Double #Review The Puppet Show & Black Summer by M.W. Craven @MWCravenUK

So I actually reviewed The Puppet Show back in May on Goodreads but I never shared it here, so I thought, why not share both my review for The Puppet Show and Black Summer today!

the puppet showTitle: The Puppet Show by M.W Craven

Publisher: Constable

Date Published: 7th June 2018

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive ..

Review:

So I saw lots of fantastic reviews for The Puppet Show last year so I decided to pick up a copy for myself.

Washington Poe is disgraced, living the simple life in the middle of Cumbria when he gets a call. A man the press dubbed the ‘immolation man’ (yes I had to google what immolation meant. Its clever name, perhaps a little too clever for the press of this country) has carved his name on the chest of his latest victim.

He’s dragged into the case whether he likes it or not and with the help social awkward Tilly Bradshaw, he needs to stop the killer before the body count rises any more.

This really started with a bang, a violent and bloody bang to be accurate!

Washington Poe, is just one of the best names I’ve come across in fiction for a while and suits his character down to the ground. He’s complex and more than a little grumpy but what I loved about him was the way he stood up to bullies particularly the ones picking on poor Tilly.

I also loved the relationship between Poe and Tilly. He accepts her quirks and bluntness which annoy pretty much everyone around her and she seems to be the voice of reason for him. Doesn’t stop him from aggravating his superiors and going off to do risky things but there’s not as much fun if the characters follow the rules is there?

Another enjoyable aspect of the book was the setting of Crumbria, both beautiful and at times a little bleak, it was almost a character in itself.

I have to be honest it did take me a while to really get into this book, I felt after the violent and gripping start the story meandered a little before really getting juicy with a gripping ending.

I’d recommend this to any one who loves a gritty and gruesome serial killer novel with great characters.

black summerTitle: Black Summer by M.W Craven

Publisher: Constable

Date Published: 20th June 2019

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

Review:

So this is the second in the series but it can be easily read as a stand-alone but I suggest if you’ve got the time, you should read the Puppet show too, because it’s such a good book.

Poe’s past comes back to haunt him as Elizabeth Keaton, a young woman he thought dead, turns up at a local library. Her father Jared Keaton has spent six years in jail for her murder. Jared is complete psychopath, out for revenge and he has Poe in his sights.

Elizabeth goes missing, again, Poe is the one and only suspect. Can he clear his name and solve this puzzling mystery?

It’s nice to be back with Poe and Tilly! I absolutely could not get enough of this dark and disturbing sequel, it really kept me on my toes while I was reading it! Dare I say it’s even better than the first book…

I think this series would make a brilliant TV show. It’s got everything, quirky detectives, great setting and intriguing mysteries…what more could you want?

Poe is the type of character that seems to get into trouble no matter what. He is a brilliant detective but has the ability to rub people up the wrong way, specifically police officers, but just can’t help but warm to him.

Like with the first book, I found the beginning a little slow but it soon picked up the pace and had me gripped.

Black Summer is a dark and thrilling mystery that I couldn’t get enough of. I can’t wait to see what this author does next!

About The Author:

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

The Puppet Show, the first in a two-book deal he signed with the Little, Brown imprint, Constable in 2017, was released to critical acclaim in hardback in 2018. It has been sold in numerous foreign territories and the production company Studio Lambert, creators of the award-winning Three Girls, have optioned it for TV. The sequel, Black Summer, follows in June 2019.

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

Website: mwcraven.com
Twitter: @MWCravenUK

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#BlogTour #Review Injections of Insanity by Lorraine Mace @rararesources @lomace @AccentPress

Injections of Insanity Cover

Title: Injections of Insanity by Lorraine Mace

Publisher: Accent Press

Date Published: 13th June 2019

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling has just six weeks to solve a series of murders by insulin injection, with nothing to connect the victims except the manner of death and a note left at each crime scene.

The murderer, determined to avenge a wrong from many years earlier, gets close to his prey by assuming various identities.

Can Paolo win in his race against the pretender?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Injections-Insanity-Sterling-Lorraine-Mace/dp/1786156830

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Injections-Insanity-Sterling-Lorraine-Mace/dp/1786156830

Review:

A huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this blog tour and introducing me to this fantastic series.

This is the third in the series but can easily be read as a stand-alone, but I’d still recommend you read the first books, Retriever of Souls (you can read my review here) and Children in Chains (you can read my review here) because they are so good!

It’s DI Sterling and his team’s trickiest case to date, a series of murders linked by the fact they are killed by injection with a note placed by the killer. The note is a countdown until the next victim, can they catch the killer before they complete their list?

I’m already a huge fan of DI Paolo Sterling mysteries but I think this is my favourite book in the series so far! I’ll try to put into words how much I enjoyed this book without give away spoilers!

Injections of Insanity is packed full of murder and mayhem, there’s just never a dull moment! The writing is utterly seamless, blending the main storyline with some more minor ones to make an addictive read.

I always love when an author gives little insights into the killers mind, without giving away who it is. This killer is especially intriguing while hell bent on revenge, they seem to have a little bit of conscience too.

What I especially liked is even though this is the third book, we are still getting to know Paolo, and he’s growing as a character. We actually get a little more understanding about why he became a police officer and how some events in his past shaped who he is today.

I cannot wait for the next in this series Rage and Retribution, which I believe is out next year.

Injections of Insanity is a serial killer thriller that is a must for crime fiction fans.

Injections of Insanity Full Tour Banner

About The Author:

When not working on her D.I. Sterling Series, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judgeRetriever of Souls - Lorraine Mace for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service. She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of THE WRITER’S ABC CHECKLIST (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel VLAD THE INHALER – HERO IN THE MAKING, and NOTES FROM THE MARGIN, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.lorrainemace.com

Blog: http://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lomace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorraine.mace.52

#BlogTour #Review Retriever of Souls by Lorraine Mace @rararesources @lomace @AccentPress

Retriever of Souls

Title: Retriever of Souls by Lorraine Mace

Publisher: Accent Press

Date Published: 13th December 2018

Genre: Police Procedural/Noir

Description:

Brought up believing that sex is the devil’s work, a killer only finds release once he has saved his victim’s souls. Abiding by his vision, he marks them as his. A gift to guide his chosen ones on the rightful path to redemption.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is out to stop him, but Paolo has problems of his own. Hunting down the killer as the death toll rises, the lines soon blur between Paolo’s personal and professional lives.

You Can Buy Your Copy Here:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retriever-Souls-positively-compelling-Sterling-ebook/dp/B07HJ83F6N

US – https://www.amazon.com/Retriever-Souls-positively-compelling-Sterling-ebook/dp/B07HJ83F6N

Review:

This is the first book to feature DI Paolo Sterling and DS Dave Johnson. I think I’ve found my new favourite crime series! Retriever of Souls is gritty, gruesome and sometimes a little disturbing but I just didn’t want to put it down.

Women are showing up, brutally beaten until they are unrecognisable, dumped like rubbish.

Paolo Sterling is a such a compelling and realistic character, even when he was being a grumpy sod, I couldn’t help but like him. He got quite a complicated life outside the police, he’s still in love with his ex wife and can’t move on, even though he’s had a few offers. Paolo’s daughter Katy features quite heavily in the book, who I enjoyed as a character, despite being quite stubborn and refusing to listen to what anyone says.

His partner Dave Johnson on the other hand, annoyed me a little bit with his macho bravado and the occasional sexist comment. His does go on a bit of journey through the book and started to grow on me by the end.

I did sort of guess who the killer was around the half way mark but there were plenty of red herrings and misdirection that had me doubting myself. I also was fascinated by the little insights we got into the deranged killer’s mind and how he justifies killing in his sick mind.

I’d recommend Retriever of Souls to anyone who likes a gritty and grisly police procedural with lifelike and compelling characters. I can’t to get stuck into the next book Children in Chains.

Retriever of Souls Full Tour Banner

About The Author:

When not working on her D.I. Sterling Series, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judgeRetriever of Souls - Lorraine Mace for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service.

She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of THE WRITER’S ABC CHECKLIST (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel VLAD THE INHALER – HERO IN THE MAKING, and NOTES FROM THE MARGIN, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.lorrainemace.com

Blog: http://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lomace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorraine.mace.52

My Top 20 Books of 2018 #TopReads2018 #Blogger #BookBlogger

Happy New Year’s Eve!  So that was my first full year of blogging over! I’m still over the moon that I managed to read 163 books this year. It’s been tough to compile this list and I left out so many fantastic books. If you click the links it will take you to my reviews!

So with out further ado, my top twenty books of this year are (in no particular order):

The Fake Date.

The Fake Date

Edna’s Death Cafe

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The Girl In The Gallery

The Girl in the Gallery Cover

Fatal Promise

fatal promise

Raving About Rhys

Raving about Rhys HIGH RES (1)

The Millionaire’s Wife

millionaires

In Her Shadow

in her shadow

The Innocent Wife

Innocent Wife PB Cover Image

Dead Bad

DEAD BAD

Thirteen

thirteen

The Fear

the fear

Fire On The Fens

Boathouse

The Siren And The Specter

The Siren and The Specter Cover

Before I Trust You

Brighton Palace Pier at dawn

Her Last Move

Her Last Move cover

Go Home Afton

Book Cover

The Enigma

The enigma final cover 2

The Life And Death of Eleanor Parker

The-Death-and-Life-of-Eleanor-Parker-Kindle

Three Things About Elsie

IMG_1202

And No Birds Shall Sing.

Final cover ANBSS

And that’s it from me this year, I’ll be back tomorrow with my new year’s resolutions!