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May 2022

Six Graves by Angela Marsons

When four bodies are found at the scene of a house fire, Detective Kim Stone soon discovers that the flames were not the cause of death. Each of the bodies, two teenagers and their parents, have gunshot wounds and the mother is holding a gun. New evidence determines that this is not an open and shut case – is the real killer still out there? An escaped convict also gives Kim reason to fear for her own life. He has unfinished business with the detective and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

If ever a book grabbed my attention right from the beginning, then this is it! The prologue really set the scene for the whole book and actually had me worried throughout as I tried to work out what it all meant! As someone who remembers what happened to one of the main characters in a previous book, I have grown to expect the unexpected in this series so was desperate to see what curveball Angela Marsons had thrown in.

There are two plots running throughout Six Graves, both of which would be worthy of a book of their own. It is testament to the strength of Kim Stone that despite her life being under threat, she continues to work at bringing a killer to justice despite her superiors wanting her out of the way! Other faces from Kim’s past have made an appearance in previous books but in Six Graves, we have one of the most heinous imaginable. Every scene they were in really set my nerves on edge, especially when I reminded myself of the prologue and where this was all going to lead to.

This is a tense, nail-biter of a book but there is also plenty of lighter-hearted moments, especially when Kim is forced to take in an unwanted house guest. Fans of previous books will know of Kim’s reluctance to even have people inside her house so to have someone actually staying there must have been an utter nightmare for her!

I say it all the time, but this is a series that just goes from strength to strength!

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley.

**BLOG TOUR** The Storm Girl by Kathleen McGurl

Present Day: After her divorce, Millie Galton has moved into an old house in Mudeford, determined to start afresh. Once work starts on the house, the fireplace reveals a secret that takes Millie back to the house’s original use and introduces her to the world of smuggling.

1784: When her father becomes unable to work, Esther Harris takes over his role of hiding smugglers’ contraband in the cellar of their pub. Knowing that she could be caught at any moment, secrecy is a must. When a battle occurs between the revenue men and the smugglers, people’s loyalties are tested to the limit and Esther has a decision to make: does she follow her heart or protect those she loves?

Kathleen McGurl’s dual timeline books are always a good read and this is no exception. I really got a feel for the geography and history of the locations used in The Storm Girl and could see the research that had been undertaken to make the plot as accurate as possible. The area was really brought to life in both time frames and I could easily visualise the pub and the activities that went on there.

I loved the character of Esther, a woman ahead of her time whose strength showed throughout the whole book. I admired her tenacity and loyalty and willed her to have a happy ending. Millie showed a different sort of strength in her willingness to leave everything behind and start a new life in a place she had no connection to.

The plot has a bit of everything: history, romance, murder… It moves on at a good pace and by switching the timeframes as you are reading, Kathleen McGurl leaves you wanting to know what is going to happen next all the time. The two stories, although set in different times, link together nicely and a mysterious event that happened in the past is solved in the present, providing yet another connection.

I always look forward to reading Kathleen McGurl’s latest book and she has certainly not disappointed with The Storm Girl.

With thanks to HQ Digital and Rachel’s Random Resources.

Take a look at my reviews of more of Kathleen McGurls 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

The Lost Sister

The Girl From Bletchley Park

Her Last Holiday by C L Taylor

Tom Wade, the man behind Soul Shrink Retreats has just been released from prison after serving time for his role in the death of two people. There was a third victim, Jemma, but Tom has never revealed what happened to her. Now Jemma’s sister, Fran, is determined to uncover the truth after she finds out that Tom is about to run another retreat. What did happen to Jemma and why is someone keen to do anything to stop the truth from emerging?

From quite early on in the book, it becomes apparent that secrecy is one of the main themes. After his release from prison, Tom is clearly still troubled by what happened at the retreat in Gozo but is it guilt he is feeling or something else? As we do not find out the circumstances of what actually happened until later in the book, I found myself warming to Tom although was constantly on my guard, looking for clues as to what it was that he was actually hiding.

The story is told from the point of view of three of the characters: Fran, Jemma and Kate. Kate is Tom’s wife, a pushy woman who has stood by him throughout his time in prison and feels that he owes it to her to continue with his work. I enjoyed the silent battle between Kate and Fran as neither of them trusted the other, the chapters written from their points of view revealing their innermost feelings. Through the chapters written from Jemma’s point of view, we get to see what happened during the retreat in Gozo. We also discover that some characters appear in both time lines, leaving me wondering, again, what secrets people were hiding.

This is a perfect holiday read with a plot that is easy to follow yet testing enough to deliver many surprises.

The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White

Heading to Trieste after a holiday with her friends, Iris Carr befriends Miss Froy on the train. Waking from her nap, Iris finds no trace of her new friend and the rest of the passengers tell her that no such woman exists. Has Iris really imagined the whole situation or is there something wicked taking place?

I am a huge fan of the films of Alfred Hitchcock and one of my favourites has always been The Lady Vanishes. The Wheel Spins is the book that it is based on, written in 1936 and very much of its time. The writer does manage to create a claustrophobic atmosphere as Iris searches on board the train for Miss Froy while worrying about her own fate.

While the premise of the book is still the same as the film, there are numerous differences and, if I am completely honest, this is one of the rare occasions where I prefer the film to the book. Many chapters seemed like fillers when all I wanted to do was read about Iris and her search for Miss Froy. This is where the film versions get it right as the parts featuring Miss Froy’s parents have been omitted as they didn’t really bring anything to the plot.

I still enjoyed the book and, especially when you think of its age, it has a plot that stands the rest of time.

Monthly Round Up – April 2022

This month, I’ve read a few of the books I’ve been looking forward to. After reading David Fennel’s The Art of Death last year, I couldn’t wait for the follow-up and, of course, the latest in the Kim Stone series is always a highlight!

Books I Have Read

Her Last Holiday by C L Taylor

I’ve really grown to love the books of C L Taylor and this one is no exception. Years after her sister disappears, Fran decides to face the problem head on when she stays at a retreat organised by the man who was one of the last people to see her alive. What secrets are being hidden and will Fran uncover the truth? This is a great summer read.

See No Evil by David Fennell

The second in the Grace Archer series is just as good as the first. If you like gruesome serial killers then this is the book (and series) for you. Well-written and gripping with great characters, this is becoming one of my favourite series.

The Storm Girl by Kathleen McGurl

The latest dual timeline series from Kathleen McGurl takes us deep into the world of smugglers. Another engaging storyline, my review will form part of the blog tour.

Six Graves by Angela Marsons

One of the best series out there, in my opinion, and this is another superb read. A face from Kim Stone’s past comes back to haunt her, putting her life in extreme danger. With an unbelievably foreboding first chapter, this had me gripped from beginning to end.

The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White

The book that the film The Lady Vanishes was based on and, although a good read, falls a little bit short for me. Iris befriends middle-aged Miss Froy on the train only for the woman to disappear. Just where is Miss Froy and did she actually exist in the first place?

The Missing Father by M J Lee

The latest in the Jayne Sinclair series sees the genealogist helping a neighbour to discover the truth behind her parentage. Taking us to Singapore in World War Two, this is another engaging read full of historical detail and expert family history advice!

Books I Have Acquired

In The Prison Doctor: The Final Sentence, Dr Amanda Brown reveals stories of her time spent with foreign national prisoners.


These are just some of the fates facing the inmates at Huntercombe prison.

Some have fled their homeland in fear of their lives. Others are being sent to a country they left decades ago. But Dr Amanda Brown is doing all she can for each
patient stuck in no-man’s land. They have little or no idea of what awaits them outside, but she treats them with kindness and respect. Whatever their crime, and whatever their future holds, she is still their doctor.

It’s a typical teenage bedroom with posters covering the walls and clothes littering the floor. But the girl lying on her bed, wearing a delicate chain around her neck, is lifeless. A circle of red stains her white vest top. How had the girl’s mother looked down at her sleeping child and pulled the trigger?

When Detective Kim Stone rushes to the scene of a house fire, she’s shocked to discover it’s claimed the lives of two teenage children and their parents. But this tragedy is not quite as it seems. Each body is marked by a gunshot wound and the mother, Helen Daynes, is holding the gun.

The case sparks painful childhood memories for Kim who suffered at the hands of her own abusive mother, but it just makes her more determined to uncover the truth. As Kim untangles Helen’s past, she finds a history of clinical depression. But did it drive Helen to murder her loved ones?

Then Kim uncovers a tiny, vital clue in Helen’s bedroom that throws the investigation wide open. Could someone else have killed the Daynes family?

Just as Kim feels she’s making progress, a deadly threat is made to her own life by a dangerous psychopath from her past. Biting back her fear, she keeps digging. And when Kim hits upon a shocking secret that changes everything she thought she knew about Helen, she realises that the remaining family members are in grave danger.

Kim is under pressure like never before, and the monster circling her is getting ever closer. Four bodies already. Four graves fresh in the ground. Who will be next? Can Kim find the killer and save herself before it’s too late?

Is murder in the blood?

But it’s not the first time she’s been so close to a crime scene. The daughter of a prolific serial killer, she’s spent her whole life running from who she really is.

In a sleepy Devon village, a woman is taken from the streets. Local vet Jenny is horrified. This kind of thing doesn’t happen here.

And the crime is harrowingly similar to those her father committed all those years ago…

But she’s not her father’s daughter.

Is she?

Something whistling through the door behind her caused her to turn. A shadow spread across the opening. She clasped a hand to her mouth, stilling the fear that was rising. The menacing shadow was followed by a face that sent a cold shiver down her spine…

When the call comes in about Lucy, a seventeen-year-old girl murdered after the secret party she held in her parents’ home, Detective Lottie Parker is first on the scene. As she picks her way through the smashed glasses and the blood spatter on the perfect cream carpet, she is horrified to see Lucy’s angelic face, silvery-blue eyes forever closed.

As Lottie breaks the news to Lucy’s heartbroken parents and the devastated partygoers, she discovers that hours before her death Lucy had revealed a terrible secret about her friend Hannah. And when Lottie finds Lucy’s bloodstained clothing hidden in Hannah’s bedroom, she has no option but to bring the shy, frightened girl into custody.

But Hannah claims to have no memory of the night Lucy died and Lottie begins to question her guilt. Then a fifteen-year-old boy who also attended the party is pulled from the canal. And as Lottie investigates, she discovers something shocking. Her own son Sean was at the party. Why did he lie to her? Is her beloved child a witness or a suspect… or is he now in the killer’s sights?

Alice Taylor was adopted in 1942 when she was three years old. Her adoptive parents never told her about her birth family and even changed her Christian name. Now, seventy-seven years later, she wants to know the truth.

Who were her birth parents?

How did her mother die?

What happened to her missing father?

Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, has just a few days to discover the truth before she goes for a well-earned break in Australia.

Can she discover the truth hidden in the chaos of the war?

How do you find a killer who has destroyed all the evidence?

Detective Erika Foster is on a late-night walk near her new house in Blackheath when she stumbles upon the brutal murder of Vicky Clarke, a true-crime podcaster.

Erika is assigned to the case and discovers that Vicky had been working on a new podcast episode about a sexual predator who preys on young female students around South London, staking out his victims in their halls of residence before breaking in at the dead of night.

When Erika discovers that Vicky’s notes and sound recordings were stolen from her flat at the time of her murder, it leads her to believe that Vicky was close to unmasking the attacker, and she was killed to guarantee her silence.

The case takes on a disturbing twist when the body of a young Bulgarian student doctor is discovered in the same building, and this makes Erika question everything she thought she knew about Vicky. With very little evidence, the clock is ticking to find the killer before he strikes again.

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