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May 2021

**BLOG TOUR** The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

Beth and Tom Hardcastle live in the sort of village where everyone knows everyone else’s business. It doesn’t take long, therefore, for news to travel when the police appear at Beth’s door. Thinking that something bad has happened to her husband, Beth is shocked when she is told that Tom is helping them with their enquiries into the disappearance and possible murder of his former girlfriend. As the evidence begins to mount, Beth begins to wonder how much she actually knows her husband. The villagers have other nagging doubts, though: surely as his wife, Beth must have suspected… mustn’t she?


This debut from Alice Hunter takes the traditional serial killer book and turns it on its head by not having its focus on the perpetrator or the police investigation. As the title suggests, we see most of the story from the perspective of Beth, a woman with a successful cafe, a young daughter and a seemingly loving husband. We soon realise however that, despite her ‘perfect’ life, she appears quite lonely with no family and no real friends. This adds to the devastation when her husband is arrested as she doesn’t really have anyone close who she can turn to. I liked how the author developed the character of Beth and enjoyed reading a book about the killer’s wife rather than the killer – something I haven’t read about in many books.

It is no spoiler to reveal that Tom is a killer as this is more than suggested in the title of the book, so the focus isn’t on if he did it but whether or not there is evidence to prove it. As the book progresses, we find out more about his life before he met Beth, building up a complete picture of the character that is trying to prove his innocence. I liked how, as a reader, there is no ambiguity about his character, but we have nagging doubts about Beth. Has she been covering up for him or did she genuinely not know?


The Serial Killer’s Wife is a slow burner of a book, but this does not mean that it is not a gripping read – far from it! I raced through it, eagerly awaiting the outcome and was totally taken aback by the twist at the end. This is one of those books where you know something is coming, but can’t figure out what and Alice Hunter keeps us waiting right until the end to hit us with something that will truly make you gasp.


This is a superb debut and, on the strength of this, I can’t wait to read Alice Hunter’s next book.


With thanks to Ellie Pilcher and Eleanor Slater at Avon for my ARC and for organising the blog tour.





The Silent Suspect by Nell Pattison

When sign language interpreter, Paige Northwood, receives a call asking her to assist at the scene of a house fire, she arrives to find client Lukas alive and well but his wife trapped inside the burning building. As her lifeless body is brought out, it becomes apparent that she was dead before the fire started. Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife but refuses to share his thoughts with the police, leaving him as the prime suspect. Feeling that he is hiding something, Paige sets out to help, but is he guilty or afraid of something or someone?

This is the third in the Paige Northwood series and while there are references to the previous two, it can be read as a standalone. There are some spoilers, but nothing that would prevent someone from going back and reading the earlier books.

My attention was grabbed right from the start as the scene is set almost immediately, introducing us to Lukas and why he needs Paige’s help. It was apparent very early on that Lukas had something to hide but was he trying to protect someone or was he scared to tell the truth? Some twists and turns along the way keep you asking these questions until the end, suspicion being placed on several characters until the big reveal.

I think the main strength of these books is the accurate portrayal of the deaf community, something which I do not recall being a subject in any other books. Nell Pattison shows how vital people like Paige are, helping deaf people to access the things that the rest of us take for granted. I did find myself getting frustrated by Paige several times, however, and I wish that she would take her own advice about trying to stay out of trouble!

This is a series that I am really enjoying and I look forward to seeing how repercussions from events in The Silent Suspect affect Paige in future books.

With thanks to Avon Books UK and Eleanor Slater for my copy.

**BLOG TOUR** The Lost Sister by Kathleen McGurl

In 1911, Emma leaves the family home to become a stewardess onboard the ocean liner Olympic. Leaving her two sisters, Lily and Ruby, behind, she promises to be back soon. Nothing ever goes according to plan, however, and soon the sisters’ lives are changed for ever. In the present day, Harriet finds her late grandmother’s travelling trunk in the attic. Finding a photo of her grandmother with her sisters, she is confused. She knew that her grandmother had a sister who died young but who is the other girl? She soon finds herself learning about the three sister ships Olympic, Britannic and Titanic and discovering what tore the sisters apart.

It is always a pleasure to feature on a blog tour for a Kathleen McGurl book and more so when the subject is something that I have a great interest in – RMS Titanic. The story of the Titanic has been well documented but the fate of her sister ships is less known and it was clear to see the research that has been undertaken by the author in order to tell their stories. Most fiction about the Titanic tends to focus on the passengers, so it was pleasing to read about a member of staff, giving a different perspective of life at sea.

The two time frames each have their own plot, linked neatly together by a family connection. We also see the common theme of complicated sibling relationships running throughout both eras. There were many parallels between the two sets of characters, Ruby and Davina being headstrong with no concerns about how they are perceived by the outside world and the more staid personalities of Emma and Sally.

I am a fan of genealogical fiction and so I particularly enjoyed reading about Harriet’s desire to find out about her family and her use of DNA testing. This gave the story another superb layer, helping to contribute to the several twists and turns that the author has included, one of which, in particular, knocked me sideways!

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Kathleen McGurl’s dual timeline novels and this one is another wonderful read. An accurate portrayal of family relationships with a plot that is both heartwarming and heart wrenching, I thoroughly recommend reading The Lost Sister.

With thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources, Net Galley, H Q Digital and Kathleen McGurl for my copy and for organising the blog tour.

Take a look at my reviews of some of Kathleen McGurl’s other books:

The Emerald Comb 
The Pearl Locket
The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall
The Girl from Ballymor 
The Drowned Village
The Forgotten Secret
The Stationmaster’s Daughter
The Secret of the Chateau

The Forgotten Gift

Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun

In 1889, there was outrage as the young American, Florence Maybrick, stood trial for the murder of her Liverpool-born, cotton merchant husband, James, at their home, Battlecrease House. Found guilty, and sentenced to death, this was later commuted to life imprisonment and, after many years of campaigning from her supporters, she was released. Kate Colquhoun examines the events leading up to the death of James Maybrick, the trial and the aftermath of what became a public scandal. Was Florence really the femme fatale as painted by many or was she simply a victim of an extremely biased justice system that clearly seemed to favour the male?

I first read this book when it was published as, being from Liverpool, this is a case that has always held a fascination with me. I decided to revisit it by listening to the audio book which is wonderfully read by Maggie Mash, even if her pronunciation of the word ‘Aigburth’ did frustrate me! (I daresay only locals would pick up on this!)

Kate Colquhoun does a superb job in providing an unbiased account of the life of the Maybricks, from their meeting, to their marriage and, ultimately, their deaths. It is clear how much research has gone into this book, and, even as someone who has read a lot about this ‘murder’, I learned a lot. It is clear that this was a completely mismatched couple, Florence looking for a man to provide her with the lavish lifestyle she felt she should have, and James wanting a younger wife he could show off to his colleagues at the cotton exchange.

The medical evidence in this case is particularly fascinating, Florence having been convicted of murdering her husband with arsenic. Doubt is cast as to whether there was enough arsenic in his body to kill him, especially when anecdotal evidence suggests that he actually took arsenic on a regular basis. Was evidence deliberately hidden in order to paint Florence in a bad light by a Victorian society who were outraged by her extra-marital relationship?

This is a well-written book that certainly makes you think about whether it was a safe conviction or whether she was tried on the basis of her womanhood. A fascinating look at the attitudes of late-Victorian Britain.

Henry VIII’s Secret Diary by Terry Deary

Henry VIII, arguably the most famous king of England, is a character that always piques the interest of children. His six wives and his love of all things lavish, makes him the perfect historical character to get younger people interested in history. Now he has been given the Horrible Histories treatment, with a fictional account of his diary, albeit a very accurate piece of fiction!

Henry VIII is the ideal candidate for a book such as this, as there are so many infamous events and controversies throughout his reign. Dealing with the likes of the Pilgrimage of Grace, the Field of the Cloth of Gold and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, it is written in a humorous, child-friendly way which gets across the meaning of these significant events without ever appearing too stuffy.

The theme I enjoyed the most was his relationship with the Pope. Knowing that the Break with Rome was a major part of his reign, I found Henry’s changing opinion of the Pope hilarious and the book clearly shows how Henry used religion as a way of achieving his own aims.

The traditional Horrible Histories books have always been a favourite of mine and this looks like it could be another great series.

A Poison Tree by J E Mayhew

When the barefoot body of a girl is found in a Wirral country park, alarm bells start ringing as soon as the missing shoes are identified – they originally belonged to a girl who was murdered over forty years ago. A coincidence or has the killer surfaced again? DCI Blake identifies a connection to a local man, Victor Hunt, who lies dying in a hospice. The truth lies somewhere in his complicated family tree but as the body count rises, can the detective find the killer before they complete what they set out to do?

A Poison Tree is the first in the DCI Blake series and it is a fantastic introduction to a character that I know I am going to love. Like many fictional detectives, he has issues in his home life, but I can honestly say that this is the first book I’ve read where the source of his demons is a rather vicious cat with a mind of its own! In a story dealing with a horrible serial killer, this provided some great light relief, and was also a way of letting us know about another traumatic incident that has occurred in his past.

The story is quite a complex one due to it being about seemingly connected murders, decades apart. Although I initially had trouble keeping up with the plethora of characters, I found that as the story progressed, the plot became clearer and I started to build connections between the two sets of characters from the two time frames. This is essentially a book about family and the secrets that lie beneath the surface and, after reading, I saw how apt the book’s title was.

With several twists along the way and a plot that kept me engrossed throughout, I will definitely be continuing this series to see where the author takes Blake next.

Monthly Round Up – April 2021

I’ve been meaning to start listening to more audiobooks so, this month, I’ve been making use of my local library which has a decent selection online. I find it easier to listen to non-fiction than fiction as I find I don’t need to concentrate as much! I’ve also been trying not to start any new series but when Bloodhound Books made some of their titles available on Kindle for free this month, I couldn’t refuse!

Books I’ve Read

The Girl on the Platform by Bryony Pearce

When a woman witnesses a child being abducted, nobody believes her. Did she really see it or is her mind playing tricks? After initially feeling this was going to be a bit like The Girl on the Train, the plot took a sudden twist, making it one of my favourite reads of the year so far.


The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This retelling of the classic Sherlock Holmes story for younger readers is another faithful version of the original with great illustrations. Ideal for children who are wanting to start to read classic crime fiction.


Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

The fourteenth book in the Kim Stone series is one of the darkest to date. When the body of a man is found horrifically tortured, Kim and her team know that they are on the track of a particularly sadistic killer who is seemingly out for revenge. Another fantastic book from the wonderful Angela Marsons.


The Lost Sister by Kathleen McGurl

Another great dual timeline book from the author, this time dealing with the Titanic tragedy and the story of her sister ships. Two stories, over a hundred years apart, link together to provide a heartwarming yet heartbreaking tale of sibling rivalry. Review will follow as part of the blog tour.


The Doctor Will See You Now by Dr Amir Khan

The TV doctor, who is also a full time practitioner, recalls situations from his time as a GP that will make you laugh and cry in equal measures. Definitely a love story about the wonderful NHS.


Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun

I first read this when it came out but when I saw it was available as an audiobook from my local library, I thought it was time for a re-read. Did Florence Maybrick, a young American, kill her older, cotton merchant husband, James, at their home in Liverpool? Kate Colquhoun provides all the evidence for you to decide.



Books I’ve Acquired

Quiet Places hide dark secrets…

In a small Scottish university town, what links a spate of horrible murders, a targeted bomb explosion and a lecturer’s disappearance? Is a terror group involved? If so, who is pulling the strings? And what does something that happened over forty years ago have to do with it? 

Having recently returned to Castletown in the hope of winning back his estranged wife, DCI Jim Carruthers finds himself up to his eyes in the investigation.

Struggling with a very different personal problem, DS Andrea Fletcher assists Jim in the hunt for the murderous perpetrators. To prevent further violence they must find the answers quickly. But will Jim’s old adversary, terror expert McGhee, be a help or a hindrance?



A detective on the edge. A killer on the loose.

When DCI Bran Reece is called to the bloody crime scene of a murdered woman, he thinks the case is his. 

But the new Chief Superintendent has other ideas. She sees the recently widowed Reece as a volatile risk-taker and puts him on leave, forcing him to watch from the sidelines. Or so she thinks. 

DS Elan Jenkins soon realises her boss’s replacement is out of his depth and takes matters into her own hands. But Elan unknowingly puts herself and others in grave danger.

Can Reece and Jenkins overcome their personal issues and solve the case? 

The truth might be closer to home than either of them is willing to admit…


Katerina Rowe, a Deacon at the church in the sleepy village of Eyam, has a fulfilled life. She is happily married to Leon and her work is rewarding.

But everything changes when she discovers the body of a man and a badly beaten woman, Beth, in the alleyway behind her husband’s pharmacy.

Drawn to the young woman she saved, Kat finds herself embroiled in a baffling mystery.

When Beth’s house is set on fire, Kat offers the young woman sanctuary in her home and soon the pair begin investigating the murder, with some help from Beth’s feisty grandmother, Doris. But neither the police, nor Leon, nor the criminals want Kat and Beth looking into their affairs and the sleuths quickly find themselves out of their depth…

Can Kat and Beth solve the mystery and walk away unscathed?


How can you find someone who doesn’t want to be found?

When Detective Garda Sergeant Mike West is called to investigate a murder in a Dublin graveyard, suspicion immediately falls on a local woman, Edel Johnson, whose husband disappeared some months before. But then she disappears.

Evidence leads West to a small village in Cornwall, but when he checks in to an Inn, he finds Edel has arrived before him. Her explanation seems to make sense but as West begins to think his suspicions of her are unfounded, she disappears again.

Is she guilty? West, fighting an unsuitable attraction, doesn’t want to believe it. But the case against her is growing. Back in Dublin, his team uncover evidence of blackmail and illegal drugs involving Edel’s missing husband. When another man is murdered, she, once again, comes under suspicion.

Finally, the case is untangled, but is it the outcome West really wants?


When a nurse is murdered, Detective David Grant recognises the hallmarks of a serial killer called Travis.

Twenty-five years ago, Grant caught Travis for the murder of five women and the murderer has been incarcerated ever since. The problem is, Travis was at the hospital when the nurse was murdered but he was in the constant custody of two police officers.

Determined to solve the case, Grant recruits a specialist to his team, Ruby Silver, a top criminal profiler. But Ruby is hiding something from her colleagues.

Who is the killer and what is their motive?

Grant and the team must work quickly to solve the case as the body count rises…




MY DAD SAYS BAD THINGS
HAPPEN WHEN I BREAK IT…

Daniel is looking forward to his birthday. He wants pie and chips, a big chocolate cake, and a comic book starring his favourite superhero. And as long as he follows The Rule, nothing bad will happen.

Daniel will be twenty-three next week. And he has no idea that he’s about to kill a stranger.

Daniel’s parents know that their beloved and vulnerable son will be taken away. They know that Daniel didn’t mean to hurt anyone, he just doesn’t know his own strength. They dispose of the body. Isn’t that what any loving parent would do? But as forces on both sides of the law begin to close in on them, they realise they have no option but to finish what they started. Even if it means that others will have to die…

Because they’ll do anything to protect Daniel. Even murder.


Quite a few new authors for me to read in the coming months. Has anyone read any of these books? What did you think?

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