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**BLOG TOUR** Forget My Name by J S Monroe

Arriving at the airport to discover that her bag has been stolen, her passport, purse and key all gone, she tries to report it to the authorities but there is one huge problem – she can’t remember her name. The only thing that seems familiar is her home so that is where she heads, hoping that will help to trigger some more memories. Arriving at the door, however, she discovers a couple, Tony and Laura, living there and they have no recollection of her ever being there. Someone is lying, but who?

This is definitely one of those books where you cannot predict what is going to happen! Our lead character ‘Jemma’ is the ultimate unreliable narrator, her stress-related amnesia causing her to forget most of what has happened in her life with the exception of some rather important events. From the start, I didn’t know how I felt about her, unsure as to whether she was genuine or whether this was part of some elaborate scam. At the same time, I had great concern for her and hoped that she wasn’t allowing herself to become manipulated by another of the characters. My conflicting opinions of ‘Jemma’ continued throughout the book until we finally realise exactly what is happening. This kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, making it a very interesting reading journey.

From the outset, I had my concerns about Tony and Laura. If someone came to my house, claiming to live there, the last thing I would do would be to invite them to stay! It was obvious that there was something much bigger happening here, but what? Like ‘Jemma’, my opinions of Tony fluctuated throughout the book: was he genuine in his attempts to help her or was there something darker at play?

As I wrote earlier, it is impossible to predict what is going to happen in Forget My Name, although there were a few smaller points I did pick up on. There are a few red herrings thrown in along the way to help muddy the waters, meaning that I constantly found myself changing theories. I was shocked by what was revealed and immediately saw how clever one of the characters had been throughout the whole book.

Forget My Name is a clever book with a very novel plot, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

With thanks to Vicky Joss at Head of Zeus and Netgalley for my copy.

 

 

 

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**BLOG TOUR** What Nobody Knew by Amelia Hendrey

Abandoned by her mother at the age of three and left with her violent father and stepmother, Amelia had what can only be described as a horrific start in life. What Nobody Knew is the author’s own heartbreaking story, from her incredibly traumatic beginnings to her brave survival and, hopefully, happier life.

First of all, I need to start by saying that due to its content, this book may not be for everyone. Dealing with subjects such as child and domestic abuse, rape and abandonment, What Nobody Knew is a harrowing and, at times, difficult read. It’s not, however, sensationalised in any way, and is an honest account of the author’s upbringing.

Throughout the book, I had overwhelming feelings of anger directed towards the adults in Amelia’s life. She truly had no one to turn to and was let down constantly by those who had the power to do something about what she was enduring. Her numerous injuries, some of them requiring hospital visits, should, surely, have had the alarm bells ringing and yet this poor child continued to stay in the family home with those who were responsible.

What I found most fascinating about this book was the inclusion of actual documents from when concerns had been raised. This helped to highlight how little had been done for this child, the authorities seemingly intent on placing the blame firmly with the child rather than investigating the true cause of her behaviour and injuries. The more I read, the more frustrated and angry I became – how could they let this happen?

Being taken away from the family home can be traumatic for any child, but in her case, this provided one of the few high points for Amelia. Boarding school gave her the opportunity to live life as a ‘normal’ child and it was heartwarming to see her developing a close friendship with one of the other girls, doing things that girls her age would do. Of course, this couldn’t last, and it was devastating to think that she was send back to her home, and her abusers, each school holiday.

You would be forgiven for thinking that these events happened a number of years ago, but it is shocking to see how recently this all occurred. Neglect like this should never be allowed to happen again and I applaud the author for having the courage to tell her story.

With thanks to Amelia Hendrey and to Sarah Hardy from Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo for organising the blog tour.

Salt Lane by William Shaw

DS Alexandra Cupidi can’t get the image of a dead woman out of her head so when the body of a man is discovered, drowned in a slurry pit, she fears that there could be a connection. The man, it is determined, was a fruit picker from North Africa and soon the detective is investigating immigrants in the local area and the lives they are living. With a killer out there, and the local people not too keen on answering her questions, Alex faces an uphill and dangerous battle to find out what is going on by the Kent coastline.

I had heard great things about William Shaw but had never got round to reading any of his books. As I was due to attend an ‘Evening with…’ event where he was sharing the billing with the wonderful Elly Griffiths, I decided to bump Salt Lane up my TBR list and I am so glad I did!

Alexandra Cupidi is a fascinating character and I can see why William Shaw decided to write a series around her. (She appears in another book, The Birdwatcher, but it is not essential to have read this prior to Salt Lane). After leaving her previous post under a bit of a cloud, she has found herself in Dungeness, its bleakness a direct contrast to what she was used to in the Met. In Alex, we see a woman at odds with her mother whilst experiencing a less than perfect relationship with her daughter. Alex’s daughter, Zoe, is one of the many strengths in this book. Not exactly your typical teenager, it was refreshing to see a young character written in such a positive way.

Salt Lane deals with the very topical issue of immigration, in particular those arriving into the country illegally and the conditions in which they have to live their lives. In a climate where this is such a divisive issue, the author paints a very sympathetic picture of their plight, highlighting the dangers faced by these people who are just trying to have the chance of a better life. The story is, at times, incredibly emotive, as we read about these ‘hidden’ people, unable to work legally and so are reliant upon jobs that are tantamount to modern day slavery. The fate of one of these characters, in particular, had a huge impact on me and really brought home how vulnerable they were.

This is a fantastic start to a new series, and I am already looking forward to reading its follow-up, Deadland. Incidentally, William Shaw’s event with Elly Griffiths was superb and if you get the chance to attend something similar, I highly recommend it!

The Ghost of Hollow House by Linda Stratmann

The year is 1872 and Mina Scarletti has been invited to Hollow House in Sussex to investigate the strange occurrences that have been troubling its occupants, Mr Honeyacre and his wife, Kitty. With the servants refusing to stay at the house due to sightings of ‘the woman in white’ and unexplained noises, the health of Kitty Honeyacre is beginning to deteriorate. Confirmed sceptic, Mina, knows that with the assistance of her trusted friends Dr. Hamid and Nellie, she can solve the mystery of Hollow House.

The Ghost of Hollow House is the fourth in the Mina Scarletti series and, while it does make references to previous events, it can definitely be read as a standalone. For anyone who hasn’t been introduced to Mina before, she is not exactly your average Victorian heroine. Afflicted with a severe curvature of the spine, the diminutive protagonist has accepted that, unlike most women of her status, she will never marry and have children. She, therefore, has carved out a career writing ghost stories under a male nom de plume, spending her spare time uncovering fraudulent spiritualists.

It was during this era that spiritualism became big business and Linda Stratmann has painted a vivid picture of life at this time. Hollow House is the perfect setting for a ghost story with its mysterious history and cast of characters with secrets to hide. The tension is ramped up even further when bad weather forces the house to be cut off from the rest of the outside world and the strange happenings continue to terrify those in residence.

Mina, once again, encounters her nemesis, spiritualist Arthur Wallace Hope, who brings with him a Mr Beckler, a photographer keen to capture images of spirits. They are a nefarious pairing, Beckler in particular making my skin crawl with his intentions towards Mina. It is also obvious that another character, Mr Stevenson, is not who he says he is, adding to the mistrust and suspicion in the house.

I enjoyed trying to solve the mystery and there are certainly clues to help you along the way. Mina is very impressive in the way she handles the case and I thought the retelling of the story at the end, written by her nom de plume was a great way of ending the book. A great read!

With thanks to Caoimhe O’Brien and Sapere Books for my copy.

 

**BLOG TOUR** Bold Lies by Rachel Lynch

When the body of a man is found in the Lake District, DI Kelly Porter is shocked when connections are made to the murders of two scientists in a secret laboratory in London. With a case involving the upper echelons of society, Kelly finds herself back on familiar territory when she heads to the capital to assist in the investigation. Reunited with her ex, and the reason she left the Met, DCI Matt Carter, Kelly finds herself in the midst of a challenging case where it is difficult to determine who to trust.

Bold Lies is the fifth in the Kelly Porter series and is very different to the previous books, with the action moving away from the Lake District for much of the novel. We also see a very different plot from what we are used to, dealing with crime involving those with the finances and contacts to do what they want. Those involved in the conspiracy are a truly horrible bunch and it was good to see the detectives slowly tighten the net, even though those involved thought they were untouchable.

Circumstances helped us to see a completely different side of Kelly in Bold Lies. Usually driven by her work and focused on the task in hand, we got to see a more vulnerable side when she returned to her mother’s house to sort out her belongings. I love the relationship she has with Ted and can see how vital he has been to help her with the grieving process.

In previous books, we learned how Kelly left the Met after she was betrayed by a colleague, and we finally get to meet Matt, her former boyfriend and man responsible for her relocation to the Lakes. Matt is not a likeable character and I could understand Kelly’s reluctance in wanting to spend too much time with him. I loved her partner Johnny’s reaction when she told him about her history with Matt, and almost wish he had followed through with his threat!

I’m really enjoying this series although, like Kelly herself, I am glad that she has returned to the Lake District as that is where she belongs! I look forward to seeing her back among the lakes and fells investigating her next crime.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC and to Ellie Pilcher for organising the blog tour.

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

Dark Game

Deep Fear

Dead End

Bitter Edge

 

Monthly Round Up – May 2019

A bit of a mixed bag for me, this month, genre-wise with crime, biography and genealogical fiction all being read! I’ve also taken part in several blog tours, sharing reviews and extracts:

 

The Body in the Mist

The Family

Death and the Harlot

Death by Dark Waters

Foul Deeds Will Rise

A Walking Shadow

Books I Have Read

When Darkness Calls by Mark Griffin

The first in a new series and a debut book for the author, this has a great twisty serial killer plot with some genuinely tense moments. Holly Wakefield, criminal psychologist, is a great character. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

 

 

Night by Night by Jack Jordan

Another great book from Jack Jordan sees unreliable narrator, Rose, fixated with the disappearance of a man whose journal she has acquired. Dealing with some hard-hitting issues, this has a very thrilling showdown at the end!

 

Legacy of Guilt by Wendy Percival

This free short book, available on the author’s website, is a great introduction to her Esme Quentin series. If you’ve never read a genealogical mystery before, this is an excellent introduction.

 

A Date With Death by Mark Roberts

The fifth book in the Eve Clay series sees the detective investigating a serial killer who is targeting young women via a dating app. Another great book from Mark Roberts.

 

The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth

This is definitely a case of being thankful for your own family when we discover how dysfunctional DCI Craig Gillard’s is! A hit and run takes him to Exmoor where he is about to become embroiled in a very complicated case…

 

Bold Lies by Rachel Lynch

A complicated case for DI Kelly Porter sees her return to London and become reacquainted with a face from her past. My review for the fifth in the series will be published shortly as part of the blog tour.

 

What Nobody Knew by Amelia Hendrey

A heart-wrenching true story of a young girl’s life of abuse and neglect that had me angry throughout. My review will be part of the blog tour in a few weeks.

 

 

Salt Lane by William Shaw

A book I had been meaning to read for a while, it finally came off my TBR list and I’m glad it did. The first in the DS Alexandra Cupidi series sees the detective investigating the murder of a woman which soon becomes a much bigger case…

 

Books I Have Acquired

On a bitterly cold winter night, Kelly Ramage leaves her suburban home, telling her husband she’s going to meet a friend.

She never comes back.

When her body is discovered, murdered in what seems to be a sex game gone horribly wrong, Detectives Gino and Magozzi take the case, expecting to find a flirtatious trail leading straight to the killer.

However, Kelly’s sinister lover has done a disturbingly good job of hiding his identity. This isn’t his first victim – and that she won’t be the last…

 

Was Elizabeth I really the last Tudor princess…?

Nonsuch Palace, England, 1586

Elizabeth I has been queen for 28 years. She has survived hundreds of plots against her but now she faces the revelation of a secret she thought would remain hidden forever…

Elizabeth is not the last of the Tudor line — there are two more legitimate heirs to her crown.

Her sworn enemy, Philip II, King of Spain, has discovered the secret and thinks he can control the missing princess as his puppet queen.

Can Elizabeth maintain control over her throne? And what happened to the lost Tudor heirs?

Castle Jerusalem, Andorra, 2018

Dr Perdita Rivers and her twin sister Piper are safely hidden in Andorra.

Despite their narrow escape from those pursuing them, Perdita is determined to continue her grandmother’s legacy by uncovering her ground-breaking research into the English royal bloodline.

But she soon realises that nothing about the Tudor era was as it seemed. And now the national identity of Great Britain must be called into question.

With their enemies still tracking them and the lives of those they love in deadly risk, Perdita and Piper must succeed in exposing the secrets of history or there is no hope of them escaping alive…

 

D.C. Charlie Stafford is about to face her toughest case yet…

Someone is watching, waiting and preying on those who are at their weakest.

Uncover another gripping case in Sarah Flint’s latest action packed novel.

 

 

 

 

Happy reading!

 

 

A Date With Death by Mark Roberts

When the body of a woman is found on the banks of the River Mersey, scalped and her facial features removed, links are immediately made to a recent murder in nearby Warrington. When a third body is found, bearing the same injuries, DCI Eve Clay knows that there is a particularly sadistic serial killer operating on her patch. Each of the dead women had one major thing in common – they were all hoping to find love on the same dating website. Eve feels that there is only one way to stop ‘The Ghoul’ and that is to go undercover online, posing as his perfect victim…

I’m a huge fan of Mark Roberts and A Date With Death was one of the books I was most looking forward to reading this year. Ever since reading the first in the DCI Eve Clay books, Blood Mist, this series has become one of my firm favourites and Eve has become one of my favourite characters. This book, the fifth in the series, keeps up the high standard that I have come to expect.

One of the things I like most about this series is that we don’t have ordinary, run of the mill serial killers – if there is such a thing! In the past, we’ve had bodies arranged in patterns and a paedophile killer but now we have someone who slices off the faces of their victims. For those, of a squeamish nature, we don’t actually read about the act itself, but we do, towards the end of the book, find out the reason why the killer does this, making for a very gruesome scene!

Eve Clay is a great character with a gripping backstory, her traumatic past shaping how she is today. Although you do not need to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, I have really enjoyed seeing how her character has developed. Even though she is dealing with a particularly horrific case, she appears to be becoming more able to separate her professional and personal life, not fretting as much about her young son as she has done in previous books.

Mark Roberts has definitely done it again with A Date With Death, writing a gripping book, impossible to put down. I’m already looking forward to the next one – maybe, in the meantime, I’ll bump into Clay’s husband and son at Goodison Park!

 

 

 

 

 

Legacy of Guilt by Wendy Percival

As someone who researches their family history, I have been so pleased to see the rise of genealogical mystery as a genre. Perfect for anyone who likes to solve a puzzle while they are reading, these books also often contain a murder for those of us who like a good fictional killing! If this is a genre you have not yet experienced, can I recommend you start with one of the several short stories that are available, such as this one, Legacy of Guilt, by Wendy Percival. This short story is available as a free download on Wendy’s website, https://www.wendypercival.co.uk/.

Wendy’s books feature genealogist Esme Quentin, and in this prequel Legacy of Guilt, we discover how she embarked on her new career. Widowed and still coming to terms with her loss, Esme has a new house and is at a crossroads in her life. A chance encounter with her long-lost cousin leads her into using her genealogical skills to uncover a hidden past and deeply buried family secrets. Here, we see Esme at the very beginning of her new job, learning her trade with the help from a friend. From reading the other books, and knowing that she is now a successful genealogist, it was interesting to see her relying on the advice of others, something all of us researchers have done at one time or another.

If you are after a quick read and an introduction to this author or genre, then Legacy of Guilt is a great place to start. The other books in the series are:

Blood Tied

The Indelible Stain

The Malice of Angels

Death of a Cuckoo

With thanks to Wendy Percival for generously providing The Legacy of Guilt.

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth

I really enjoyed the previous book in this series, The Body on the Shore, so I am pleased to be able to share an extract from the latest DCI Craig Gillard book, The Body in the Mist. This is another fantastic book and my review can be read here.

A body is found on a quiet lane in Exmoor, victim of a hit and run. He has no ID, no wallet, no phone, and – after being dragged along the road – no recognisable face. Meanwhile, fresh from his last case, DCI Craig Gillard is unexpectedly called away to Devon on family business. Gillard is soon embroiled when the car in question is traced to his aunt. As he delves deeper, a dark mystery reveals itself, haunted by family secrets, with repercussions Gillard could never have imagined. The past has never been deadlier.

 

 

After being woken at seven by Napoleon scratching at the door, Gillard and Sam were lured downstairs by the smell of bacon. Trish watched them each consume a full cooked breakfast, but ate nothing herself.

‘I’ve got a small errand to run, then I’ll go and make friends with the local constabulary to find out what they know about the hit-and-run,’ Gillard said. ‘I’m sure I’ll be about as welcome as an outbreak of the plague, so don’t expect too much.’

‘I’m sure you’ll be able to straighten it out, dear.’

Gillard had to wait 45 minutes at reception at Barnstaple police station for Detective Inspector Jan Talantire. He had already looked her up on the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary website, so recognized her immediately as she walked in. If he had not done so, he would have pigeonholed her as a mid-ranking business executive in her late thirties: expensively coiffed, in a smartly cut white blouse, black trouser suit and houndstooth jacket. He knew from what Sam had told him how much those highlight hairdos cost. Talantire was on the phone, but had instantly eyed Gillard and turned her back to shield her confidentiality. After keeping Gillard waiting another five frustrating minutes, she hung up, turned and offered a brief but firm handshake. ‘Thanks for the email, Craig, if I may call you that. There were some good questions. But come on, you’re experienced, you know the score. Given your links to the Antrobus family, I can’t share any of our thinking about this case so long as there is the slightest uncertainty about who drove that vehicle.’

‘I understand perfectly,’ Gillard said. ‘I’m not here to make life difficult, but if I can help in any way, I’m available. You’ve got my contact details.’

She smiled. A keen intelligence shone in her brown eyes ‘We could always do with more hands on deck, just not from you, or on this particular case.’ She paused, and he felt her scrutinizing him. ‘I looked you up. Quite an impressive track record. Solved the Martin Knight murder case. Must have been tricky, given your connection to Mrs Knight.’

‘It was.’ Gillard immediately realized what a sharp brain this woman had. Picking the only other case in which he had a conflict of interest, asking around enough to discover something not mentioned in any of the official reports.

At that moment a young uniformed constable emerged from the door and called out to her. ‘Forensics called, ma’am.’ He waved a piece of paper. ‘We’ve got a match for the fingerprints on the can. Bit of a likely boy—’

‘Willow, zip it,’ Talantire said, flicking her fingers away from her to indicate the young constable should return through the door he’d so foolishly entered by. She excused herself to Gillard, then followed the PC, closing the door behind them.

* * *

Talantire was furious. She snatched the piece of paper from Willow’s hand and quickly scanned it. These were the results she’d been awaiting. Half a dozen different sets of prints from inside the vehicle, one matching the owner, one matching a known local bad boy. She looked up at the PC, then pointed a thumb over her shoulder, through the now closed door. ‘Do you know who that is?’

‘Yes, he introduced himself earlier, a Detective Chief Inspector…’ The constable screwed his face up trying to remember the name.

Talantire helped him out. ‘Craig Gillard, from Surrey.’

‘That’s the one. I saw him up at the crime scene this morning. He was quite helpful.’

‘The crime scene! Clifford,’ she said, gripping the constable by the shoulders, ‘that detective is the nephew of Barbara Antrobus.’

‘Is he? Is that why he’s come all the way down here?’

Talantire nodded, waiting while the cogs in Willow’s brain slowly turned. She found herself fervently wishing that Avon Police up in Bristol would hurry up and allocate the promised two detective constables to help her while DS Charmaine Stafford was on maternity leave. ‘Did he cross the crime tape? If he did, I’ll bloody nail him.’

‘No, we chatted outside the cordon.’

‘You chatted, did you? So what did he want to know?’

‘Just about where the body was, what condition he was in. He asked whether we had done fingerprints on the car, tyre analysis, and established whether the locks had been forced.’

‘I hope you didn’t answer any of those questions.’

The constable looked sheepish. ‘I didn’t see any reason not to. He showed me his card, mentioned your name, so I thought he was part of the investigation.’

Stupid boy. ‘Willow, from now on, do not tell him anything. On principle, okay? If it turns out that Barbara Antrobus was the hit-and-run driver, you might well have compromised any chance we have of getting a clean case to the Crown Prosecution Service.’

‘But we got all the fingerprint results through. And the fingerprints from the can in the car, they match Micky Tuffin. That’s what I was telling you—’

‘And broadcasting to everyone sitting in reception,’ she said.

‘He’s a bad ’un, Micky Tuffin,’ Willow said. ‘Regular car thief. Right from school.’

‘Your school?’

‘My year, my class. I know all about him. I had the desk in front.’

She rolled her eyes. ‘For God’s sake.’ She leaned back against the door, momentarily closing her eyes. ‘Okay, thanks for letting me know. Was he a friend?’

‘You’re kidding,’ Willow said, grinning. ‘I hated him. We had a punch-up during year nine.’

‘All right, to be squeaky clean, I’m still going to have to keep you away from that side of the investigation. Christ, another conflict of interest. Confine yourself to dealing with the leads that come in on the victim. Keep off the driver side of the investigation.’

Angry now, Talantire dismissed the young constable, turned on her heel and went out to confront Gillard.

He was nowhere to be seen.

The Body in the Mist was published by Canelo on 20th May.

With thanks to Nick Louth & Canelo and to Ellie Pilcher for organising the blog tour.

 

 

 

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