blog tour, Book reviews, Thriller

Falling by TJ Newman – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.

What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.

For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

‘The best thriller I’ve read in years. Buckle up’ Adrian McKinty

‘FALLING is the best kind of thriller (for me as a reader anyway). Characters you care deeply about. Nonstop, totally authentic suspense’ James Patterson

MY REVIEW 

Captain Bill Hoffman is the pilot of Flight 416 out of New York……but then he finds out his family are being kept hostage……

Bill is told to crash the plane to kill all on board or his family will die. How will he save his family and passengers?

Wow…..what a rollercoaster of a thriller. The characters are so well developed you feel their tension in this race against time. A fantastic, terrifying read.

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Falling.

available here https://uk.bookshop.org/books/falling-the-most-thrilling-blockbuster-read-of-the-summer/9781398507241

https://amzn.to/3pIpJP5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

T. J. Newman, a former bookseller turned flight attendant, worked for Virgin America and Alaska Airlines from 2011 to 2021. She wrote much of Falling on cross-country red-eye flights while her passengers were asleep. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Falling is her first novel.

blog tour, Book reviews, Family drama

Fresh Water For Flowers by Valérie Perrin – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Her daily life is lived to the rhythms of the hilarious and touching confidences of random visitors and her colleagues—three gravediggers, three groundskeepers, and a priest.

Violette’s routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of police chief Julien Seul, wishing to deposit his mother’s ashes on the gravesite of a complete stranger.  Julien is not the only one to guard a painful secret: his mother’s story of clandestine love breaks through Violette’s carefully constructed defences to reveal the tragic loss of her daughter, and her steely determination to find out who is responsible. 

An unforgettable story of love and loss told through the life of a woman who believes obstinately in happiness. Touching on the deepest aspects of human life, Fresh Water for Flowers brings out the exceptional and the poetic in the ordinary and reminds us of the life affirming value of kindness.

MY REVIEW 

Fresh Water For Flowers is a tale of loss and grief, but also love and friendship.

Violette has been the caretaker of a cemetery for twenty years. She’s very quiet but she has friends in the shape of the gravediggers and she talks to the grieving mourners.

Violette is such a lovely character, so empathetic as dealing with her own grief she knows how others feel. 

There are lots of memories and stories of those buried in the cemetery and a little mystery too. This is so beautifully written (and translated) with a gentle, almost poetic insight into grief and how we deal with it and memories of the past. A charming melancholic read.

Thank you to Gaby at Midas PR for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and ARC of Fresh Water For Flowers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Valérie Perrin is a photographer and screenwriter who works with (and is married to) Claude Lelouch.  Her first novel, Les Oubliés du Dimanche, has won numerous prizes, including the 2016 Lire Élire and Poulet-Malassis prizes. Fresh Water for Flowers is her first novel to be translated into English and an international sensation.

Hildegarde Serle graduated in French from Oxford University. After working as a newspaper subeditor in London for many years, she obtained the Chartered Institute of Linguists Diploma in Translation. She is the translator of A Winter’s Promise and The Missing of Clairdelune, atmospheric, absorbing tale.

blog tour, Book reviews, Contemporary fiction

This is How We Are Human by Louise Beech – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean.

Sebastian is autistic. And lonely. Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy, and she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.

Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.

When these three lives collide, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. 

For everyone.

MY REVIEW 

Sebastian Murphy is a young man of twenty, he is also autistic.

He lives with his condition but there are times he wishes he could be cured. His mum, Veronica is fiercely protective of her son and as she rightly says, not all disabilities are visible (something I am personally very aware of).

Then there is Violeta, a student nurse, short of money and caring for her dad too, so to make the money she needs, she is also an escort.

These three lives are entwined with lonely Seb, Veronica who just wants him to be happy and experience the same things any young man wants, namely sex and Violeta who she is thinking of paying to give him that.

This is quite simply, astounding story telling, beautifully written and so full of emotion it’s heartbreaking and yet heartwarming too. With incredible, loveable characters it deals with coping with autism from both sides in a sympathetic and honest way. My favourite read of this year and will stay with me for a long time.

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of This is How We Are Human.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3fVXr0g

ABOUT LOUISE BEECH

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her 2019 novel Call Me Star Girl won Best magazine Book of the Year, and was followed by I Am Dust.

Book reviews, Crime thriller

No Going Back by Robert Crouch – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

What you don’t do will torment you.

When journalist Harry Lawson is pulled from a private swimming pool, his drowning looks like a tragic accident, but for one small detail – he knew someone was going to kill him.

The three text messages he fired off to an old flame the night before confirm he’s a troubled man. But former friend and sleuth, Kent Fisher, believes the messages hint at something deeper and more sinister – an investigation that cost Harry his life.

When a second reporter dies, it’s clear there’s a killer with unfinished business. As Kent inches towards a breakthrough he clashes with close friend Detective Inspector Ashley Goodman. She instructs him to stop investigating, knowing full well he won’t.

For Kent there’s no going back. He has to finish what he started, even though he risks losing a friend, and maybe his own life.

In the seventh murder mystery of the series, Kent Fisher digs deep to complete an investigation that’s far removed from the one he started.

MY REVIEW

#7 in the Kent Fisher Mysteries series, it can be read as a stand-alone but you will be missing out on a fantastic series.

Here, when Kent’s friend, the journalist Harry, is found dead he begins the investigation. He finds that Harry seemed to have known someone would kill him…

Kent begins to wonder who he can trust and when another journalist is killed DI Goodman tells him to leave the investigation to the police….but obviously he can’t. Will he catch the killer before anyone else dies?

Kent has an animal sanctuary and a will they won’t they, on and off relationship with Gemma. All the while he is trying to find out who killed his friend and why.

This is a marvellously twisty tale that will keep you guessing right to the end…full of tension, fantastic characters and a clever plot makes this another must read from Robert Crouch.

blog tour, Book reviews, Contemporary fiction

Everything Happens For A Reason by Katie Allen – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.

When a misguided well-wisher tells her that ‘everything happens for a reason’, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.

Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…

Both a heart-wrenching portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life-affirming and, quite simply, unforgettable read.

MY REVIEW 

Everything Happens for a Reason is the tale of grief and trying to make sense of tragedy.

Rachel was pregnant when she stopped a man from jumping in front of a train…but then tragedy strikes and her baby is stillborn. Utterly heartbroken, Rachel tris to fins a reason why? She wonders if saving the man at the train station is linked to the loss of her baby.

So, she decides to find him.

This is a heartbreaking read as Rachel struggles to believe everything happens for a reason all the while dealing with her grief. There are a few moments of humour with Lola and her daughter mixed with the tears in this heartbreaking and yet heartwarming and uplifting tale. A wonderful mix of tears and laughter.

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Everything Happens For A Reason.

ABOUT KATIE ALLEN

Everything Happens for a Reason is Katie’s first novel. She used to be a journalist and columnist at the Guardian and Observer, and started her career as a Reuters correspondent in Berlin and London. The events in Everything Happens for a Reason are fiction, but the premise is loosely autobiographical. Katie’s son, Finn, was stillborn in 2010, and her character’s experience of grief and being on maternity leave without a baby is based on her own. And yes, someone did say to her ‘Everything happens for a reason’.

Katie grew up in Warwickshire and now lives in South London with her husband, children, dog, cat and stick insects. When she’s not writing or walking children and dogs, Katie loves baking, playing the piano, reading news and wishing she had written other people’s brilliant novels.

blog tour, Book reviews, Ghost story

Echoes Of Home by M. L. Rayner – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

 After accepting a generous opportunity to start afresh, Leslie Wills, a young man from Stoke-on-Trent, eagerly begins his long-distance journey to the Scottish Highlands of Elphin, a settled village that sits huddled amongst the dominating mountains. Its people are welcoming, and the beauty of the land is great. But deep within its Highland paths, a location rests hidden from the public’s eye. A location which entices you to learn the truth of its troubled past. But once you bear witness to its sights and sounds, its presences will never allow you to forget.

Uncover the truth, Journeying back to a forgotten time. With a plot full of secrets and suspicion that will leave you longing for answers.

MY REVIEW 

I love a good ghost story and Echoes of Home really fit the bill.

Here, Leslie Wills mum has died and he feels a little lost, what’s is going to happen now?.

His brother offers him a home, Elphin Cottage in the highlands, so obviously he goes.

The cottage is in a remote area, in a stunningly beautiful landscape, alone except for one other cottage. But these cottages have a dark past and is Leslie about to be one a part of it?

Beautifully written and atmospheric, you can feel the chill breeze and the creaks of an old cottage….a classic ghost story that will make a perfect Halloween read.

Thank you to Zooloos Book Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Echoes of Home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Born and bred in the county of Staffordshire. Matt is a keen reader of classical, horror and fantasy literature and enjoys writing in the style of traditional ghost stories. During his working life, Matt joined the ambulance service in 2009, transporting critically ill patients all over the UK. After writing his first novel, Matt was welcomed into the family of Question Mark Press publishing and now dedicates his time on future releases. His hobbies include genealogy and hiking, and he enjoys spending time with his wife, Emma, his children, and his family.

Follow him at:

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m.l.rayner/

Twitter https://twitter.com/M_L_Rayner

Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/M.-L.-Rayner/e/B08LTXNSH4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20902655.M_L_Rayner

blog tour, Book reviews, Family drama, Mental Health

Matilda Windsor is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect.

Henry was only a boy when he waved goodbye to his glamorous grown-up sister; approaching sixty, his life is still on hold as he awaits her return.

As a high-society hostess renowned for her recitals, Matty’s burden weighs heavily upon her, but she bears it with fortitude and grace.

Janice, a young social worker, wants to set the world to rights, but she needs to tackle challenges closer to home.

A brother and sister separated by decades of deceit. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?

In this, her third novel, Anne Goodwin has drawn on the language and landscapes of her native Cumbria and on the culture of long-stay psychiatric hospitals where she began her clinical psychology career.

MY REVIEW 

Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home is mainly set in a psychiatric hospital for long stay patients. Matilda has been here for decades, sent here as a young woman but now a young idealist social worker has arrived and she’s working to get people back to ‘normal’ lives outside.

This is a beautifully written tale of a world many of us have no idea exists, of a community within the community. I fell in love with Matty and her friends, the odd and peculiar who really just want to get on with life.

It’s also horrifying how people could be hospitalised for so many years just because people are scared of those with mental health problems. Out of sight out of mind seems to be the answer for many.

It is clear, from her writing, the author has strong feelings on this issue and this makes for an emotional and thought provoking read. 

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Matilda Windsor is Coming Home 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Anne Goodwin grew up in the non-touristy part of Cumbria, where this novel is set. When she went to university ninety miles away, no-one could understand her accent. After nine years of studying, her first post on qualifying as a clinical psychologist was in a long-stay psychiatric hospital in the process of closing.

Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, was published in 2017. Her short story collection, Becoming Someone, on the theme of identity, was published in November 2018. Subscribers to her newsletter can download a free e-book of prize-winning short stories.

blog tour, Book reviews, War fiction

Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In May 2021, IWM will publish two more novels in their Wartime Classics Series which was launched in September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total number of novels in the series to ten. Each has been brought back into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict first hand.

First published in 1942, Sword of Bone is a lightly fictionalised memoir based on Anthony Rhodes’ own experiences during the Second World War – firstly during the so-called ‘Phoney War’ from 1939 – 40, followed by the terror of the evacuation of Dunkirk. Shortly after war was declared, he was sent to France serving with the British Army where his days were filled with billeting, friendships and administration – the minutiae of Army life. Apart from a visit to the Maginot Line, the conflict seems a distant prospect. It is only in the Spring of 1940 that the true situation becomes clear – the Belgian, British armies and some French divisions are ‘now crowded into a small pocket in the North of France’. The men are ordered to retreat to the coast and the beaches of Dunkirk where they face a desperate and frightening wait for evacuation.

The ‘miracle’ of Dunkirk was a brilliantly improvised naval operation that extracted more than 338,000 men from the Dunkirk beaches and brought them safely back to England. Some 850 vessels, including channel steamers and fishing boats, took part in this, Operation ‘Dynamo’. The final pages of the novel outline Rhodes’ experiences of the chaos of the evacuation where the scenes are depicted in vivid and terrifying detail.

IWM Senior Curator, Alan Jeffreys, has written an introduction to each book that provides context and the wider historical background. He says, ‘researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

MY REVIEW 

Sword of Bone is the story of the uneasy calm before the storm of WW2 and Dunkirk. The soldiers in France are living the high life at first believing this war would be like WW1, a battle fought in the trenches.

However, things changed rapidly and they were trapped near the sea, with nowhere to go. The largest rescue mission is then put underway with just about anything that floated being sent to pick these despairing men up.

This is a slow burn of a read with all events building up to the historic rescue at Dunkirk. There is some dark humour and will appeal to anyone with a love of war fiction.

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of Sword of Bone.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Anthony Rhodes (1916 – 2004) served with the British Army in France during the so-called ‘Phoney War’ and was evacuated from Dunkirk in May 1940. In the latter part of the war he was sent to Canada as a camouflage officer and was invalided out of the Army in 1947 having served for 12 years. After the conflict he enjoyed a long academic and literary career and wrote on various subjects, including the 1956 Hungarian Revolution for the Daily Telegraph and well-regarded histories of the Vatican.

blog tour, Book reviews, Cosy mystery

The Hunting Season by Tom Benjamin – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

It’s truffle season and in the hills around Bologna the hunt is on for the legendary Boscuri White, the golden nugget of Italian gastronomy. But when an American truffle ‘supertaster’ goes missing, English detective Daniel Leicester discovers not all truffles are created equal. Did the missing supertaster bite off more than he could chew?

As he goes on the hunt for Ryan Lee, Daniel discovers the secrets behind ‘Food City’, from the immigrant kitchen staff to the full scale of a multi-million Euro business. After a key witness is found dead at the foot of one of Bologna’s famous towers, the stakes could not be higher. Daniel teams up with a glamorous TV reporter, but the deeper he goes into the disappearance of the supertaster the darker things become. Murder is once again on the menu, but this time Daniel himself stands accused. And the only way he can clear his name is by finding Ryan Lee…

Discover Bologna through the eyes of English detective Daniel Leicester as he walks the shadowy porticoes in search of the truth and, perhaps, even gets a little nearer to solving the mystery of Italy itself.

MY REVIEW 

The Hunting Season is a mystery tale set in Bologna. 

Private Investigator,Daniel Leicester, is trying to find a missing man, Ryan Lee

His parents reported him missing when he didn’t pick them up at the airport as they’d arranged,

This tale has a lot of beautifully written and descriptive detail about Italy, it’s customs and food and at times the missing man mystery seems forgotten. 

With lots of characters the story gradually unfolds and the mystery is solved. A slow burn, well written mystery tale that clearly shows the author’s love of Bologna. 

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of The Hunting Season.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Tom Benjamin grew up in London and began his working life as a reporter before becoming a spokesman for Scotland Yard. He went on to work in international aid and public health, developing Britain’s first national programme against alcohol abuse and heading up drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He now lives in Bologna, Italy.

Find Tom on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at tombenjaminsays or at tombenjamin.com

blog tour, Book reviews, War fiction

Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUMS TO PUBLISH ANOTHER NOVEL IN THEIR WARTIME CLASSICS SERIES FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE FAMOUS MEMOIR SAGITTARIUS RISING

In May 2021, IWM will publish two more novels in their Wartime Classics series which was launched in September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total novels in the series to ten. Each has been brought back into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict firsthand.

First published in 1944 and set over the course of one night in 1942, the story follows the fate of six crew members of a Wellington bomber ‘P for Pathfinder’ thrown together by chance from different corners of the world. They each reflect on the paths of their own lives, as they embark on a fateful mission deep into the heart of Nazi Germany. Cecil Lewis’ novel examines the life of every man in turn, rendering a moving account of each as not merely a nameless crew member, but as an individual with a life lived, ‘a life precious to some, or one… these men with dreams and hopes and plans of things to come.”

Cecil Lewis was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of pilots to fly, including his own son. It was while doing this training that he wrote Pathfinders. Pupils were graded by the time it took them to fly solo – the best became fighters and then bombers. The RAF’s Bomber Command was the only branch of the armed forces that could take direct action against Germany and in 1942 the strategic air offensive changed from precision to area bombing where whole cities were targeted in order to destroy factories as well as the morale of those who worked in them.

The ‘pathfinders’ of the story were needed because often the bombers could not find the towns and cities they were destined to attack at night, let alone the industrial centres within. The crew used coloured marker flares to guide the bombers to their targets and the crews selected (often from the USA, Canada and NZ as well as Britain) were the best night flying crews who were able to find the target unaided. As a pilot who took part in both World Wars, Cecil Lewis brings his unique experience to bear, shining a light on this vital and sometimes contested aspect of Britain’s Second World War focusing on the sacrifice made by the Allied airmen it depicts.

IWM Senior Curator, Alan Jeffreys, has written an introduction to each book that provides context and the wider historical background. He says, ‘researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

MY REVIEW 

Pathfinders is the tale of the crew of a Wellington bomber, they are preparing for a mission (little do they know it is their last).

This is not an action packed war story, but one about the men who fought in one. It tells of their backgrounds, their different nationalities and lives before the war.

It is also about camaraderie and trust. For me, it’s a reminder that these men are not just part of the huge number of casualties and deaths at war, everyone of them was a man with lives and families waiting for them to come home……and many never did.

A heart breaking and thought provoking read.

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and a copy of Pathfinders.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Cecil Lewis (1898 – 1997) was a British fighter ace in the First World War and his memoir Sagittarius Rising became a classic of the literature from that war, considered by many to be the definitive account of aerial combat. He was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War

where he taught hundreds of pilots to fly, including his own son. After the war he was one of the founding executives of the BBC and enjoyed friendships with many of the creative figures of the day, including George Bernard Shaw, winning an Academy Award for co-writing the 1938 film adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion. He had a long and varied career but retained a passion for flying all his life. In 1969 he sailed a boat to Corfu where he spent the remainder of his life, dying two months short of his 99th birthday. He was the last surviving British fighter ace of the First World War.

blog tour, Book reviews, Mystery, Supernatural

The Crazy Season by Jim Ody – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Joel Baxter is infamous for solving weird and bizarre cases that others avoid. So, when he receives an email from a teenage boy Tim saying his town is cursed, he cannot turn it down.

“…I will more than likely be dead when you read this. There is nothing I can do about it. It’s the curse, and we’ve hit The Crazy Season.” Every 20 years, there are a handful of unexplained teenage deaths and it’s started again.

With the help of his straight-talking friend Melody, they set out to get to the bottom of the alleged curse. Everybody in Black Rock has secrets and nobody wants to speak.

The closer they get to truth the more Joel and Melody realise that their involvement is far from coincidental.

MY REVIEW 

The Crazy Season is a paranormal mystery that has you hooked from the very start.

Joel and Melody begin to investigate a series of teen suicides, while they are years apart it appears they may be linked. A small coastal town, full of secrets and a sense of the claustrophobia of living in a place where everyone knows everything about each resident adding a feeling of tension.

Joel is a great character, a little awkward and quiet and the bright, fierce Melody is the perfect fresh breeze of a character, just what Joel needs. A great partnership in the making.

The Crazy Season is a mystery tale with a paranormal edge and great characters and a thoroughly entertaining read.

Thank you to Zooloo’s Book Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of The Crazy Season.

blog tour, Book reviews, Nordic noir, Thriller

The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The award-winning Godfather of Nordic Noir returns with a fascinating and richly authentic portrait of Oslo’s interwar years, featuring Nazis operating secretly on Norwegian soil and militant socialists readying workers for war…

Oslo, 1938. War is in the air and Europe is in turmoil. Hitler’s Germany has occupied Austria and is threatening Czechoslovakia; civil war rages in Spain and Mussolini reigns in Italy.

When a woman turns up at the office of police-turned-private investigator Ludvig Paaske, he and his assistant – his one-time nemesis and former drug-smuggler, Jack Rivers – begin a seemingly straightforward investigation into marital infidelity.

But all is not what it seems. Soon, Jack is accused of murder, sending them on a trail which leads back to the 1920s, to prohibition-era Norway, to the smugglers, sex workers and hoodlums of his criminal past … and an extraordinary secret.

A stunning, sophisticated, tension-packed thriller – the darkest of hardboiled Nordic Noir – from one of Norway’s most acclaimed crime writers.

MY REVIEW 

The Assistant is set in the 1920 and 1930’s in the time of prohibition in Norway. 

Jack Rivers is a smuggler and Ludvig Paaske is trying to catch him, it is illegal after all.

Even after their differences of opinions in the past, they eventually become colleagues as private investigators and with the threat of war looming, there is an errant husband case to solve. But then Jack is accused of murder!

The Assistant is a thriller, but it’s also a tale of friendship, love and betrayal all set in pre-war Norway. Beautifully written with a real sense of time and place, this is a sharp, tension packed thriller. Nordic Noir at its best.

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of The Assistant.

PURCHASE LINK: https://amzn.to/3aXnl0I

ABOUT KJELL OLA DAHL

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eighteen novels, the most prominent of which form a series of police procedurals- cum-psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix, and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015 (published in English by Orenda books in 2019). His work has been published in fourteen countries. He lives in Oslo. Follow him on Twitter @ko_dahl

blog tour, Book reviews, Crime thriller

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Number One bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her twentieth edge-of-your seat thriller featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A storm has hit South Carolina, dredging up crimes of the past.

En route to Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan receives a call from the Charleston coroner. During the storm, a medical waste container has washed up on the beach. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Chillingly, Tempe recognises many details as identical to those of an unsolved case she handled in Quebec fifteen years earlier. With a growing sense of foreboding, she flies to Montreal to gather evidence and convince her boss Pierre LaManch to reopen the cold case. She also seeks the advice—and comfort—of her longtime beau Andrew Ryan.

Meanwhile, a storm of a different type gathers force in South Carolina. The citizens of Charleston are struck by capnocytophaga, a bacterium that, at its worst, can eat human flesh. Thousands panic and test themselves for a rare genetic mutation that may have rendered them vulnerable.

Shockingly, Tempe eventually deduces not only that the victims in both grisly murder cases are related, but that the murders and the disease outbreak also have a common cause . . .

MY REVIEW 

The Bone Code is #20 in the Temperance Brennan series, it can also be read as a stand-alone.

This starts with a hurricane, as it begins Tempe meets an old woman who asks her to find out what happened to her aunt who went missing many, many years ago. The only clue is a death mask which is the exact image of this old lady, her sister and even her grandmother,

After the storm, Tempe visits her friend Anne, but then receives a call from the local coroner, a shipping container has washed up on the beach, with two bodies inside. Tempe’s heart drops as it reminds her of a similar case from years ago…

And so the story begins…

This is Tempe at her very best, a cold case, new bodies and a missing aunt, along with her relationship with Ryan and her cat Birdie, all the while dealing with the dead and their secrets. Plenty of medical details told in Tempe’s unique, matter of fact way, this is a marvellous read, lots of tension, a clever and twisty plot. So utterly compelling from start to finish. I loved every minute.

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of The Bone Code.

Purchase link…https://amzn.to/3t4E609

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead was a number one bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. The Bone Code is Kathy’s twentieth entry in her series featuring forensic anthropologist Temper- ance Brennan. Kathy was also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.

Dr. Reichs is one of very few forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and as a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada.

blog tour, Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Mirrorland by C L Johnstone – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is a thrilling work of psychological suspense about twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.

Cat lives in Los Angeles, far away from 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where she and her estranged twin sister, El, grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.

But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to 36 Westeryk Road, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. The grand old house is still full of shadowy corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues in almost every room: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…

A twisty, dark, and brilliantly crafted thriller about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom.

MY REVIEW 

Mirrorland is a unique thriller with a twist.

Cat and her twin sister, El had an imaginary world when they were growing up, Mirrorland. Here there was fear, clowns, witches and more….

As they got older they become estranged, Cat lives in the US but El still lives in Edinburgh in their childhood home with her husband. But then El disappears.

Cat returns to Edinburgh and the hunt for El begins. The police are involved but Cat begins to get strange messages……a treasure hunt, but will she like what she finds?

This dark, imaginative thriller is told from two timelines, the past, with the children’s make believe world and the present. It’s dark and full it a subtle tension that keeps you wondering just what is going on…….but then it all comes together in the incredible final chapters. Well written with great characters, even if they weren’t particularly likeable and thoroughly engrossing. 

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Mirrorland.

blog tour, Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Vanished by James Delargy – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

From the groundbreaking author of 55 comes an extraordinary new thriller…

The Kane family, Lorcan, Naiyana and their young son, are desperate to move their young family far away from the hustle and bustle of modern city life in Perth.

The abandoned town of Kallayee, an abandoned mining town in the Great Victoria Desert, seems like the perfect getaway: no one has lived there for decades. It will be peaceful. Quiet. Secure.

But life in Kallayee isn’t quite as straightforward as they hope. Lights flicker at night. There are noises in the earth, mysterious shadows and tracks in the dust as if their presence is breathing new life back into the long-dead town.

Lorcan and Naiyana refuse to leave. No one can talk sense into them. And now, no one can talk to them at all.

They’ve simply vanished.

MY REVIEW 

Vanished is set in the Australian outback and it’s here the Kane family now live after leaving Perth, making a new, safe life in this inhospitable part of the world. But, why did they leave?

They now live in a remote area, but so does a group of men who also have secrets and there is an uneasy, tense agreement to live and let live between them. But things get dark with strange noises, and some creepy moments too. 

The story is told gradually, with little asides showing how past events have led to this point. All the while there is a police investigation trying to find this missing family….

Well, what can I say?  This is well written and full of tension with an oppressive atmosphere that’s almost claustrophobic. A slow burn of a psychological thriller that is utterly compelling from start to finish. 

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of Vanished.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi- rural England where he now lives. He incorporates this diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. His first novel, 55, was published in 2019 and has been sold to 21 territories to date. Vanished is his second novel. Find him on Twitter: @jdelargyauthor/

blog tour, Book reviews, Crime thriller

The Black Fox by Gordon Bickerstaff – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Incredible conspiracy. Intricate espionage. Spy story.

Zoe Tampsin is resourceful, smart and Special Forces-trained, but she has been given an impossible mission.

She has to protect scientist, Gavin Shawlens, from assassination by the CIA, and discover the secret trapped in Gavin’s mind that the CIA want destroyed.

As the pressure to find Shawlens escalates – the CIA send Zoe’s former mentor to track her down and her fate seems sealed when he surrounds Zoe and Gavin with a ring of steel. With each hour that passes, the ring is tightened, and the window for discovering Gavin’s secret will shut.

Zoe is faced with a decision that goes against all of her survival instincts. If she is wrong – they both die. If she is right – she will discover the secret and become the next target for assassination.

Run for your life…

MY REVIEW 

THE BLACK FOX is #3 in the Lambeth Group series by Gordon Bickerstaff and it is a belter.

Here, Zoe (Black Fox) has been tasked with taking Dr Gavin Shawlens into hiding to keep him safe from the CIA. What does Dr Shawlens know that is worth causing an international incident over?

What can I say? This is an action packed, tense thriller that has you utterly gripped from start to suspense filled end. Full of sharp twists and complex characters that makes this a true page turner. (It would make a perfect movie). A truly memorable thriller. I love this series and it’s perfect for anyone who loves a clever thriller.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of The Black Fox.

About Gordon Bickerstaff:

I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. I studied biochemistry, and I’ve worked in several Scottish universities where I did research on enzymes, and taught biochemistry. After thirty years of teaching and research I retired my academic pen, and took of a mightier fiction pen.

I live in central Scotland with my wife and we enjoy reading, writing, and walking in the hills.

The Lambeth Group books follow the secret government investigations of agent Zoe Tampsin. A strong female protagonist with courage, determination, and guile. She is assisted by specialist consultant, Gavin Shawlens.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GFBickerstaff

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012357701552

Website: http://bit.ly/1g4gEoa

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/gordon-bickerstaff

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5776209.Gordon_Bickerstaff

blog tour, Book reviews, Crime thriller

Facets Of Death by Michael Stanley – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A dark and sophisticated thriller set in the heart of Botswana, introducing Michael Stanley’s beloved Detective Kubu.

Recruited straight from university to Botswana’s CID, David ‘Kubu’ Bengu has raised his colleagues’ suspicions with his meteoric rise within the department, and he has a lot to prove.

When the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats worth of gems, and the thieves are found, executed, Kubu leaps at the chance to prove himself. First he must find the diamonds – and it seems that a witch doctor and his son have a part to play.

Does this young detective have the skill and integrity to engineer an international trap? Or could it cost him everything?

MY REVIEW 

This is a prequel to the series featuring Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu , it is an introduction to his beginnings in the police force Criminal Investigation Department in Botswana.

Assistant Superintendent Makabu assigns Kubu to a complex case on his first day. A plane disaster which is at first believed to be an accident….but there’s more to it than that…diamonds are at the heart of it. When the diamond deliveries are moved to armoured trucks there’s a robbery.

But the robbers start turning up dead and some believe a witchdoctor has cursed them.

Kubu really is thrown in at the deep end with his first big case and it highlights what a patient and thorough detective he is.

This is a crime thriller at its very best, so well written with beautiful descriptions of Botswana and the surrounding area, a fascinating and immensely likeable main character and a dark, dark and twisty plot. Incredible writing that has me totally engrossed from start to finish. Simply brilliant .

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Facets of Death.

Purchase link : https://amzn.to/3sc9fOR

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and

learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialised in image processing and remote sensing and taught at the University of the Witwatersrand.

On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger. 

The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was shortlisted for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award. 

They have also written a thriller, Dead of Night, following the investigative journalist, Crystal Nguyen, who gets caught up in the war against rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling.

blog tour, Book reviews, Crime thriller

Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Rebekah Murphy knows too much. . .

She knows she’s alone on an abandoned island with a killer on her trail. 

She knows that to get home to her children, she must survive long enough to understand why this is happening. 

She knows someone tried to kill her for a secret.

What she doesn’t know is what that secret is . . .

Detective Frank Travis doesn’t know enough . . .

He doesn’t know where to find Louise Mason. He doesn’t know how and why she vanished into thin air three months ago. He doesn’t know the identity of the man last seen talking to her. Not yet.

But what he does know it that he’s a week away from retirement — and if he doesn’t find out where Louise went, no one will. 

What neither Rebekah nor Detective Travis realise is that each holds a missing piece from the same puzzle — and it will cost them everything they love to finally solve it . . .

MY REVIEW 

Rebekah Murphy is stranded on Crow Island, she’s in a n area ravaged by a hurricane with few facilities left.

Why is she stranded? Who is it that wants her dead?

All will become clear……eventually

The story is told from various perspectives and timelines, from Rebekah past and present which gradually reveals how she has ended up on Crow Island, and from Detective Travis and his search for a missing artist. 

Are these cases linked?

This is a thriller, absolutely packed with tension and the descriptions of the island and its weather feels almost claustrophobic adding a nail biting edge to the story. With lots of twists, a feeling of impending danger throughout this is gripping from start to finish. I need a lay down now.! Brilliant storytelling from Mr Weaver.

Thank you to Chrissie at Michal Joseph for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour and for an ARC of Missing Pieces.