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I'm a book blogger (gobuythebook.wordpress.com) who loves the crime/thriller/mystery genres and I also have a penchant for genealogical fiction.

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!

**BLOG TOUR** Little Bones by Patricia Gibney

Detective Lottie Parker finds herself investigating a particularly harrowing case when Isabel Gallagher is found brutally murdered on the floor of her baby’s nursery, her hand clutching a razor blade. When another young mother goes missing, Lottie fears that the cases are connected and that more lives may be put in danger. With little evidence to go on, the Ragmullin detectives have a race against time to find out just what links the women and find the person responsible.

Patricia Gibney’s Lottie Parker series is one that I have enjoyed since the first book and Little Bones, the tenth instalment, is no exception. It is always nice to reacquaint myself with Lottie and the rest of her team and the author has excelled herself with this exciting and fast-paced plot.

As always, the plot grabs you straight away, with a mysterious incident that occurred some time in the past. I love a prologue that makes you think and this definitely worked for me as I spent the rest of the book trying to work out how this event linked to what was happening in the present day. This was followed by a particularly horrible murder that really pulled on the heart strings, setting the scene for what is a very gripping story, at times tense and emotional.

Lottie is a great character who also feels real to me. Her family take more of a back seat in this book than in some of the others, although it is always nice to spend some time with Lottie’s mum, Rose, a character who always has some of the best lines! Lottie is clearly still feeling the impact of previous events and, judging by a revelation in Little Bones, there is still more to come in the future.

If you’ve never read any of these books then this could be read as a standalone although I would advise starting from the beginning as it is such a good series.

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for my ARC and to Sarah Hardy for organising the blog tour.

Put a Wet Paper Towel on It by Lee Parkinson and Adam Parkinson

Everybody has memories of their primary school from friendships made to lessons learned, but how much do you really know about what goes on inside the building? Brothers Lee and Adam Parkinson (a teacher and a teaching assistant respectively) open the doors to reveal what life is really like for a primary school teacher, highlighting the funny moments and also the downsides of life working with the younger generation.

If you are unfamiliar with the two Mr Ps, they are known for their hugely popular podcast, Two Mr Ps in a Pod(cast), and also for their posts on social media. I suppose you could describe this book as an extension of the podcast and you can definitely hear the authors’ voices as you read. It is obvious how much the authors love their jobs, their positivity shining throughout. It is written in quite an informal way, making it an easy read and one which is accessible to all, regardless of whether they have a professional interest or not.

As someone who is in the trade, so to speak, I spent most of this book with a smile and a knowing look on my face. Any one who works in a primary school will be able to recognise their place of work as they are reading, showing how similar schools actually are. From the staffroom to school productions, children to educational visits, so much resonated with me and I could certainly identify with many of the stories being told!

The ongoing Covid pandemic has highlighted to many just how hard a job teaching can be with lots of parents gaining a new appreciation of teachers due to them having to undertake home learning during lockdowns. It was pleasing, therefore, to see the downsides of the job also being discussed, the role of the government featuring prominently. I applaud the two Mr Ps for saying what most teachers would agree with.

This is a humorous read and if you’ve ever wanted to know what really goes on in a primary school, I heartily recommend it.

With thanks to Harper Collins UK and Net Galley for my copy.

**Blog Tour** The Man on Hackpen Hill by J S Monroe

Crop circles often appear in Wiltshire but this one on Hackpen Hill is a bit different: the patterns seem to be trying to convey a message and the dead body in the middle is certainly not a common feature. DI Silas Hart is at a loss until he happens upon Jim, a Porton Down scientist who is convinced he is being pursued by MI5 for wanting to tell the truth about what is happening at the government laboratory. With Bella, a trainee journalist intent on telling Jim’s story, someone is desperate to stop the truth being told and is prepared to kill to achieve their aim.

This is an intense read that grabs you right from the very beginning and keeps you hooked until the last page. There is a lot going on with elements of mystery, thriller and police procedural but the short pacy chapters keep you gripped, making you want to read ‘just one more’ before putting it down. It is really well-researched and I do not claim to understand all of the science, but this did not hamper my understanding or enjoyment of the plot in any way.

There are two sets of main characters, each with a distinctive role in the plot. In Jim and Bella, we have like-minded people who have been thrown together by an unknown person, each of them reliant upon the other. I genuinely feared for Jim’s safety throughout the book as it becomes apparent that he seems to have information on what message the crop circles are trying to convey. Likewise, as Bella became more and more embroiled in Jim’s world, her well-being became more of a concern, especially as other aspects of her life start to become more worrying. I admired the courage of Jim and Bella; Jim in particular was a favourite character.

I loved the relationship between the two main police characters and enjoyed how the focus was very much on their part in the investigation and not on their private lives. I feel that there is scope for DI Hart and DC Strover to appear in another book so I hope it’s not the last we see of them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the intelligent plot of The Man on Hackpen Hill and found myself drawn into the plot, desperate to see if my theories were correct! A great read.

With thanks to Lauren Tavella from Head of Zeus for my copy.


Monthly Round Up – August 2021

August brought a range of books for me and I acquired some of the books I’ve been looking forward to reading.

Books I Have Read

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

When a young girl is abducted, it sets a chain of events in motion. To get her back, her mum must pay a ransom and find a replacement child. A great premise for a novel with some shocking moments.




The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh

The latest in the Eddie Flynn series deals with corrupt law enforcement and racism amongst other controversial topics. This is a series that just gets better and better!


Brass Lives by Chris Nickson

The year is 1913 and Leeds detective Tom Harper is back investigating a string of crimes unlike anything he has ever seen before. Guns and American gangsters along with trauma in his personal life make this a very testing case for Tom.


The Man on Hackpen Hill by J S Monroe

This multi-genre book had me gripped from beginning to end. A man is found dead in the middle of a crop circle with a coded message that Porton Down scientist, Jim, seems to understand. What is the meaning behind the death and why is Jim fearing for his life? My review will form part of the forthcoming blog tour.


Put a Paper Towel on It by Lee & Adam Parkinson

A very funny and accurate portrayal of life in a primary school. From the staffroom, school trips, lessons and not forgetting the children, this is a must-read for all teachers and parents. Review to follow.

Books I Have Acquired

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?


A MISSING CHILD

Ten years ago, the disappearance of firearms police officer Jonah Colley’s young son almost destroyed him.

A GRUESOME DISCOVERY

A plea for help from an old friend leads Jonah to Slaughter Quay, and the discovery of four bodies. Brutally attacked and left for dead, he is the only survivor.

A SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH

Under suspicion himself, he uncovers a network of secrets and lies about the people he thought he knew – forcing him to question what really happened all those years ago…


Three severed hands. No clues. A race against time.

Three embalmed hands are discovered in a disused Victorian house. Is it a gangland ritual? The work of a cult? Or just a prank played by Medical Students? And what happened to the bodies?

Meanwhile the Coroner needs to issue a Presumption of Death certificate on a teenage girl who vanished eleven years ago in mysterious circumstances.

As hints emerge the two cases are connected, DI Ridpath pushes himself to the limit to find out what really happened. It soon emerges the house is a former children’s home. When another woman, a local social worker, disappears, he is under immense pressure to find answers. What really happened at Daisy House Children’s Home all those years ago?

He has just one week to discover the truth…


When the danger is already inside, nowhere is safe…

Highton prison sits nestled within the moors of western Cumbria, close to the coastal road. When two former inmates turn up dead, DI Kelly Porter is tasked with finding out why. It soon becomes obvious that she is hunting for one killer and the place where both victims were incarcerated holds the key. As Kelly delves into life at Highton she finds more questions than answers. A web of corruption and deceit emerges within the prison walls.

As Kelly gets closer to unpicking the relationships between the officers and their wards, a full scale prison riot explodes – with police caught in the middle. Kelly now faces a hostage situation with a well-loved member of her team caught in the middle.



In a town full of secrets…
Someone was murdered.
Someone went to prison.
And everyone’s a suspect.
Can you uncover the truth?

Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.

Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.

Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.

Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?



So there you have it! Have you read any of these yet?

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare. Your child leaves for school in the morning but doesn’t arrive. A phone call from an unknown caller informs you what has happened: Your daughter has been abducted and if you want her back, you must pay the ransom and then take another child to replace them. You have just entered The Chain and the consequences for not following the rules are deadly. You have no choice but to do as they say.

After hearing the rave reviews of this book, I have had it on my TBR pile since last year so decided it was time to finally see what all the fuss was about! It definitely grabs you from the off with mother, Rachel, seeing her world fall apart after hearing some devastating news followed by the terrifying scenario she finds herself in due to the abduction of her daughter, Kylie.

This is a book about desperation and how far a mother would go to protect the one thing she loves the most. It definitely makes you think as, initially, I felt a lot of anger towards the people who had abducted Kylie but as you begin to understand the premise of the book and realise that they, too, are in the same position, my feelings towards them softened.

The book moves at a fast pace and it is easy to imagine this becoming a successful film. I did enjoy the first half more than the second as some of the twists were quite easy to spot. All in all, if you are looking for a good holiday read, then The Chain fits the bill perfectly.

Brass Lives by Chris Nickson

The year is 1913 and Deputy Chief Constable Tom Harper has an interesting case on his hands. After receiving information that an American gangster has arrived in Leeds, he soon finds himself acquainted with the man himself. Death seems to follow Davey Mullen around but is he responsible for the catalogue of crime that seems to have his name written all over it? With the campaign for women to gain the right to vote gathering pace, Harper is also overseeing a national suffragist pilgrimage that is due to arrive in Leeds, his wife, Annabelle, intending to take part. With worrying incidents affecting his family, this promises to be a difficult time for Tom as he begins to realise that things may never be the same again.

I love how we are moving through time in the Tom Harper series, having started back in the first book in 1890. In this time, we have seen Tom climb up the career ladder where he has now reached the position of Deputy Chief Constable. Not content with sitting behind a desk, Tom is pleased to be given the opportunity to join his detectives in trying to put an end to the crime spree that seems to have been precipitated by the arrival of Davey Mullen.

At a time before modern forensics, it is enjoyable to see the methods employed by the police in order to get the information they need, the emphasis being on getting out there and talking to people. There was one line, in particular, that really brought home for me the time setting, when someone is asked how they knew someone’s accent was American. Nowadays, this would seem like a silly question, but in an era before the advent of the talking film, people would not know what the American accent sounded like!

The plot is a complex one, with several threads that Chris Nickson manages to weave together perfectly. Murder, arson and gun theft are just some of the crimes that we see Harper investigating in what is a very enjoyable book and one of the best in the series. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next in Tom Harper’s life as Brass Lives has introduced a plot that I am sure will be revisited in the next book.

With thanks to Severn House and Net Galley for my ARC.

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