#BlogTour #Review Homicide In Herne Hill by Alice Castle @DDsDiary @rararesources @crookedcatbooks

Homicide in Herne Hill Cover

I’ve very excited to be sharing my review of Homicide In Herne Hill, the fourth in the London mystery series, today (thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour) with a giveaway to win a copy of the book (see bottom of the post) but first a little about the book:

Title: Homicide In Herne Hill by Alice Castle.

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Date Published: 28th September 2018

Genre: Cosy Mystery

Description:

Beth Haldane, SE21’s premier – and only – single mum amateur sleuth, is really pleased to find a new friend at the school gates, in the shape of irrepressibly bouncy Nina. As well as a way with words, Nina has a puzzle she wants Beth to solve, centred on the solicitor’s office where Nina works in Herne Hill.

But as the mystery thickens, threatening to drag in not just Nina and her boss, but the yummy mummies of Dulwich, too, Beth is about to find out just how far some people will go to keep up appearances.

Join Beth in this fourth instalment in the London Murder Mystery series for her toughest case yet.

You can read my reviews of the previous three novels here (just click on the links)

Death In Dulwich

The Girl In The Gallery

Calamity In Camberwell

Review:

So I’m a huge fan of this series having read all four of the instalments but I do feel like Homicide In Herne Hill can be read as a stand-alone without missing too much. I will recommend that you start at the beginning because it’s such a good series!

It’s coming up to Christmas and Beth Haldane’s best friend Katie has gone away until new year leaving Beth feeling a little lonely. A chance encounter at her son Ben’s Nativity play and she meets another single mum, Nina.

Nina is the polar opposite of Katie, she’s loud, bouncy, eats processed food and doesn’t associate with the so called yummy mummy society of Dulwich. Knowing Beth’s reputation for solving mysteries Nina tells her she feels something dodgy is going on at the solicitor’s she works at. Unable to resist a puzzle, she puts herself and her new relationship on the line to get to the bottom of it.

It’s nice to be back in Dulwich with Beth. It feels like I’m visiting an old friend!

I liked the addition of Nina, she’s down to earth and fun, okay she lets her six year old have fizzy drinks and a diet that consists of pretty much junk food but nobody’s perfect! I wonder if her and Beth’s other friend Katie will meet in the next book, I’d like to see that.

Now much as I love this series, I didn’t feel like the mystery was quite as strong as the previous ones, with the majority of the juicy bits happening in the second half of the book but of course that is just my opinion. Also I’d like to see a bit more from the dishy detective Harry Young who Beth is now in a relationship with, but seemed noticeably absent for most of the book.

Overall Homicide In Herne Hill is a fun cosy mystery, full of great characters, witty observations and perfect for curling up with during these chilly nights.

Purchase Link myBook.to/homicideinhernehill

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GPGBSC6

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About The Author:

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle had a long career as a feature writer on national newspapers including the Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Alice grew up inauthor pic south London and, after a brief stint in Brussels (where her first novel, Hot Chocolate, is set) she is back where she belongs, dreaming up adventures for her heroine, amateur detective and single mum Beth Haldane. Alice is married with two children, two stepchildren and two cats. Find out more about her London Murder Mystery series on her website, http://www.alicecastleauthor.com. Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 by Crooked Cat Books and was #1 in the Amazon Satire/Detective charts in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. The Girl in the Gallery came out in December 2017 and the third in the series, Calamity in Camberwell, was published on 13th August 2018. Revenge on the Rye will follow in 2019, with more books in the pipeline.

Social Media Links – http://www.alicecastleauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicecastleauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DDsDiary?lang=en

Links to buy books: http://www.MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery.

myBook.to/1DeathinDulwich, myBook.to/GirlintheGallery, myBook.to/CiC myBook.to/homicideinhernehill

Giveaway!

Win a signed copy of Homicide in Herne Hill (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Click Here To Enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494158/?

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#BlogTour #Review Anonymity by John Nicholl @nicholl06 @Bloodhoundbook #Newrelease

Title: Anonymity by John Nicholl

Publisher: Bloodhound books

Date Published: 6th November 2018

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

When Mia, a successful novelist, is targeted by a stalker, her life begins to unravel.

Unaware that the predatory psychopath has placed cameras in her home, the stalker sends untraceable emails, including photos of her and her four-year-old daughter, demanding Mia performs outlandish tasks, threatening dire consequences if she refuses or approaches the police.

As the pressure builds, Adam, Mia’s sister’s boyfriend, offers to accompany her to stay in Italy with her parents. But when the villa is burnt down, Mia fears the stalker has followed her and decides to return to Wales.

Meanwhile, the police are investigating the murder of three women in the area, and when DI Gravel’s daughter is threatened, he takes matters into his own hands.

With his health failing and his career coming to an end, just how far will Gravel go to protect his daughter and catch a vicious killer?

Review:

When we meet Mia she’s a bit of a mess. Addicted to pain killers, recovering from breast cancer and struggling to write her next book, when a sinister email pops up in her inbox from her ‘number one fan’ she replies in no uncertain terms for them to get lost. What she doesn’t know is the person behind the email is hell bent on destroying her mentally and physically and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

At breaking point she turns to old family friend DI Gareth (Grav) Gravel, who is currently on sick leave, for help.

So this is the fourth in the DI Gravel series but can be read as a stand-alone without missing too much. I have only read one other book in the series myself, which incidentally is also the first, A Cold, Cold Heart (you can read my review here) at the beginning of the year.

Anonymity is one of those books that you think to yourself, that could really happen, which now I think about it makes it that much more scary! As I said with the first one this is one of those genre defy books, part psychological thriller, part police procedural and if you enjoy those two, I think you’ll love this one! But be warned, I know I say this a lot, it does have a few uncomfortable and slightly gruesome scenes.

The story is told from several different POV’s including the killer who I have got to say is a pretty much EVIL! I do also like the way John Nicholl doesn’t try to explain too much why he became this way, the killer is just a nasty manipulative character who you can just really hate.

DI Gravel is really struggling with his health in this book, both physical and mental. He’s suffering the aftermath of his third heart attack, he wants to work but his boss, who has a massive dislike of him, wants to pension him off. He’s drinking the day away when Mia comes to him and he begins to feel the old fire again, especially when his daughter is sent threatening packages.

I have to be honest I didn’t much like Mia. Don’t get me wrong she’s a well drawn character with plenty of flaws but considering she’d meant to be quite an intelligent character, she makes a lot of dumb and naive decisions.

I did feel that it sort of lost it’s way a little in the middle and sort of lost the tension a little bit but it certainly picked up by the end, with a tense, action packed and very emotional ending!

Anonymity is a realistic and gritty novel that packs an emotional punch.

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About The Author:

John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon # 1 bestseller.fullsizeoutput_8

John’s books are set in the UK and have a strong Welsh flavour. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.

John has publishing deals with Bloodhound Books, W.F. Howes Ltd, and Hungarian publisher – konyvmolykepzo. His latest novel, Anonymity, will be published by Bloodhound Books in November 2018.

John’s Social Media Links:

Author website: http://www.johnnicholl.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.nicholl.988

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13795294.John_Nicholl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicholl06 @nicholl06

Agent: http://tma-agency.com

#CoverReveal The Stepsister by Jenny O’Brien @ScribblerJB @rararesources

I’m very excited to be part of the cover reveal for Jenny O’Brien’s novel The Stepsister, (which I will be reviewing in November) I even have a sneak peek at the novel further down but first a little about the novel:

Title: The Stepsister by Jenny O’Brien

Publication Date: 29th October 2018

Genre: Thriller

Description:

When a stranger leaves step-sisters, Victoria and Ness, a half-share in a house in Holland, they think it must be a mistake.

But there’s no mistake when Ness goes missing.

Desperate for the truth, Victoria heads to Holland to find out what happened to her. Has she, as her texts show, embarked on a whirlwind romance? Has someone abducted her or even worse?

But there’s someone watching, and that person wants her dead. 

Can Victoria find out the truth before it’s too late?

Pre-order on Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H3TH4HT

And now for the cover:

stepsister cover

As promised too, a sneak peek of the novel:

Prologue:

I died yesterday, or so I’ve been told.

Yesterday is the day my life changed but how or why is still a mystery. There are things I know and there are things that they’ve told me but I can’t seem to trust any of it.

I know I’m a woman but I don’t know my age. I know how to hold a cup in the same way I know it’s rude to stick the end of a knife in my mouth. So, somewhere along the way, someone cared enough to drill manners into me. Those are the things I know, the things I can trust but as for the rest…

They tell me I’m in Holland but can I believe them? I don’t remember if I’m Dutch but I also don’t remember if I’m not. I can’t speak Dutch. I’ve been trying all morning but can one lose a language overnight? I seem to have lost everything else. Who knows? Maybe I took the wrong train or something and just rolled up in the wrong city. That would make sense except that it’s not just my sense of place that’s missing. It’s my sense of everything. I have no name, no age and no identity. Yesterday I died and today I’m still here.

They’ve left me alone now while they try to puzzle out what to do and in the meantime I’m going to try to remember stuff. I don’t know how long they’ll leave me alone but I need to take this opportunity to come up with some answers to all the questions they’ve been throwing at me like who the hell I am.

Slipping out of bed I recoil as bare feet meets cold tiles, but that’s not going to stop me. Pulling the back of the hospital gown closed in an effort to retain some degree of dignity, I shuffle over to the bathroom and then the mirror only to stare into the face of a stranger.

It doesn’t matter what I look like or that I’m suffering from the worst case of bed-head known to man. It doesn’t matter that my eyes are green or that my hair is that shade of nondescript mouse that keeps colourists in business. The only thing that matters is my reflection, which holds no clues as to my identity. I’m a stranger to them. I’m a stranger to me.

My body holds a clue though – just one.

I push up my sleeve again to stare at the tattoo on my arm. The tattoo puzzles me. It’s not me, or part of me or who I think I am and yet it’s there, a large indelible letter V.

I have no idea what it stands for. Oh, I’m not stupid or anything or, at least I don’t think I am. I can’t quote which exams I’ve passed or if indeed I’ve ever attended school but I do know V stands for victory. But what does it mean to me? Am I victorious? Am I making a statement about something? It must be important because it’s the only tattoo I have. It’s also the only clue.

I’m tired now. My eyelids collapse over my eyes even as I struggle to shift them upwards as I remember the cocktail the nurse told me to swallow like a good girl. I want everything to go away. I want to hide under the blankets and forget. I’ve already forgotten…

About The Author:

Jenny O’Brien was born in Ireland and, after a brief sojourn in Wales, now resides in Guernsey.
She’s an avid reader and book reviewer for NetGalley in addition to being a RoNA judge.
8715CB6B-8F86-4241-9D71-D504CE5E13A4
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. She’s also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings – two of which you’ll always find in her books.

In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off.

Readers can find out more about Jenny from her blog: https://jennyobrienwriter.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JennyOBrienWriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScribblerJB


#BlogTour #Excerpt w/ #Giveaway Death In Vermilion by Barbara Elle @shanannigans81 @barbaraelleauth

Today I’m very excited to bring you an extract from Death In Vermilion plus a giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle copy of the book (see bottom of the post)

Title: Death in Vermilion by Barbara Elle.

Publication Date: 16th April 2018

Genre: Murder Mystery

Description:

A psychological mystery about art and obsession…

Artist Leila Goodfriend is laying down the bones of a painting. When she’s interrupted by Iris, the noisy, unlikeable artist in the studio upstairs, Leila is distracted and annoyed.

When Leila discovers the racket was actually Iris’ dead body hitting the floor, she becomes obsessed: Who murdered Iris?

The other Red Barn Cooperative artists—competitive, jealous and hypocritical—are prime suspects. They all hated Iris. “An artist owes his life to his art,” Iris said.

Iris was good for a laugh. But no one is laughing now.

In this gripping mystery, new author Barbara Elle paints a clever, twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a charming Cape Code town.

Alibis fall apart. Plot twists multiply. And Leila comes to a dangerous conclusion.

Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863595-death-in-vermilion?ac=1&from_search=true

Purchase Link:

Amazon: https://goo.gl/CYrR5V

Death in Vermillion Cover

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Bellies and Strips

There was no glance more cutting or cruel. The narrowing of unsympathetic eyes a shade of cool, blue slate, like Dylan’s on the cover of Highway 61 Revisited. The imperceptible flare of nostrils, followed by a slow yoga exhalation in Savasana, the corpse. It wasn’t going well.

Leila Goodfriend was laying down the bones of a painting. She took a step back from her easel. A no-name clam shack clung fearlessly as a barnacle to the edge of the old East End pier. A forlorn wooden structure, barely bigger than a Punch & Judy puppet stage, had withstood the fierce winds whipping off the water in the dead of winter. The pier was deserted. Anyone could paint a sunny day.

After outlining the shack in ghostly charcoal strokes, she stood, hand on hip, poised with a palette loaded with ultramarine and cobalt blues for the sky, sap green for foliage, a transparent manganese blue hue for waves in the water, Van Dyck brown for the pier’s planks and Naples Yellow Hue for sunlight. Flake white blobs dabbed in the foreground could be gulls, or children, or discarded clam containers. She hadn’t decided which. Leila loved that shack, the rough pier, and the view of dotted Race Point Lighthouse off the distance. Painting was all about execution, feeling a connection to the subject, the composition, the angles of light. Though local artists mostly painted popular summer scenes of boats and beaches.

That’s what the summer birds, vacationers who nested in the Cape Cod dunes from June until the end of August, bought. Her husband Joe dubbed them the dorks of summer. Leila didn’t care what unflattering name Joe had for them, or whether the summer birds cared as much about this place she called home as she did. She wanted to sell them a painting capturing what she loved about this place.

If she was lucky, and painting was largely a matter of luck, random strokes on the canvas would become a painting, At the Clam Bar: Succulent Bellies and Strips. If one of the summer birds bought her painting, she’d be happy. Even the most dedicated of artists needs affirmation sometimes.

A loud whacking thump overhead jarred Leila rudely from her thoughts; the thud traveled like a jolt of electricity down her spine Immediately, Leila knew the disturbance, of course, was Iris. Iris again. Always Iris. Of the six other artists who called the Red Barn home, her studio had to be, unfortunately, overhead.

And inevitably, as Iris worked, the creaking old floorboards quaked under her relentless assault with her flapping Birkenstock sandals.

Leila complained about Iris to Joe more than once, actually almost every day. It was impossible for someone who barely grazed five feet could make so much noise. Iris could be quiet if she tried, she’d say. She was inconsiderate. She was pompous. “Art,” Iris would say, “has a life of its own and an artist owes his life to his art.” Quoting Iris was good for a laugh.

If Iris bothered her so much, Joe would say, why keep talking about it? Why not rent a different studio? That would make sense, except Leila loved her space, had been there for nearly five years, and was lucky to have found it in this touristy town. Besides, she hated giving in to her own annoyance; she’d learn to ignore Iris if it killed her. Maybe, someday, Iris would just float away like a child’s birthday balloon. No such luck; gravity worked overtime with every tread Iris inflicted in her flapping Birkenstock sandals. Leila fought her first instinct, which was to grab the long, telescoping pole by the casement window, stand on a stool and bang her weapon of choice sharply on the lofty ceiling, twice. It wouldn’t work. It never did. Iris would ignore her.

Instead, Leila turned up NPR on the radio. She could drown out Iris with the sound of undemanding human voices on the radio. NPR was excellent company and, when necessary, excellent white noise. The hourly news, a lengthy interview, a personal piece affected in that breathless NPR accent was the perfect antidote for distraction. And the distraction was usually Iris.

Iris McNeil Thornton was a fellow member of the Red Barn Art Cooperative at Castle Road, which was housed in the happily dilapidated Red Barn Studio. It was high on a hill, overlooking Pamet Marsh, close enough to spy the flights of blue herons and egrets wheeling through the Aliziran Crimson sky, the sun an orb of Cadmium Yellow falling into the salt marshes from her window.

Among the Red Barn’s many charms were the old building’s quirky twists and turns, the sizeable studio spaces with high ceilings from its former life as the Southwind Bros. Button and Snap factory. Leila loved the patina on the old, uneven oak floorboards, the room secreted under the stairwell, doors that jammed and staircases that creaked.

But it was the heady mix of gesso, turp, linseed, pigments, primer, developers and emulsions, the fat smell of oil layered with acrylic resin and a faint dash of watercolor, an acrid, chemical concoction heady in the nasal passages, smells as familiar as the scent of a baby, that made it home.

Not that the Red Barn was without its problems. The daily irritations of artistry and intimacy meant the Red Barn artists were often less than happy. And when the Red Barn artists were less than happy, which occurred as frequently as the tides, they would reach for anything on hand brooms, clogs, slammed doors, sighs in the hallways, post-it notes on the bulletin board, giggles behind a back, and any combination thereof to convey their displeasure. Under other circumstances such communications might be considered rude, but the Red Barn operated by its own set of rules.

It wasn’t that the Red Barn, a collective space of otherwise solitary individuals, didn’t have its share of fellowship and communal spirit. Sometimes it was nice to see a friendly face.

But, recently, their friendships had been called into question by a series of items gone missing, small stuff, seemingly at random, from their studios, Daklon paintbrush, a can of gesso, and unused tube of paint and a half-used tube of paint. A box of plastic gloves was now empty; which Leila was sure had been half-full. No one said theft, not at first. It was more like, did I leave this in your studio? did you find this in the bathroom? I must be a little crazy because I was sure I had it, but as the missing items mounted, minor though they were, so did whispering, suspicion, and an uneasy sense someone, maybe one of them, was a thief.

It made Leila uneasy; maybe someone was invading her studio, without her knowing. She debated whether, like Iris, she should lock her door at the end of the day. But she shook it off as unnecessary paranoia and decided to ignore it.

Leila took a deep breath, brushed back her unruly, graying curls, squinting at her canvas. When she painted, the circling steps of the heavy woman upstairs receded from consciousness, and time was suspended.

The wood planks of the pier were muddied. The perspective wasn’t quite right. The colors weren’t right. Leila waggled the end of her paintbrush like a cigar between her lips. It was a messy habit. She looked down at the black-and-white photo of the shack, not that she had any intention of painting the snapshot, any more than a musician only plays the notes.

Leila picked up her palette knife. Shaped like a small trowel for digging in the dirt, its usefulness came from its versatility in blending colors, creating textural effects, or scraping across the surface of a painting to obliterate an offense. Artists can be rough on their work; Leila was her own toughest critic.

The pier had to go. Leila wielded the knife, scraping hard until she hit the tooth of the canvas. She preferred working on a good, tightly woven cotton duck. It wasn’t an inert surface, so it recovered quickly after Leila’s brief attack. She dabbed a rag soaked in turpentine on the wound. The reconstruction of the pier could wait until tomorrow.

What time was it? Leila lost track of time as she worked. She never wore a watch in the studio.

But if she left too late, Joe would be annoyed his port wine reduction for the seared tuna had broken. It wasn’t the sauce—he could revive with a quick whisk of butter on a low heat—it was her spending more and more time at the studio and coming home later. The sky over Cape Cod Bay was a wistful grey heading into night.

Leila put down her palette knife, turned down her radio, and listened. There was quiet, finally quiet, blissful silence.

Now, at the end of the day, Leila had to steel herself for the most infuriating moment of the day: Iris leaving. The torrential thumps of Iris’ flapping Birkenstocks as she gathered up her belongings, slammed the window, searched for her purse, and slammed her door. The old oak boards were punished as as Iris clomped overhead.

The stomp was followed by the slam. Iris was incapable of doing anything quietly. There was some relief in the slam—it meant Iris was no longer overhead. The Red Barn artists never said good night, pretending not to notice each other’s comings and goings. So Leila didn’t expect Iris to poke her head in, or wave when she passed by. However, the daily drama of the swirling clamor that was Iris, like a performer doing a star turn on the stage, made it impossible not to notice her entrances and exits.

Leila walked to the window. The light of an Indian summer day was fading. Sailboats moored in the bay listed drunkenly. Had the final thump earlier signaled Iris’ departure? Leila walked back to her canvas. She recognized this as the same solitary circling as that of her neighbor overhead. It was ironic, but that didn’t stop Iris from being an annoyance.

She put her tools on her workbench. She should rinse them in turpentine and water in the bathroom at the end of the hall—the brushes would be tackier and difficult to clean after drying overnight. Oh well, she’d deal with that in the morning. Grabbing her backpack, she turned out the lights and closed her door. The hallway was silent. The other studio doors on her floor were closed. No Philomena, no Dové.

But something in the quality of the jarring loud noise earlier somehow made the quiet louder.

The stairs were poorly lit, even after Leila switched on the bare bulb dangling overhead. The whole damn place was a fire hazard. She climbed to the second floor. No Liz, no Gretchen. Later, she couldn’t quite explain why hadn’t she gone home.

The crap fixture in the upstairs hall, that never worked right, was out, as usual. The damn, dusty moose head Iris had mounted above her door stared down dolefully through its blind, button eyes. Its antlers wore a fine coat of dust.

Iris’ door was open a crack, which surprised Leila. Iris worked behind closed, locked doors, all day, every day. The other Red Barn artists left their doors open at least a smidgen, not exactly an invitation, but not a deliberately antisocial act. Iris had no such compunctions.

Leila knocked. Silence. She hesitated. Should she leave Iris alone? She took a few steps back toward the stairs, but turned around. What harm was it peeking inside? “Iris, its only me, Leila. ” No answer. “Iris, are you there?”

Leila stared through the crack in the door. At first, she thought the room was empty, but as her eyes adjusted, Leila made out a shape, or maybe a shadow, in the center of the studio.

The value of the only available light source, through the far window, made it difficult to see. Iris refused to use artificial light. She insisted on painting ‘as the Old Masters had’, that is, only by natural light. For a time, she had painted by candlelight, until the Red Barn got wind of it, banning burning candles before Iris burned the place down.

Leila stared at the shape. It didn’t move. Iris never left her door unlocked. Maybe she’d left something behind and would come back for it. Leila pushed the door open further, venturing into the silent studio, under the disapproving gaze of the mildewed moose, inching towards the shadow.

Iris, who incurred the Red Barn artists’ collective ire by deprecating the work of her fellow artists, neglecting to lock the front door, leaving puddles around communal hall sink, and far worse, as the prime suspect in the ongoing war of toilet squatting accusations, that same annoying Iris, was splayed on the floor, eyes wide open, inert as a tube of sepia.

It was a body. Iris’ body. Later, Leila recalled the body like a dead deer, abandoned on the side of the road after an accident. She remembered noting the color of Iris’ skin, like the underpainting of flesh in a neutral shade—what artists called grisaille, or dead coloring.

Ironically, under the circumstances, the scene is not unlike Iris’ own brooding assemblages: the carnage of death, overripe fruit in silver bowls, bird carcasses on platters, and game animals, fresh and bloodied, trophies of the hunt hung in the background, rendered in the style of the Old Masters.

And later, Leila was vaguely ashamed of her observations, her detachment. But, she thought defensively, isn’t observation was a habit developed over a lifetime?

Tentatively, Leila inched forward, reaching out her hand to touch the body. She yanked it back as if it was submerged in a shark tank. Iris was surprisingly warm, alive warm.

As her eyes adjusted to the low light, Leila saw Iris’ blood was a seeping stain from her flowing blue dress onto the floorboards. The red was the red every paint manufacturer had tried, but failed, to capture in a tube. Brilliant, blood red. But the eyes were dead, even if the heart was beating. Leila’s heart dropped a beat. Fear crept up her throat. Leila had to look away; she couldn’t look at those eyes. Should she call out? Is anyone here? But it was better she was alone, even if it was with a dead body. But, Iris wasn’t alone.

A small figure stood—as if on guard—over the body. Leila bent down to look at it: it was a wooden artist’s mannequin, no bigger than a child’s toy, standing guard over Iris. She recognized him immediately.

Jesus, it was Fred, fucking Fred— Leila, in a fanciful mood, had painted the figure to be anatomically correct, as well as well-endowed—who had gone missing from her studio months ago.

But poor Fred, as an eyewitness to a crime, could have nothing to say. There was no doubt he was Fred, and that he belonged to her. Bending down to pick up her missing mannequin, Leila gazed into his dead eyes. What to do?

In truth, she was both embarrassed by her handiwork, and concerned his presence could be construed as evidence at the scene of the crime; she pocketed Fred and in a sleight of hand he disappeared.

Leila didn’t need Fred to paint the picture. Iris prone. The blood. The burnished wood handle of a knife stuck in an ample left breast. Iris had been murdered. Leila didn’t scream. Leila wasn’t a screamer

Enter for your chance to win a Kindle copy of Death in Vermilion!

Giveaway Details:

Copy of Death in Vermilion for Kindle

Rafflecopter Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f40/?

About the Author

Barbara Elle grew up in Boston, but as an adult became a New Yorker. Barbara loves writing barbaraelleabout people and places she remembers, so Death In Vermilion is set on Cape Cod, a place of many memories. She continues collecting memories and places, traveling the world with her touring musician husband, whether exploring Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna or Kabuki Theater in Tokyo, in search of new stories to write about. She invariably packs a notebook and her laptop.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deathinseries/

Twitter: @barbaraelleauth

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#BlogTour #Review #SalazarMysteries A Dead American In Paris by Seth Lynch @fahrenheitpress @SethALynch

Title: A Dead American In Paris (Salazar Book 2) by Seth Lynch

Publisher: Fahrenheit Press

Date Published: 9th April 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Historical

Description:

Paris. 1931.

Arty Homebrook lived and died in a world of sleaze which stretched from Chicago to Paris but never beyond the gutter.

He’d been sleeping with Madame Fulton, which is why Harry Fulton promised to kill him. So far as the Paris Police are concerned it’s an open and shut case. Harry’s father has other ideas and hires Salazar to investigate.

As Salazar gets to grips with the case he’s dragged reluctantly into an unpleasant underworld of infidelity, blackmail, backstreet abortions and murder.

Salazar is far too inquisitive to walk away and far too stubborn to know what’s for the best. So he wakes up each hungover morning, blinks into the sunlight, and presses on until it’s his life on the line. Then he presses on some more, just for the hell of it.

Dead American Paris

Review:

I want to say a huge thank you to Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me on this tour.

It was no surprise to anyone that Arty Homebrook ended up stabbed to death in his dingy little flat. He had affairs with married women, blackmailed desperate people and ran scheme after scheme. The police only have one suspect, Harry Fulton who had been overheard threatening to kill anyone who slept with his wife, something Homebrook had been doing for months. Salazar is tasked by Fulton’s rich father to investigate but he isn’t convinced of Harry Fulton’s innocence.

The more Salazar digs, the deeper he becomes embroiled in Arty’s lies and deceit. Can he solve the case without losing himself?

So this is the second in the Salazar series but to me it worked perfectly well as a stand-alone.

Now this is how you write a historical novel! The language fit, the setting was vivid and the characters felt right for the time period. It is a beautifully written, almost poetic at times but it is also quite dark. Set in the 1930’s, an era I’m fond of, it shows the real seedy underbelly and seemingly unending poverty of Paris, a place usually associated with romance.

This really reminds me of those hardboiled detective novels of the 1950’s, the murder victim is utterly despicable but the people around him are not much better either!

Then we have the detective. Salazar is sarcastic, intelligent but also a damaged soul. Still suffering from what we’d call post traumatic stress disorder, back in those days they’d probably call it melancholy, from the first world war everyday is a battle for him. He sees ghosts, suffers from paranoia and often blacks out not remembering what he’s done which for a private investigator makes his job that much harder but he never gives up.

The book also deals with the dark topic of back street abortion, women being told not to use contraception but shunned if they ended up with an unwanted pregnancy and what they had to suffer through to terminate a child was absolutely barbaric!

I did cringe a little at the way crime scenes were treated by the police. People smoking, ransacking and stealing from them with little regard for persevering evidence but I suppose back in those days there wasn’t much in the way of forensics.

Overall a dark and compelling historical mystery that you can lose yourself in.

Rating: 4/5
About Seth Lynch:

Born and brought up in the West of England, Seth has also lived in Carcassonne, Zurich andseth lynch the Isle of Man.

With two daughters, his writing time is the period spent in cafés as the girls do gym, dance and drama lessons.

Seth’s Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SethALynch

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seth-Lynch/e/B00E7SZ3FS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sethlynchauthor/
Buy Seth Lynch’s book direct from Fahrenheit Press:

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_citizen_of_nowhere.html

A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Book 2): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_dead_american_in_paris.html

The Paris Ripper (Chief Inspector Belmont Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_the_paris_ripper.html

#BlogTour #BookReview Pressure by Betsy Reavley @Bloodhoundbook @BetsyReavley

I’m going to apologise before you start reading this, I’m full of cold and my brain feels a bit fuzzy so my review may not be the best x

Title: Pressure by Betsy Reavley

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Date Published: 4th May 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller.

Description:

When the submarine departed, none of the ten people on board knew it would turn into a nightmare.

Trapped on the sunken vessel on the bottom of the ocean and unable to escape, one of them is discovered dead. The tension escalates as the survivors realise there is a murderer among them, who is preparing to strike again and again…

With mounting desperation, people begin to turn on each other. While they struggle to identify who is responsible, each must contend with their own past, the claustrophobia and the secrets they are hiding.

But who is who?  And which of them will be next to die?

Below the surface, the pressure is building and time is running out…

‘Betsy Reavley is back with a novel of such impact and power; nothing is clear, the tension so strong it holds you from the first page to the last. Pressure delivers on every level, leaving breathless readers in its wake.’  Bestselling author of Captor and 34 Days Anita Waller

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Review:

The adventure started when Frank Holden, a bigwig film producer decides to make a low budget movie under the sea. He gathers together a rather ragtag group of actors, production crew and submariners but disaster strikes when there is a malfunction. Now ten people are trapped inside a Pica Explorer submarine at the bottom of the ocean. entrapped within its walls with no escape, a murderer begins picking off the passengers one by one. Who will survive?

This is an utterly addictive read! The feeling of claustrophobia and the tension of being trapped somewhere without knowing exactly where you are sent shivers down my spine throughout. I think it would make an amazingly good horror movie.

There are quite a lot of different points of view, each character gets their own chapter, essentially tell you how each one ends up on the submarine. There is also a child which at first threw me a little, like who is this child and what’s it got to do with the people trapped on the sub? It took me a few chapters to figure it out but I’m not going to spoil it, you’ll just have to read it yourself and see.

I did feel there might have been one too many characters but of course that’s just my opinion.

Overall a tense, addictive read that will have you gripped throughout.

Rating: 4.5/5

 Author Bio:

Author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife, Frailty,Carrion, Beneath the Watery Moon and the poetry collection The Worm in the Bottle. Betsy was born in Hammersmith, London.29542254_1223580694445443_136203202607473190_n

As a child she moved around frequently with her family, spending time in London, Provence, Tuscany, Gloucestershire and Cambridgeshire.

She showed a flair for literature and writing from a young age and had a particular interest in poetry, of which she was a prolific consumer and producer.

In her early twenties she moved to Oxford, where she would eventually meet her husband. During her time in Oxford her interests turned from poetry to novels and she began to develop her own unique style of psychological thriller.

Betsy says “I believe people are at their most fascinating when they are faced by the dark side of life. This is what I like to write about.”

Betsy Reavley currently lives in London, with her husband, 2 children, dog, cat and chickens.

You can follow her on Twitter @BetsyReavley

#BlogBlitz #Review Under The Woods by K.A Richardson @Bloodhoundbook @karichardson77 #NewRelease

Title: Under The Woods by K.A Richardson

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Date Published: 27th April 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Description:

When a homeless woman, Cheryl Whiffen, hears voices in her head telling her to do bad things, she can’t help but obey.

But when Cheryl becomes the victim of a serial killer who is collecting angels, this time the voices can’t help her. She is deemed not worthy of being an angel and the killer has to find another way to dispose of her body.

TJ Tulley has connections in the police force – her brother Jacob is a digital forensic analyst and her soon to be sister-in-law is a CSI. She knows many of their colleagues so when someone breaks into her house at the riding stables she owns, it’s not a surprise when the police dispatch CSI Jackson Doherty.

Is there a link between a suspicious fire at the stables and the serial killer?

As TJ and Doherty get closer to the truth they don’t realise the danger they are in. He is a killer – he’s angry at their investigation and he’ll do just about anything to protect his angels…

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Review:

When her friend Cheryl is taken from the streets, Sally begs the police to investigate but unwittingly becomes a target for a serial killer who is collecting angels.

Meanwhile, forced to changed career paths due to a devastating attack, TJ has embraced her new role as owner of Rainbow Riding Stables. TJ thinks she’s put the past behind her but after a break in at her house and stables she’s meets CSI Jackson Docherty and together they must find out who is targeting her.

This is the fourth book in this series but the first I’ve read and while some of the characters are recurring from earlier books, I would say this works perfectly well as a stand-alone.

Under The Woods is dark and disturbing novel, set in the North East of England, that puts you inside the mind of a really twisted serial killer. The story focuses more on the CSI/forensic investigation which I found was a nice change than the usual police procedurals.

There were a lot of strong female characters like TJ and Sally who have both been through so much but won’t go down without a fight. I also liked the romance between TJ and Jackson, their chemistry really crackled off the page.

I’m not going to call this book a nail biter, but it really pulls you with the great characters and compelling story that makes you not want to put it down. I don’t want to say too much more in case I end up giving away spoilers!

If I had one issue it was the whole Jackson’s getting stalked by his crazy ex girlfriend storyline. All he seemed to do was shout at her (I’m sorry how many times does shouting at a deranged person actually work?), and made me dislike Jackson, plus I just don’t think it really added to the story but that of course is just my opinion.

Overall a darkly disturbing modern thriller that will keep you enthralled throughout.

Rating: 4/5

About The Author:

My name is Kerry-Ann Richardson (generally known as Kerry) and I write as KA Richardson. Idownload started writing the North East Police series in 2010 when I was working towards my MA Creative Writing – I used the first 15000 words of With Deadly Intent as my dissertation. I passed my MA in 2011 and kept on writing. This all came about from working as a Crime Scene Investigator – I’d always written but when I was a CSI I went to see a psychic, Anthony, and he wanted to know why I wasn’t writing. He reminded me that it was my passion and said he could see me signing in Waterstones in 5 years. That was 5.5 years before my first ever signing in Waterstones so he wasn’t far wrong!

I did the normal things writers do when their book is ready to go out into the world – submitted to agents etc. I got a few nice personal responses back – still saying no but being constructive and polite about it. I approached Darren Laws from Caffeine Nights whilst at a crime festival and he asked to see my work. He agreed to publish With Deadly Intent from there, and once that was out I approached Bloodhound Books as wanted to know if there was any other interest in my novels. Bloodhound came back within 24 hours and offered me a 3 book deal! And I’ve since signed an additional 3 book deal with them which covers the series up to and including book 7!

Links:

Website:www.kerryannrichardson.com

Twitter: @kerryann77 or @karichardson77

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/ka.richardsonwriter

Amazon:https://www.amazon.co.uk/K.A.-Richardson/e/B01D58WOV6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1491858252&sr=8-2-ent