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November 2021

**BLOG TOUR** The Lost by Simon Beckett

Ten years after the disappearance of his young son, firearms officer Jonah Colley is summoned to the onimously named Slaughter Quay by an old friend. Not knowing what he is going to discover, he finds himself caught up in a huge murder enquiry and, with no other witnesses, is placed firmly on the suspect list. Questioning everything he thought he knew about the previous ten years, Jonah must revisit his past in order to help him make sense of the present.

This is one of those books that instantly grabs your attention and holds it right until the very last page. I have read one of Simon Beckett’s books before (The Scent of Death) and after reading The Lost, I really must read the rest as the story telling is superb and the whole plot is extremely well-written.

In Jonah Colley, the author has created a great lead character, tenacious yet damaged. We see how events in his past have made him the man he is today and I found it easy to feel sympathy towards him. Some of his actions were definitely questionable and he seems to have a knack of getting himself further into bother, but this only endeared him to me even more as I willed him to finally be able to exorcise his demons.

The Lost has an engrossing plot which, at times, has hints of violence. This is all integral to the plot, however, and helped to create tension which left me wanting to read ‘just one more chapter’ before putting the book down!

I am so pleased that this is the first in a series as I am eager to see where Simon Beckett takes onah Colley next.

With thanks to Orion and Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers.

Mr Crippen, Cora and the Body in the Basement by Matthew Coniam

The story of the murder of Cora by her husband, the infamous Hawley Harvey Crippen, is one of the most well-known in British true crime history. The discovery of the body after Cruppen fled with his mistress and his subsequent capture has been the subject of many books and documentaries, only for everything we thought we knew being blown away by recent DNA evidence. So what really happened? Matthew Coniam reassesses the case, suggesting a new theory.

Over the years, I’ve read several texts about the Crippens but where this one differs is the amount of research that has evidently been undertaken in order to provide a comprehensive look at this sensational murder. The author has provided a complete overview of the life of Hawley Harvey Crippen, giving an insight into his earlier life and that of his family. I definitely discovered plenty of new information through reading this book, and commend the author for their thorough approach.

Similarly, in light of the recent DNA evidence, we discover numerous alternative explanations as to what really happened at Hilldrop Crescent. Compelling arguments are given that could explain Crippen’s innocence, leaving you with many unanswered questions that may never be answered. It definitely made me look at this case in a different way and I would love to read any follow up work from the author.

With thanks to Pen & Sword and Net Galley.

**BOOK TOUR** The Forgotten Gun by John Reid

Steve Burt’s time as a police officer is nearly up. Facing disciplinary action, he is surprised to receive a lifeline when he is asked to head a new unit looking at cases that have basically no chance of being solved. Burt and his team of two additional officers are given the ultimate mystery to work on – the murder of a man who has been shot at from a distance. With no witnesses and no physical evidence, it is looking increasingly likely that this case will remain unsolved. Enter Steve and his team…

I was really pleased to be given the opportunity to read The Forgotten Gun, a book that grabbed me straight from the opening chapter. On the surface, this is a crime that is never going to be solved, with a weapon that doesn’t seem to exist and an investigative team full of misfits. We soon learn, though, never to judge a book by its cover as Burt and his two junior officers, ‘Twiggy’ and ‘The Captain’, take on the challenge and finally get the opportunity to show their capabilities.

The plot moves on at a good pace and I liked how there was a big focus on the investigative process, information being gathered in mainly traditional ways. I also really loved the humour in the book and it felt like an accurate portrayal of three people working closely together. Twiggy, in particular, was a character who I really enjoyed and I admired her ‘don’t care’ attitude, determined to use any means necessary to try to solve the case.

The Forgotten Gun was a great read and one that I would recommend, especially if you’re looking for something not particularly lengthy.

With thanks to Kelly at Love Books Tours.

**COVER REVEAL** A Spoonful of Murder by J M Hall

Introducing the three unlikeliest sleuths you’ll ever meet… 🥄

#ASpoonfulOfMurder by J.M. Hall is out 17th March 2022! ☕

Available to pre-order now:

Retirement can be murder…

Once a week, three retired school teachers have their ‘coffee o’clock’ sessions at the Thirsk Garden Centre café.

But one fateful Thursday morning, they bump into their ex-colleague, Topsy, during their weekly coffee and catch-up. By the next Thursday, Topsy’s dead.

The last thing Liz, Thelma and Pat imagined was that they would become embroiled in a murder.

But they know there’s more to Topsy’s death than meets the eye – and it’s down to them to prove it…

Monthly Round Up: October 2021

Not a productive month on the reading front and, for the first time, I’m behind on my Goodreads challenge! Hopefully I can get back on track in November!

Books I Have Read

The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas

A great multi-genre read that I really enjoyed. Set partly in 1903 and partly in 1993, The Room in the Attic tells the tale of an old asylum that is now a boarding school. A perfect autumn read for anyone who enjoys reading dual timeline novels.

Lying Ways by Rachel Lynch

The ninth book in the Kelly Porter series is my favourite so far. When two former prison inmates are found brutally murdered, the detective has a different sort of case on her hands. Fast-paced and exciting, this was an excellent read.

Books I Have Aquired

25 years ago he took a girl. Today he takes another.

One August afternoon, eight-year-old Grace Lennard skips into the garden of the childcare centre she attends and vanishes into thin air.

Hours before, Steven Harte walks into Halesowen police station and confesses to having information that will lead Detective Kim Stone to Melody Jones – the little girl who was taken from a playground exactly twenty-five years ago. But something about his confession is off and Kim dismisses his claims.

Arriving at the scene of Grace’s disappearance, Kim finds a chilling piece of evidence: the heart bracelet belonging to Melody. Now Kim must play Steven’s twisted game if she is to find Grace alive. But they’re going to play by Kim’s rules.

With only twenty-four hours to make every second of Steven’s interrogation count, and scan his behaviour for hidden clues, Kim and her team soon link Steven to the abduction of several vulnerable girls – two were kept for a year and then released, unharmed – but where are Melody and the others?

Then small bones are discovered in the grounds of a local park, and Kim fears the worst.

Kim may be close to convicting a killer, but there’s another who wants revenge against her – Dr Alex Thorne – the evil woman Kim did her best to keep behind bars. Alex is about to reveal a shocking secret to Kim that will hit her where it hurts the most. And if Kim lets Alex mess with her head, she might not be able to save Grace and find the other missing girls in time.

Kate Marshall’s detective agency takes off when she and her partner Tristan are hired to investigate a cold case from over a decade ago. Twelve years previously, a determined young journalist called Joanna Duncan exposed a political scandal that had major repercussions. In the fallout she disappeared without trace and was never found.

When Kate and Tristan examine the case files, they find the trail long cold, but they discover the names of two young men who also vanished at that time. As she begins to connect their last days, Kate realizes that Joanna may have been onto something far more sinister than anyone first believed: the identity of a serial killer preying on the people who few will ever miss.

But the closer Kate comes to finding the killer, the darker things become . . .

A Metropolitan Police detective about to be dismissed is given a second chance by his old boss, who is now a police commander. He’s given a new unit to run and two misfit detectives to assist him. All three know their status is temporary.

Their first case together is an impossible double murder. Each murder is identical. Both victims are expertly shot in the head from long range, but the post-mortems reveal no bullets were used in the shootings. The CSI teams calculate that in both cases there was no place for the marksman to have fired from, unless suspended over busy roads.

Although it’s a case apparently impossible to solve, DCI Steve Burt reluctantly agrees to investigate with his new team. Their enquiries lead them into the murky world of greed, corruption, fraud and money laundering, but they are no nearer solving the murders.

The team is stumped until the DCI meets a retired army major and a WW2 veteran who unwittingly hold the keys to solving these impossible murders.

I’ve got a couple of blog tours I’m participating in during Novermber so I’d better get reading!

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