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**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.

The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh

When a young woman, Skylar Edwards, is murdered, a suspect is soon arrested, his fate sure to be the death penalty. No one seems concerned that Andy Dubois is innocent and with local feeling the way it is, there is no chance of him receiving a fair trial. Prosecutor Randal Korn is determined to put Andy on death row, and judging by his reputation as the district attorney to send the most people to their death, this is a foregone conclusion. When Andy’s defence attorney disappears, New York lawyer Eddie Flynn is drafted in to try to achieve the seemingly impossible – beat Randal Korn and save Andy Dubois.

The Eddie Flynn books have become a firm favourite of mine and I couldn’t wait to read The Devil’s Advocate. Here, we see Eddie out of his comfort zone, heading to Alabama to defend a young black man, charged with the murder of a popular white woman. Race definitely plays a part in this book, his skin colour condemning him to death in the eyes of many people regardless of the evidence. Andy and his mum were very likeable characters, and, although they don’t feature much in the book, their bond was clear to see and I willed Eddie to break the case and see justice served.

We see Eddie at his best in The Devil’s Advocate, using every trick in the book (and tricks most definitely not in the book!) to counteract the devious mind of Randal Korn. This is where the author’s legal background really comes to the fore, Eddie’s investigations and courtroom scenes being a joy to read.

In Randal Korn, we have a despicable antagonist of the highest order. He is one of those characters who get under your skin right from the start, without a single redeeming feature. His control over society was terrifying and we see this right from the start with the hostility Eddie and his team face when arriving in Alabama. In The Devil’s Advocate, Steve Cavanagh has given us a plethora of abhorrent characters, each of them with their own terrifying reasons for framing Andy.

In the previous book in this series, Fifty Fifty, there was a particularly shocking moment where we saw the death of someone unexpected. There was a horrible sense of deja vu in this book that had me completely on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t believe that Steve was doing this to us again! You will have to read the book to see what I am referring to and see the outcome. Be prepared!

Eddie Flynn has become a force to be reckoned with and I am already eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

With thanks to Orion and Net Galley for my copy.

The Body on the Moor by Nick Louth

Junior barrister Julia McGann finds herself representing Terrence Bonner, a drug gang enforcer. What could potentially be a case to put her firmly on the map soon turns into a nightmare when her house is broken into and a young homeless girl turns up on her doorstep with an interesting tale to tell. Some time later, DCI Craig Gillard is investigating the brutal murder of a local headteacher. With little to act upon, there is one curious piece of evidence – a pair of gloves that appear to have been used in both the murder and the break in at Julia’s house.

The Body on the Moor is the eighth book in the Craig Gillard series and what a cracker it is! This is a bit different from the others in that Craig takes more of a back seat than he has in the previous books, much of this one focusing on barrister, Julia. I really liked this move as it was something I was not expecting and definitely kept me on my toes throughout!

It is not a spoiler to say that, due to the gloves connection, we know that the two storylines must converge at some point and I found myself trying to work out how. I hoped that this would not be some coincidental event like can often happen in crime fiction but I knew that this would not be the case with Nick Louth’s writing. What we find is a well-constructed plot which drip feeds you information so that you slowly see the big picture. There were several ‘Aha!’ moments where I began to realise where the plot was going.

Just when I thought I couldn’t like this book any more, we are hit with an ending that truly made me gasp. This twist was not something I expected and was a very fitting way to end the book. Again, Nick Louth has whetted my appetite for the next book in the series!

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

Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the Craig Gillard series:

The Body in the Marsh

The Body on the Shore

The Body in the Mist

The Body in the Snow

The Body Under the Bridge

The Body on the Island

The Bodies at Westgrave Hall


Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham

DC Alice Armitage is investigating the murder of a patient on a psychiatric ward. In a facility where security is paramount, she must try to discover how this was able to occur and also who could have possibly been able to carry this out. Could it have been one of his fellow patients? One of the members of staff? An outsider who has managed to gain access? Alice’s work is cut out, not least because the detective isn’t exactly on the case – she’s one of the patients in the ward.

I loved the premise of this book and found Alice a fascinating character. Despite traumatic events in her past placing her in the psychiatric unit, she is convinced that the police are not doing their job properly and so uses her skills to conduct an investigation of her own. Feeling that she has identified the killer, she uses her contacts in the outside world to assist, only to find her theory derailed several times.

Despite the setting, Rabbit Hole is packed with dark humour as we meet a plethora of characters, each given a nickname by Alice. Some of her fellow patients are an absolute joy, their well-described quirks making it easy to visualise what life was like in this unit.

For fans of the author’s Thorne series, you will be pleased to see that there are a few cameo appearances of characters you may recognise. I particularly liked the subtle Phil Hendricks reference quite early on in the book.

There are plenty of twists and turns along the way with numerous red herrings thrown in for good measure. The ending was not expected with part of it making me question everything I had read! This is a great standalone from Mark Billingham, an author who I don’t think has ever written anything less than a brilliant book.

With thanks to Little, Brown and Net Galley for my copy.

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