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October 2021

Lying Ways by Rachel Lynch

When the bodies of two former inmates of Highfield Prison are found horrifically tortured, DI Kelly Porter must try to find out what has happened since their release that has angered someone so much. With unrest due to the poor conditions in the prison threatening to turn explosive, Kelly knows that there will be some resistance to her investigation, but will stop at nothing to find the truth.

I think I have just about got my breath back after reading the most explosive book of the series so far! By setting much of Lying Ways in Highfield Prison, Rachel Lynch has created an extremely claustrophobic read that kept me on my toes throughout. A very damning picture of the prison service is created as we see the effects of overcrowding, drug use and the market for mobile phones in an institution that has become extremely understaffed.

Kelly’s tenacity really comes to the fore as she challenges authority to find the killers of the two men, facing corruption along the way. I have always felt that Kelly is the sort of boss I’d like to work for – great at her job, not afraid to get her hands dirty and someone who would protect her team at all costs. We see all of this in Lying Ways.

I have read all of this series and I can say with some confidence that this is my favourite one so far. Fast-paced, thrilling and full of excitement, I hope that there is much more of Kelly Porter to come!

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my copy.

Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series here:

Dark Game

Deep Fear

Dead End

Bitter Edge

Bold Lies

Blood Rites

Little Doubt

Lost Cause

**BLOG TOUR** The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas

In 1903, a woman is found by some fisherman, badly beaten, accompanied by her young daughter. They are taken to All Hallows, an asylum on Dartmoor where the woman falls into a coma, but her young daughter, Harriet, is taken to an attic room in the care of Nurse Emma Everdeen.

Ninety years later, in 1993, after the death of his mother, young Lewis Tyler is sent to All Hallows, which is now a boarding school. Finding a kindred spirit in Isak, they find out about Nurse Everdeen and her charge and soon they are determined to find out what happened back in 1903.

The introduction to the book grabbed me instantly as we see Lewis Tyler, in the present day, visiting All Hallows as part of his work. It is clear to see that he has a past with this building and we are left with a hint as to what it may be. This took us nicely to the two timeframes that form the majority of the book, Lewis featuring in the events of 1993.

I liked the character of Lewis immediately and had great sympathy towards his plight. An outsider, it was good to see him find a friend in Isak, another boy with a troubled life. I enjoyed the scenes they shared as they tried to discover the mystery behind the strange noises coming from the room above theirs – was it their imagination or something a bit more ghostly?

The part of the story set in 1903 had a huge sense of foreboding. Nurse Everdeen was a character who grew on me as the book progressed, her story tugging at the heartstrings on more than one occasion. Louise Douglas paints a very damning picture of life at the asylum and I almost felt relieved that Nurse Everdeen was in her claustrophobic room in the attic.

There were numerous shocks along the way, the denouement being a very pleasant surprise. I like it when a book suddenly takes you somewhere you were not expecting and The Room in the Attic definitely does this! This is an engrossing multi-genre read that kept me gripped right until the end.

With thanks to Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources.


When the Guilty Cry by M J Lee

Coroner’s Officer, DI Thomas Ridpath, finds himself involved in a race against time when three hands are discovered in a backpack at a former children’s home. With his superiors convinced that this is an unsolveable case, Ridpath must battle against those determined to see him fail while also working on a Presumption of Death case for the coroner. With the clock ticking before he is removed from the case, can he uncover the truth of what really happened at Daisy Nook Children’s Home?

This is the seventh in the Ridpath series and, arguably, one of the best. There is a very authentic feeling to these books, Ridpath being a likeable character who is finding it difficult to juggle his work and home life. Workplace politics definitely play a huge part, with Ridpath seen as an ‘old school’ kind of police officer, someone who is looked down upon by many of his superiors who are desperate to see him fail.

The plot is, at times, quite an emotive one, as you would expect from anything involving a children’s home. M J Lee injects a touch of realism by referencing Jimmy Savile and the fictional Operation Pharaoh, reminding us of the horrific crimes perpetrated by those who abused their positions.

Throughout my reading of When the Guilty Cry, I found myself clearly visualising each scene. This series (this book in particular) would make a great TV drama and I hope that, at some point, a production company picks it up.

This is a series going from strength to strength and long may it continue!

With thanks to Net Galley and Canelo Crime for my copy.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club are back and Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague that immediately piques her interest. Forced to revisit an earlier part of her life, she finds herself involved in a dangerous case involving diamond thieves, mobsters and murder. With her friends, and fellow club members, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron ready to assist, will they be able to crack the case before too many people die?

The Thursday Murder Club was one of last year’s hit novels, ideal for anyone who likes their crime a little less gruesome! The follow up, The Man Who Died Twice, is more of the same, albeit with a slightly harder edge at times. This is one of those books where you have to suspend reality for a while and just enjoy it for what it is – a humorous crime story with great characters and an engaging plot that gives the older generation top billing.

The humour mainly comes from Joyce, a charming character who is attempting to move with the times by setting up her own Instagram account. I was pleased to see that a real account has been set up and I hope that the author develops this further, giving us an insight into the lives of the Thursday Murder Club.

There is one incredibly moving part of the plot involving Ibrahim which I thought was sensitively written and true-to-life. This really brought home the problems faced by the elderly and, although it was dealt with in true Thursday Murder Club fashion, I had so much sympathy for Ibrahim and I hope he returns to his old self in the next book.

I really enjoyed The Man Who Died Twice, even more than the previous book in the series. If you are looking for an easy crime read and can suspend reality for a while, then I can highly recommend it.

With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin for my copy.

Monthly Round Up: September 2021

This month’s round up is a bit late and I haven’t managed to read much during September. Hopefully that will be remedied during October!

Books I Have Read

Little Bones by Patricia Gibney

A harrowing case with a plot that grabs you immediately when a woman is found brutally murdered, her young child only yards away. The Detective Lottoe Parker series has become one of my ‘must reads’ and this one did not disappoint.


The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

The second in the Thursday Murder Club series sees the elderly detectives taking on a case personal to one of their own. I enjoyed this tale of murder, diamond thieves and mobsters more than the first, even of you do have to suspend belief a little!


When the Guilty Cry by M J Lee

The seventh in the DI Thomas Ridpath series is probably one of my favourites to date with the coroner’s officer investigating the discovery of three severed hands and their link to a closed children’s home. Well-written and very authentic.


Books I Have Acquired

A child who does not know her name…

In 1903 fishermen find a wrecked boat containing a woman, who has been badly beaten, and a young girl. An ambulance is sent for, and the two survivors are taken to All Hallows, the imposing asylum, hidden deep on Dartmoor. The woman remains in a coma, but the little girl, Harriet, awakens and is taken to an attic room, far away from the noise of the asylum, and is put in the care of Nurse Emma Everdeen.

Two motherless boys banished to boarding school…

In 1993, All Hallows is now a boarding school. Following his mother’s death and his father’s hasty remarriage, Lewis Tyler is banished to Dartmoor, stripped of his fashionable clothes, shorn of his long hair, and left feeling more alone than ever. There he meets Isak, another lost soul, and whilst refurbishment of the dormitories is taking place, the boys are marooned up in the attic, in an old wing of the school.

Cries and calls from the past that can no longer be ignored…

All Hallows is a building full of memories, whispers, cries from the past. As Lewis and Isak learn more about the fate of Harriet, and Nurse Emma’s desperate fight to keep the little girl safe, it soon becomes clear there are ghosts who are still restless.

Are they ghosts the boys hear at night in the room above, are they the unquiet souls from the asylum still caught between the walls? And can Lewis and Isak bring peace to All Hallows before the past breaks them first…


Will love lead her to a devastating choice?

1942. Three years into the war, Pam turns down her hard-won place at Oxford University to become a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. There, she meets two young men, both keen to impress her, and Pam finds herself falling hard for one of them. But as the country’s future becomes more uncertain by the day, a tragic turn of events casts doubt on her choice – and Pam’s loyalty is pushed to its limits…
 
Present day. Julia is struggling to juggle her career, two children and a husband increasingly jealous of her success. Her brother presents her with the perfect distraction: forgotten photos of their grandmother as a young woman at Bletchley Park. Why did her grandmother never speak of her time there? The search for answers leads Julia to an incredible tale of betrayal and bravery – one that inspires some huge decisions of her own…


I’m reading The Room in the Attic at the moment and am already intrigued!

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