#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

#BlogTour This Side Of Death by Andrew Barrett @AndrewBarrettUK @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway

Today, as part of the blog tour, I not only have my review of This Side of death by Andrew Barrett but I have a UK giveaway to win a paperback copy of the book (see bottom of the post) but first a little about the novel:

Title: This Side Of Death by Andrew Barrett

Date Published: 14th August 2020

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Description:

This Side of Death. When the past comes back to hunt you. 

Alex Sheridan believes the only way she can be free of her demons is to kill the men in her life. She has a list, and Crime Scene Investigator Eddie Collins is on it. 


Death misses Eddie by inches, and Alex is locked away in Juniper Hill high-security hospital.

Everything is fine for Eddie until one day four years later, when Alex escapes. This time she’s better prepared.

The week that follows ruptures Eddie’s life and shatters the belief he had in his own past, leaving him wondering what really happened, and facing one stark choice: who to kill and who to save.
 
This Side of Death is the most revealing CSI Eddie Collins novel to date. Prepare to see inside his past and understand what makes him the angriest, most feared, and yet most respected CSI in England.

If you like fast-paced and gripping crime thrillers with a strong forensic element, you’ll love Andrew Barrett’s This Side of Death. It will appeal to fans of Kathy Reichs, Robert Bryndza and Angela Marsons.

Purchase Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/This-Side-Death-comes-Collins-ebook/dp/B08C4MC5J7

US – https://www.amazon.com/This-Side-Death-comes-Collins-ebook/dp/B08C4MC5J7

Review:

I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

So this is the sixth in the Eddie Collins series and can easily be read as a standalone, something I can attest to having not read the previous books in the series.

Eddie’s ex-girlfriend Alex has escaped from a mental hospital and she has one goal in mind, kill Eddie. She failed once but will she succeed a second time?

This side of death is a story about your past not only coming back to haunt you but hunt you down and make you suffer.

What really drew me to this book was the fact it was like a police procedural but told from a CSI perspective, which having loved the TV show CSI, I could help being intrigued.

The story is told mostly from Eddie and Alex’s POVs, really getting inside the character’s minds. I’m still not entirely sure whether I like Eddie all that much, he’s rude, grumpy and genuinely unpleasant most of the time but we do find out why he behaves like that through his history and there are a few occasions throughout the story where you do see his kinder side.

I will warn you there’s a few gruesome scenes/murders that are definitely not for the faint of heart.

This side of death is dark, at times a little twisted, with a good few shocks and surprises along the way.

About The Author:

Andrew Barrett became a CSI in 1996, and finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead in 1997. Two more books completed the SOCO Roger Conniston trilogy.

Andrew still produces authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour. He’s known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals. Eddie’s series is five books and three novellas in length.

Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels in Leeds.

You can find out more about him and his writing at www.andrewbarrett.co.uk

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AndrewBarrettUK

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

Exclusive Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BarrettERG/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andrewbarrettauthor

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andrew-Barrett/e/B0055888Q0/

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Barrett/e/B0055888Q0/

YouTube: Andrew Barrett on YouTube

Giveaway to Win 5 x Paperback copies of This Side of Death (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494383/?

#BookReview The Next Widow by C.J. Lyons @Bookouture @cjlyonswriter #BooksOnTour

Title: The Next Widow by C.J. Lyons

Date Published: 28th July 2020

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Description:

In the distance Leah heard sirens. She ignored them. Right now, her daughter needed her and Emily was just out of reach, curled up under the bed, her eyes closed, desperately shaking. Leah did the only thing any mother would do. She crawled through the blood to get to her daughter.

Dr Leah Wright returned to her childhood home in rural Pennsylvania with her husband to find peace and quiet, start afresh and raise her six-year-old daughter Emily. But when she gets home one dark winter night, clutching roses in her hand, she finds her daughter huddled under her bed and her husband’s blood all over the floor…

When Detective Luka Jericho is called to investigate, he’s shocked to learn that the killer left a witness behind – the victim’s young daughter. The scene is a painful reminder of his fiancé’s unsolved death, and he is desperate to find out what Emily saw that night. He knows that the killer could still be out there, waiting to strike again.

But growing up, Leah learned the hard way that the only person she could rely on was herself. And it’s not until she and Emily are attacked again that she realizes just how close the killer is. Can she trust Luka to keep her daughter safe?

Fans of Karin Slaughter, Kendra Elliot and Tess Gerritsen will devour this fast-paced and chilling new crime series from New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons. You won’t be able to put this book down.

You can buy your copy here:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B087V762MFSocial

Apple: https://apple.co/2SFxNkr

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2y7XbIx

Google: https://bit.ly/2WhDqGe

Review:

I want to thank Noelle Holten for inviting me on this blog tour and Bookouture for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Dr Leah Wright returns home one evening after a tough shift at the hospital to find her husband dead and her daughter Emily huddled under her bed. All evidence points to Leah but can she prove her innocence and keep her daughter safe?

The Next Widow is a real whirlwind of a novel! Fast paced, fraught and full of tension. There were also a few heartbreaking moments too, especially as Leah struggles to connect with her traumatised daughter in the aftermath of her husband’s death.

There was a nice back and forth in the POVs and we get to know the characters of Leah and Luka really well. They both have their own sets of personal problems, even before Leah’s husband is murdered, but both are tough and determined to push through their emotional scars.

I have to be honest I pegged the killer fairly early on, although the entire motive wasn’t clear until the end.

The Next Widow is a gripping and fast paced read, I’d recommend to any thriller lovers out there. I’m looking forward to seeing where this new series is headed.

About The Author:

As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times and USA Today Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net

Author Social Media Links:

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/cjlyonswriter

#BlogTour The Dying Light (Matt Ballard 3) by Joy Ellis @JoffeBooks

Title: The Dying Light (Matt Ballard 3) by Joy Ellis

Publisher: Joffe Books 

Date Published: 23rd July 2020

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

From multiple #1 best-selling author, Joy Ellis, comes a psychological thriller that will have you glued from first page to last.

WHISPER FEN HOLDS DARK SECRETS
As the mists roll over the fens and enigmatic lights twinkle in the distance, only the locals know their way along the hidden paths through the mysterious watery terrain of one of England’s most beautiful and sometimes dangerous places.

Detective Matt Ballard may have retired but there’s still plenty going on the fens to keep him busy.

Someone trashes an old lady’s garden and daubs her isolated cottage with hateful graffiti. Emilia Swain seems to be totally harmless, so why is she being targeted?

Matt’s best friend Will and his wife Kate moved to Holland House to put their past behind them. But Kate’s mental state is deteriorating and she’s obsessed with the tragic history of the house and an old doll she finds in the garden.

And why is Kate suddenly friends with a loner who haunts the fens?

Has the dreadful past come back to haunt the present owners?

Former detectives Matt and Liz want to help their friends and neighbours. But how can you help people who don’t want to be helped?

DISCOVER A TOTALLY ENTHRALLING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FROM JOY ELLIS

What readers are saying about JOY ELLIS

“The suspense starts on Page 1 and continues through the twists and turns until the very surprising ending.” Linda Strong

“OMG, this book was fantastic I absolutely loved it. I was gripped from the first page but as the tension and suspense mounted throughout the book it just got better and better and that ending, well just WOW!” Dawn Jones

“I absolutely loved it.” Viv

“Will keep you guessing until the end of the book.” Barbara

What a book!!!” Sian

“I was so engrossed I sat up way too late to finish it in one sitting.” Elaine

The Setting
England’s rural fenland is a strange place, with its never-ending fields, winding tracks, and long straight droves (the old livestock routes) that lead to nowhere. The lonely lanes are flanked either side by deep drainage ditches and are, for a good part of the year, filled with tall, whispering reeds. Closer to the Wash, high seabanks form a barrier between river and marsh, and the richly fertile soil of the drained land. But when the mists come down, as they so often do, perspective is destroyed and all sense of direction lost, and then the fens become a rather frightening place of mystery and danger. Somewhere that you do not want to be at night.

ALSO BY JOY ELLIS
THE BEST-SELLING NIKKI GALENA SERIES
Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS
Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS
Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS
Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS
Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS
Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS
Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS
Book 8: THIEVES ON THE FENS
Book 9: FIRE ON THE FENS
Book 10: HIDDEN ON THE FENS

JACKMAN & EVANS
Book 1: THE MURDERER’S SON
Book 2: THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS
Book 3: THE FOURTH FRIEND
Book 4: THE GUILTY ONES
Book 5: THE STOLEN BOYS

DETECTIVE MATT BALLARD
Book 1: BEWARE THE PAST
Book 2: FIVE BLOODY HEARTS
Book 3: THE DYING LIGHT

Review:

I want to thank Jill Burkinshaw at Books n All Promotions 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 was so excited when I heard there was a new Matt Ballard book coming out! I loved the first two and I was eager to see how Joy Ellis would carry on Matt’s story. Don’t worry if you haven’t read any of the other novels (you should because they’re really good) as it’s easily read as a standalone.

The Dying Light is something a bit different from Joy Ellis’ usual police procedurals but it’s just as enjoyable.

I love Matt and Liz, they’re such a sweet and loving couple and even though they’re now both retired they still use their time as private detectives to help other people. The addition of former colleague Will’s POV made it even better. 

I got a slightly creepy feeling during the novel, Whisper Fen makes an ethereal backdrop to the story. 

The ending was jaw dropping. I’m still thinking about it as I’m writing this review and honestly, it’s one of the most fraught and emotional I think Joy Ellis has ever written.

I will warn you that mental health is one of the main themes in the story which may be triggering for some people although Joy Ellis does handle this with sensitivity.

I did wish the plot had been streamlined a little more, there were a couple of times I got a little confused at the beginning. 

The Dying Light is a complex, emotional and atmospheric read that will really stick with you after you’ve read it. . 

About The Author:

UK #1 BEST SELLER WITH THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS, DARKNESS ON THE FENS, THE FOURTH FRIEND, BEWARE THE PAST, FIRE ON THE FENS, AND THE GUILTY ONES

OVER 2 MILLION BOOKS SOLD!

“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!

And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, a highly decorated retired police officer, and our four barking mad Springer spaniels. If I do get any spare time, which is rare these days, my one relaxation is painting, especially using soft pastels. We have been here for twenty years now and although I’ll never be a true ‘Yeller Belly’, a native born to this county, I have adopted it as my own. I love the mists, the big skies and the endless waterways. All my books are set here on the Fens, and why not? The location is perfect for murder!”

FIND JOY ON

AUTHOR WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
GOODREADS

#BlogTour #BookReview The Raven Girl by Stewart Giles @stewartgiles

Title: The Raven Girl by Stewart Giles

Date Published: 15th July 2020

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

From # 1 bestselling author, Stewart Giles comes a new detective Harriet Taylor/Jason Smith thriller.

The lives of the people in the charming Cornish village of Trotterdown are about to be shattered.

When the body of a man is discovered on a beach near Trotterdown, detective Harriet Taylor gets to work. It soon becomes clear that this was no ordinary murder – the man was placed in a yoga position and his pockets were filled with seashells.

As more bodies pile up, suspicion falls on the residents of the old Beekeeper’s house. Who are these New-Age youngsters and is their ‘peace and love’ philosophy merely a front to cover up something sinister?

Harriet and her team are stumped. Everywhere they turn seems to lead nowhere, and they soon believe these gruesome murders will remain unsolved forever.

Then Detective Sergeant Jason Smith receives a phone call that will change his life forever. Harriet’s DI calls and gives him some terrible news.
‘Harriet Taylor is dead.’

Smith must now make a choice. Harriet’s DI has asked for his help in the investigation that resulted in her grisly death, but does Smith really want to get involved in something that really does not concern him?

Against his better judgement and ignoring his wife’s pleas, Smith heads off to Trotterdown to see if he can find out what it was that Harriet failed to see, but when he eventually does uncover what it was Harriet discovered that culminated in her death, his own life is put at risk. Could this be the case that finishes off Smith for good?

BOOKS BY STEWART GILES

DS JASON SMITH SERIES
Book 0.5-Phobia
Book 1-Smith
Book 2-Boomerang
Book 3-Ladybird
Book 4-Occam’s Razor
Book 5-Harlequin
Book 6-Selene
Book 7-Horsemen
Book 8-Unworthy
Book 9 – Venom
Book 10 – Severed
Book 11 – Demons
Book 12 – Deadeye

DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES
Book 1-The Beekeeper
Book 2-The Perfect Murder
Book 3-The Backpacker
Trotterdown a box set of DC Harriet Taylor books 1-3

DS JASON SMITH &DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES
Book 1 – The Enigma
Book 2 – Dropzone
Book 3 – The Raven Girl

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS
Miranda
Mistress
Medusa (coming soon)

STANDALONE HORROR
The Divide

DI O’REILLY MYSTERIES
Blood on the Island

Review:

I want to thank Jill at Books n All promotions for inviting me on this tour and Stewart Giles for providing me with a copy of The Raven Girl in exchange for an honest review.

While this can be read as a standalone, I would suggest you read either the Harriet Taylor series (The Beekeeper especially) or the previous books in the Harriet Taylor/Jason Smith series first to get a better understanding of the characters. 

The Raven Girl made me quite emotional! I’m very sad to see that this is probably going to be the last book that features DC Harriet Taylor. The character of Harriet was how I was introduced to Stewart Giles’ writing and it feels a bit like the end of an era for me.

A body is found on Totterdown beach in a yoga pose, his pockets filled with seashells. Suspicion immediately falls on the residents of the old Beekeepers cottage, particularly Alice Green, the beekeeper’s granddaughter. Another body is found further up the beach and it doesn’t look good for Alice but Harriet is not convinced. As she delves deeper into the mystery, she doesn’t realise that it will be her last…

As with all of Stewart Giles’ books there’s no shortage of blood, bodies and drama. The first half focuses on Harriet’s investigation, then the second Smith is brought in after Harriet’s murder to wrap it all up.

I liked that there seemed to be a bit of character growth with Jason Smith. If you know Smith he’s not one for treading lightly and has a bit of a lone wolf thing going on but in this novel he actually worked with Harriet’s team rather than go off on his own.

I did feel like the ending was a bit abrupt for my liking but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the overall story.

The Raven Girl is a quick and compelling read that had me racing through those pages.

About The Author:

After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live. 

In 2014 Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head and I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later. 

3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series – the DC Harriet Taylor: Cornwall series.

The Beekeeper was published and soon hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well. 

I continued to self-publish the Smith series and Unworthy hit the shelves in 2018 with amazing results.  I therefore made the decision to self-publish The Backpacker which is book 3 in the Detective Harriet Taylor series which was published in July 2018.

After The Backpacker I had an idea for a totally new start to a series – a collaboration between the Smith and Harriet thrillers and The Enigma was born. It brings together the broody, enigmatic Jason Smith and the more level-headed Harriet Taylor. 

Miranda is something totally different. A stand-alone psychological thriller, it is a real departure from anything else I’ve written before. This was followed by the sequel Mistress in 2019.  Medusa is coming soon

The Detective Jason Smith series continues to grow and there are now 13 books including the introduction: Phobia. Book 12: Deadeye was published in February 2020.

Website: www.stewartgiles.com

Twitter: @stewartgiles

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stewart.giles.33

#BookReview The Perfect Life by Valerie Keogh @ValerieKeogh1

Title: The Perfect Life by Valerie Keogh 

Date Published: 24th June 2020

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

How far would you go to maintain the illusion of The Perfect Life?

Appearances can be deceptive…

Molly Chatwell has a beautiful house, a handsome husband, two children and a job she likes. It all seems so perfect but when her two children leave for university, she realises her life has become dull and empty. When her husband refuses to go away with her, Molly decides to go alone.

But what should have been a relaxing break turns into a nightmare.

Back at home in London, Molly tries to put it all behind her but when the police arrive at her door and tell her that a body has been found with connections to her, Molly realises that her perfect life is under threat…

Review:

I want to thank Valerie Keogh for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoy Valerie Keogh’s psychological thrillers so I was looking forward to this one.

The Perfect Life is a domestic noir story focussing on Molly Chatwell whose life seems perfect. She has a nice house and job. A great husband and two kids off at university. It’s only when she starts to really look at her life that she begins to see the cracks. A chance meeting with a stranger leaves her perfect life under threat.

I always love the way that Valerie Keogh creates such realistic and flawed characters. I really felt for Molly, suffering from empty nest syndrome and her husband is less than sympathetic about it.  

There’s plenty of peril for poor Molly along the way but I have to be honest I wasn’t entirely shocked by the ending.

The Perfect Life is a fast paced story with plenty of tension and intrigue, perfect for domestic noir fans.  

About The Author:

Valerie Keogh grew up reading Agatha Christie so when she started writing it seemed natural to write crime novels.

In March 2018, Valerie signed a two book contract with the publisher, Bookouture. The first of these, Secrets Between Us, was published in Nov 2018 and the second, The Housewife, in Feb 2019.

In June 2019, Valerie signed a three book contract with Bloodhound books. The first psychological thriller, The Three Women, was published in Feb 2020, the second is due in June 2020 and the third in Sept 2020. Bloodhound are also publishing Valerie’s Irish Crime series, the first of which, No Simple Death was published in Dec 2019, the second, No Obvious Cause in Jan 2020, the third, No Past Forgiven in March.

Valerie also writes a series based in the UK featuring Nicola Connolly, a serial killer. The Hudson and Connolly series: Deadly Sleep, Twisted Power, Bitter Business, and Wicked Secret.

Valerie has also written a stand-alone psychological thriller, Exit Five from Charing Cross

Like Valerie Keogh’s facebook page: facebook.com/valeriekeoghnovels

#BlogTour #BookReview Blood On The Island by Stewart Giles @stewartgiles @Books_n_all

Title: Blood On The Island by Stewart Giles

Date Published: 30th June 2020

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

From # 1 bestselling author: Stewart Giles, comes a new detective series set on the idyllic island of Guernsey.

What deadly secrets does the peaceful island of Guernsey hold?


Detective Inspector Liam O’Reilly has recently transferred to the island of Guernsey from the Special Detective Unit in Dublin and in this first installment we see him hitting the ground running.

He has barely set foot on the island when the body of a man is washed up on the shore. There is no indication of where the man came from – his hands and teeth have been removed and he has a crude tattoo of a dragon on his back.

When another similarly mutilated body is found, O’Reilly and his new team realise they’re on the hunt for a deranged killer.

O’Reilly is getting closer to the truth when the case is suddenly taken away from him. The Guernsey Border Agency, headed up by the arrogant DCI Franklin Urban has their own ideas as to who is behind these brutal murders and argue that the jurisdiction is now theirs.

O’Reilly left Dublin behind but his past soon catches up with him in the form of a Belfast thug employed by a man O’Reilly owes money to. When O’Reilly’s daughter is threatened by these people, he persuades her to join him on the island so he can keep an eye on her. Soon he’s faced with a choice – he can either do what these people tell him and risk everything he has, or he can defy them and spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.

Meanwhile, as DCI Urban and the Border Agency believe they’re getting closer to the truth, O’Reilly has his own theories and as these suspicions are proved correct he comes face to face with one of the most depraved killers he’s ever come across.

BOOKS BY STEWART GILES

DS JASON SMITH SERIES
Book 0.5-Phobia
Book 1-Smith
Book 2-Boomerang
Book 3-Ladybird
Book 4-Occam’s Razor
Book 5-Harlequin
Book 6-Selene
Book 7-Horsemen
Book 8-Unworthy
Book 9 – Venom
Book 10 – Severed
Book 11 – Demons
Book 12 – Deadeye

DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES
Book 1-The Beekeeper
Book 2-The Perfect Murder
Book 3-The Backpacker
Trotterdown a box set of DC Harriet Taylor books 1-3

DS JASON SMITH &DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES
Book 1 – The Enigma
Book 2 – Dropzone
Book 3 – The Raven Girl (coming soon)

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS
Miranda
Mistress
Medusa (coming soon)

STANDALONE HORROR
The Divide

DI O’REILLY MYSTERIES
Blood on the Island

Review:

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

This is a new police procedural series featuring Irish policeman Liam O’Reilly and having read and enjoyed Stewart Giles’ Jason Smith and Harriet Taylor books I was interested to see what this new character and setting would be like.

Liam moves to Guernsey looking for a fresh start but unfortunately for him his past has followed him there with a mysterious gangster on his tail. Not only that but he has to deal with a particularly grisly murder and get to know a whole new team of police officers.

Blood on the island is written in Stewart Giles’ usual fast paced style featuring a whole plethora of flawed and fiendish characters. 

At first I found Liam a little hard to like, a bit standoffish, a bit arrogant, but he does seem to mellow as the book goes along.

Blood on the island is a promising start to this series, I wonder what trouble DI Liam O’Reilly will get in next!

About The Author:

After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live. 

In 2014 Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head and I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later. 

3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series – the DC Harriet Taylor: Cornwall series.

The Beekeeper was published and soon hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well. 

I continued to self-publish the Smith series and Unworthy hit the shelves in 2018 with amazing results.  I therefore made the decision to self-publish The Backpacker which is book 3 in the Detective Harriet Taylor series which was published in July 2018.

After The Backpacker I had an idea for a totally new start to a series – a collaboration between the Smith and Harriet thrillers and The Enigma was born. It brings together the broody, enigmatic Jason Smith and the more level-headed Harriet Taylor. 

Miranda is something totally different. A stand-alone psychological thriller, it is a real departure from anything else I’ve written before. This was followed by the sequel Mistress in 2019.

The Detective Jason Smith series continues to grow and there are now 13 books including the introduction: Phobia. Book 12: Deadeye will be published in February 2020.

Website: www.stewartgiles.com

Twitter: @stewartgiles

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stewart.giles.33

#BlogTour The Patient Man by Joy Ellis @JoffeBooks

Title: The Patient Man by Joy Ellis

Publisher: Joffe Books

Date Published: 18th June 2020

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

From #1 best-selling author Joy Ellis, a totally absorbing mystery full of stunning twists and turns. Discover the author who’s sold over two million books globally.

A MYSTERY WHICH WILL CAPTIVATE YOU FROM START TILL THE DRAMATIC ENDING

JACKMAN AND EVANS’ MOST DANGEROUS ENEMY IS BACK TO FINISH THINGS OFF
The domestic bliss of Detective Inspector Rowan Jackman of Fenland Constabulary doesn’t last long. His nemesis, serial killer Alistair Ashcroft, is back in town and ready to tidy up unfinished business.

Ashcroft sends a sinister text to DS Marie Evans. His opening move in what will prove to be a lethal game of cat-and-mouse. Yet for all his taunts, where is he? In a county crawling with police on the lookout for him, Ashcroft is nowhere to be found.

EVERYONE JACKMAN CARES ABOUT IS IN DANGER
Alongside the hunt for Ashcroft, normal police work must continue. The separate thefts of guns, six pigs, a thoroughbred stallion and some oil lead Jackman’s crew to the notorious Lorimer family, ruled over on their farm by the fearsome matriarch Rachel.

Meanwhile, a seemingly routine break-in at the home of gun-club owner Kenneth Harcourt quickly becomes more complicated when the man long held responsible for having killed Harcourt’s young daughter in a hit-and-run is shot dead in a carpark — by a sniper.

A killer is on the loose in the quiet streets of Saltern-le-Fen and he isn’t going to stop at claiming one life. But why is he focusing on young Kevin, so close to promotion to detective?

A LETHAL GAME WITH A VERY PATIENT MAN

And the sniper, like Ashcroft, takes to taunting the police: they’ll never catch him, they need to respect him, they shouldn’t be side-tracked looking for their old adversary.

In a stunning conclusion, Jackman and Evans race against time to catch the sniper and track down their deadly adversary.

Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the shocking ending. Set in the atmospheric Lincolnshire Fens whose towns and isolated villages hide many dark secrets.

CAN THEY FINALLY STOP ALISTAIR ASHCROFT?

What readers are saying about Joy Ellis

“Another breathtaking thriller from Joy.” Carole

Great read from start to finish.” Nerys

“Just a wonderful enjoyable read.” Nicki

“A hugely compelling police procedural, with twists and turns that raise tension and suspense.” Paromjit

“All the twists and turns kept me reading.” Viv

“Another great book from Ms Ellis.” Barbara

Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Sarah A. Denzil, Robert Bryndza, Mel Sherratt, Angela Marsons, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.

THE DETECTIVES
DI Jackman leads the investigation. He is extremely smart and has a knack for bringing out the best in his diverse team. DS Marie Evans is haunted by the loss of her husband in a motorbike accident. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and colleagues.

ALSO BY JOY ELLIS
THE NIKKI GALENA SERIES
Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS
Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS
Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS
Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS
Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS
Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS
Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS
Book 8: THIEVES ON THE FENS
Book 9: FIRE ON THE FENS
Book 10: DARKNESS ON THE FENS
Book 11: HIDDEN ON THE FENS

JACKMAN & EVANS
Book 1: THE MURDERER’S SON
Book 2: THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS
Book 3: THE FOURTH FRIEND
Book 4: THE GUILTY ONES
Book 5: THE STOLEN BOYS
Book 6: THE PATIENT MAN

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.

So this is the sixth book in the Jackman and Evans series I would highly recommend that you read a few of the other books in this series, not just because it’s such a fab series, but there’s a certain part of the story that carries over from previous books.

Jackman and Evans’ nemesis is back again and boy oh boy does he put them through the ringer in this book! Burglaries, snipers, not to mention the mind games, I was worried that Jackman and Evans wouldn’t come out of it in one piece, physically or mentally.

What I really enjoy about the series is the great characters that Joy Ellis creates from the good hearted policemen and women, to the dastardly villains and all the innocent people who get caught in between.

There is a slight predictability to the story but I personally don’t mind that and enjoy playing detective myself while I’m reading and figuring out the mystery.

The Patient Man is a well written and engrossing police procedural that grips you from that very first chapter.

About The Author:

UK #1 BEST SELLER WITH THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS, DARKNESS ON THE FENS, THE FOURTH FRIEND, BEWARE THE PAST, FIRE ON THE FENS, AND THE GUILTY ONES

OVER 2 MILLION BOOKS SOLD!

“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!

And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, a highly decorated retired police officer, and our four barking mad Springer spaniels. If I do get any spare time, which is rare these days, my one relaxation is painting, especially using soft pastels. We have been here for twenty years now and although I’ll never be a true ‘Yeller Belly’, a native born to this county, I have adopted it as my own. I love the mists, the big skies and the endless waterways. All my books are set here on the Fens, and why not? The location is perfect for murder!”

Mystery At Seagrave Hall by Clare Chase @ClareChase_ @Bookouture #BooksOnTour #BookReview

Title: Mystery At Seagrave Hall by Clare Chase

Date Published:11th June 2020

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Description:

It’s Eve Mallow’s first visit to the local village fair. But amidst the booths, stalls, tables and tents lurks something darker… A mysterious fall means a new case for amateur detective Eve!

The charity fair at Seagrave Hall is a key date in the Saxford St Peter calendar – a chance for the villagers to nose around the house and grounds and cross paths with the rich and famous.

New resident Eve Mallow is particularly excited by this year’s special guest: the explorer Verity Nye, who is engaged to the heir to the Hall. Eve loves Verity’s determination, and she can’t wait to meet her.

But when they talk, Verity hints that she has something troubling on her mind. So after the festive mood is tragically interrupted by Verity’s fall from a third-floor window, Eve can’t be sure that it’s an appalling accident. Especially when one small boy claims he saw someone behind her…

Soon Eve finds herself tasked with writing Verity’s obituary. As she dusts off her notebook and begins her interviews alongside her trusted dachshund sidekick Gus she realises she has a fine array of suspects before her. Could it be a corrupt charity manager, the distraught fiancé, or jealous cousin Cora? And can Eve find out before her questions cause the killer to turn on her?

A charming and gripping page-turner, perfect for fans of Faith Martin, Agatha Christie and Betty Rowlands.

Review:

I want to thank Noelle at Bookouture for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Eve Mallow the obituary writer/ amateur sleuth is back again in her third adventure, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the first two in the series as they can easily be read as stand-alones.

Mystery at Seagrave Hall is an interesting twist on the classic country house murder. Famous diver Verity Nye falls from a window at Seagrave hall, it’s classed as an accident until a little boy pipes up and says there was someone behind her. Was she pushed?

Eve can’t leave it alone so with the help of the secretive Robin Yardley and her trusty dachshund Gus she starts digging into the mystery, putting herself in more danger than she’d bargained for.

If you love the British countryside, mysteries that are not too explicit with a hint of romance you really can’t go wrong with this series.

I enjoyed Eve’s growth from the first book to this one, she’s not taking her interfering ex to heart quite as much. Also I’m enjoying the slow burn romance that I feel is building between her and Robin Yardley.

I have to be honest near the sixty percent mark, I felt myself drifting off a little but the satisfying ending made up for it.

Mystery at Seagrave Hall is a light hearted mystery which really kept me guessing throughout.

About The Author:

Clare Chase writes women sleuth mysteries. After graduating from London University with a degree in English Literature, Clare moved to Cambridge and has lived there ever since. She’s fascinated by the city’s contrasts and contradictions, which feed into her writing. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies, with her husband and teenage children, presents a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

You can find Clare’s website and blog at www.clarechase.com

Author Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClareChase_

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10204574.Clare_Chase

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