Book reviews, Police procedural, Psychlogical thriller

Splinter In The Blood by Ashley Dyer – Book Review

As part of the blog tour linked to the Morecambe and Vice Festival….here is my review of Splinter in the blood by Ashley dyer.





A propulsive debut suspense novel, filled with secrets, nerve-jangling tension, perplexing mystery, and cold-blooded murder, in which a police officer on the hunt for a macabre serial killer is brutally attacked, and only his partner knows the truth about what happened—and who did it.

After months of hunting a cold-blooded murderer that the press has dubbed the Thorn Killer, Detective Greg Carver is shot in his own home. His trusted partner, Ruth Lake, is alone with him. Yet instead of calling for help, she’s rearranged the crime scene and wiped the room clean of prints.

But Carver isn’t dead.

Awakening in the hospital, Carver has no memory of being shot, but is certain that his assailant is the Thorn Killer. Though there’s no evidence to support his claim, Carver insists the attack is retaliation, an attempt to scare the detective off the psychopath’s scent, because he’s getting too close. Trapped in a hospital bed and still very weak, Carver’s obsession grows. He’s desperate to get back to work and finally nail the bastard, before more innocent blood is spilled.

One person knows the truth and she’s not telling. She’s also now leading the Thorn Killer investigation while Carver recuperates. It doesn’t matter that Carver and the rest of the force are counting on her, and that more victims’ lives at stake. Ruth is keeping a deadly secret, and she’ll cross every line—sacrificing her colleagues, her career, and maybe even her own life—to keep it from surfacing.

Utterly engrossing and filled with masterfully crafted surprises, Splinter in the Blood is a propulsive roller-coaster ride, filled with deception, nerve-jangling tension, perplexing mystery, and cold-blooded murder.


This is #1 in the Carter and Lake series by Ashley Dyer.

A clever mix of psychological thriller and police procedural and set in Liverpool. 

There is a serial killer, known as the Thorn Killer, lots of secrets, lies and betrayals and a ‘slightly’ tense relationship between DCI Greg Carver and DS Ruth Lake.

The killer has tortured and murdered 5 women and uses a thorn to tattoo them…

Carver is in charge of the investigation, but gets a shock when one of the victims looks just like his estranged wife…..

Carver is a mess, drinking heavily and keeping secret case notes as he carries out his own investigations separate to his work one….DS Ruth Lake is covering for him at times and even saves his life at one point…..but how long can this carry on?

A dark, disturbing and gripping read with deeply flawed protagonists and a truly menacing killer….

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 



Ashley Dyer is the pen name of novelist, Margaret Murphy, working in consultation with forensics expert and Vera and Shetland adviser, Helen Pepper. Splinter in the Blood is their debut novel as a writing duo. The sequel, The Cutting Room, is out in the USA in June.

After a career as a biology teacher and dyslexia specialist, Margaret wrote twelve novels, both under her own name and as A.D. Garrett, before morphing into Ashley Dyer. The founder of Murder Squad, she is a past Chair of the Crime Writers Association, a First Blood critics award and CWA Dagger in the Library nominee, and CWA Short Story Dagger winner.



Twitter: @ashleydyer2017

Facebook: @AshleyDyerNovels

Bookblog: Shelf Indulgence


Book reviews, Domestic noir

In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael J Malone – Book Review



In this powerful new thriller, Michael J Malone returns to A Suitable Lie territory, movingly and perceptively addressing a shocking social issue. Chilling, perceptive and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash.

And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence…


John is visiting his mum in a care home, she’s had a major stroke and is no longer independent. I felt sorry for her at this point………!

Due to costs, he is going to sell her home to pay for her continuing care, so visits his old home to start clearing it ready for sale….while in the loft he finds a picture of himself with a younger child….but has no memory of it…..

When his younger brother, Chris arrives he shows him the picture and they realise, John is the younger child, so who is the older boy? And so the mystery begins….

But, John is a mess, he’s drinking too much, missing work days and his long suffering girlfriend, Angela, has had enough. He becomes a little obsessed with finding out more about the unknown boy, but what he finds out changes his life forever….

I have been lucky to read some stunning books this year, but this has to be the most heartbreaking. It tells of the horrors of child abuse, the damage this causes physically and mentally to these young victims…’s a tough read at times but so utterly compelling with every page so full of emotion….it left me speechless. Magnificently immersive writing that grabs your attention from start to finish. In this darkest domestic noir thriller.. A definite must read….

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.


Buy a copy here




Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

 ‘Vivid, visceral and compulsive’ Ian Rankin ‘Michael J Malone is a massive talent’ Luca Veste


Cover reveal

COVER REVEAL for Death At Eden’s End by Jo Allen

Death at Eden’s End – Jo Allen



A brand new DCI Jude Satterthwaite crime mystery from the bestselling Jo Allen.

When one-hundred-year-old Violet Ross is found dead at Eden’s End, a luxury care home hidden in a secluded nook of the Lake District’s Eden Valley it’s tragic, of course, but not unexpected. Except for the instantly recognisable look in her lifeless eyes… that of pure terror.

DCI Jude Satterthwaite heads up the investigation, but as the deaths start to mount up it’s clear that he, and DS Ashleigh O’Halloran need to uncover a long-buried secret before the killer strikes again…

The second in the unmissable, Lake District-set, DCI Jude Satterthwaite series.


Buy links:



Google Play:



HERE IS THE COVER…..isn’t it gorgeous?



About the author

 Jo Allen was born in Wolverhampton and is a graduate of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and the Open University. After a career in economic consultancy she took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young in genres of short stories, romance and romantic suspense. In 2017 she took the plunge and began writing the genre she most likes to read – crime. Now living in Edinburgh, she spends as much time as possible in the English Lakes. In common with all her favourite characters, she loves football (she’s a season ticket holder with her beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats.


Follow Jo:


Twitter: @JoAllenAuthor

Facebook: @JoAllenAuthor



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Book reviews, Fantasy, Historical fiction, Thriller

Nexus by Alison Morton – Book Review


Mid 1970s. Ex-Praetorian Aurelia Mitela is serving as Roma Nova’s interim ambassador in London. Asked by a British colleague to find his missing son, Aurelia thinks it will only be a case of a young man temporarily rebelling. He’s bound to turn up only a little worse for wear.

But a spate of high-level killings pulls Aurelia away into a dangerous pan-European investigation. Badly beaten in Rome as a warning, she discovers the killers have kidnapped her life companion, Miklós, and sent an ultimatum: Back off or he’ll die.

But Aurelia is a Roma Novan and they never give up…

Set between AURELIA and INSURRECTIO in the Aurelia Mitela Roma Nova adventures.



Set in an alternate world, where the Roman society still exists….with powerful women in charge.

Aurelia, Countess Mitela is in London for a while as an ambassador, when Harry Carter the Assistant Secretary General to the British Foreign Ministry asks her for a favour. His son, Tom, has gone missing again so could she help find him.

She is recalled suddenly due to murders of important men in Europe, but Miklós is staying behind to search for Tom….

At the same time, Her daughter, Marina is being bullied by a girl at school……Linda Casely……sister to John Casely a violent criminal…

Aurelia has compassion but she is also strong and principled, as an ex-soldier she takes no nonsense and will uphold law and order at all costs. 

Will she be able to find Tom? What is the link to John Casely? 

This may be a relatively short novella, but there is no lack of substance to this tension packed thriller with great characters and twisty story. Nice to catch up with Aurelia and Marina is growing up to be just as feisty. Brilliant.

Thank you to Alison Morton, The Author for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

you can buy a copy here




Even before she pulled on her first set of combats, Alison Morton was fascinated by the idea of women soldiers. After six years in a special communications regiment, she left as a captain, having done all sorts of interesting and exciting things she can’t talk about, even now…

The mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) and their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation made her wonder what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women. 

Now, she writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines, tends a Roman herb garden and drinks wine with her husband.(Courtesy of Goodreads)


Book reviews, Crime thriller

Moorings by David Blake – Book Review




A war veteran murdered in his home, a property developer with links to organised crime, and an old family secret that seems unwilling to stay dead.

When Harry Falcon, a wealthy boatyard owner and highly decorated World War Two veteran, is found drowned in his bath, DI John Tanner and DC Jenny Evans start by questioning his two sons, each with a motive for wanting him dead.

But when the elder son is found with his head smashed in under a toppled yacht, and the younger son has been talking to a local property developer, one who’d spent months trying to buy the yard from his father, the investigation soon leads them towards a dark and dangerous secret, one which nobody can quite believe.

Set within the mysterious beauty of the Norfolk Broads, this fast-paced British detective series is a dark cozy murder mystery with a slice of humour and a touch of romance, one that will have you guessing until the very end, when the last shocking twist is finally revealed.

Moorings is a totally addictive gripping crime thriller, the third in a chilling series of serial killer books, ones which will rapidly convert followers of L J Ross, Faith Martin, Joy Ellis, Damien Boyd and Helen H. Durrant into David Blake devotees.  



DI John Tanner and DC Jenny Evans are a couple and live on a boat….they also work together.

Their peace is destroyed one morning, when diggers arrive in a nearby field to start work on a block of luxury flats for Jackson Developments….

They then get called to a sudden death…..did old man Harry Falcon, owner of the nearby Falcon shipyard die a natural death? …….That will be a no!

The investigation begins and Jim Jackson seems to be linked to the case after being seen arguing with Harry’s son. But it gets even more complicated when the other brother turns up, and his adult twins Edward and Tessa….

Tanner also gets news that there may be a development in his daughter, Abigail’s murder case too.

This is a really fast read, with snappy, gripping chapters with so many twists and revelations……just who is the killer? And is there a link to Abigail’s murder? Very well plotted and great characters, I loved the relationship between Jack and Jenny…feisty and funny too. A thoroughly entertaining read.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 


You can buy a copy here


Author Bio:


David is a full-time author living in North London. To date he has written fifteen books along with a collection of short stories. He’s currently working on his sixteenth, Moorings, which is the next in his series of crime fiction thrillers, after Broadland and St. Benet’s.

When not writing, David likes to spend his time mucking about in boats, often in the Norfolk Broads, where his crime fiction books are based.



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Book reviews, Crime thriller, Thriller

Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson -Book Review



The third book in the award-winning, critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series, featuring true-crime writer Alexis Castells and profiler Emily Roy.

Previous titles in the series, Block 46 and Keeper, have won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards and sold in 19 countries. A French, Swedish and English TV series is in production, adapted by and starring award-winning French actress Alexandra Lamy.

Spain, 1938

The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Teresa witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Teresa gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.


Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016

A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells,

and they soon find themselves on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer, in an investigation that takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule…


This is the third book in the Roy and Castells series, but I found it easy to read as a stand alone. I haven’t read the previous two, but after reading Blood Song I am going to remedy that right away.

This has a background of the horrors of Franco’s Spain. The persecution of anyone they believed to be communist, socialists or republicans. The numbers given in the introduction to Johana Gustawsson’s tale are difficult to comprehend. 

Blood Song covers periods and locations from 1930’s Spain to 2016 Sweden, with visits to London too. 

There is someone who has killed members of the Lindbergh family, stabbing them and removing their tongues…….Kerstin, Göran and Louise were Aliénor’s mother, father and sister. Aliénor is a profiler, she has Aspergers and has difficulty with the emotions this tragedy causes and her friend Emily seems to be the only one to understand.

Emily is also a profiler, with her colleague Alexis Castells, a true crime author, and Aliènor, they try to solve these murders…..

But, there have been more killings… there a link? How could an IVF clinic be involved?

There are chapters from the 1930’s, where people were taken from their homes, some shot and others imprisoned, brutalised, raped and starved….any children were taken and sent to orphanages…..only to suffer abuse at the hands of priests and nuns…heartbreaking and anger inducing at the same time. 

How are these two timelines linked?

I cannot say much more, as there is no way I would want to spoil any part of this incredible thriller. I’ve not read a thriller like this, it’s so powerful and compelling with a cadence that matches the emotions. Absolutely stunning.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.


You can buy a copy here (really ! you need to read this!)




Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons. She drew on her own experience of fertility clinics and IVF to write Blood Song and is happy to speak and write pieces about this.


Book reviews, Comedy

Barnabas Tew and The Case Of The Enlightened Cow by Columbkill Noonan – Book Review



Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow Rama, the Hindu god who maintains dharma, or the balance of all things, is in terrible trouble, and only Barnabas and Wilfred can save him!

Private detectives to the gods, Barnabas Tew and Wilfred Colby, believed they’d discovered the secret to taking charge of their destinies. Unfortunately, they’re about to be taught a hard lesson: nothing is as it seems and taking control is easier said than done.

Fresh off their most challenging case to date, the two detectives step into a cenote: an otherworldly portal that connects worlds and can take them anywhere if they how to use it. Each is hoping to be reunited with someone he left behind, but they soon realize that something has gone terribly, disastrously wrong. Instead of being reunited with their lady-loves, they find themselves in a Hindu temple, together with Kamadeva, the Hindu god of desire.

Kamadeva asks them to save his friend Rama, who is in grave danger. It seems an innocent enough request, but Barnabas and Wilfred have learned that not everything is at it seems, and the right thing to do is not always so obvious. It doesn’t take long to discover that not all the gods want Rama saved, leaving the two detectives to make a terrible choice.

The detectives have faced dangerous deities before, but the Hindu gods are different. Otherworldly, wise, and full of shadowy motivations, they all seek to manipulate the hapless detectives to suit their purposes.

Can Barnabas and Wilfred see through the illusions and the lies to uncover the truth of the matter? Or will they fail, and choose the wrong side?


Barnabas Tew and his assistant Wilfred have arrived in a strange place…..they were heading for Midgard or Egypt, but as they couldn’t decide which, as they used the Cenote, they were thinking of different destinations and so arrived at neither.

But where are they? Well according to the green skinned, many armed couple 8n the same room, they are in Sindhu or India as the British call it….

They are tasked with rescuing Rama….which to this pair of argumentative buffoons, sounds simple….so off they go.

BUT, they meet a talking fish and due to a lack of respect, they are turned into fish themselves..! To be returned to human form, they have to rescue an earth cow and so this madcap adventure begins….

Can they rescue the earth cow? Can they also save Rama, the 7th incarnation of Vishnu…….does he want saving?

This is an adventure of two bumbling detectives who are best friends that bicker constantly….with bizarre talking fish and crabs in this joyous romp that will make you laugh out loud. 

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.


Purchase Links


US –


UK –


Author Bio – 


Columbkill Noonan is the author of the bestselling “Barnabas Tew” series, which features the bumbling-yet-lovable Victorian detective Barnabas and his trusty sidekick, Wilfred. 

Columbkill combines her love of mythology and her affinity for period fiction to craft unique cozy mysteries that will leave you guessing (and chuckling!) till the very end.

Social Media Links –


Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Very Nearly Dead by A K Reynolds – Book Review



My name is Jasmine Black, and I’m an ordinary woman apart from three things;

I’m hiding a terrible secret from my youth, my past is catching up with me and when it does, I’ll be dead.

Jasmine Black, a 34-year-old alcoholic, criminal lawyer, has a secret.

At the age of 16 she was in a gang of youths that committed a horrendous crime. As members of the gang start being killed one by one, Jasmine fears for her life.

Desperate to uncover who is responsible for the murders, Jasmine starts to investigate.

But can she uncover the truth before it’s too late? 



Jasmine Black is a lawyer, she is also an alcoholic.

One evening, driving home she knocks someone down and kills him…and worried about losing her job, she leaves the scene. She expects the be arrested at any time, but as the days go by, she begins to wonder if the guy wasn’t dead after all….her memory is a bit all over the place.

She then goes to her school reunion and after meeting up with her old ‘gang’….and memories of a past event still haunt her, the guilt is causing her to drink even more……with more memory lapses her life really is on a downward spiral. What is the secret that someone will kill to keep hidden?

This is a twisty tale full of tension, so fraught it will have your own nerves jangling. Twisty dark and completely unputdownable. 

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review. 

You can buy a copy here



Andy and Kath Reynolds are a husband and wife writing team who use the pen name A K Reynolds. As Kath doesn’t care for publicity, only Andy is pictured.

Kath provides the ideas for their stories and writes the introspective thoughts of their fictional characters. Andy does most of the plotting and writes the action scenes.

As to their backgrounds, Kath has worked in a women’s refuge and latterly as a consultant; Andy is a former lawyer.

Very Nearly Dead, a domestic noir thriller with a woman at its centre, is their debut novel. They plan to write many more.


Book reviews, Police procedural, Psychlogical thriller

False Prophet by James Hazel – Book Review



Charlie Priest is back, and this time it’s personal. The new page-turning thriller from the author of The May fly and The Ash Doll

Evil is in the blood.

When the body of a young woman is found with a nail through her head and a strange symbol drawn in blood next to her, the police are baffled. But as the body count rises, they soon realise they might have a serial killer in their midst.

Meanwhile lawyer Charlie Priest is wrapped up in a case disputing an ancient artefact. As links appear between Priest’s case and the murder victims, it is soon uncovered that this case is just about to become personal, and someone is determined to keep their secret, whatever the cost.




This starts with a Book…..Professor Owen has an ancient text, one of the Dead Sea scrolls that holds a secret, a secret he is willing to die to keep….

Charlie Priest is a supervising solicitor, to monitor the police search of Owen’s home for the Book….Elisha Capendale wants her property…

Alongside this is a murder case, victims found with an eight inch nail in their brains and a religious symbol left at the scenes….and the words ‘Kill the Giants’.

What is the link to the book? Are the defendants of the nephilim roaming the earth?

As the case gets dark and someone close to Charlie is in danger, he goes to visit his brother William, whose a serial killer himself and in a secure unit. Can William offer any help? 

There is a really creepy killer, religious tales and symbolism all in a clever mix of police procedural and dark thriller. The characters are so well developed, with their own personal problems and mixed up lives, which adds to the tension. Utterly compelling from start to nail biting finish….. If you like a thriller on the dark side, you’ll love this…

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

you can buy a copy here



Before turning his hand to writing, James Hazel was a lawyer in private practice specialising in corporate and commercial litigation and employment law

He was an equity partner in a regional law firm and held a number of different department headships until he quit legal practice to pursue his dream of becoming an author.

He has a keen interest in criminology and a passion for crime thrillers, indie music and all things retro.

James lives on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds with his wife and three children.

Book reviews, Classic Fiction, Crime thriller, Historical fiction

The Merchant Of Menace by Richard T. Ryan – Book Review



Reluctantly, Sherlock Holmes agrees to assist Inspector Lestrade who is being hounded by an obnoxious nobleman whose jewel-encrusted dagger has gone missing. However, what Holmes initially believes to be a simple theft turns out instead to be his first encounter with a master criminal, who is as ruthless as he is brilliant, and whom Watson dubs “The Merchant of Menace.”

Soon Holmes finds himself matching wits with a man who will steal anything – if the price is right. Moreover, this thief will go to any lengths, including blackmail and murder, to achieve his desired goal.

As Holmes comes to understand his adversary, he also begins to realize he can only react to the Merchant because he has no idea where this criminal mastermind will strike next. All Holmes knows for certain is the Merchant seems to specialize in priceless, one-of-a-kind articles. Will that be enough information for the Great Detective to outwit his foe?

From the British Museum to the Louvre to Blenheim Palace, Holmes finds himself in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. Set against the backdrop of early Edwardian England, the Great Detective and his Boswell encounter an array of luminaries from the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough to a young Winston Churchill.

For fans of Conan Doyle’s immortal detective, the game is always afoot. However, this time around Holmes must try to bring to justice a villain who might well be the next Napoleon of Crime.


Richard T. Ryan’s Sherlock Holmes Adventures Series:

#1 The Vatican Cameos ​​

#2 The Stone of Destiny ​​

#3 The Druid of Death​​ 

#4 The Merchant of Menace ​



Someone has stolen a jewelled dagger, a jambiya, from the home of Lord Thornton. A suspect is arrested but then released without charge, and at a loss, Inspector Lestrade approaches Sherlock Holmes for help…..

There have been other robberies with similarities and this appeals to Holmes and the investigation begins…

I have read many of Conan Doyle’s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and this is a worthy addition to the canon. It has the same cadence to the language and many of Holmes quirks and characteristics, even his tobacco in a Persian slipper and his penchant for disguise.

Some light humour, historical references and a worthy adversary for Holmes, and of course, his friend Dr Watson. 

So well written and a joy to read a new addition to the Sherlock Holmes library…..brilliantly entertaining.

Thank you to Caroline Vincent and Bits about Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here



thepaper 3
Rich Ryan

A lifelong Sherlockian, Richard Ryan is the author of “The Official Sherlock Holmes Trivia Book” as well as a book on Agatha Christie trivia, and his series, the Sherlock Holmes Adventures, now consisting of four books, all available from MX Publishing, London.

Richard Ryan obtained his master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in medieval literature; he is a die-hard fan of the Fighting Irish — it doesn’t matter what sport. He has been happily married for 40 years and is the proud father of two children.


Author Links

Twitter: @RicRyan52



Book reviews, Police procedural

Daddy’s Girls by Sarah Flint – Book Review


He wasn’t always a killer. At first, he just wanted to talk.

D.C. Charlie Stafford has an odd case on her hands. And it may be her toughest one yet.

A burglar who isn’t interested in valuables, the subject of Operation Greystream is a strange but smooth operator. In the dead of night, gloved and masked, he visits the elderly. He doesn’t hurt them and, if they beg, he won’t take anything of real value. 

All he wants is conversation… and they’re powerless to refuse him.

But then 87-year-old Florence Briarly is found by her friend, cold to the touch and neatly, too neatly, tucked into bed. And Charlie realises this case has taken a sinister, urgent turn. Now this stealthy burglar has had a taste of murder, it’s only a matter of time until he craves it again…



Daddy’s Girls is the 5th book in the DC Charlie Stafford series, but can easily be read as a stand-alone.

Elderly Florence has an intruder in her house, he wants to talk……but the following day her friend George, finds her body. 

Charlie is part of Operation Greystream, as they try to catch a burglar who breaks into elderly people’s homes, he chats and takes a small souvenir ….but now it seems he has escalated to murder.

Running parallel is the story of Thomas, who is dealing with the death of his wife Catherine in the worst way possible….he is a drug addict and his poor daughter, Emma is struggling to keep it all together and deal with her own grief. But then Thomas tells her Catherine has come back, he’s seen her, he’s watching her…

Are these two cases linked?

This is a solid police procedural with plenty of character background so they have a real personality and sometimes messy lives of their own. The thought of someone targeting the most vulnerable older people is a scary thought and this tale really does have a sense of menace and you wonder who will be next…..

I found this to be very well plotted with a few surprises too …totally gripping from start to finish. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Victoria Joss at Head of Zeus and Aria Fiction for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here




With a Metropolitan Police career spanning 35 years Sarah has spent her adulthood surrounded by victims, criminals and police officers. She continues to work and lives in London with her partner and has three older daughters.


Follow Sarah: 

Facebook: @SarahFlintBooks

Twitter: @SarahFlint19


Book reviews, Classic Fiction

The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie – Book Review



Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?



The Magic Carpet is set in a London school, where young children of 8 years old are turning fairy tales into a school performance.

They have been told they can make any changes they like and include anyone they want to.

So we follow the children to their homes and meet their families…..all from different backgrounds and it’s really a beautiful way of hearing all these stories. The different cultures, religions and languages and how they managed to make their lives in London.

There are grandparents, single parents, good and bad marriages and some sadness as there’s not always a happy ending….

A lovely diverse group of children and adults and not forgetting the difficult job the teachers do with almost limitless patience.

The final performances the children have created are thoughtful and show how the young really hold the power to change the world and our perceptions of it. Moving and thought provoking.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here




Jessica Norrie was born in London and studied French Literature and Education at Sussex and Sheffield. She taught English, French and Spanish abroad and in the UK in settings ranging from nursery to university. She has two adult children and divides her time between London and Malvern, Worcestershire.


She has also worked as a freelance translator, published occasional journalism and a French textbook, and blogs at


Jessica sings soprano with any choir that will have her, and has been trying to master the piano since childhood but it’s not her forte.


She left teaching in 2016. The Infinity Pool was her first novel, drawing on encounters while travelling. Her second novel The Magic Carpet is inspired by working with families and their children. The third is bubbling away nicely and should emerge from her cauldron next year.


The Magic Carpet is available at

The Infinity Pool is available at


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Book reviews, Science fiction

Jaffle Inc by Heide Goody & Iain Grant – Book Review



Alice works for Jaffle Tech incorporated, the world’s biggest technology company and the creator of the Jaffle Port, the brain implant that gives users direct access to global communications, social networks and every knowledge source on the planet.

Alice is on Jaffle Standard, the free service offered to all people. All she has to do in return is let Jaffle use a bit of her brain’s processing power. Maybe it’s being used to control satellites. Maybe it’s being used to further space exploration. Maybe it’s helping control self-driving cars on the freeway. Her brain is helping Jaffle help the world. And Jaffle are only using the bits of her brain she doesn’t need…

But when a kind deed goes wrong, Alice gains unauthorised access to her entire brain and discovers what she has been missing out on her entire life: music, art, laughter, love… 

Now that she has discovered what her mind is truly capable of, how long will the company bosses let her keep it?



Oh my, where do I start…..?

Alice works for Jaffle Inc, they developed a brain port that gives everyone access to information, eliminated the dementia epidemic and blindness. In return you agree to Jaffle using the unused part of the brain for data processing, everything from traffic to terrorists….

There are many levels of Jaffle, from Jaffle Lite, cleaners and janitors to Jaffle Freedom where you have access to your full brain…..all at a cost!

Everyone is bland, doing their job and living a life of structure and beans….

But then Alice helps Rufus Jaffle with a brain virus issue and as a result she ends up with his memories, and access to her brain……oh and a blue whale.

She then notices colours, smells and taste…..she starts to laugh for the first time….she also experiences anger and emotions for the first time.

With the building supervisor, Herberg she finds out about a new upgrade due which will reduce people to basic drones…….Can they stop the upgrade? How can the blue whale help?

Alice is a great character, wild and wacky and a reformed lover of bacon. Hattie is just brilliant and as for wiggler, never underestimate a pig.

This is full of humour, the whale with a tail is hilarious, it’s a clever tale of large corporations making decisions that affect human lives with little respect or consideration, just for power and greed. At times slightly bizarre but this science fiction tale is an immensely enjoyable read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.


you can buy a copy here




Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Irony In The Soul by Pete Adams – Book Review



Recuperating from his past mission, disturbed but driven D.I. Jack Austin returns to work amid a personality clash with a retired colonel – who happens to be his new Chief Constable. 

When the Constable is kidnapped – and returned in pieces – DI Austin’s hapless hunt for the culprit begins. He investigates a string of cryptic murders including a beheaded minister, a drowned woman in a Hijab, and a band of terrorists with explosives.

Meanwhile, Austin battles a grievous inner conflict. Will he thwart the perpetrator, or become a conspirator himself?



This is Book 2 in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series featuring DCI Jack Austin.

The story revolves around a domestic terrorist plot to cause civil unrest and political upheaval…..and some rather gruesome murders.

So Jack ( Mr Malacopperism himself) and his team investigate in their unique style. Jack is just recovering after being shot while solving a previous case, and recently back at work. He is such a character, slowly coming to terms with the death of his wife 3 years ago, PTSD and a new romance with Mandy. He really is a crisis magnet!

This is a serious thriller, but full of humour and tomfoolery from Jack, his nicknames for everyone are non stop and he tends to vocalise his thoughts which gets him into awkward moments. A fun thriller with a dark edge. Can’t wait for the next in the series.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

You can buy a copy here



Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.



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Published by Next Chapter Publishing in ebook and paperback formats on 28th June 2019.



Book reviews, Historical fiction, Thriller

A Shadow On The Lens by Sam Hurcom – Book Review



The Postmaster looked over my shoulder. As I turned to look I saw a flicker of movement from across the street. I felt unseen eyes peer at me.

He walked away without another word. I watched as he climbed onto his bicycle and sped away down the street. I turned back and looked over my shoulder.

Someone had been watching us.

  1. Thomas Bexley, one of the first forensic photographers, is called to the sleepy and remote Welsh village of Dinas Powys, several miles down the coast from the thriving port of Cardiff. A young girl by the name of Betsan Tilny has been found murdered in the woodland – her body bound and horribly burnt. But the crime scene appears to have been staged, and worse still: the locals are reluctant to help.

As the strange case unfolds, Thomas senses a growing presence watching him, and try as he may, the villagers seem intent on keeping their secret. Then one night, in the grip of a fever, he develops the photographic plates from the crime scene in a makeshift darkroom in the cellar of his lodgings. There, he finds a face dimly visible in the photographs; a face hovering around the body of the dead girl – the face of Betsan Tilny.



Betsan Tilney has been murdered and her body burnt. Due to the local villagers superstitions, her body is being kept in an abandoned church. They feel the Death is the result of the demon, Calon Fawr.

Thomas Bexley, a forensic photographer is sent to document the evidence, but he is unwell with a fever and starts to see things …including a shape over the body in one of his photographs …or is it just a flaw?

He visits Bethan’s mother and while unwell he is certain she told him, “Do not look for her with your eyes”….

Will Thomas find the killer, or is there something even darker walking in the village?

This is a creepy, gothic supernatural mystery in the vein of Poe and Lovecraft, there are even rats scratching in the ceiling….if like a historical, supernatural mystery then you’ll love this.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here



Sam Hurcom was born in Dinas Powys, South Wales in 1991. He studied Philosophy at Cardiff University, attaining both an undergraduate and master’s degree. He has since had several short stories published, and has written and illustrated a number of children’s books. Sam currently lives in the village he was raised in, close to the woodlands that have always inspired his writing. 


A SHADOW ON THE LENS is Sam’s debut novel.

(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Book reviews, Crime thriller

The Quiet Ones by Theresa Talbot – Book Review


If only someone had listened…

When the supposed suicide of famous Scottish football coach Harry Nugent hits the headlines, the tabloids are filled with tributes to a charitable pillar of the community that gave so much back to sport and to those less fortunate.

But something isn’t right. Normally celebrities are queuing up to claim to have had a very special relationship with the deceased, but investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil is getting the distinct impression that people are trying to distance themselves from Harry.

Oonagh’s investigation leads her to uncover a heartbreakingly haunting cover-up that chills her to the core… and places her in mortal danger from those willing to protect their sadistic and dark secrets at any cost…

Perfect for fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons and Cara Hunter


“I want you to tell me what it’s like to die “

Harry Nugent is found, by his wife, hanging from a bannister….all looking like suicide, until they find his tongue has been cut off and stuffed back in his mouth.

A police investigation begins with DI Alec Davies and his team and rumours start to circulate that Harry may not have been the person the public believed him to be.

Journalist, Oonagh O’Neill sees a colleague writing the obituary and thinks there may be more to this story and so she starts her own investigation……but then two more bodies are found, with similar mutilations!!  As Oonagh gets closer to the answers, she is in danger herself….can the guilty be brought to justice finally?

This is a difficult read at times due to the subject matter. It deals with the abuse of young boys by a well respected football coach…..(something that has been in the news quite recently)….and that it was kept quiet by others around him. 

This tale by Theresa Talbot is written showing sensitivity and compassion for the victims, and while it is a tough subject this brilliant thriller is a compelling read. 

Thank you to Aria Fiction for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.




Theresa Talbot is a freelance writer, journalist and radio presenter, perhaps best known as the voice of Traffic and Travel on BBC Radio Scotland and as the host of The Beechgrove Potting Shed. Prior to working with the BBC she was with Radio Clyde and the AA Roadwatch team. Theresa worked in various roles before entering the media as an assistant in children’s homes, a Pepsi Challenge girl and a library assistant. She ended up at the BBC because of an eavesdropped conversation on a no.66 bus in Glasgow. Her passions include rescuing chickens, gardening, music and yoga.


Follow Theresa: 

Facebook: @TheresaTalbotBooks

Twitter: @Theresa_Talbot


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Book reviews

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty – Book Review



Platform Seven at 4am: Peterborough Railway Station is deserted. The man crossing the covered walkway on this freezing November morning is confident he’s alone. As he sits on the metal bench at the far end of the platform it is clear his choice is strategic – he’s as far away from the night staff as he can get.

What the man doesn’t realise is that he has company. Lisa Evans knows what he has decided. She knows what he is about to do as she tries and fails to stop him walking to the platform edge.

Two deaths on Platform Seven. Two fatalities in eighteen months – surely they’re connected?

No one is more desperate to understand what connects them than Lisa Evans herself. After all, she was the first of the two to die.


I was lucky to read this via The Pigeon Hole, as a daily staves.

I found this to be a slightly unsettling read, as while its focus is on Lisa and her thoughts, she is actually a ghost. She had died on Platform 7.

She watches a man do the same and it’s so tense as she knows what he’s about to do, but can do nothing to help. She knows how he’s thinking, as she had been in the same situation.

I like the way it tells of the effects of these suicides by train have on the people who work on the stations and the poor sods of the British Transport Police (although from personal experience, I know it’s actually a lot worse and lasts for years).

We learn of Lisa’s life and the controlling people she was involved with and it is quite a bleak subject at times, but is written in such an emotional way it offers hope.

A compelling and thought provoking read.

Thank you to Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.


Book reviews, Fantasy

Children Of Sinai by Shelley Clarke – Book Review



How would you feel if you got caught up in a secret so vast it threatened everything the world had come to believe?

That’s what happened to John Milburn, computer science lecturer, orphan, husband and father, who lived an ordinary life in Haverhill, Suffolk, England. 

That is, until the dreams started…

From the idyllic calm of Cambridge, John Milburn is drawn to the dust and the heat of Jericho. 

Thrown into danger and intrigue, he discovers more than he’d bargained for. 

‘A wowser of a tale that is exciting and thought-provoking with a cast of characters you’ll fall in love with. Inspired by Biblical events, historical finds, theories and the author’s own strange imagination.’



Set in the present day, but with a prophecy from ancient Egypt. 

This tells of John, a husband and father to twin girls……but then he has a dream about ancient Egypt, and twins that are to be protectors.

A very clever mix of fact, some biblical events and fiction, with so much happening it keeps you hooked from start to finish.

It jumps between the two timelines, but in such a way as to keep it easy to follow, even with its twist and marvellously imaginative plot. An engaging read.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

Author Bio –


Shelley Clarke was born into a naval family in Kent in 1958, and consequently moved house a lot as a child. She had ambitions to follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Royal Navy, and to become a carpenter, but these were not female occupations at that time. So she learned to type… which has come in jolly handy for putting her stories first onto paper, and now onto screen. 

Shelley is a keen painter, poet, and karaoke enthusiast; she loves mad family get-togethers, hates olives, ironing and gardening, and currently lives in Devon with her husband Kev, and their two Tibetan Terriers Nena and Pepi, who make them smile every day.

Shelley often forgets she is a grown-up. 

Children of Sinai is Shelley’s debut novel. The story had been bouncing around her head for many years, and putting it down on paper has been the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. She certainly could not have got through this experience without a lot of cursing and chocolate!


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Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Bloodline by Pamela Murray – Book Review



When a young boy discovers a man’s body lying in a doorway, DI Burton and DS Fielding are called to the scene.

Believing the man was homeless, the police are shocked to discover the true identity of the victim; a Detective Constable from London who was working undercover.

But when the DNA from the victim is linked to a cold case Burton and Fielding find themselves looking into another unsolved murder.

And as the case unfolds, the detectives are faced with unpicking through a web of lies and deceit. But can they solve the murders before any more blood is spilt?



The second novel by Pamela Murray to feature DI Burton.

When a homeless man is found dead, DI Burton and his partner DS Fielding begin the investigation. But after the pathologist completes his investigation, they find out the man wasn’t homeless, but an undercover cop, Alan Blackburn.

So, DS Fielding and DC Summers decide to go undercover to continue DC Blackburn’s and investigate a dubious organisation that employs the homeless.

DI Burton and the team investigate the murder. This leads to another murder case from 30 years ago…..can they find the link and solve both cases

A gritty, tense and utterly gripping thriller.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review. 
You can buy a copy here




Pamela Murray is from the North East of England, and has spent most of her life living in Boldon. She began writing at an early age when she and her school friend used to write stories for one another. The writing continued on and off over the years, but was only recently reignited when the same school friend introduced her to the local writers group she was in.

Pamela had intended to enter Journalism after leaving school but found herself going to work in a Public Library instead, and has always had more than a passing interest in books and literature.

When not writing, Pamela is passionate about Cinema and her three grandchildren. She has also appeared as a Supporting Artiste in two episodes of the hit TV crime series “Vera”.

Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott – Book Review #TheSecretsWeKept




  1. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.

But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation. 

In Washington DC, the CIA is planning to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.

Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any means necessary.

It will not be easy. There are people prepared to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But they cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.

Sold in twenty-five countries and poised to become a global literary sensation, Lara Prescott’s dazzling first novel is a sweeping page turner and the most hotly anticipated debut of the year.


Based on the real person, Boris Pasternak, this is a possible story of how the famous novel, Dr Zhivago was smuggled out of the Soviet Union.

The CIA believed this to be an anti USSR novel and would be great propaganda.

Set in the 1950’s during the Cold War, this tells of Boris and his muse and lover, Olga. She is arrested and kept captive while the authorities want the details of Boris’ book. It tells the truth of the Russian Revolution and so is deemed subversive…

Part love story and part spy novel, with women taking a major part in the story, as the typing pool, women who were masters at getting information from various sources, mainly gullible men!

Also sometimes completing simple letter drops and at others more dangerous missions. These characters, Olga, Irina and Sally were my favourites and show you underestimate women at your peril!

Amazingly immersive writing by Lara Prescott, a real time thief of a novel. Brilliant historical fiction and a must read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here



Lara Prescott was named after the heroine of Doctor Zhivagoand first discovered the true story behind the novel after the CIA declassified 99 documents pertaining to its role in the book’s publication and covert dissemination.

She travelled the world – from Moscow and Washington, to London and Paris – in the course of her research, becoming particularly interested in political repression in both the Soviet Union and United States and how, during the Cold War, both countries used literature as a weapon.

Lara earned her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband.


Website :


Twitter : @laraprescott