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**BLOG TOUR** The Searcher by Tana French

When ex-cop Cal Hooper moves from Chicago to a remote Irish village after his divorce, he is just looking for a quiet life. When a local teenager visits, however, telling him that his older brother has disappeared, he is intrigued. What exactly has happened to Brendan Reddy and what secrets are being hidden in this quiet area of Ireland?

The Searcher is a standalone book from the author of the Dublin Murder Squad books, so you do not need to have read any of those before this one. Indeed, this is a very different book, a slow burner with very much a character-driven plot that draws you into the world of Cal and his young friend, Trey Reddy.

Like in all remote fictional villages, there is something that the locals want to keep hidden, so when Cal arrives, people are naturally suspicious of his motivation. His relationship with young Trey helps to fuel the fire and so soon, Cal is determined to help the teenager discover what had happened to his brother, someone who he is adamant wouldn’t just have left of his own volition. I really liked how we found out bits of the story at the same time as Cal, slowly edging towards a shocking conclusion.

Although this has a slow build-up, it does not mean that this book is devoid of exciting events – far from it! For me, though, the highlight is the friendship that develops between the two main characters. Despite his initial reluctance to help, Cal soon becomes fascinated by Trey and I feel that, as he is clearly missing his daughter, he is helping to fill a child-shaped void for him. Likewise, Trey has been deprived of a father figure for most of his life and Cal is probably the first adult that has ever given him the time of day.

The Searcher has some truly shocking moments and contains scenes that will make you so angry, you will want to cry for the life that Trey finds himself living. As the book progressed, I found myself become quite attached to Trey and Cal and hoped that, by the end, they would both find the peace that they needed.

I really enjoyed The Searcher and there will be some images that remain with me. With thanks to Tana French, Penguin UK and to Georgia Taylor for organising the blog tour.

**PROMO** Hiding in Plain Sight by Eoghan Egan

Today we are celebrating the release of Hiding in Plain Sight by Eoghan Egan. The official launch is on the 11th of January in Ireland and you are cordially invited. Your invitation below, for now here is more information about the book and the author.

The Blurb

A vicious serial killer roams the Irish Midlands… with his sights set on the next victim.

A successful businessman has found the perfect recipe for getting away with murder.

No bodies, no evidence.

No evidence, no suspect.

High art and low morals collide when graduate Sharona Waters discovers a multi-million euro art scam in play. She delves in, unwittingly putting herself on a direct trajectory with danger as the killer accelerates his murder spree.

When Sharona gets drawn into the killer’s orbit, she peels away his public persona and exposes the psychopath underneath. Suddenly, the small town has no hiding place…

About the Author

A native of Co. Roscommon, Eoghan studied Computer Programming in college, works in Sales Management & Marketing, but his passion for reading and writing remains.

Eoghan’s work got shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Short Story Prize, and Listowel’s 2019 Bryan McMahon Short Story Award Competition. His novel was a contender in literary agent David Headley’s opening chapter Pitch Competition, and during March 2019, Eoghan’s entry won Litopia’s Pop-Up Submission.

A graduate of Maynooth University’s Creative Writing Curriculum, and Curtis Brown’s Edit & Pitch Your Novel Course, Eoghan’s novel Hiding in Plain Sight – the first in a crime fiction trilogy based around the Irish Midlands – will be available in paperback and audio on January 11th 2020.

www.eoghaneganwriter.com

You are invited!

With thanks to Kelly from Love Books Tours.

**BLOG TOUR** Broken Souls by Patricia Gibney

When the body of a woman is found hanging in her home, wearing a wedding dress, it is initially thought that it is a case of suicide. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when a second woman is found dead, also wearing a wedding dress. This is too much of a coincidence for D I Lottie Parker, who immediately starts to look for evidence of foul play. When it is revealed that one of the women had a young daughter who has seemingly gone missing, it becomes a race against time to catch the perpetrator before more bodies are discovered.

It is hard to believe that Broken Souls is the seventh book in the Lottie Parker series, the first book, The Missing Onesonly being published in 2017. In this short time, we have seen Lottie grow as a character, dealing with the grief of her lost husband and now contemplating marriage to one of her colleagues. Her family is as dysfunctional as ever, with the added bonus of her half-brother, Leo, disrupting the equilibrium even further! After events in previous books, I was pleased to see Lottie’s family taking more of a back seat in this one – there is only so much trauma one family can take!

With there being two deaths near the beginning of the book, and a lot of characters introduced,  I initially struggled to remember who everybody was. As the book progressed, however, and the cases began to intertwine, I developed more of an understanding of each character and how they were connected to the dead women. The setting, a place where everyone seemed to know everybody else, helped to muddy the waters when trying to find the culprit as there were so many shifty characters! A few hints were dropped throughout the book, but I did not predict the outcome at all.

As this is now the seventh book, I feel that I have come to know the characters really well and so I was left reeling at the revelation at the end of this installment. There is a genuine, ‘”Noooo!” moment in the final pages, and I really hope that Patricia Gibney resolves this issue in a pleasing way! To find out what it is, you will just have to read the book!

If you have never read the Lottie Parker series, then I cannot recommend it enough. With great plots and characters, Broken Souls is a great addition to an already brilliant set of books.

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

 

**BLOG TOUR** Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney

When two young women fail to return home after an evening at a local nightclub, their families begin to fear the worst. It’s not long before Detective Lottie Parker and her team identify a person of interest – Conor Dowling. Recently released from prison after being put there thanks to the evidence of one of the missing girls, Conor is certainly on the radar of the investigating officers when the bodies of the women are found. After two more bodies are discovered, it would seem that a serial killer is stalking the streets of Ragmullin and they haven’t yet finished what they set out to do…

Final Betrayal is the sixth in the Lottie Parker series and, again, we see the detective trying to balance her home and work life. Settled into her new home, things should be looking up on the domestic front, but, as readers of this series will know, Lottie’s complicated backstory is never going to give her an easy ride! Without giving away spoilers, readers of the previous book will be shocked to see that the revelations in the previous book play a huge part in Final Betrayal and provide some genuine heart in mouth moments! I’ve always enjoyed how Patricia Gibney mixes the police investigation with Lottie’s personal life – even if I do think that Lottie and her family must have some sort of curse hanging over them!

This is definitely one of Lottie’s most demanding cases for numerous reasons, not least due to the huge body count. With her team not all firing on full cylinders after events on the previous book, we do see cracks beginning to appear as she is determined not to turn to the prescription drugs and alcohol of her past. Her relationship with Boyd is still not progressing even though Boyd would like it to go much further. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next book…

Final Betrayal has a great plot and there are a few clues slipped in throughout the book. By having a couple of story lines running parallel to each other, the author has cleverly managed to muddy the waters so that you’re not always sure who is doing what. All will make sense when you read the book! I did manage to work out who the killer was, but did not solve all aspects of the case!

I would advise that you read the rest of this series before reading this book as there are several spoilers throughout. This is a superb series, though, and one that I’m sure you’ll enjoy catching up on.  Take a look at my reviews of the other five Lottie Parker books:

The Missing Ones

The Stolen Girls

The Lost Child

No Safe Place

Tell Nobody

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for my ARC and to Kim Nash for organising the blog tour.

**BLOG TOUR** The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

42075145Ireland, 1919: Ellen O’Brien is about to start a new job ‘up at the big house’ but the war in Ireland is getting closer to home. Soon, everyone around her is getting swept up in an increasingly violent situation with Ellen, herself, finding her loyalties torn.

Almost a hundred years later, after the death of a family member, Clare Farrell has inherited an old farmhouse in County Meath. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to escape from an abusive marriage, she leaves her past behind and embarks on a new life in Ireland. The house, however, is in a poor state of repair and, whilst working on improving her living environment, Clare discovers a long-forgotten hiding place containing some mysterious artefacts. With only the renovations to occupy her time, she soon uncovers a secret that has remained buried for several decades.

Ever since reading The Daughters of Red Hill Hall, I have become a huge fan of Kathleen McGurl’s time lapse stories, and I was really looking forward to this one. I’ve always liked how the stories are told in two distinct time frames yet their plots gradually converge so we are seeing the same story told from two different perspectives.  In The Forgotten Secret we meet two main protagonists, separated by almost a century, but each embarking on a new life, not knowing what the outcome will be.

I found I had a lot of respect for Clare, a woman who seemingly had a happy home life. Looks can be deceiving, though, and when you scratched beneath the surface, we discovered how controlling her husband, Paul, actually was. Stopping her from working, isolating her from her friends, choosing her clothes… the list could go on. I was pleased when she finally took the plunge and left her husband, starting a new life in Ireland. The discovery of the artefacts and her subsequent investigation do not take a central role in her story, but do help to add some detail to the story of the other main character, Ellen.

The chapters featuring Ellen were my favourite, moreso as the book progressed. Set against the fighting in Ireland between the Volunteers and the ‘Black and Tans’, we see a young woman who is caught up in a war that she quickly needs to learn about. Although I have read other books on this subject, I did enjoy the way the author explained what was happening and was also grateful for the historical overview she provided. Ellen’s story is a fascinating, yet tragic, one and I admired her tenacity which saw her come out the other side.

Another part of Ireland’s history is also dealt with, and it is one that leaves a particularly nasty taste in the mouth – that of the Magdalene laundries. Although the descriptions are not overly graphic, Kathleen McGurl paints a bleak image of the conditions and made me feel so angry for the women who were incarcerated there.

The Forgotten Secret is not an action-packed but is much more a plot-driven book. One part did fox me, though, and provided a great twist that I was not expecting. This is another great book from Kathleen McGurl, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

With thanks to HQ Digital and Net Galley for my copy and to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour.

Take a look at my reviews of some of Kathleen McGurl’s previous books:

The Drowned Village

The Girl from Ballymor

The Pearl Locket

The Emerald Comb

The Daughters of Red Hill Hall

No Safe Place by Patricia Gibney

When the body of a young woman is found at the bottom of an open grave, Detective Lottie Parker fears that it could be Elizabeth Byrne who, only days earlier, vanished after getting on a train. The case stirs up memories of a past case for Corrigan, her superior officer, when another young woman from Ragmullin disappeared a decade ago in a similar way. A coincidence or could there be a connection? When two more women vanish in a similar fashion, Lottie fears that there is a serial killer at large. With major problems of her own and a new boss to contend with, this looks like being one of Lottie Parker’s most difficult cases to date.

No Safe Place follows on from the previous book The Lost Child but as this could still be read as a standalone, I will refrain from giving any spoilers! Lottie is still struggling with events from her past so when she discovers that her boss is going to have an operation and his post is being covered by someone she dislikes immensely, it is inevitable that she will, once again, turn to medication to get her through the day. Lottie is an incredibly tragic character yet at the same time is tenacious and totally committed to her job. I think most fans of this series are desperate for her to have a bit of luck in her life and it’s about time her and Boyd sorted themselves out once and for all!

The mystery is a fascinating one. Young women are going missing on a train and there are very few, if any, witnesses. Several suspects are put forward and it is not until the very end of the book that we finally discover the culprit and the reason behind them doing what they are doing. Patricia Gibney has done a fantastic job in concealing who the guilty party is to the point where the clues given could apply to more than one character. I liked how all the sub-plots linked together and whereas in some books these links could be tenuous, this was not the case here. All loose ends were tied up nicely and the conclusion was realistic and satisfying.

As in previous books, the author has thrown in a few curveballs which will, hopefully, be explored in subsequent books. One in particular (which linked to the previous book) was a shocker and I can’t wait to see what happens there!

This is a series that is going from strength to strength – Lottie is becoming one of those familiar fictional characters that seems as though they have been around forever. I hope there is much more to come!

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for the ARC.

The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney

51Ce958tbdL._SY346_When an elderly woman is found murdered and her daughter cannot be found anywhere, Detective Lottie Parker begins to fear for the safety of the whole family. Then a nearby house is set on fire, exposing secrets that threaten the make this the biggest murder case Ragmullin has ever seen. For Lottie however, it proves to be much more personal, as there appears to be a connection to a case that her father was working on shortly before he took his own life. Could Lottie be finally about to discover the truth about her father’s death?

The Lost Child is the third in Patricia Gibney’s Lottie Parker series and, like the others, is a tale of murder and deeply buried secrets. Here, we find Lottie, once again, struggling with her past, relying upon the use of prescription drugs and alcohol just to get her through the day. Determined to find out the truth about her father’s suicide, the strain on the relationship she has with her mother is becoming even more pronounced and the addition of a new baby to the household is doing nothing to help her stress levels.

What starts out as, potentially, a home invasion gone wrong, soon turns into a large-scale murder and missing person investigation when Tessa Ball is found killed in the home of her daughter who has subsequently gone missing. The name of the deceased soon strikes a chord with Lottie and leads her off into a dangerous investigation with links to her father and a cover-up of the highest level. As the death count rises, Lottie and her team have to try to piece together all the clues and link all the main players – of which there are many! With so many key characters, it could have been confusing to keep up with who they all were but Patricia Gibney’s style of writing makes the plot easy to follow.

Ever since discovering the cause of death of Lottie’s father, it was inevitable to the reader that she would not give up her search for the truth. There was always going to be more to the story but I was not prepared for what was about to come! The circumstances surrounding his life and death have made a particular relationship in the series more understandable and certainly makes any future books interesting! A very clever twist!

The Lost Child is a great addition to the Lottie Parker series and I look forward to the next one!

With thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for my ARC.

 

The Girl From Ballymor by Kathleen McGurl

510u-LpbteLIn Ballymor, Ireland in 1847, Kitty McCarthy is struggling to keep her family alive due to the potato famine that has already killed all but two of her children. In the present day, Maria has arrived in Ballymor to research the life of her ancestor, the Victorian artist Michael McCarthy. Will she be able to discover the circumstances surrounding his early life and also what became of his beloved mother, Kitty?

I have loved all of Kathleen McGurl’s previous books and The Daughters of Red Hill Hall was one of my favourites of last year.  I had, therefore, been eagerly anticipating The Girl From Ballymor, and am pleased to say that it is just as good as the rest!

One of the things I like most about Kathleen McGurl’s books is how she seamlessly merges past with present and this is evident here. Speaking as somebody who has ancestors who left Ireland during the potato famine, I found Kitty’s plight highly emotive and could understand her desire to ensure that her son escaped to a better life. Despite living in horrendous conditions, Kitty was an incredibly strong woman and, like Maria, I too became engrossed in the mystery surrounding what became of her. Inevitably, her story was never going to end well, and when her fate was finally revealed it was tinged with more than a touch of sadness.

Sometimes in a dual-timeline story, I find myself liking one of the timelines more than the other but this is not the case in The Girl From Ballymor. Both parts of the story were equally as engaging and were interlinked in a way that moved the plot on. I felt that Maria was a very real character and could sense her trepidation as major changes were about to affect her life in a huge way.

With its cross-genre approach, The Girl From Ballymor will appeal to fans of historical and genealogical fiction and also anyone who enjoys a gentle mystery. This is another great book from Kathleen McGurl and I hope there isn’t too much of a wait before the next one!

With thanks to HQ and Net Galley for the ARC.

 

The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

51Au1qVQ0PL._SY346_Detective Lottie Parker is a woman in turmoil. After events took a harrowing turn in her previous case, her relationship with her children has become more strained than ever, so when a woman turns up on her doorstep asking for help, Lottie is pushed to her limits. On the same day, the body of a partially decomposed woman is found – could the two incidents be linked?

I can honestly say that the opening chapter of this book, describing atrocities taking place in Kosovo, is once of the most harrowing and emotional I have ever read – not ideal when you are reading it on public transport! Patricia Gibney succeeded in drawing me in right from the start, helping me to develop an emotional attachment to many of the characters. My heart went out to the Kosovan boy who witnessed things that no child should ever have to and also to Mimoza, the woman whose visit to Lottie sparks off an investigation into people trafficking, prostitution and organ harvesting.

In Lottie Parker, we have a very realistic, likeable protagonist who is desperately trying to balance her home and work life. As in the previous book, The Missing Ones, her family become embroiled in the case, the trauma of previous events coming back to haunt one of her children. Although there are some spoilers, it is not essential to have read the first book in the series, but I would advise you do as it is another fantastic book.

The subject matter is, at times, incredibly hard-hitting and evokes sympathy throughout. I genuinely could not put this book down, the short chapters moving the story along at a very fast pace, and the quality of the writing immersing me completely in the plot. This has definitely been one of my favourite reads of the year so far.

With thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for my ARC.

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