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**Blog Tour** The Smuggler’s Daughter by Kerry Barrett

1799

One night, young Emily Moon witnesses the brutal murder of her father. Unable to tell anyone what she has seen, her mother thinks that he has simply disappeared, leaving her to find solace in the alcohol that she sells at their clifftop inn in Cornwall. Knowing that the smugglers that operate nearby are the ones responsible for the murder, Emily is not happy that the killers are seemingly getting away with this horrific crime.

Present Day

After a tragic case, police officer Phoebe Bellingham decides that a break in Cornwall would be the ideal way to get some respite. Staying with her friend at The Moon Girl pub, she comes across the story of Emily and is immediately intrigued. Just what did happen to Emily Moon and are we about to see history repeat itself over 200 years later?

As a fan of dual timeline books, The Smuggler’s Daughter ticked all of the boxes for me. The author successfully transported me back to Georgian England, painting a very descriptive picture of the Cornwall coastline, something straight out of du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn. I could almost smell the sea air and hear the wind whistling across the cliffs.

Although the time frames are two very different eras, we get to see a parallel in the plots due to the place the story is set, with smuggling being the common link. We also see some similarities between the two lead characters, both of them with an eye for justice and a desire to do the right thing. My heart went out to Phoebe who is torturing herself due to what she perceives as a failure on her part to do her job properly on her last case. It was easy to see why she needed something to occupy her mind, her investigation into Emily Moon being the perfect distraction.

Emily Moon is a fantastic character. Dismissed by locals as a simple young girl, she was actually an incredibly strong young woman, brave beyond her years. I loved every scene she was in and had my fingers crossed throughout the book that she would go on to live a happy life. I admired her tenacity, even when faced with extreme danger, and understood her need to revenge the death of her father, whatever the cost.

The Smuggler’s Daughter is one of those books that draws you in straight away and I found it difficult to put down, reading it in a few sittings. This is the perfect book for someone wanting a mix of history and mystery and I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author.

With thanks to HQ and Net Galley for my ARC and to Sian Baldwin for organising the blog tour.

 

When the Past Kills by M J Lee

A case from the past has come back to haunt D I Ridpath. With his time at the coroner’s office seemingly coming to an end, his previous work on the Beast of Manchester case once again rears its head. The police are being targeted and even those already dead are not being spared. Is this some sort of warning and who is behind it? Ridpath must try to uncover the truth to prevent his own life from being put in danger.

I love a book that grabs you straight from the off and When the Past Kills definitely does this! From the moment we see Ridpath’s boss, Mrs Challinor watching a video of something truly horrific, we know that this is not going to be an easy case for the coroner’s officer, especially when links begin to be made to a case that he previously worked on. This was a good move by the author to start the plot part-way through the investigation before taking you back to how the case started as I could not wait to revisit this moment to see the repercussions.

The case is a particularly horrific one, and one that is very personal to Ridpath. He also has the additional dilemma of whether he should return to work for MIT or whether to remain at the coroner’s office. I feel that Ridpath is well-suited to his role with the coroner and although he does have the skills that make him a great detective, he is certainly a good fit in his present role and Mrs Challinor is definitely reluctant to see him go. It is his job as coroner’s officer that sets him apart from protagonists in other books of this genre, as it is something that I have not seen in any other books.

There is a lot going on in When the Past Kills and, just when you think the story has ended, the author hits us with the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers! I actually gasped out loud when I reached this moment and can’t believe I have to wait until the next book to find out what happens next! Hopefully, book 6 won’t be long in the making as I’m desperate to know the outcome!

As the title suggests, the focus of the plot links to a case in one of the previous books, and while you do not need to have read about what has gone before, there are spoilers aplenty should you wish to go back and read this series from the start. This is a really engaging series with a likable protagonist and I would definitely recommend reading them all. Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:

Where the Truth Lies

Where the Dead Fall

Where the Silence Calls

Where the Innocent Die

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Close to the Bone by Susan Wilkins

When the bludgeoned body of local businessman Greg Porter is found at the apartments he was developing, the case becomes personal for DS Megan Thomas. Her sister, Debbie, had been working for Porter as a cleaner and she was not expecting to find herself so embroiled in a murder investigation. Megan faces a huge dilemma: which should she put first – family or her job?

Close to the Bone is the second in the Megan Thomas series and while I definitely enjoyed the first, Buried Deep, this one is even better. You do not need to have read the previous book as there are no spoilers in this one, but I feel that by doing so, I had acquired a good understanding of what makes Megan tick and a knowledge of her backstory is definitely beneficial.

We discover quite early on that the murdered man is not exactly a paragon of virtue and as the book develops, we realise that there are many people who may have wanted him dead. Due to the connection her sister has with the case, Megan is sidelined and is, instead, asked to work with the National Crime Agency as part of their investigation into human trafficking. With events that have been going on recently, this is a very topical plot and really brings home the plight of these people who are preyed upon by unscrupulous traffickers, their only ‘crime’ being to want a better life for their families.

Megan is showing herself to be a very competent detective, but events from her past are clearly affecting her mental well-being and preventing her from moving further up the promotional ladder. One name from her previous post keeps getting mentioned and I wonder if this is a person who we may meet in a forthcoming book.

This is turning into a very promising series with great plots and a range of believable characters. I’m already looking forward to seeing what Susan Wilkins gives us next!

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for my ARC and to Noelle Holten for organising the blog tour.

 

 

Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante

Detective Jane Tennison is no longer part of the famed ‘Flying Squad’, now finding herself working at Gerald Road, a station not exactly known for its involvement in dangerous crime. Everything is about to change though, when the body of theatrical agent Charlie Foxley is found at his home, brutally assaulted with a cricket bat, dismembered and disembowelled.  Working alongside her old friend DS Spencer Gibbs, Jane must enter into the unfamiliar world of show business to find the killer before they strike again.

It’s no secret that I am a huge Lynda La Plante fan, in particular of her Prime Suspect/Tennison series and so I always look forward to seeing what she has in store for the detective. I have enjoyed seeing her development from police probationer to a fine detective in the making, the traits of the character in the Prime Suspect television series beginning to shine through. In the previous book, we saw Jane working for the male-dominated Flying Squad, also seeing how abruptly her time there came to an end, and I was pleased to see that this was dealt with in Blunt Force, although I feel that there could still be more repercussions to come as a result of Jane’s actions.

The main plot moves on at a slow pace, allowing the story to develop naturally, giving us a chance to get to know the supporting cast of characters. The investigations concentrate on the world of showbusiness, a world that the detectives are clearly unfamiliar with, and one where they know that they are only being told half truths by many of the people they interview. Like Tennison and Gibbs, I felt that there was something they were missing and when this was finally revealed, it threw the whole case completely on its head. Part of this story is left unfinished and I hope that this is because the author revisits it in a forthcoming book as I feel that this is where we could definitely see some of Jane Tennison’s legendary tenacity.

Although this is very much a police procedural, its 1980s setting makes it different from many of the series around today. It is refreshing to see the police relying upon their wits and investigative skills rather than having them stuck behind a desk, computer-bound like in the present day.

Blunt Force is another great addition to the Tennison series and I can’t wait to see how her career continues to progress. If you haven’t read the rest of the series, here are my reviews:

Tennison

Hidden Killers

Good Friday

Murder Mile

The Dirty Dozen

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

Earlier this year, I read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the latest in Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn series, Fifty Fifty. I am thrilled, therefore, to be able to share my review with you again as part of the blog tour and to, hopefully, persuade you to read one of my favourite books of 2020 so far!

A telephone call is received by the police from a young woman, stating that her father has been killed by her sister and that she is still in the house. Seconds later, another call is received from the sister, saying the same thing. One of them is lying. One of them is a cold-hearted killer. Both of them stand accused of murder but who should we believe?

Steve Cavanagh has become the author with the killer hook and this has definitely continued in Fifty Fifty. From the very start, where we have two separate calls being made to the emergency services, from two sisters each accusing the other of murder, I was immediately drawn in to this twisty, sadistic tale of cat and mouse.

In Fifty Fifty, we have two defendants, each protesting their innocence and each represented by a lawyer who believes in what their client is telling them. One of them is being played, but who? Eddie Flynn is defending Sofia Avellino, a messed up young woman with a history of psychological trauma. Does she have it in her to carry out such a horrific crime? New lawyer Kate Brooks is representing Sofia’s sister, Alexandra, a woman much more together than her sister, but does her calm demeanor hide something more sinister? Usually when reading a book like this, I have some sort of theory as to who the guilty party is but I truly could not make up my mind! Just when I’d think it was definitely Alexandra, something would happen to lead me to believe it was Sofia, only a few chapters later have me convinced, yet again that it was Alexandra! I loved how this plot kept me on my toes, keeping me guessing right to the end.

There was one part of the book that had me holding my breath, desperate to read the next part yet, simultaneously, not daring to as I knew that something horrific was about to happen. I do not want to give away any spoilers, but this was a magnificent piece of writing and all I can say is Steve Cavanagh, how could you? If you’ve already read the book, you will know which part I am referring to, if not, strap yourself in as you’re in for a bumpy ride!

The author’s last book was called Twisted, and this one definitely follows suit. Fifty Fifty has a gripping plot that kept me on my toes throughout, outfoxing me at every turn. If you’ve never read a Steve Cavanagh book, you won’t go far wrong with this one. Superb!

With thanks to Orion and Net Galley for my copy and to Alex Layt for organising the blog tour.

Monthly Round Up – August 2020

I thought I would have managed more books this month but I found that despite having more time to myself than in previous months, I didn’t actually read a great deal! I’ve got some great books to read in September, so I’m hoping to get through some of that TBR pile!

Books I’ve Read

Grave’s End by William Shaw

Murder and environmental activism combine in the third book in the DS Alexandra Cupidi series. A complex, very readable plot and the first time I’ve read chapters penned by a badger… It’s not as daft as it seems!

 

Lost Cause by Rachel Lynch

The eighth book in the Kelly Porter series has a particularly dark plot about the abduction and imprisonment of young women. This has become one of my favourite crime series, and this is one of the best so far.

 

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

A cosy mystery (albeit one with some gruesome murders) and a cast of unforgettable characters, this promises to be one of the hit novels of the year. A brilliant read.

 

Close to the Bone by Susan Wilkins

The second in the series to feature Megan Thomas sees the detective investigating the murder of a local businessman whilst also working alongside the NCA on a case involving human trafficking. This is promising to be a great series. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

The Smuggler’s Daughter by Kerry Barrett

This dual timeline book set in present day Cornwall and the same place in 1799 is a wonderful mystery story about smuggling and revenge. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

The past is never over. It’s just waiting for an opportunity to return…

When the notorious serial killer the Beast of Manchester was captured, the streets should have been safe. Except the police got the wrong man. An innocent person was convicted, and only later was the culprit put away.

Now, those connected to the case are being targeted. Someone wants revenge. DI Thomas Ridpath has to relive the horrors all over again. As the bodies stack up once more, Ridpath knows the answers lie in the mistakes made the first time round.

But as he is searching for clues from years ago, fresh terror awaits. While Ridpath seeks to save lives, he risks overlooking the greatest danger of all – and losing more than he can stand.

 

‘He’s gone…’

When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.

Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.

He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective?

As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast – and a small town with big secrets – he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn’t want to find…

 

10 Rillington Place: the house of death.

John Reginald Halliday Christie and Timothy John Evans were hanged after a series of brutal murders in the 1940s and 1950s.

But should they both have been executed?

The sole survivor who grew up with Christie and Evans tells the untold story of what really happened inside 10 Rillington Place…

 

 

 

He is my husband.
To honour and obey.
Until murder do us part.

London, 1888: Susannah rushes into marriage to a young and wealthy surgeon. After a passionate honeymoon, she returns home with her new husband wrapped around her little finger. But then everything changes. His behaviour becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He stays out all night, returning home bloodied and full of secrets.

Lonely and frustrated, Susannah starts following the gruesome reports of a spate of murders in Whitechapel. But as the killings continue, her mind takes her down the darkest path imaginable. Every time her husband stays out late, another victim is found dead.

Is it coincidence? Or is he the man they call Jack the Ripper?

 

Things can’t get much worse for detective Jane Tennison.

Unceremoniously kicked off the adrenaline-fuelled Flying Squad, she’s been relegated to Gerald Road, a small and sleepy police station in the heart of London’s affluent Knightsbridge.

With only petty crime to sink her teeth into, Tennison can feel her career slowly flatlining. That is until the discovery of the most brutal murder Jane has ever seen: Charlie Foxley has been found viciously beaten to death, his body dismembered and disembowelled.

As a big-time showbiz agent, Foxley had a lot of powerful friends – but even more enemies. And alongside her old friend DS Spencer Gibbs, Tennison must journey into the salacious world of show business to find the killer, before they strike again . . .

In Lynda La Plante’s most gripping thriller yet, Tennison discovers that the brightest lights hide the darkest secrets – and the killer doesn’t always hide in the shadows . . .

 

I’m currently reading, and enjoying, Blunt Force – I don’t think I’ve ever read a bad book by Lynda La Plante! Are any of these on your TBR list?

 

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Once a week, four like-minded residents of a retirement village meet to discuss real-life murder cases. The Thursday Murder Club, as they are known, soon find themselves embroiled in something a lot closer to home, however, when a local property developer is killed after attending a meeting at their residence, Coopers Chase. With their unorthodox way of obtaining information, these four pensioners are determined to get to the bottom of this awful crime.

After hearing Richard Osman (one of the presenters on BBC’s Pointless) on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast, I knew that he had an interest in crime fiction, so when I saw that he had written a book himself, I was immediately interested. 

The Thursday Murder Club introduces us to four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron who are not your typical pensioners! Residing in a retirement village, they have access to case files of unsolved murders from the past and, once a week, meet to discuss, and try to solve, the crimes. Each of their characters brings their own special skills to the table, Elizabeth being the driving force behind the group. My favourite, however, was, Ibrahim, an elderly gentleman who has moved with the times and has embraced technology, even if he can sometimes bore his friends when trying to explain how things work!

There are a plethora of supporting characters throughout the book, providing numerous twists and turns along the way. While the plot is certainly a good one, and one that keeps you guessing throughout, for me, it is the characterization that is the main selling point of The Thursday Murder Club. Most of the people in the book are incredibly likable, each with their own stories that help you to build up a complete picture of their lives. Richard Osman’s humour also shines through in each of them, and even the not-so-nice characters are well-written. 

After reading The Thursday Murder Club, I do hope that this is not a one-off for Richard Osman and that we get to read other books of this genre. With its gentle humour, out-of-the-ordinary characters and nostalgia that we can all relate to, this is a great read and one that, I am sure, will be a huge hit. I just hope that, in the future, if I have to go to a retirement village, there is room at Coopers Chase for me!

With thanks to Penguin Books (UK) and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

 

Lost Cause by Rachel Lynch

When the body of a woman is found in a bin, DI Kelly Porter fears that they have finally located a woman who had been reported missing some time ago. After the post mortem reveals that this cannot be the missing Chinese national, but a woman who is malnourished and appears to have been kept in a cage, Kelly is immediately concerned that the missing woman could suffer the same fate. When another woman disappears, and connections begin to be made, a race against time ensues to apprehend the man responsible.

Lost Cause is the eighth book in this series, and we see a huge change in Kelly’s circumstances due to her being pregnant. As someone so committed to her job, she is struggling to come to terms with how this is going to affect her, despite having the full backing of her partner, Johnny. I liked how her family all rallied around, giving her the support she needed, and I can’t wait to see how this part of her life develops after the birth of the baby.

The plot is a particularly dark one as in addition to the main crimes,we meet a troubled character, Kevin Flint. The target for local gossip due to events in his past, he is certainly on the periphery of crime, but at the same time, as his circumstances are revealed, I had nothing but sympathy for him. This part of the plot had a shocking culmination and I liked how there was some ambiguity to it.

We also have a new addition to Kelly’s team in Dan, a character who I feel fits in very well. He definitely looks as though he is from the same school of policing as Kelly and it looks as though he is going to play a vital role in future books, especially once Kelly has her baby.

Eight books in and this series is going from strength to strength. Kelly, her family and colleagues have become like old friends and I can’t wait to see where Rachel Lynch takes her next.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my copy. Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:

Dark Game

Deep Fear

Dead End

Bitter Edge

Bold Lies

Blood Rites

Little Doubt

Grave’s End by William Shaw

GravesWhen the body of a man is found stuffed into a freezer in an unoccupied house, DS Alexandra Cupidi finds herself drawn into a case where people will stop at nothing to keep a decades-old secret hidden. What exactly did this man do to warrant his death and how does it connect to the nearby housing development and the people trying to stop the habitat of badgers from being destroyed? Somebody doesn’t want something found and will kill to protect it from being uncovered.

I have read many crime books, too many to mention, but I can honestly say that this is the first book I have read where part of it is written from the perspective of a badger! Bear with me – this isn’t as strange as it sounds! As much of the book is based around the land where there is a proposed housing development, in addition to getting the experiences of the environmentalists and the developers, I found it an extremely novel idea to learn how this would affect the badgers themselves. As well as this helping to advance the plot, I also found myself learning much about the hierarchy of these creatures and how they live their lives.

The plot progresses slowly, the first half focusing on the dead man and the police investigation into his murder. I found that once I got halfway in, the pace really ramped up as the real reason for the death was discovered. Without giving too much away, we discover that there are links to a closed boarding school, and the activities that took place there many years ago. I liked how William Shaw included a vast array of characters who made you wonder if they were as they seemed or whether they had something to hide. I found my opinion of several of these characters changing constantly as I tried to discover who was behind the death!

Grave’s End is a great read, dealing with some very emotive issues. Although it is the third in a series, it can be read as a standalone although I can definitely recommend the previous books.

With thanks to Quercus and Net Galley for my copy.

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