blog tour, Book reviews, Gothic horror, Historical fiction

Letters From The Dead by Sam Hurcom – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Sam Hurcom’s debut, A Shadow on the Lens, published last year and was described by The Guardian as ‘gothic, claustrophobic and wonderfully dark’. His second book, Letters From the Dead is a complete standalone but follows the same protagonist, Thomas Bexley, who is one of the world’s first forensic photographers. This is a stifling and atmospheric gothic crime novel set in the early 20th century for fans of The Woman in Black, The Silent Companions and Little Strangers.

The year is 1905. After a turbulent year, Thomas Bexley has become a drunkard and recluse, haunted by terrible visions of the dead. But when news of a spate of extraordinary kidnappings reaches him, he’s shocked to learn that his dear friend and former mentor, Professor Elijah Hawthorn, is the lead suspect.

Discovering a plea for help from Hawthorn claiming to have unearthed a gruesome conspiracy at the heart of the Met Police, Thomas embarks on a journey to prove Hawthorn’s innocence.

But wherever Thomas goes, he is followed by the dead, and as the mystery of Hawthorn’s disappearance deepens, so too does Thomas’s apparent insanity… How can he be certain of the truth when he can’t trust anybody around him, not even himself…?

MY REVIEW

Letters FromThe Dead is the follow-on from the marvellous, Shadow On The Lens.

Here, Thomas Bexley is still struggling to come to terms with previous events, he is virtually a recluse, drinking himself into oblivion every day.

But, then he hears the police suspect his old mentor, Elijah, of being the London Wraith and responsible for kidnappings and murders. 

So, Thomas sets out to prove the police wrong and that Elijah is innocent.

This is gothic crime fiction at its very best, it reminds me of Poe’s writing and that sense of dread building through this tale. It has a real sense of time and place, the poverty of that time and the tension is palpable at times. It’s twisty , harrowing and utterly compelling. A must read for any fan of gothic fiction.

Thank you to Alex at Orion Books for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of Letters From The Dead.

blog tour, Book reviews, Fantasy

The Thief On The Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Kendrick family have been making world-famous dolls since the early 1800s. But their dolls aren’t coveted for the craftmanship alone. Each one has a specific emotion laid on it by its creator. A magic that can make you feel bucolic bliss or consuming paranoia at a single touch. Though founded by sisters, now only men may know the secrets of the workshop.

Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn the family craft, and when a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and a blood tie to the Kendricks, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.

But then, one night, the family’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her. Only a Kendrick could have committed this crime…

MY REVIEW 

Persephone works in the Kendrick family business, they make rather special, magical dolls. Each doll has an enchantment added so anyone who touches it feels that emotion, such as love, fear and paranoia. Only the men of the family are allowed to add these enchantments.

This is the secret of the Kendrick family.

One day a man, Larkin, arrives claiming to be a lost member of the family, a descendent unknown of. He wants to be part of this family business and learn it’s secrets. 

But, then their most prized doll, the Paid Mourner disappears, who would have been able to steal this doll with all its protection? 

They believe in the story The Thief on the Winged Horse may have taken it and that a payment is needed for its return. But is it that simple?

This is a whodunnit with a difference, it has a slightly surreal fantasy heart that is unique.

It feels like historical fiction in the manners and rest of the characters, but they also use mobile phones and technology. The Kendrick business is a male dominated world but the women are just as powerful and soon things will change.

The characters are well developed, some likeable and some definitely not. The world building is very clever and I loved the mix of old and new.

A slightly surreal fantasy that I found thoroughly engrossing from start to finish.

Thank you to Amber at Midas PR for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and a copy of The Thief on the Winged Horse.

blog tour, Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

I want you to remember something, Nat. You’re small on the outside. But inside you’re as big as everyone else. You show people that and you won’t go far wrong in life.’

A compelling story perfect for fans of The Doll Factory, The Illumination of Ursula Flight and The Familiars.

My name is Nat Davy. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? There was a time when people up and down the land knew my name, though they only ever knew half the story.

The year of 1625, it was, when a single shilling changed my life. That shilling got me taken off to London, where they hid me in a pie, of all things, so I could be given as a gift to the new queen of England.

They called me the queen’s dwarf, but I was more than that. I was her friend, when she had no one else, and later on, when the people of England turned against their king, it was me who saved her life. When they turned the world upside down, I was there, right at the heart of it, and this is my story.

Inspired by a true story, and spanning two decades that changed England for ever, The Smallest Man is a heartwarming tale about being different, but not letting it hold you back. About being brave enough to take a chance, even if the odds aren’t good. And about how, when everything else is falling apart, true friendship holds people together.

MY REVIEW 

The Smallest Man is historical fiction set during the reign of Charles I, and is the story of Nathaniel Davy, ‘The Queen’s Dwarf’.

Nat was born into a poor family and was sold into service. He became part of Queen Henrietta Maria’s royal court and soon became one of her favourites and constantly by her side. He travelled with her across Europe as civil war broke out.

Nat is the narrator of his story, his life and adventures with even a little romance. His charming personality, wit and resilience really come across, he’s such a likeable character.

There is plenty of historical fact seamlessly mixed with the fiction and the details,of the royal court and its politics is fascinating.

A heartwarming tale of one man’s strength, resilience and the power of kindness and compassion. Something we desperately need in this world today.

Beautifully written and completely engaging from start to finish. Historical fiction at its best.

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

blog tour, Book reviews, Police procedural

The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In this beautiful, lyrical sequel to the critically acclaimed We Were the Salt of the Sea, Detective Moralès finds that a seemingly straightforward search for a missing fisherwoman off Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula is anything but.

When an abandoned lobster trawler is found adrift off the coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, DS Joaquin Moralès begins a straightforward search for the boat’s missing captain, Angel Roberts – a woman in a male-dominated world. But Moralès finds himself blocked at every turn – by his police colleagues, by fisheries bureaucrats, and by his grown-up son, who has turned up at his door with a host of his own personal problems.

When Angel’s body is finally discovered, it’s clear something very sinister is afoot, and Moralès and son are pulled into murky, dangerous waters, where old resentments run deep…

An exquisitely written, evocative and poetic thriller, The Coral Bride powerfully conjures the might of the sea and the communities who depend on it, the never-ending struggle between the generations, and an extraordinary mystery at the heart of both.

MY REVIEW 

The second book featuring DS Moralés.

DS Joaquin Moralés is a relative newcomer to a small fishing community.

When a trawler is found adrift, a fisherwoman is missing, believed to have perished at sea. When her body is discovered it appears to have been staged as a suicide.

But, was it?   The investigation begins……

This is a police procedural with a murder mystery to solve, but at its heart is the story of a small community, it’s characters who rely on the sea for their livelihood and the struggle of women to be part of this life.

Beautifully written, almost poetic at times, this crime mystery has great characters, a clever, involved plot that is full of evocative descriptions of the sea. 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 eARC of The Coral Bride.

ABOUT ROXANNE BOUCHARD

Over ten years ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. Her fifth novel (first translated into English) We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, sure to be followed by its sequel, The Coral Bride. She lives in Quebec.

blog tour, Book reviews, Police procedural, Thriller

Out For Blood by Deborah Masson – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

THE RETURN Of DI EVE HUNTER: DI Eve Hunter is back in the edge-of-your-seat new detective thriller from Deborah Masson, winning author of the Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2020.

A young man, the son of an influential businessman, is discovered dead in his central Aberdeen apartment. Hours later, a teenaged girl with no identification is found hanged in a suspected suicide.

As DI Eve Hunter and her team investigate the two cases, they find themselves in a tug-of-war between privilege and poverty; between the elite and those on the fringes of society.

Then an unexpected breakthrough leads them to the shocking conclusion: that those in power have been at the top for too long – and now, someone is going to desperate lengths to bring them down…

Can they stop someone who is dead set on revenge, no matter the cost?

MY REVIEW 

Set in Aberdeen, DI Eve Hunter is working two cases, the death of a wealthy young man and the suspected suicide of a young woman.

When the suspected suicide turns out to be murder, the investigation really begins.

Are these two cases involving people from two different backgrounds linked?

This is a harrowing tale of human trafficking, about the women who are brought into the country under false pretences, only to be forced into the world of prostitution facing continual abuse. It’s also about wealth, privilege and power and how some of those people abuse their positions with impunity. 

Full of fantastic characters and a clever, twisty plot, this glimpse into the two worlds make this a dark and compelling thriller. I was thoroughly gripped 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 eARC of Out For Blood.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Deborah Masson was born and bred in Aberdeen, Scotland. Always restless and fighting against being a responsible adult, she worked in several jobs including secretarial, marketing, reporting for the city’s freebie newspaper and a stint as a postie – to name but a few.

Through it all, she always read crime fiction and, when motherhood finally settled her into being an adult (maybe even a responsible one) she turned her hand to writing what she loved. Deborah started with short stories and flash fiction whilst her daughter napped and, when she later welcomed her son into the world, she decided to challenge her writing further through online courses with Professional Writing Academy and Faber Academy. Her debut novel, Hold Your Tongue, is the result of those courses.

Hold Your Tongue has been widely well reviewed by readers and authors alike, with many comparing her favourably to Stuart MacBride. It won the Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year 2020 and was longlisted for CWA New Blood Dagger 2020.

blog tour, Book reviews, Contemporary fiction

How To Belong by Sarah Franklin – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In the follow up to her acclaimed novel Shelter, Sarah Franklin returns to the Forest of Dean, this time exploring what it means to belong to a rural community in a rapidly changing world.

Jo grew up in the Forest of Dean, but she was always the one destined to leave for a bigger, brighter future. When her parents retire from their butcher’s shop, she returns to her beloved community to save the family legacy, hoping also to save herself. But things are more complex than the rose-tinted version of life which sustained Jo from afar.

Tessa is a farrier, shoeing horses two miles and half a generation away from Jo, further into the forest. Tessa’s experience of the community couldn’t be more different. Now she too has returned, in flight from a life she could have led, nursing a secret and a past filled with guilt and shame.

Compelled through circumstance to live together, these two women will be forced to confront their sense of identity, and reconsider the meaning of home.

MY REVIEW 

How To Belong is about living in a rural community in the modern world.

It is the story of Jo who had left the beautiful Forest Of Dean to live and work in London. She comes home to stay with her parents for Christmas and learns they are retiring from the family business. She convinces them to let her take over and so she returns to this community.

She takes a room, lodging for the time being with Tessa. Tessa has had a troubled past and is a bit of a loner, but gradually the two women become friends. Jo begins to feel she’s at home.

This is a gentle, rolling tale of family, friends and what it is to feel at home, to finally belong. A book for the quiet times, to relax, settle in and enjoy.

Thank you to Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of How to Belong.

blog tour, Book reviews, Crime thriller, Nordic noir

Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalsen – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former

classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly reunited with his old friend Jakob – guitarist of the once-famous 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.

Their rekindled friendship is thrown into jeopardy by the discovery of a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer. Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

MY REVIEW 

Varg Veum is a PI, attending the funeral of a friend, memories of the past are recalled. 

There is a murder to solve in the present day, but Varg’s past keeps coming to the fore.

This is a tale of Varg’s past, his friendships, love and secrets that have made him the person he is now. 

There is an underlying feeling of tension which gives this an unsettling edge as we peer into the darker side of human behaviour.

At times quite harrowing, this emotion packed thriller is a look into the dark underbelly of society, those that live in it and the effect this has on those who deal with the aftermath. Both brutal and melancholy, this dark thriller is utterly compelling.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Granite Noir fest 2017. Gunnar Staalesen.

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in

Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019. He lives with his wife in Bergen.

blog tour, Book reviews, Crime thriller

Fifteen Coffins by Tony J. Forder – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

From the bestselling author of the DI Bliss series comes an enthralling mystery thriller.

The truth can set you free – or bury you.

When FBI Agent Sydney Merlot returns to her home town in northern California to wind down her late father’s PI business, she soon finds herself on the wrong side of the aftermath of a high school shooting.

Sydney’s childhood friend – who is now county sheriff – plus the local PD, the mayor’s office, and most of the town’s inhabitants, are convinced the horror ended when the gunman was killed. Now they just want to be left alone to mourn. But Sydney has other ideas – and she is not alone.

While having to work through her own personal grief, Sydney is openly intimidated and receives anonymous threats. After discovering she is under surveillance, she begins to fear for her life. During her investigation she gains several allies, but as the days pass, Sydney doesn’t know who to trust, and which new friends might actually turn out to be foes…

MY REVIEW 

From the creator of the DI Bliss series comes a new protagonist, Sydney Merlot.

Sydney’s father has died in a road accident and she has returned to her childhood home in California to settle his affairs. This includes hismdetective agency.

As she is an FBI agent, Sydney decides to work the outstanding cases, then a man arrives asking for help. Her friends will help, won’t they?

A tale of lies, secrets and betrayal.

Wow, as ever Mr Forder has created a marvellously complex plot, with several seemingly unrelated threads running through it, until slowly they all come together in this tension packed thriller that has an underlying sense of foreboding throughout. Just brilliant.

Thank you to Book On The Bright for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Fifteen Coffins.

Author

Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice,Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, were joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.

Tony’s other series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder, and Cold Winter Sun.

In addition, Tony has written two standalone novels: a dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, and a suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins which was released just last November.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on Bliss #8, The Autumn Tree.

Links

Website: https://www.tonyjforder.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TonyJForder @TonyJForder

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01N4BPT65

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16166122.Tony_J_Forder

Fantastic Fiction: https://www.fantasticfiction.com/f/tony-j-forder/

Tony can also be found on Instagram. 

blog tour, Book reviews, Contemporary fiction, Thriller

The Pretenders by Agatha Zaza – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

‘I’m perfectly happy lying to myself…If it means getting to stay with you.’

Jasper is ready to surprise his brother; Holly is ready to celebrate their engagement.

Anne tags along for fear of missing out, and John might just be going for another drink.

But Edmund and Ovidia had other plans for their Saturday.

Over the course of one day, these couples must own up to the secrets they’ve been hiding from one another and the lies they’ve been telling themselves. And face the devastating consequences.

Three couples. Two exes. One day. One reckoning.

In her debut novel, Agatha Zaza crafts a modern domestic tragedy simmering with betrayal and deceit. 

MY REVIEW 

The Pretenders is the tale of secrets and the consequences when they come to light.

To celebrate their engagement, Holly and Jasper arrange a little celebration with a few friends and Jasper’s brother. 

All set during one Saturday, with flashbacks to each character’s background and how they have reached this point. As secrets begin to come to light the tension builds and you wonder what will happen next.

This is a dark thriller that will keep you turning the pages as more shocks and secrets are discovered. It has a fresh, sharp writing style and some real shocks along the way. A dark and compelling thriller.

Thank you to Peyton at Agora Books for the opportunity to be part of the blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of The Pretenders.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Agatha Zaza is a Zambian and Finn at present living in Auckland, New Zealand. Her writing is a departure from her work in fundraising and international development.

The Pretenders was born in Singapore, where she spent three years as a trailing spouse, where she rekindled a long-dormant love of writing. Aside from Singapore, Agatha has worked and lived several countries, among them Uganda and the then Soviet Union. While in Ireland, she earned a Master’s in Equality Studies from University College Dublin and worked in a genuine Irish pub.

Agatha’s work can be seen in the Johannesburg Review of Books and in a PEN International special edition on African writers. She has also published three short books on Amazon. She’s been a passionate slow runner for two and half decades and has recently taken up composting and staring at her new sewing machine.

blog tour, Book reviews, tech Noir, Thriller

Coyote Fork by James Wilson – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

New Fiction from Slant Books Coyote Fork: A Thriller by James Wilson

British journalist Robert Lovelace travels to California to report on the social media giant Global Village. He’s horrified by what he finds: a company—guided by the ruthless vision of its founder, Evan Bone—that seems to be making journalism itself redundant. Appalled, he decides to abandon the project and return home.

But as he leaves he has a disconcerting encounter that sends him off in a totally different direction. Soon he finds himself embarking on an increasingly fraught and dangerous mission. The aim: to uncover the murky truth about Evan Bone’s past and his pathological disregard for the human cost of the behemoth he has created.

Robert’s quest takes him from San Francisco to a small college town in the Midwest, to the site of a former hippie commune in northern California, introducing us to a range of vivid characters and confronting us with the price we pay—online trolling, the loss of privacy, professional ruin—for living in an “interconnected” world. Finally, he makes a startling discovery—and is thrown into a completely unforeseen existential dilemma.

A timely, stylishly written, and brilliantly conceived metaphysical thriller, Coyote Fork carries us on an unforgettable journey, before bringing us face to face with the darkness at the heart of Silicon Valley itself.

MY REVIEW 

Coyote Fork Is the tale of Robert Lovelace and his journey to find the truth behind social media giant, Evan Bone.

This is a thriller so in tune with the present day it feels like it could be happening right now. There is the ever present need for instant news to the extent traditional journalism is disappearing. 

How lives are spent permanently connected to the online world, some in search of fame and validation from invisible voices, who can and do turn suddenly vicious and ruin reputations and lives in keystroke.

It’s also about culture, insidious technology and a murder.

Beautifully written and utterly compelling from start to finish. A unique and timely thriller.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

James Wilson is a London-based writer. His previous novels include The Dark Clue, The Bastard Boy, The Woman in the Picture, Consolation, and The Summer of Broken Stories. He has written BBC TV and radio documentaries, and is the author of a work of narrative nonfiction, The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America, which won a Myers Outstanding Book Award.

Book reviews

Amazon Music Unlimited……

In case anyone is interested, Amazon are offering the Music Unlimited service as a FREE trial for 3 months.

What is Amazon Music Unlimited?Amazon Music Unlimited is Amazon’s premium music streaming service offering customers unlimited access to 70 million songs including the latest and greatest albums, and thousands of playlists and stations. Customers can stream or download songs to listen to offline – all ad-free. Amazon Music Unlimited customers have access to exclusive voice control on Alexa-enabled devices. With Alexa, you can control your music with just your voice. Simply ask Alexa for any song or artist you want to hear. If you don’t know exactly what you want to listen to, then you can ask Alexa to play something for a mood or occasion as well as from any era or genre.

have a peek at the T&C’s here…..

https://amzn.to/35KDaUV

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Science fiction

Goldilocks by Laura Lam – Book Review

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OUT IN PAPERBACK TODAY – 29 October

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A bold, thought provoking and high-concept feminist dystopian thriller

Ravaged by environmental disaster, greed and oppression, our planet is in crisis. The future of humanity hangs in the balance – and one woman can tip it over.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

It’s humanity’s last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity like this – to step out of Valerie’s shadow and really make a difference.

But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi starts to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret – and realises time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared…

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MY REVIEW 

Goldilocks is science fiction that feels a bit too close to home for comfort.

The human race has ruined Earth, the ice caps have melted, temperatures rising and some areas of this glorious planet are now uninhabitable. So there are plans to move to a new planet.

Women are now no longer welcome to work in the space industry, or anywhere for that matter, so a group of 5 women, all trained astronauts, medics and scientists decide to take matters in their own hands and steal a rocket. They head to th new planet, Cavendish, via Mars with great plans to set up a utopian world and save humankind.

But, someone has a secret, one that changes everything.

I loved this, from the atmosphere, the world building plans and life on the ship as they travel for many months. The twists and tension keep building in this tale of hope, of love and betrayal and of the dangers of fanaticism.  Scarily prescient at times and definitely a cautionary tale. Thought provoking and utterly gripping from start to finish.

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.

Purchase link : https://amzn.to/2YqNijz

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Laura Lam is the author of several science fiction books, including Radio 2 Book Club selection False Hearts. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in anthologies such as Nasty Women, Solaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of History, Scotland in Space, and more.

Originally from California, she now lives in Scotland with her husband, and teaches Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University.

Twitter: @LR_Lam 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

THE ONLY THING THAT WILL SHOCK YOU MORE THAN THE FIRST CHAPTER . . . IS THE LAST. . .

‘I stayed up until 3am to read it because I was so sucked in. Brilliant, brilliant book!’ 5* Reader Review

Jess and Heather were once best friends – until the night Heather’s sister Flora vanished. The night that lies tore their friendship apart.

But years later, when a brutal double murder shakes their childhood town, Jess returns home.

Because the suspect is Heather.

What happened to the girl you used to know?

MY REVIEW 

Then She Vanishes is a thriller that had me hooked from the off?

Jess is a journalist sent to cover a double murder. She finds the accused is old best friend Heather. They had grown apart when Heather’s sister disappeared.

Now Heather is accused of killing a couple in their home. Jess doesn’t believe her old friend could do this……..could she?

With a clever plot, lots of twists and turns this will keep you guessing right to the end. A psychological thriller just perfect for these dark winter nights.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an eARC of Then She Vanishes.

Book reviews

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

THE ONLY THING THAT WILL SHOCK YOU MORE THAN THE FIRST CHAPTER . . . IS THE LAST. . .

‘I stayed up until 3am to read it because I was so sucked in. Brilliant, brilliant book!’ 5* Reader Review

Jess and Heather were once best friends – until the night Heather’s sister Flora vanished. The night that lies tore their friendship apart.

But years later, when a brutal double murder shakes their childhood town, Jess returns home.

Because the suspect is Heather.

What happened to the girl you used to know?

MY REVIEW 

Then She Vanishes is a thriller that had me hooked from the off?

Jess is a journalist sent to cover a double murder. She finds the accused is old best friend Heather. They had grown apart when Heather’s sister disappeared.

Now Heather is accused of killing a couple in their home. Jess doesn’t believe her old friend could do this……..could she?

With a clever plot, lots of twists and turns this will keep you guessing right to the end. A psychological thriller just perfect for these dark winter nights.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an eARC of Then She Vanishes.

Book reviews

Black Summer by M. W. Craven – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Welcome to the other side of the mirror . . .

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

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

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

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

Cynical and ruthless, he has always teetered on the edge. Has Poe finally crossed that line and embraced his darkness?

MY REVIEW 

Black Summer is #2 in the Washington Poe series, but can also be read as a stand-alone.

In a small village in Cumbria, Police Officer Alsop holds a monthly surgery in the local library. Here village residents can voice their concerns and worries they have. 

At one of these sessions a young woman arrives, all dishevelled and tells him she had been kidnapped 6 years ago and has just managed to escape.

DS Poe is called back from London to help with the investigation, as he had been involved in the original case. Is this woman Elizabeth who had disappeared 6 years ago? DNA says it is, but Poe has doubts……had he put an innocent man behind bars?

Black Summer is an utterly compelling crime thriller. Poe and Tilly are great characters and the clever, twisty plot keeps you on tenterhooks. A fantastic, original and gripping read.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an eARC of Black Summer.

blog tour, Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A murdered woman…

When the body of a young woman is found in a local park, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she’s dealing with no ordinary killer.  The murder victim has been disfigured; her outfit changed to resemble someone else.  Someone Maggie knows all too well…her close friend Dr Kate Moloney.

A determined detective…

Maggie is determined to keep her friend safe, but with Kate already struggling with a threatening stalker, Maggie now fears Kate’s life is in real danger.  Who else would want to harm Kate and why else would the killer be turning his victims into exact replicas – his living dolls? 

Can Maggie find the depraved killer?  Or will Kate become his next living doll?

MY REVIEW 

Maggie Jamieson is back!

When Kate Maloney finds out a killer is dressing his victims to look like her, she’s worried to say the least. When she starts to receive letters and gifts, her friend, Maggie, insists she stays with her….until they catch the perpetrator.

Who is Kate’s stalker and can Maggie keep her friend safe?

Dead Perfect is a proper thriller, with twists and turns to keep your heart racing. A police procedural with a creepy edge. A Perfect read.

Thank you to Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Dead Perfect.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog.

Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:

Subscribe to Newsletter: http://ow.ly/cgww50BkBtt 

Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40 

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

Blog FB page: https://www.facebook.com/crimebookjunkie/ 

Instagram: @author_noelleholten

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

Bookbub Author page : https://bit.ly/2LkT4LB 

blog tour, Book reviews, Gothic horror, Nordic noir

The Nesting by CJ Cooke – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The grieving widower. The motherless daughters. A beautiful house in the woods. And a nanny came to save the day….

So what if Lexi isn’t telling the truth about who she is? Escaping to the remote snows of Norway was her lifeline. And all she wanted was to be a part of their lives.

But soon, isolated in that cold, creaking house in the middle of ancient, whispering woods, Lexi’s fairytale starts to turn into a nightmare.

With darkness creeping in from the outside, Lexi’s fears are deepening. Lexi knows she needs to protect the children in her care.

But protect them from what?

MY REVIEW 

This starts with the death of Aurelia. Was it suicide? 

Then Lexi attempts to take her life, but is saved by a friend. Her boyfriend then leaves her.

She hears of a job opportunity in Norway, so she steals the identity of another woman and applies to be a Nanny.

She gets the job and travels to Norway to be Nanny to Tom’s children. Tom was Aurelias husband.

Lexi feels she is living a fairytale, but then the sad lady begins to appear and things get dark and creepy.

I found The Nesting to be an atmospheric and downright creepy gothic thriller with some really scary moments…..one to read with the lights on! ……a thoroughly entertaining 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 The Nesting.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

C.J. Cooke is an acclaimed, award-winning poet, novelist and academic with numerous other publications under the name of Carolyn Jess-Cooke. Born in Belfast, she has a PhD in Literature from Queen’s University, Belfast, and is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, where she researches creative writing interventions for mental health.

She also founded the Stay-At-Home Festival.

#TheNesting @CJessCooke

blog tour, Book reviews, Horror, Psychlogical thriller

Stranded by Stuart James – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A family trapped. A psychopath on the loose. Let the game begin…

What could be more innocent than going on holiday?

As a family drive along a quiet country lane on their way to the airport, they meet a stranger standing alone in the middle of the road.

Steering them along another path, he tells the driver, Ben, that a tree has fallen and there’s no way through.

But as they make their way along the diverted route, they come across a coach blocking the road.

Getting out of the car Ben goes to investigate and is horrified to find the passengers tied to their seats.

Then a discarded phone starts to ring…

If Ben calls the police, everyone on board will die.

Let the horrific game begin…

MY REVIEW 

Stranded is a nightmare!

When Ben and Laura are stopped on their way to the airport the tension begins to soar. A man tells them the road ahead is blocked and tells them there is a diversion. So,with no reason not to believe him they set off, only to find this road blocked by a coach.

Inside they find passengers tied to seats…….and then a phone rings and the game begins.

What follows is an incredibly tense, creepy and nerve wracking horror of a story, with twists and turns to keep you thoroughly hooked.

Why would anyone feel they had the right to punish wrongdoers? 

A true page Turner as you just cannot put it down, you have to know what’s going to happen next. Just brilliant and a perfect read for Halloween.

Thank you to Book On a the Bright Side Publicity for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Stranded.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/37kLvRE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

I have always loved scary stories, especially ones that shocked me, left me terrified, looking under my bed or in the wardrobe before going to sleep.

There was just a fantastic buzz whenever I watched or read something that took my breathe away.

I remember going to my nan’s house in Ireland as a youngster with my mother and sister, on the West Coast, staying in a cottage, surrounded by miles of fields and my family sitting around the table in the kitchen at night telling ghost stories. Going out and exploring derelict farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. I remember clearly the field at the end of the road was supposed to be haunted by headless nuns.

My cousins often remind me of the great times we had, frightening each other and running for our lives whenever we’d see something that didn’t look right.

This is why I love nothing more than to tell a story.

I started writing three years ago, penning The House On Rectory Lane which has just won The International Book Award in horror fiction. I got the idea from something that has often seemed scary to me. I know that a terrifying story has to be something that you’re frightened of doing, something that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck, something that fills you with dread, yet also with excitement.

To me, the thought of going to a house in the middle of nowhere, upping and leaving a busy town and moving to the country is something that scares lots of people and me: the seclusion, the quiet, the darkness. That’s what inspired me to write my first novel.

My second thriller is called Turn The Other Way, which was a world wide number 1 best seller and stayed at number 1 for 19 weeks in the US.

I have multiple stories running, past and present. A family who want answers from the surgeon responsible for their daughter’s death. A young woman looking for her parents after they go missing from a party. A couple driving home and hearing screams for help from the back of the van in front of them. A serial killer on the loose in North London, dragging victims off the street.

I’m so grateful when people not only read my thrillers but also take the time to get in touch and leave a review. To me, that is the greatest feeling, hearing from people that have enjoyed my work. I know then that I’m doing something right.

My third thriller, Apartment Six, was published in January of this year and was a number 1 hot new release on Amazon for 4 weeks.

Stranded goes on pre-order Monday October 12th on Amazon and is released October 19th.

I’m 47, married and have two beautiful children. Currently, I’m a full-time plumber but would love nothing more than to make a living from my writing. I hope I write stories and people continue to enjoy them for years to come. That would be completely amazing and a dream come true.

stuartjamesthrillers.com

@StuartJames73

https://www.facebook.com/stuartjamesauthor/

blog tour, Book reviews, Crime thriller

The Peacock Room by Anna Sayburn Lane – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A literary obsession.

An angry young man with a gun.

And one woman trying to foil his deadly plan.

When Helen Oddfellow starts work as a lecturer in English literature, she’s hoping for a quiet life. But trouble knows where to find her.

There’s something wrong with her new students. Their unhappiness seems to be linked to their flamboyant former tutor, Professor Petrarch Greenwood, who holds decadent parties in his beautiful Bloomsbury apartment.

When Helen is asked to take over his course on the Romantic poet William Blake, life and art start to show uncomfortable parallels. Disturbing poison pen letters lead down dark paths, until Helen is the only person standing between a lone gunman and a massacre.

THE PEACOCK ROOM is the intriguing follow-up to the acclaimed thriller UNLAWFUL THINGS, which introduced the literary sleuth Helen Oddfellow.

MY REVIEW 

#2 in the Helen Oddfellow mystery series, but can also be read as a stand-alone.

Here, Helen Oddfellow is asked to take over a class who are studying the romantic poets. This is not her usual area of expertise, but she is soon drawn into the world of William Blake. When some dark art surfaces, all using Blake’s imagery things take a dark and dangerous turn for Helen.

Can Helen stop a planned massacre?

This is a clever, slow burn of a thriller that builds the tension gradually up to a nail biting end. Full of great characters and lots of interesting detail, especially the life and works of William Blake, all of which make this a very engrossing and entertaining 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 The Peacock Room.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Sayburn Lane is a novelist, short story writer and storyteller, inspired by the history and contemporary life of London. Unlawful Things is her first novel.

She has published award-winning short stories in a number of magazines, including Mslexia, Scribble and One Eye Grey.

Her Mslexia award-winning story Conservation was described by judge and Booker-longlisted author Alison MacLeod as “a powerful and profound contemporary piece in which one man’s story stands for an entire nation’s… it’s a punch to the heart, a story that will haunt and touch its readers deeply”.

She has told stories at London club The Story Party and One Eye Grey’s Halloween event, Moon Over the Lido.

Twitter: @BloomsburyBlue

Website: http://www.annasayburnlane.com/

blog tour, Book reviews, Crime thriller, Icelandic noir

Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardóttir – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.

But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And the death of her father in police custody so many years rears its head once again.

As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witch- like cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…

The award-winning internationally bestselling author Lilja Sigurðardóttir returns with Betrayal, a relevant, powerful, fast- paced thriller about the worlds of politics, police corruption and misogyny that feels just a little bit too real…

MY REVIEW 

Úrsula is the Minister of the Interior in Iceland, her new role is putting more strain on her already troubled marriage, not less as she expected.

She is asked to look into a rape case, which has a police officer involved. As she investigates she sees into the darker side of politics and corruption.

Betrayal is a twisty thriller, so compelling from the very start. The incredibly well developed characters all slowly link to build the story, it’s complex plot keeps you turning the pages, you just have to know what’s coming next.

It also deals with contemporary issues such as social media, misogyny and homelessness, which all add to the sense of reality. 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 eARC of Betrayal.

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

ABOUT LILJA SIGURÐARDÓTTIR

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare, Trap and Cage, making up the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.