case he’s not exactly equipped for by both sides of a long running rebel feud, Weston soon finds himself up to his eyeballs in trouble but making some headway with the case, as long as he can stay alive.

Funny and wry, this is a clever take on the detective genre and I found myself rooting for Weston as the secret police, both rebel factions, various taxi drivers and his ex-girlfriend cause havoc around him.

West Africa is brought vividly to life, I could really picture the places Weston visited and the people he encountered, from the super obese inmate of the asylum to the Somalian pirates on a luxury yacht.

*I was kindly sent a copy of this book by the publisher with no requirement to post a review. All opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Locked in Fear – Liz Cowley & Donough O’Brien*

The stunning new thriller from the authors of Serial Damage. In a sleepy country village, Detective Inspector Robin Marshal – now in retirement – is nearly killed by a stranger. His friend Alice, a police psychiatrist, discovers that the murder attempt was almost certainly ordered by a terrifying criminal, ‘Big Mack’, currently incarcerated in a notoriously violent prison. There his criminal kingdom controls not only the inmates, but many of the guards, through the power of money and the threat of extreme violence.
When Alice goes to work in the prison to find out more, she too, becomes a target, her car machine-gunned on a country road, and Robin is attacked again while recovering in Spain.
Under pressure from an outraged public and with political concern rising, the authorities try to put a stop to Big Mack’s activities. But everyone is under threat when he is suddenly at large following a murderous escape. How can this evil kingpin be stopped?

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Donough enjoyed a successful marketing career in Britain, Ireland and the US. His previous books include Fame by Chance, Banana Skins, Numeroid, and In the Heat of Battle: a study of those who rose to the occasion in warfare and those who didn’t. His latest historical book was WHO? The most remarkable people you’ve never heard of. He has co-authored thrillers Peace Breaks Out with Robin Hardy and Serial Damage with his wife Liz Cowley.

Liz Cowley, whose family comes from Connemara, is a long-time fan of poetry, she enjoyed success with her first collection, A Red Dress, published in 2008 and her second, What am I Doing Here? (2010), which were then made into a theatrical show. Her next book ‘And guess who he was with?’ published in 2013, and two poetry books for gardeners, Outside in my Dressing Gown, and Gardening in Slippers, are bestsellers. Serial Damage was her first novel.

My thoughts:

This was a clever thriller about the past catching up to a copper and his psychiatrist friend and former colleague.

As the plot bounds from England to Spain and France, Big Mack’s reach seems unstoppable and Robin and Alice live in fear.

The writing is crisp, the plot clever and the narrative keeps you hooked with each twist and turn.

*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: Perdition’s Child – Anne Coates*

The new book in the bestselling Hannah Weybridge thriller series!

Dulwich Library is the scene of a grisly murder, followed swiftly by another in Manchester, the victims linked by nothing other than their Australian nationality. Police dismiss the idea of a serial killer, but journalist Hannah Weybridge isn’t convinced. She is drawn into an investigation in which more Australian men are killed as they try to trace their British families. Her research reveals past horrors and present sadness, and loss linked to children who went missing after the Second World War. Have those children returned now?
Once again Hannah finds herself embroiled in a deadly mystery, a mystery complicated by the murder of Harry Peters; the brother of Lucy, one of the residents of Cardboard City she had become friendly with. It soon becomes clear Lucy is protecting secrets of her own.
What is Lucy’s link to the murders and can Hannah discover the truth before the killer strikes again?

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For most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both. Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, she has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books. Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind and Death’s Silent Judgement began with a real event followed by a ‘what if …’. That is also the case with the two prize-winning stories: Codewords and Eternal Love.

My thoughts:

Set in the 1990s and inspired by the real life cases of children wrongly sent to Australia during the Seconf World War, this is a clever, knotty thriller that takes in murder, government cover ups, child abuse and religious maniacs.

Hannah Weybridge is a determined journalist and investigator, her connections to families of the men murdered make this case personal to her, but also puts her at great risk from a killer who wants to complete his mission.

Well written, gripping and full of detail, Anne Coates’ books deserve to be as well known as other crime writers like Val McDermid, Lynda LaPlante and Kathy Reichs.

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


Cover Reveal: Sword – Bogdan Teodorescu

On the streets of Bucharest, a brutally efficient serial killer is at work. His targets: individuals from the Roma community with a criminal record. Each victim is killed with a single blow to the throat and tensions rise at the same rate as the body count. For not everyone disagrees with this vigilante killer.

With Presidential elections about to take place, and the police seemingly unable to track down the elusive assassin they’ve nicknamed Sword, the government struggles to keep control while other political figures try to stoke public resentment for their own ends.

The demons in Romania’s fractured society begin to resurface, as old distrust and prejudices grow with each new victim from the Roma community. The case is under the media’s relentless spotlight. Meanwhile, ruthless figures both inside and outside the government are manoeuvring to take advantage of the situation. But are they playing with political fire for their own purposes – are they in danger of sparking a vicious racial conflict?

Bogdan Teodorescu paints an acid portrait of a divided society in this powerful political thriller containing themes that will echo around the world.

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Guest Post: Notorious Minds Blog Tour

PROPOSAL 2020-0794 Judith Holstrom Banner set 5 01 2020-0113 3d Box Set Judith Holstrom on transparent-WEBSITE

GENRE: Mystery/Thriller Crime
ISBN: 9781947649651
RELEASE DATE: 13th October 2020
PRE-ORDER DATE: 17th March 2020

What does it take to commit the perfect crime?
Delve into these dark and twisted tales by twenty USA Today and International Bestselling Authors. No matter what kind of crime story typically catch your imagination, there sure is something for everyone.

Conspiracies, political plots, and yes, even murder, are just a few of the crimes waiting inside this box set. Discover a narcissistic grandmother running an underground syndicate, or a support group bent on murder…and even a serial killer who turns his victims into fairytale creatures.

Prepare to delve into an elite killing team who made a mistake, an oil rig filled with secrets ready to explode and a reporter uncovering a treasonous plot.

Uncover how fatal passion, jealousy and fear can be to a group of royal marines and learn from a detective who is far from home fighting demons from his past in order to stay alive.

Can you figure out how the police solve a killer’s confession to nine murders that haven’t happened yet? or how a girl tethered to the heart of a serial killer becomes the FBI’s no 1 ally.

This box set is packed with thousands of pages that will hold you on the edge of your seat, crying for answers. Definitely a must for fans of Patterson, Lee, and Grisham. One-click it today!


Carlyle Labuschagne – USA TODAY
Eva Winters – USA TODAY
Lena Bourne – USA TODAY
Karen M. Bryson – USA TODAY
Inge – Lise Goss – USA Today
Karen Randau – Award Winning Author
Eric J. Gates – Award Winning Author
Deborah Shlian & Linda Reid – International Bestselling Author
Sian B. Claven – Award Winning author
Brandy Nacole
Kelsey Reed
N. Gray
Majanka Verstraete – International Bestselling Author
Thomas J. Eyre
Adam Alexander
DL Jones
K.L Lamar
D.J Grayson
Judith Holstrom


Pre-Order now and you will receive our amazing pre-order gift – pre-orders are digital and printing is at readers cost.

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My Writing Journey
by Karen Randau

Karen-RandauI think we all know something about what makes us tick from an early age – judging from my 5-year-old grandson’s love of Legos, he’s destined to be a builder, an engineer, or something that involves putting things together.

For me, I don’t remember not having a passion for writing and storytelling.

Writing became a way of life as soon as an elementary school teacher taught me to print Run Spot Run. I’ve processed most of my life’s major events – my best friend moving away, my boyfriend liking someone else, the end of my marriage, the birth of my son – by writing about them. I verbally told myself stories until my sister informed me that talking to yourself meant you were crazy – then I moved my storytelling to inside my head.

It seemed natural to put my love of writing into a career by getting a degree in journalism/public relations from the University of Texas at Austin. That launched a career spanning the industries of high tech, mental health, and non-profit

For nearly three decades, I worked for an international non-profit organization that partners with communities in developing countries to help them end extreme poverty. My travels let me witness life-saving work in Bolivia, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. Those experiences inform my writing and storytelling.

While quietly confessing strange thoughts to a friendly co-worker one day, I asked, “Do you think I’m going crazy?” I was, after all, verbally telling myself stories again. My friend answered, “No, I think you have a novel in you that wants to get out.”

So, I sat down to write my first novel.

I’m thankful it never got published but did get edited and rewritten five times. I attended conferences and workshops, continued rewriting, and talked to dozens of published authors about what it takes to produce an engaging, fast-paced story that will grab and keep a reader’s attention.

And I learned that too many edits will destroy a story.

I shelved that first novel and created a protagonist I loved, Rita Avery. Her husband died in a theater shooting in book 1 of my Rim Country Mystery Series, Deadly Deceit. Rita found love again and married Cliff in book 2, Deadly Inheritance, where they nearly get blown up in an Viking burial cave. Rita’s missing mother shows up after 25 years in book 3, Deadly Choices, and Willow has gone from being a vegetarian hippie artist to an ex-con who helps Rita figure out why a woman with an arrow in her chest stumbled into their campsite. In book 4, Deadly Payload, Rita is largely on her own when Cliff and hundreds of towns people are sickened by a bio-terrorism attack. Rita’s sleuthing reveals it was a practice run for a larger attack, and she fights to thwart it before thousands more die. Deadly Payload was a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards and the Beverly Hills Book Awards.

The same characters are featured in Deadly Reception, part of the Tawnee Mountain Mysteries that take place at a posh New Jersey resort where Rita’s daughter is hosting her wedding. What could possibly go wrong there?

You can learn more about these books on my website.

My contribution to the Notorious Minds Crime Mystery/Thriller Boxset is called Mystery Bones Murders. It features Frankie, a young widow who is angry and isolated and suffers from dyslexia. She lives on her Wyoming cattle ranch with two pet cows (Rosie and her calf Diesel), a rescued German Shepherd (Lexi Princess Warrior), and an American Paint Horse (Concho). When Frankie and Concho are rescuing Diesel from a thorny bush one stormy night, they find a human femur. The action shifts into high gear – and the body count rises – as Frankie discovers a serial killer is using her property to bury his victims, and he’s watching her.

The boxset is available pre-order on several online retailers for only 99 cents, and we authors would like to thank you for your purchase with a free gift of several of our novels. Go to the Notorious Minds Boxset website for details on how to order and claim your free gift.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Bitter Wash Road – Garry Disher*

A modern western set in an isolated Australian bush town with a soaring crime rate, where a local constable with a troubled past must investigate the death of a teenage girl whose murder threatens to set the dusty streets ablaze.

Constable Paul Hirschhausen—“Hirsch”—is a recently demoted detective sent from Adelaide, Australia’s southernmost booming metropolis, to Tiverton, a one-road town in the country three hours north.

Hirsch isn’t just a disgraced cop; the internal investigations bureau is still trying to convict him of something, even if it means planting evidence. When someone leaves a pistol cartridge in his mailbox, Hirsch suspects that his career isn’t the only thing on the line.
But Tiverton has more crime than one cop can handle, due largely to the town’s stagnant economy, rural isolation, and entrenched racism and misogyny. When the body of a 16-year-old local girl is found on the side of the highway, the situation in Tiverton gets even more sinister, and whether or not Hirsch finds her killer, there’s going to be hell to pay.

My thoughts:

A remote Australian town, a violent death, a dysfunctional police force and a cover up gone wrong. Hirsch is in disgrace but determined that crime and murder won’t be brushed away this time.

Unhelpful colleagues aside, the lack of witnesses and general disinterest from the community makes it hard for him to solve the murder of a young woman; despite the convenient “accident” Hirsch’s instincts sense more going on than it appears.

The setting, the plot and the sense of isolation give the novel a claustrophobic feel, as Hirsch drives along the handful of roads, trying to solve crime in his truck, despite a campaign of intimidation against him.

A clever, twisted read, with an ending I didn’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: Sister – Kjell Ola Dahl*

Oslo detective Frølich searches for the mysterious sister of a young female asylum seeker, but when people start to die, everything points to an old case and a series of events that someone will do anything to hide…

Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death.

Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…

A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation.

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich.

In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

My thoughts:

What starts as a seemingly straightforward missing person’s case dives into the world of refugees and asylum seekers, people living in limbo as they wait to see if they can stay or will be sent away.

There are police cases, murders, “honour” killers, threats, secrets and lies ahead for police officer turned PI Frølich as he attempts to unravel the mystery hidden beneath all of the chaos he’s uncovered.

Clever, twisty, turny plotting that keeps you guessing, unreliable and untrustworthy characters, and new avenues that seem to pop up everywhere. Really enjoyable reading.

*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: Payback – Claire MacLeary*

When police are called to a murder scene at the home of Aberdeen socialite Annabel Imray, they find themselves under pressure to get a conviction, and fast. Meanwhile, local PIs Wilma Harcus and Maggie Laird are at rock bottom, desperate for income. As Maggie contemplates replacing Wilma with an unpaid intern, an eccentric widow appoints them to search for her lost cat – and Wilma goes off-piste to negotiate a loan, with terrifying terms.

As the fear caused by a series of sinister break-ins escalates, Maggie blames the aggressive language in public discourse for inciting violent crime. But before long, she finds she is in the danger zone herself.

Meanwhile, local PIs Wilma Harcus and Maggie Laird are at rock bottom, desperate for income. As Maggie contemplates replacing Wilma with an unpaid intern, an eccentric widow appoints them to search for her lost cat – and Wilma goes off-piste to negotiate a loan, with terrifying terms.

As the fear caused by a series of sinister break-ins escalates, Maggie blames the aggressive language in public discourse for inciting violent crime. But before long, she finds she is in the danger zone herself.

Will Wilma manage to save her?

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Claire MacLeary lived for many years in Aberdeen and St Andrews, but describes herself as “a feisty Glaswegian with a full life to draw on”.

Following a career in business, she gained an MLitt with Distinction from the University of Dundee and her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies. She has appeared at Granite Noir, Noir at the Bar and other literary events.

Claire’s debut novel, Cross Purpose, was longlisted for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize, Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award 2017, and Burnout was longlisted for the Hearst Big Book Award 2018. Runaway is her third novel and continues the Harcus & Laird series.

My thoughts:

There was a lot going in in this book – lots of tangled threads that both PIs and police alike are trying to unravel and solve the mysteries at their ends.

Is the murder of a socialite connected to a spate of thefts? What about the missing cat?

Wilma was easily my favourite character, fierce and no nonsense, marching about in shiny leggings, chasing leads and giving her supposedly grown up sons a good clip round the ear!

Eventually the knotty mess was unravelled and not only were various crimes solved, Maggie and Wilma even keep their partnership intact.

*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: Mortmain Hall – Martin Edwards*

Who can we turn to, if justice betrays us?

1930. A chilling encounter on London’s Necropolis Railway leads to murder. At the Old Bailey, a man accused of a “blazing car” killing escapes the gallows after a surprise witness give sensational evidence. And journalist Jacob Flint finds himself framed for murder.

To save himself, Jacob needs to discover what links these strange events to a remote estate on a northern coast, Mortmain Hall. There, an eccentric female criminologist hosts a gathering of people who have narrowly escaped the consequences of miscarriages of justice. But the house party culminates in tragedy when a body is found beneath the crumbling cliffs. Is the death an accident, or the result of an ingenious plot to get away with murder?

Rachel Savernake, who’s been invited to the party, proposes an intricate—and dangerous—solution to the assembled guests, having done her own sleuthing into the labyrinthine secrets of Mortmain Hall. Will her relentless quest for the truth bring down the British establishment?

My thoughts:

This was a clever novel in the style of Golden Age writers like Agatha Christie and Margaret Allingham, where murder is someone’s solution to a whole host of problems.

Rachel Savernake is a smart, tough young woman, despite a sheltered upbringing she’s very savvy and adept at spotting the truth, a young Miss Marple, if you like.

Her household staff are her willing sidekicks and happy to bounce ideas and theories around with her, journalist Jacob Flint, slightly bumbling but not far behind her.

This was a very enjoyable read, clever and a bit twisted, much like my favourite crime novels from the Golden Age (I love a classic crime novel), the period setting adding authenticity and the denouement taking place in a Gothic pile literally on the edge of a cliff is very pleasing.

*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: Whirligig – Andrew James Greig*

Just outside a sleepy Highland town, a gamekeeper is found hanging lifeless from a tree. The local police investigate an apparent suicide, only to find he’s been snared as efficiently as the rabbit suspended beside him. As the body count rises, the desperate hunt is on to find the murderer before any more people die. But the town doesn’t give up its secrets easily, and who makes the intricate clockwork mechanisms carved from bone and wood found at each crime?

Whirligig is a tartan noir like no other; an exposé of the corruption pervading a small Highland community and the damage this inflicts on society’s most vulnerable. What happens when those placed in positions of trust look the other way; when those charged with our protection are inadequate to the challenge; when the only justice is that served by those who have been sinned against?

This debut crime novel introduces DI James Corstophine – a man still grieving for a wife lost to cancer; his small close-knit team of passed-over police and their quiet Highland town. He’s up against a killer who plays him as easily as a child. For a man whose been treading water since the death of his wife, he’s facing a metaphorical flood of biblical proportions as he struggles to understand why these murders are happening, and who is behind each carefully planned execution. All the time, the clock is ticking.

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Born in London, moved to historic Monmouth as a young teenager and escaped as soon as I could to the bright lights of Bristol where I combined the careers of sober aerospace engineering and libertine sound engineering for as long as I could juggle these disparate and separate worlds.
Now living happily in central Scotland, where I enjoy writing books, playing music and exploring the great outdoors with my best friend who happily is my wife.


My thoughts:

Set in a quiet rural town in the Highlands a series of baffling murders lead the local police force into a horrific past of child abuse and tragedy.

The writing is taut and precise, there’s a growing sense of menace as the police struggle to find the culprit and the death count rises.

Lots of red herrings lead both the detectives and the reader down the wrong path, leaving the real killer free to strike again.

A clever, tense read that hopefully will be followed by more murder and mischief in the Highlands.

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