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**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.


When the Evil Waits by M J Lee

When a dog walker finds the body of a young boy in a meadow beside the River Mersey, memories are immediately evoked of the Moors Murders. With no DNA or other clues to help find the killer, the police are struggling to make any progress and know that they have a race against time before there is another victim. After recent traumatic events, DI Thomas Ridpath has just returned to work and is thrown straight into the investigation. When another child is taken, Ridpath must try to put aside his own issues to stop the killer in his tracks.


After the shocking cliffhanger M J Lee left us with at the end of the previous book, When the Past Kills, I had been champing at the bit to read this one to see how the story would play out. Within the first few pages, we find out, and we see Ridpath having to come to terms with the aftermath of what happened. If you are new to this series, I would advise you start back at book one in order to get a full picture of Ridpath’s life up to now. While the cases themselves are standalones, I do feel that you need to read about Ridpath’s past to fully understand his character.

Still seconded to the coroner’s office, Ridpath finds himself tasked to re-investigate another officer’s work in order to prove that the case is watertight. Again, we see him falling foul of his colleagues as they realise what he is doing but this is what I like most about him – he has courage of his convictions and will stop at nothing to find the truth even if it means upsetting his fellow officers on the way.

Any plot involving the murder of a child is always a harrowing one and M J Lee has written this in a sensitive way. We soon become aware that there is something amiss in the household of the dead child but what? Could his father really have killed him? The police seem to think so but Ridpath isn’t so sure. Again, we see his tenacity in trying to prove the man’s innocence, not caring whose back he gets up along the way.

I do feel that this series would be great on television and the showdown towards the end of the book had my heart racing just as if I were watching it rather than reading. In Ridpath, M J Lee has created a great character who becomes more and more likable with every book, exactly the sort of police officer I would want to see investigating crimes in real life. I am already eagerly awsiting book seven!

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.

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

Where the Truth Lies

Where the Dead Fall

Where the Silence Calls

Where the Innocent Die

When the Past Kills

**BLOG TOUR** Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

Earlier this year, I read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the latest in Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn series, Fifty Fifty. I am thrilled, therefore, to be able to share my review with you again as part of the blog tour and to, hopefully, persuade you to read one of my favourite books of 2020 so far!

A telephone call is received by the police from a young woman, stating that her father has been killed by her sister and that she is still in the house. Seconds later, another call is received from the sister, saying the same thing. One of them is lying. One of them is a cold-hearted killer. Both of them stand accused of murder but who should we believe?

Steve Cavanagh has become the author with the killer hook and this has definitely continued in Fifty Fifty. From the very start, where we have two separate calls being made to the emergency services, from two sisters each accusing the other of murder, I was immediately drawn in to this twisty, sadistic tale of cat and mouse.

In Fifty Fifty, we have two defendants, each protesting their innocence and each represented by a lawyer who believes in what their client is telling them. One of them is being played, but who? Eddie Flynn is defending Sofia Avellino, a messed up young woman with a history of psychological trauma. Does she have it in her to carry out such a horrific crime? New lawyer Kate Brooks is representing Sofia’s sister, Alexandra, a woman much more together than her sister, but does her calm demeanor hide something more sinister? Usually when reading a book like this, I have some sort of theory as to who the guilty party is but I truly could not make up my mind! Just when I’d think it was definitely Alexandra, something would happen to lead me to believe it was Sofia, only a few chapters later have me convinced, yet again that it was Alexandra! I loved how this plot kept me on my toes, keeping me guessing right to the end.

There was one part of the book that had me holding my breath, desperate to read the next part yet, simultaneously, not daring to as I knew that something horrific was about to happen. I do not want to give away any spoilers, but this was a magnificent piece of writing and all I can say is Steve Cavanagh, how could you? If you’ve already read the book, you will know which part I am referring to, if not, strap yourself in as you’re in for a bumpy ride!

The author’s last book was called Twisted, and this one definitely follows suit. Fifty Fifty has a gripping plot that kept me on my toes throughout, outfoxing me at every turn. If you’ve never read a Steve Cavanagh book, you won’t go far wrong with this one. Superb!

With thanks to Orion and Net Galley for my copy and to Alex Layt for organising the blog tour.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Once a week, four like-minded residents of a retirement village meet to discuss real-life murder cases. The Thursday Murder Club, as they are known, soon find themselves embroiled in something a lot closer to home, however, when a local property developer is killed after attending a meeting at their residence, Coopers Chase. With their unorthodox way of obtaining information, these four pensioners are determined to get to the bottom of this awful crime.

After hearing Richard Osman (one of the presenters on BBC’s Pointless) on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast, I knew that he had an interest in crime fiction, so when I saw that he had written a book himself, I was immediately interested. 

The Thursday Murder Club introduces us to four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron who are not your typical pensioners! Residing in a retirement village, they have access to case files of unsolved murders from the past and, once a week, meet to discuss, and try to solve, the crimes. Each of their characters brings their own special skills to the table, Elizabeth being the driving force behind the group. My favourite, however, was, Ibrahim, an elderly gentleman who has moved with the times and has embraced technology, even if he can sometimes bore his friends when trying to explain how things work!

There are a plethora of supporting characters throughout the book, providing numerous twists and turns along the way. While the plot is certainly a good one, and one that keeps you guessing throughout, for me, it is the characterization that is the main selling point of The Thursday Murder Club. Most of the people in the book are incredibly likable, each with their own stories that help you to build up a complete picture of their lives. Richard Osman’s humour also shines through in each of them, and even the not-so-nice characters are well-written. 

After reading The Thursday Murder Club, I do hope that this is not a one-off for Richard Osman and that we get to read other books of this genre. With its gentle humour, out-of-the-ordinary characters and nostalgia that we can all relate to, this is a great read and one that, I am sure, will be a huge hit. I just hope that, in the future, if I have to go to a retirement village, there is room at Coopers Chase for me!

With thanks to Penguin Books (UK) and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Hush Little Baby by Jane Isaac

Fifteen years ago, three-month-old Alicia Owen was taken from her pram outside a shop and, despite an extensive police investigation, was never found again. Now, a teenage girl has found a small hand in the ground, the police discovering it belongs to the body of a baby, entombed in concrete. Could this be the missing baby after all these years? With the case reopened, and painful wounds revisited, can DC Beth Chamberlain finally find out what happened to baby Alicia on that fateful day?

I had not realised that Hush Little Baby was the third in a series before reading it but while there are definitely links to a previous book, I felt I could follow the story, the author giving enough detail about what had gone before. Reading this one has made me curious about part of the plot, so I will definitely be catching up with the other books at some point!

The main plot concerns the cold case of the disappearance of baby Alicia Owen fifteen years ago, a case which has now become active once again. I felt that this was well-written, showing how the uncertainty of what happened years ago still affected the baby’s family today. It was heartbreaking to see how the two parents had reacted to the loss, the father’s story being particularly sad. It was difficult to see old wounds opening up for both parents, their fears, once again, rising to the surface. While it was obvious that someone definitely knew more than they had told the police investigating the original case, I did not see the conclusion coming so the revealing of the killer came as a shock!

The other plot is the conclusion of a case from the previous book but, like I said, enough detail is given so this part of the story is easy to follow. This is the part of the book where we get to find out more about Beth Chamberlain and her personal life while also seeing the tenacity she displays in her work life.

I really enjoyed Hush Little Baby and will definitely be catching up on the rest of the series.

With thanks to Aria Fiction and Net Galley for my copy and to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

 

 

 

The Molten City by Chris Nickson

All eyes are on the Leeds police as the city is soon to receive a visit from the Prime Minister. The year is 1908, however, and the unemployed are planning to disrupt the visit along with the Suffragettes who see this as an ideal opportunity to get their grievances heard. With his men already stretched, an anonymous note sent to Detective Superintendent Tom Harper has piqued his interest. Telling of an abducted child fourteen years earlier and naming the family with whom he now lives, Harper is concerned that the original investigation seemed to be a bit lacklustre with a paper thin file detailing the steps taken. When missing children are a top priority, why was the disappearance of Andrew Sharp never taken seriously and why is there still an attempt to keep the story hidden?

Tom Harper is back, and this time things are looking very different in his personal life. At the start of the book, we see him having to come to terms with the loss of a close friend, someone who we have got to know throughout the series. This death, although not suspicious, sets the tone for the rest of the book, with numerous murders occurring to try to protect an old secret.

One of the things I have always liked about this series is the prominence placed upon Tom’s wife, Annabelle. Very much a woman ahead of her time, we now see this replicated in their daughter, Mary. Now sixteen years of age, she is very much involved in the suffragette movement, although unlike her mother, she is prepared to go against her father’s wishes to achieve her aim. I had great sympathy for Tom who, despite showing support for his daughter, knows he has a job to do, finding it difficult to prevent his daughter from getting involved in potentially dangerous demonstrations.

The Molten City has a lot happening between its pages, but the story flows easily, each plot being as enjoyable as the other. Chris Nickson, again, adds an air of authenticity by including real historical events as part of the plot, and it is easy to imagine yourself in the Leeds of 1908.

My only concern with this series is that, as time is moving on, Tom Harper is getting older. I hope that we do not see him retiring any time soon, as this is a series that I am thoroughly enjoying! If you haven’t read any of this series before, I can highly recommend it. Take a look at my reviews of some of the other books in the series:

Two Bronze Pennies

Skin Like Silver

On Copper Street

The Tin God

Leaden Heart

With thanks to Net Galley and Severn House Publishers for my copy.

 

 

 

 

**COVER REVEAL** Who’s Next? by Chris Merritt

I’m really please to be taking part in the cover reveal for Chris Merrit’s latest book, Who’s Next?, which will be published by Bookouture on September 11th. If this looks like your sort of book, it can be pre-ordered here: Pre-order link

About the Author

Hello! I’m a British author whose crime thrillers combine psychology, suspense, and characters you care about.

All my novels are set in London, where I live. My first trilogy starred Zac Boateng and Kat Jones, two detectives motivated by family, who tackle organised crime and police corruption. LAST WITNESS, the second Boateng and Jones book, reached #13 in the UK Kindle chart in 2019.

My second series features detective Dan Lockhart – an ex-soldier with a missing wife – and psychologist Dr Lexi Green, an American living in London. These novels are darker, more psychological serial-killer cases, with romantic relationships as a central theme.

I began writing fiction in 2014, after previous careers as a diplomat, based in Iraq and Jerusalem, and later as a psychologist working with victims and perpetrators of crime. I specialised in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which sparked my interest in telling stories about how people cope when faced with extreme adversity.

Now, I spend most of my time writing novels and drinking coffee while *thinking* about writing novels. When I’m not writing, I love climbing and playing basketball.

You can find out more about my work at www.cjmerritt.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @DrCJMerritt

About the Book

Stumbling to the ground, he claws at the earth around him, trying to stabilise himself, but his attacker is on him in seconds. As he stares at the lights of the bustling streets on the other side of the park gates, he doesn’t even have time to yell for help before everything goes black.

When the body of wealthy businessman Charles Stott is found dead on Wimbledon Common, covered in bruises just feet away from his luxury home, Detective Dan Lockhart is called to investigate the shocking scene. Examining the sickeningly disfigured body before him, Lockhart knows he’s dealing with a brutal killer and, as he bends down to take a closer look, he notices something on the victim’s neck: a small, crudely drawn symbol in black ink. It seems the murderer has marked his victim, but why? Dan needs to get inside the perpetrator’s mind, so he contacts psychologist Dr Lexi Green.

As the ensuing media circus puts pressure on Dan and Lexi’s investigation, another victim is found and the headlines are quick to report a serial killer is on the loose. The body of a successful lawyer has been discovered in a park with the same purple bruising and hand-drawn symbol on his neck. Dan fears that more victims will follow.

As the case intensifies, Dan uncovers a new lead on his missing wife, Jess, who disappeared eleven years ago. Determined to follow it up, he must choose between tracking down a serial murderer and finding Jess. Can he make the impossible decision before the killer strikes once more?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Cara Hunter will love this thrilling new series from Chris Merritt. From an explosive start to a heart-stopping finale, you will not want to put this book down!

With thanks to Bookouture and Noelle Holten.

 

**BLOG TOUR** Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins

After years of undercover work in the Met, Detective Megan Thomas has relocated to Devon where she hopes that living with her sister will provide her with a much easier time than she has been used to. The discovery of a body in a septic tank triggers a panic attack, however, bringing back memories that she is desperate to suppress. Not knowing whether she is capable of doing this job any more, Megan finds the impetus to continue when another body is discovered. Feeling that the police were somewhat to blame, she must try to put her past behind her in order to get the justice that she feels is deserved.

I have read, recently, how some readers are not fans of a prologue. I am firmly in the other camp, liking the hints that this seemingly unconnected part of the book gives about what is to come. If you share my opinion, then you are going to love the prologue of Buried Deep. I was instantly drawn in by what I was reading, desperate to know how this linked to what came next. Although some aspects are revealed, Susan Wilkins has kept an awful lot back, hopefully for a subsequent book, as I am dying to know the full circumstances!

The book contains two main plots, each as gripping as the other. After the body of an unknown man is found in a septic tank, we are introduced to the ultimate dysfunctional household with numerous secrets that we are not yet privy to. It was apparent that, even without the discovery of the body, there was something very shifty going on, the author drip-feeding information throughout the book to build up a clear picture of what was happening. We meet some horrible characters whose wealth and status gives them the belief that they are untouchable, but just how involved are they with regards to the dead man?

My favourite part of the plot, however, was one that made me sad and furious at the same time. After a teenage girl is raped, we see her world begin to crumble around her, not just because of the act itself but because of how it is dealt with on social media. In a world where many young girls have the ambition of being a ‘Youtuber’, it was horrible to see how some of her so-called ‘friends’ used the crime to their advantage in order to gain likes and follows. It is a sad indictment of society that people’s traumas can be exploited like this, and I applaud the author for writing about this distasteful modern phenomena.

Megan is a great character with a backstory that we only skim the surface of. She understands what her flaws are, and although she is receiving help for what has happened in her past, she is aware that these flaws could prevent her from doing the job she wants to do.

Buried Deep is a very promising start to a new series; Susan Wilkins has definitely whetted my appetite for more!

Buy  Link:        

Amazon: https://geni.us/B083JLJ8WTSocial

Apple: https://apple.co/2QAaFTL

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2QRPL1m

Google: http://bit.ly/2R0Dibs

 

With thanks to Noelle Holten, Bookouture and Net Galley.

**COVER REVEAL** Death in Vermilion by Barbara Elle

Today I’m pleased to be one of the blogs taking part in the cover reveal for the first book in the Cape Mysteries series by Barbara Elle, Death in Vermilion.

Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing as a copywriter at major publishers and as a freelance journalist. Growing up in Boston, her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting the Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories.

The Blurb

A psychological thriller about murder among friends and enemies.

Who can you trust?

Leila Goodfriend is laying down the bones of a painting. When interrupted by Iris, the noisy, unlikeable artist in the studio upstairs, Leila is distracted and annoyed.

When she discovers the racket was actually Iris’ dead body hitting the floor, Leila becomes obsessed: Who murdered Iris?

The other Red Barn Cooperative artists — competitive, jealous and hypocritical — are prime suspects. They all hated Iris. “An artist owes his life to his art,” Iris said.

Iris was good for a laugh. But no one is laughing now.

In this gripping mystery, new author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a charming Cape Cod town.

Alibis fall apart. Plot twists multiply. And Leila comes to a dangerous conclusion.

The Cover

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/38OSuQD

 

Twitter

@barbaraelleauth

 

With thanks to Kelly from Love Books Group

 

 

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