#BookReview The Chalet by Catherine Cooper #psychologicalthriller

Title: The Chalet by Catherine Cooper

Publisher: Harper Collins

Date Published: 31st October 2020

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 years later

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.

And somebody will pay.

Review:

I received a copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Chalet is a dual timeline psychological thriller, one timeline set in early 2020 and the other in 1998. Along the way we meet two sets of characters but it’s all about figuring out how these people are linked.

The story overall was fast paced and well written. I enjoyed the who can you trust aspect of the story and there were plenty of twists and turns along the way.

The setting was one of my favourite things about The Chalet. The chalet and snowy mountains were vividly described and really added to the tension in the story.

I really liked the first part of the novel and the ending but it was just part two that almost made me give up on the book (I’m glad I didn’t). I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it was because the characters were even more unlikeable than the others or maybe it was just the change in timeline going back to 1998 but it didn’t hold my interest like the rest of the story. Saying all that, I would definitely read another book by this author.

If you love revenge, wintery scenes and unlikeable characters, then I’d recommend The Chalet.

About The Author (taken from Amazon):

I am a freelance journalist living in the South of France with my husband and two teenage children. We moved from London in 2009 so that the children could grow up bilingual and we could all ski more, and to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life.

I learned to ski on a school trip when I was 14 and have loved it ever since.

I’m an avid thriller reader and have been since I discovered Agatha Christie as a child.

The Chalet is my first published full-length novel, though I have also written several (unpublished) thrillers for teens and a (what used to be called) chick lit novel set in TV production.

Other than skiing and reading I love travel, rollercoaster, and I spend far too much time on social media. Some of my other favourite things include Alan Partridge, sparkly flip flops and salt and vinegar crisps.

You can follow me on Twitter @catherinecooper, Instagram @catherinecooperjournalist or Facebook @catherinecooperauthor

#BlogTour #Review It’s Raining Men by Rich Amooi @rararesources @RichAmooi

Hi lovelies and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for It’s Raining Men by Rich Amooi, as well as my review there’s a little bonus giveaway to win an Amazon gift card and it’s open internationally (see bottom of the post). First a little about the book:

Title: It’s Raining Men by Rich Amooi

Date Published: 21st October 2020

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Description:

On a dare, Faith Daniels tosses a coin into the infamous “Fountain of Love” and wishes for the perfect man, laughing it off as the dumbest thing she’s ever done. Like magic, her quiet life turns upside-down when men begin to appear out of nowhere. There’s a doctor, a lawyer, a firefighter, and a swimwear model, for starters. All of them are kind, generous, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. All of them are interested in Faith. But who is Mr. Right?

A feel-good romance novel about love, friendship, and living life to the fullest!

You can buy your copy here:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-Raining-Men-Rich-Amooi-ebook/dp/B08KKTGL3Z/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Its-Raining-Men-Rich-Amooi-ebook/dp/B08KKTGL3Z/ 

Review:

I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and Rich Amooi for providing me with a copy of It’s Raining Men in exchange for an honest review.

I’m a huge fan of Rich Amooi’s rom coms so when I hear he has a new one coming out, I know I have to read it.

It’s Raining Men is a sweet romance all about hope and taking chances. 

Faith has shut herself off from love after the love of her life died five years ago. With a lot of persuading from her friends Tracy and Kim, she throws a coin into what they nicknamed the ‘love fountain’. Convinced nothing is going to happen, Faith gets a shock when men start asking her out. With a little more persuading, she goes on dates in a bid to find Mr Right.

What I love about Rich Amooi’s books is the array of supporting quirky characters like Bumper, Noah’s accident prone dog or serial dater Gertrude who only ever goes on a date with a man once.

And of course I loved the happy ending, which I’m a massive sucker for!

I felt there was a more serious tone to this novel than the previous ones I’ve read by Mr Amooi, maybe as it dealt with the death of a loved one and the grief that comes with it.

I’d recommend if you’re looking for a bit of an escape from this weird world then you can’t go wrong with It’s Raining Men.

About The Author:

Rich Amooi is the Amazon #1 Bestselling author of 15 romantic comedies, including It’s Not PMS, It’s You, Dying to Meet You, There’s Something About a Cowboy, and Madam Love, Actually.

A former radio personality and wedding DJ, Rich now writes romantic comedies full-time in San Diego, California, and is happily married to a kiss monster imported from Spain. Rich believes in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

Social Media Links – 

Author website: www.richamooi.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.richamooi 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/richamooi.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RichAmooi

Giveaway to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card (Open INT)

*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494398/?

#BookReview The Split by Sharon Bolton

Title: The Split by Sharon Bolton

Publisher: Trapeze

Date Published: 30th April 2020

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

SHE’LL NEVER STOP RUNNING.

BUT HE’LL NEVER STOP LOOKING.

A year ago Felicity Lloyd fled England to South Georgia, one of the most remote islands in the world, escaping her past and the man she once loved. Can she keep running her whole life?

Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder – and now he wants her back. Wherever she is, he won’t stop until he finds her. Will he be able to track her to the ends of the earth?

TOGETHER THEY’LL FIND THEMSELVES TRAPPED ON THE ICE AND IN DANGER. WHO WILL SURVIVE?

Review:

I read The Split as part of a readalong over on the THE book club over on facebook. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It’s been a while since I read a Sharon Bolton novel and I saw the blurb for The Split and I thought I must read that!

The Split is a masterful piece of writing, starting off slowly, building the tension, then ramping it up until you can’t stop turning those pages. I hope one day that this becomes a TV show or even a movie; I think it would be brilliant.

What I love about Sharon Bolton’s writing is she captures the atmosphere of a place, whether it’s the wildness of South Georgia or the bustling city of Cambridge.

There are a number of different points of view through the story which I’m not usually a fan of but each POV really adds to the story and creates twists and turns throughout.

I had a little inkling of what the ending might be, but everything wasn’t clear until those closing chapters.

The Spilt is atmospheric, additive, and a definite must if you love psychological thrillers.

About The Author:

Sharon Bolton (previously S. J. Bolton) is the critically acclaimed author of some of the most bone-chilling crime books ever written. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. In 2014 she won the CWA Dagger in the Library for her whole body of work. 

Sharon lives near Oxford with her husband and son.

#BookReivew Murder In G Major (Gethsemane Brown 1) by Alexia Gordon #CozyMystery

Title: Murder In G Major (Gethsemane Brown 1) by Alexia Gordon

Date Published: 13th September 2016

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Description:

With few other options, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none. 

The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage. 

The catch? The ghost of the cottage’s murdered owner haunts the place. 

Falsely accused of killing his wife (and himself), he begs Gethsemane to clear his name so he can rest in peace. 

Gethsemane’s reluctant investigation provokes a dormant killer and she soon finds herself in grave danger. As Gethsemane races to prevent a deadly encore, will she uncover the truth or star in her own farewell performance?

Review:

I got this book for my birthday after hearing good things about it, and I finally got around to reading it!

Gethsemane Brown is a talented musician, but because of some bad luck she ends up stuck in a small Irish town, landing a job at a local boys’ school. She is trying to make the most of it but it turns out the cottage she’s staying in is haunted by Eamon McCarthy, who was accused of killing his wife then himself. He begs her to investigate but Gethsemane ends up stirring up more trouble. It’s a race against time to stop the killer before they do any more damage.

I have to say I was in a bit of a reading funk before I picked this up and it knocked that right out of me.

Murder In G Major is a fantastically fun cozy mystery with a nice supernatural twist.

I usually find that most cozy mysteries tend to be a little slower paced, but that is not the case with this book, it’s got a snappy pace with plenty of shocks and surprises along the way.

I really liked Gethsemane, she is a successful musician, but she’s down to earth, straight talking, you know a character you can really root for. Eamon was her opposite, a bit arrogant but still likeable all the same. I really loved how Gethsemane and Eamon played off each other, with plenty of snarky comments!

I also appreciate there was a bit of Irish lingo thrown in there, and the book wasn’t overrun by Americanisms.

I kind of guessed early on who the killer would be, but it didn’t spoil my fun as I love to play detective as I read.

Murder In G Major is a must if you love cozy mysteries. Even if you’re not a fan of the supernatural ghostly aspect, I would still urge you to pick it up. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the next in the series.

About The Author (taken from Goodreads):

A writer since childhood, I continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. My medical career established, I returned to writing fiction.

I won a Lefty Award, was nominated for an Agatha Award and a Silver Falchion Award, and was chosen one of Suspense Magazine’s best debuts of 2016.

Raised in the southeast and schooled in the northeast, I migrated to the southwest after a three-year stint in Alaska reminded me how much I needed sunlight and warm weather. After a time in the desert, I missed deciduous trees so I headed northeast to the Chicago area. I completed Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas. If pushed, I will admit Texas brisket is as good as Carolina pulled pork. I enjoy classical music, fine whiskey, art, travel, embroidery, and a good ghost story.

I am a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Crime Writers of Color. I am represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC and published by Henery Press.

You can find me on:

Facebook: @AlexiaGordon.Writer

Twitter: @AlexiaGordon

Instagram: @drlex1995

Goodreads: Alexia_Gordon

Pinterest: alexia_gordon

#BlogTour The Guilty Man (Lennox & Wilde 1) by Helen H. Durrant @JoffeBooks @hhdurrant

Title: The Guilty Man (Lennox & Wilde 1) by Helen H. Durrant

Publisher. Joffe Books

Date Published: 29th October 2020

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

MEET DETECTIVE HARRY LENNOX AND JESS WILDE IN THIS BRILLIANT NEW CRIME SERIES.

A BRAND NEW MYSTERY FROM #1 BEST-SELLING AUTHOR HELEN H. DURRANT THAT WILL HAVE YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT FROM PAGE ONE. FAST-PACED AND FULL OF SURPRISES.

A little girl, presumed dead, turns up playing happily in the park. She is barefoot but otherwise unharmed. The child’s mother, who lives on a notorious local estate, doesn’t seem bothered that her daughter has returned alive.

Meanwhile, a man is tortured by a ruthless criminal. The victim’s severed hand is left on his wife’s doorstep.

Detective Harry Lennox and DI Jess Wilde investigate. How do the cases connect and who is using threats to drive people out of their homes?

Harry Lennox is battling his own demons, trying to bury a secret from his past with alcohol. He stays in a rundown campervan on a friend’s driveway. Jess wants to know why he’s living like this, but he refuses to tell her anything. What’s he hiding?

A MYSTERY FULL OF STUNNING TWISTS WHICH YOU WON’T WANT TO PUT DOWN. WILL HARRY’S PAST TEAR THE DETECTIVES APART?

Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Kimberley Chambers, Damien Boyd, Rachel Abbott, Patricia Gibney or Mark Billingham.

What readers are saying about HELEN H. DURRANT

“I couldn’t put it down.” Barbara

“This new series by Helen H. Durrant certainly has got off to a thrilling start.” Viv

“If you want a book to get your teeth into, this is the one. A massive 5*” Greta

“Another fast-paced murder mystery” Aileen

“The writing was top notch and the characters were very real.” Kat

THE DETECTIVES

DI HARRY LENNOX began his career in Glasgow, but due to a traumatic incident, transferred to West Yorkshire and then Ryebridge. He blames a local villain for what happened and is afraid that he’ll catch up with him. Harry is single, thirty-five and has a chaotic lifestyle. Currently living on a mate’s drive in a campervan. This is down to his girlfriend throwing him out.

DS JESS WILDE is thirty and still lives with her parents. She is unattached and keen to progress in her career. She gets on well with Harry. He doesn’t have much time for protocol, and this suits her. She is critical of how he lives. She is about to buy her first property locally.

ALSO BY HELEN H. DURRANT

RACHEL KING

Book 1: Next Victim

Book 2: Two Victims

Book 3: Wrong Victim

Book 4: Forgotten Victim

THE CALLADINE & BAYLISS MYSTERY SERIES

Book 1: DEAD WRONG

Book 2: DEAD SILENT

Book 3: DEAD LIST

Book 4: DEAD LOST

Book 5: DEAD & BURIED

Book 6: DEAD NASTY

Book 7: DEAD JEALOUS

Book 8: DEAD BAD

Book 9: DEAD GUILTY

Book 10: DEAD WICKED

THE DCI GRECO BOOKS

Book 1: DARK MURDER

Book 2: DARK HOUSES

Book 3: DARK TRADE

Book 4: DARK ANGEL

Review:

I want to thank Jill Burkinshaw for inviting me on this tour and Joffe Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read several of Helen Durrant’s books now, so it intrigued me when I heard she was releasing a new series with new detectives.

A little girl who they thought was dead is found alive and well. A local dodgy businessman has gone missing, his severed hand turns up on his doorstep. Can detective’s Harry Lennox and Jess Wilde find out what is going on in their small town before someone else gets hurt?

The Guilty Man is a tense and intricately plotted police procedural that pulls you in with a steady pace and realistic characters.

Harry is a heavy drinker with a past which he’s keeping to himself. This annoys Jess a lot, and I mean a lot, and she’s determined to figure it out, which causes them to butt heads a fair few times through the story. I have to be honest I’m not too struck on these new detectives yet, but as this is the first in the series there’s plenty of room for them to grow. I will say that I’m very intrigued by the character of Harry and I’ll be interested to see him develop. 

The Guilty Man is a fairly quick and gripping read and a good start to this series. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for these detectives.

About The Author:

OVER 750,000 books sold of her Calladine & Bayliss and DI Greco Series

I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled.

I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else!

I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is.

Twitter @hhdurrant

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/helen.durrant.12

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calladine-Bayliss-Detective-Novels/614047648616619?ref=hl

Website  https://www.helenhdurrant.co.uk/

#BookReview The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett @ZaffreBooks #CozyMystery

Title: The Windsor Knot by S.J Bennett

Publisher: Zaffre

Date Published: 22nd October 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Description:

The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his room, with a rope around his neck.

When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they are looking in the wrong place.

For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes.

With her household’s happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer, without getting caught themselves?

Miss Marple meets The Crown in The Windsor Knot, the first book in the ‘Her Majesty The Queen Investigates’ mystery series by SJ Bennett – for fans of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin. 

Review:

So I read the Windsor Knot as part of a readalong over on the THE book club over on facebook. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love a cozy mystery and I’m always on the lookout for something a bit different or unusual so when I read the blurb for the Windsor Knot and saw the Queen would be solving mysteries, I thought yes please!

A young Russian musician is found dead in mysterious circumstances at Windsor castle. The authorities suspect some international conspiracy and think that it could be one the Queen’s loyal servants. With the help of her secretary Rozie, it’s up to the Queen to solve the mystery. 

The Windsor Knot is a light hearted mystery, not to be taken too seriously!

The story really shows the Queen in a different light, I always thought she was kind of grumpy but the story shows a woman who is under an immense amount of pressure but still has a caring side (I really hope she’s actually like this in real life!).

The standout character for me was her secretary Rozie. A former soldier, she’s strong, independent and smart. She helps the Queen solving the mystery, becoming a confidant of sorts.

It was a solid mystery with a few surprises along the way but I had to keep reminding myself that the sleuth is meant to be the Queen of England, not some Miss Marple like character. Also I didn’t really enjoy the denouncement of the case at the end, it just felt a bit lacklustre. 

I’d recommend this if you’re looking for a quick light hearted mystery. 

About The Author:

SJ Bennett wrote several award-winning books for teenagers before turning to adult crime stories. She lives in London and has been a royal watcher for years, but is keen to stress that these are works of fiction: the Queen, to the best of her knowledge, does not secretly solve crimes. 

You can find her on Instagram as @sjbennettbooks, for all things crime and royal.

#BookReview Suddenly Single by Carol Wyer

Title: Suddenly Single by Carol Wyer

Publisher: Canelo

Date Published: 8th April 2019

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Description:

Sometimes a change of scene is necessary to write the next scene…

When bestselling romance author Chloe Piper’s marriage implodes a week before Christmas, she flees her cheating ex and the village gossips for the solitude of the newly built Sunny Meadow Farm and the company of her hapless dog, Ronnie.

But Chloe is soon pushed out of her comfort zone. Because with a lively development building crew – headed up by charming Alex – and a larger-than-life neighbour determined to make Chloe’s love life her pet project, Chloe finds herself in a whole new world of chaos…

This enthralling romantic comedy of self-discovery and new beginnings is perfect for fans of Kirsty Greenwood, Colleen Coleman and Marian Keyes.

Review:

I want to thank Canelo for providing me with a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

So I read a fab review back in July over at Zooloo’s Book Diary (you can read it here) and I remembered I too had a copy of this but it’s taken me until now to read it due to the worst reading slump I think I’ve ever had. As they say better late than never!

Chloe Piper is the unlikely author of a racy bestseller. She escapes from a cheating husband to settle in a converted farmhouse for what she thinks is some peace to work on her second novel. Unfortunately, writer’s block is getting the better of her. 

After a drunken night she signs up to a Singleton club run by her neighbours, Eleanor and Fairfax. The thought of going to the events terrifies her as her low self-esteem and social anxiety cripples her. Will she get out of her comfort zone and find the man she deserves? 

Suddenly Single is one of those fun light hearted reads but it also covers the serious topic of mental health, specifically social anxiety.

I really liked Chloe, I just warmed to her immediately. It was a real treat to watch her grow and believe in herself as the story progressed. I also loved her cheeky dog Ronnie, he stole the show occasionally through the story! 

I have to say I may not be single, but I’d love to go to the singletons club! They had so many fun events scattered throughout the novel I’d love to try! Of course, Coronavirus would prevent most of them now, but it was nice to live vicariously through the characters for a while. 

I wished there was a little more humour, probably a lot of it went over my head, but that’s just my opinion!

If you’re looking for a bit of escapism from the way the world is right now, I’d highly recommend Suddenly Single! 

About The Author:

Winner of The People’s Book Prize Award, Carol Wyer is a best-selling author and stand up comedian who writes feel-good comedies and gripping crime fiction.

A move to the ‘dark side’ in 2017, saw the introduction of popular DI Robyn Carter in LITTLE GIRL LOST, the #2 best-selling book on Amazon, #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible and Top 150 USA Today best-seller.

A second series featuring DI Natalie Ward quickly followed and to date her novels have sold over 750,000 copies and been translated for various overseas markets, including into Norwegian, Italian, Turkish, Hungarian Slovak, Czech and Polish.

Next year sees the arrival of the much anticipated DI Kate Young series, with AN EYE FOR AN EYE out in February 2021.

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

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

To learn more about Carol, go to http://www.carolwyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer

#PublicationDay #BookReview After Sundown: A horror short story collection @flametreepress

Title: After Sundown Edited by Mark Morris 

Date Published: 20th October 2020

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

Genre: Horror

Description:

This new anthology contains 20 original horror stories, 16 of which have been commissioned from some of the top names in the genre, and 4 of which have been selected from the 100s of stories sent to Flame Tree during a 2-week open submissions window. It is the first of what will hopefully become an annual, non-themed horror anthology of entirely original stories, showcasing the very best short fiction that the genre has to offer. 

Contents List:

BUTTERFLY ISLAND by C.J. Tudor

RESEARCH by Tim Lebbon

SWANSKIN by Alison Littlewood

THAT’S THE SPIRIT by Sarah Lotz

GAVE by Michael Bailey

WHEREVER YOU LOOK by Ramsey Campbell

SAME TIME NEXT YEAR by Angela Slatter

MINE SEVEN by Elana Gomel

IT DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT by Michael Marshall Smith

CREEPING IVY by Laura Purcell

LAST RITES FOR THE FOURTH WORLD by Rick Cross

WE ALL COME HOME by Simon Bestwick

THE IMPORTANCE OF ORAL HYGIENE by Robert Shearman

BOKEH by Thana Niveau

MURDER BOARD by Grady Hendrix

ALICE’S REBELLION by John Langan

THE MIRROR HOUSE by Jonathan Robbins Leon

THE NAUGHTY STEP by Stephen Volk

A HOTEL IN GERMANY by Catriona Ward

BRANCH LINE by Paul Finch

Review:

I want to thank Flame Tree Press for my copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

After Sundown is a fantastic collection of short stories from established authors and new talent.

Each story was gripping in their own unique way, no story felt the same or was on the same theme. I was really kept on my toes while reading these stories!

There were, of course, a few standouts:

Swanskin by Alison Littlewood. A tale in which swans have their skins stolen and they have to stay in human form, serving their husbands. There was just something so ethereal about this story, and the imagery the author used was so vivid.

Creeping Ivy by Laura Purcell. A historical piece of fiction about a diary unearthed at a dig site and the intriguing story within its pages. This was just a brilliant atmospheric read, I’m definitely putting Laura Purcell’s book on my tbr list.

The Naughty Step by Stephen Volk. A story about a social worker called to a house after a little boy witnesses his mother’s death. Goodness, this pulled at my heartstrings and was creepy at the same time.

Branch Line by Paul Finch. A cold case interview about a young boy who went missing in the 1970s and the unbelievable tale of the survivor. I love a ghost story, and this one was both realistic and creepy.

I had an issue with the fact I felt some stories could have been longer, particularly CJ Tudor’s Butterfly Island, I would have read an entire book about that story!

I would recommend this collection, not only for horror lovers, but if you enjoy stories that really pull you in and keep you enthralled.

About The Publisher:

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

#BookReview The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone @OrendaBooks

Title: The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone

Publisher: Orenda Books

Date Published: 20th August 2020

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Description:

Running private investigator and funeral home businesses means trouble is never far away, and the Skelf women take on their most perplexing, chilling cases yet in book two of the darkly funny, devastatingly tense and addictive new Skelfs series!

‘Compelling, compassionate … just brilliant. This series gets better with every book. I cannot get enough of the Skelfs’ Mark Billingham

‘Confirms the Skelfs as a classic crime clan. I can’t wait for the next one’ Erin Kelly

‘I LOVE the Skelfs … The only problem with The Big Chill is that you’ll devour it so fast you’ll feel as bereft as one of the Skelfs’ clients … Doug Johnstone has murdered sleep’ Val McDermid

Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral that matriarch Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver’s shadowy life. 

While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly.

 But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves sucked into an unbearable darkness – but could the real threat be to themselves?

Following three women as they deal with the dead, help the living and find out who they are in the process, The Big Chill follows A Dark Matter, book one in the Skelfs series, which reboots the classic PI novel while asking the big existential questions, all with a big dose of pitch-black humour.

Review:

I want to thank THE Book club Reviewer group and Orenda books for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I read the first book in this series, A Dark Matter, at the beginning of the year and is still one of my top reads in 2020 so far, so I was very excited for The Big Chill! I can safely say it lived up to my expectations.

I will say before I get too far into this review, that you should definitely read the first book before reading this one as events from the first have a knock on effect in this one.

This story starts off six months after the first book. The Skelf women are still struggling with what happened at the end of the last book but they’re trying to push through it and carry on as normal, or as normal as their lives are as funeral directing private investigators. 

Dorothy is pulled into an investigation after a car chase ends in tragedy in the midst of a funeral she’s conducting. Jenny is still trying to put the pieces of her life together. Hannah seems to be suffering the most, shutting out her girlfriend Indy and becoming obsessed with the suicide of one of her professors.

What I love about this series is the way there’s several different storylines/cases that are woven together expertly, so they’re easy to follow without confusion and not one overshadows the other too much. Honestly, like the first there’s never a dull moment in this book.

The story is also strengthened by the relationships between the three generations of the Skelf family, Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah. They’re complex and just so compelling, I genuinely love these characters!

The Big Chill is a fantastic piece of fiction that kept me glued to those pages. I can’t wait for more! 

About The Author:

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His tenth novel, Breakers, was published by Orenda Books in May 2019, and was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. His previous books include The Jump, shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, Gone Again, an Amazon bestseller, and Hit & Run, which was an Amazon #1 as well as being selected as a prestigious Fiction Uncovered winner. His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.

Doug has been Writer in Residence with William Purves Funeral Directors. He is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow, and was RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh 2014-2016. Doug was also Writer in Residence at the University of Strathclyde 2010-2012 and before that worked as a lecturer in creative writing there. He’s had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. He is also a manuscript assessor for The Literary Consultancy and Emergents in the Scottish Highlands. He has taught creative writing at festivals and conferences and regularly at Moniack Mhor, and he has mentored aspiring writers for New Writing North and Scottish Book Trust.

Doug is one of the co-founders of the Scotland Writers Football Club, for whom he also puts in a shift in midfield as player-manager. He is also a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug has also released three solo EPs. He plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a crime writing supergroup featuring Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste.

Doug has a degree in physics, a PhD in nuclear physics and a diploma in journalism, and worked for four years designing radars. He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

#BookReview Knock Knock (Lockhart & Green 1) by Chris Merritt @bookouture @DrCJMerritt

Title: Knock Knock (Lockhart & Green 1) by Chris Merritt

Publisher: Bookouture

Date Published: 17th March 2020

Genre: Police Procedural 

Description:

Natasha Mayston wasn’t expecting anyone to knock on her door so late at night. And she has no idea that the face staring back at her is the last one she’ll ever see…

As Detective Dan Lockhart is called to a wealthy London street to investigate Natasha’s death, he’s startled by the similarity to a previous case. Noticing the cable-tie restraints and the tiny scratches on Natasha’s wedding finger, Dan already knows what he will find if he looks in her mouth – the metal ball which choked her to death. He knows Natasha isn’t the killer’s first victim and is certain that he will strike again.

Months earlier, Kim Hardy was found in the same position in a run-down hotel across the city – an identical silver ball in her throat. But Kim’s murderer was caught and sent to prison – did they arrest the wrong man? And what connects the two victims? Fearing that he’s dealing with a psychopathic serial killer, Dan calls in psychologist Dr Lexi Green to help him to get into the perpetrator’s mind. Tough and smart, Lexi will stop at nothing to hunt down the man responsible for the deaths.

Then, another body is discovered, just as Lexi finds a clue online leading to the killer. Dan’s team aren’t convinced, but in pushing Lexi away from the investigation, they force her to dig further into the case on her own. Convinced that she’s on to something, she puts herself in unthinkable danger… but can Dan piece together the clues and identify the killer before it’s too late?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Cara Hunter will love this thrilling new series from Chris Merritt. From an explosive start to a heart-stopping finale, you will not want to put this book down!

Review:

I want to thank Bookouture for my copy of this book (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read a couple of Chris Merritt’s Zac Boateng series, so I was intrigued to see what these new characters, Detective Dan Lockhart and Dr Lexi Green, were like.

Knock Knock is a tension packed serial killer thriller and a great introduction to these new characters.

Dan is a former soldier suffering from mental health issues after his wife disappeared years earlier. Lexi is a talented psychiatrist who can hold her own in most situations. I sensed a bit of romantic tension between the two but having read Chris Merritt’s previous books he never makes anything easy for his characters! 

I really enjoyed the secondary cast of characters from Dan’s team, particularly Max, who’s not only a woman trying to make it in a male dominated profession but she’s also missing two fingers and a thumb on one of her hands. 

The serial killer in this novel was one of the most despicable I’ve come across, choking women with a metal ball. Yes, all serial killers are awful but this one’s hatred of women and all their accomplishments really dripped from the pages. 

I did get a little frustrated with Dan and his team, I mean they brought Lexi in and then pretty much ignored what she said. I hope in the future novels this changes!

This was a solid start to the series with plenty of room for characters to grow. I’m looking forward to reading the second instalment Who’s Next?

About The Author:

Hello! I’m a British author whose crime thrillers combine psychology, suspense, and characters you care about.

All my novels are set in London, where I live. My first trilogy starred Zac Boateng and Kat Jones, two detectives motivated by family, who tackle organised crime and police corruption. LAST WITNESS, the second Boateng and Jones book, reached #13 in the UK Kindle chart in 2019.

My second series features detective Dan Lockhart – an ex-soldier with a missing wife – and psychologist Dr Lexi Green, an American living in London. These novels are darker, more psychological serial-killer cases, with romantic relationships as a central theme.

I began writing fiction in 2014, after previous careers as a diplomat, based in Iraq and Jerusalem, and later as a psychologist working with victims and perpetrators of crime. I specialised in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which sparked my interest in telling stories about how people cope when faced with extreme adversity.

Now, I spend most of my time writing novels and drinking coffee while *thinking* about writing novels. When I’m not writing, I love climbing and playing basketball.

You can find out more about my work at http://www.cjmerritt.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @DrCJMerritt