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Lynda La Plante

Dark Rooms by Lynda La Plante

When the body of a young woman is found in a disused air raid shelter, and another body is found soon after, Jane Tennison has her work cut out trying to convince her superior officers that the case warrants a thorough investigation. Although it is apparent that one of the bodies has been there for quite some time, Jane does not feel that this is a reason to cut corners and so embarks on an investigation that will take her to Australia in order to get justice for the dead.

The news of a new Tennison book always puts a smile on my face as the character has been one of my favourites for many decades. This is now the eighth in the series and the detective who we first met in the ITV drama Prime Suspect has been slowly climbing the promotional ladder yet still finding herself an outcast with many of the officers she works with. She is always criticised for being a bit of a lone wolf but it is easy to see why when she is rarely taken seriously despite her successful track record.

Dark Rooms for me is classic Lynda La Plante with an array of larger than life characters that I could easily see as part of a television mini-series. As this is a cold case, Tennison has to use her best investigative skills to find the truth about what happened at the home of the Lanark family, a family with dark secrets who will do anything they can to keep them hidden. There are some tense moments as Jane is put in danger and we realise just how unhinged some of these people are.

One of the themes throughout the life of Jane Tennison is her bad luck in her choice of men and this continues in Dark Rooms. Although her latest partner, on the surface, seems like a solid, dependable man, readers are privy to information that Jane does not have so it will be interesting to see if he appears in the next book!

This is a series that is going from strength to strength and I can’t wait to see where Lynda La Plante takes Jane next.

Monthly Roundup – August 2022

August brought books from some of my favourite authors and also some that were new to me.

Books I Have Read

Blue Murder by Cath Staincliffe

The first in a republished series which some people may remember as an ITV drama starring Caroline Quentin. Heavily pregnant detective, Janine Lewis, investigates a particularly gruesome murder with little evidence and pressure from her superiors to close the case.


A Dark Steel Death by Chris Nickson

The tenth in the Tom Harper series takes us to World War One where the detective and his depleted squad are investigating a possible saboteur determined to undermine the war work being done in Leeds.


Bleeding Heart Yard by Elly Griffiths

The third in the Harbinder Kaur series is possibly the best yet. When a Tory MP is murdered at a reunion, old wounds are opened up and secrets from the past threaten to emerge. Who wants the past left firmly where it is? Another brilliant series from the author of the Ruth Galloway books.


The Body in the Stairwell by Nick Louth

The tenth in the DCI Craig Gillard series sees the detective taking less of a starring role as we read about an escaped convict with a score to settle. With Gillard assisting in the manhunt, will he find ‘The Reptile’ before he catches his prey?


Dark Rooms by Lynda La Plante

One of my all time favourite detectives, Jane Tennison, returns in the latest prequel to the Prime Suspect series. When a decomposed body of a young woman is found in an old air raid shelter, Tennison has a battle on her hands to convince her superiors to let her continue investigating what they see as an open and shut case. This is classic Lynda la Plante and I love it!


The Buried Crown by Ally Sherrick

It is clear to see why this children’s book won so many accolades. Evacuee George Penny and his Jewish friend Kitty embark on a dangerous mission to prevent an Anglo-Saxon crown from falling into the hands of the Nazis. Definitely suitable for adults as well as a younger audience!


Books I Have Acquired

ONE HOUSE
EIGHT KILLERS
NO WITNESSES

Jeanette is the manager of a probation hostel that houses high risk offenders released on license.

At 3am one morning, she receives a call telling her a resident has been murdered.

Her whole team, along with the eight convicted murderers, are now all suspects in a crime no one saw committed…

You can run. You can hide. But you can’t escape…

Jonathan Hale is terrified. The wealthy property lawyer and money launderer is back home in Surrey after a nightmare experience in a U.S. jail. The police have him under secret surveillance.

But Hales’s fears lie elsewhere. His plea bargain has earned him the enmity of The Reptile, a notoriously cold-hearted gangster, now confined for life in a maximum-security jail in Arizona thanks to Hale. He’s taken precautions, moved house, hidden his identity and installed security for his wife and family. But still… what if The Reptile escapes?

For DCI Gillard it should be just another week at work. But before long he is involved in a desperate manhunt that will test him to his very limits.

Be prepared.


Now put that thing down! Yes YOU.
It’s time to sit up and listen …

From the stars of Two Mr Ps in a Pod(Cast) and the bestselling authors of Put a Wet Paper Towel On It comes a book filled with chaos, clangers and confessions from the … classrooms.

You’ll be taken on a journey where you’ll meet a rogues’ gallery of classroom characters, read some juicy teacher confessions and learn why every primary teacher’s least favourite lesson is the dreaded … SEX EDUCATION! You’ll even get the inside scoop on what it was like (attempting) to teach during a pandemic.

So, settle down, grab a cuppa and enjoy this book as we pull back the curtain on the weird and wonderful world of primary schools.

After all, THIS IS YOUR OWN TIME YOU’RE WASTING.



I need to get writing my reviews! Happy reading!

Monthly Round Up – March 2022

Every now and then, I like to listen to an audiobook, non-fiction being my books of choice. Two of this month’s books are audiobooks and I am grateful for the ability to be able todownload them for free from my local library.

Books I Have Read

The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins by John George Pearson

A comprehensive account of the life of the infamous East End criminals from their birth right up to their deaths. A fascinating, well-researched story.


Vanished by Lynda La Plante

The third in the DC Jack Warr series is arguably the best yet. The detective finds himself working on a complex case when a woman who had been asking the police for help is brutally murdered in her own home. What ensues is a series of crimes that perplex the police.


The Prison Doctor by Amanda Brown

A fascinating look at life in one of Britain’s most well-known prisons through the eyes of the prison doctor. Gritty yet full of humour, this was a great read and I am looking forward to reading the latest in the series which has just been published.


The Devil’s Playground by Charly Cox

The fourth in the brilliant Alyssa Wyatt series is a dark tale of murder and the occult. This has definitely become one of the series that I look forward to and Charly Cox is becoming one of my favourite writers.

Books I Have Acquired

A heartbreaking choice. A secret kept for centuries.

1784. When Esther Harris’s father hurts his back, she takes over his role helping smugglers hide contraband in the secret cellar in their pub. But when the free traders’ ships are trapped in the harbour, a battle between the smugglers and the revenue officers leads to murder and betrayal – and Esther is forced to choose between the love of her life and protecting her family…
 
Present day. Fresh from her divorce, Millie Galton moves into a former inn overlooking the harbour in Mudeford and plans to create her dream home. When a chance discovery behind an old fireplace reveals the house’s secret history as a haven for smugglers and the devastating story of its former residents, could the mystery of a disappearance from centuries ago finally be solved?


What would you do if your husband framed you for murder?

Five years ago, Olivia Sutherland was wrongfully convicted of plotting to murder.

Now she’s finally free, Olivia has three goals. Repair her relationship with her daughter. Clear her name. And bring down her husband – the man who framed her.

Just how far is she willing to go to get what she wants? And how far will her husband go to stop her?

Because his lies run deeper than Olivia could ever have imagined – and this time it’s not her freedom that’s in jeopardy, but her life…


I’m pleased to be on the blog tour for the Kathleen McGurl book and can’t wait to get stuck in to both of these books!

Vanished by Lynda La Plante

Detective Jack Warr wonders if he has drawn the short straw when he is asked to investigate the case of an eccentric widow who claims she is being stalked by an ex-lodger. After speaking to her, Jack wonders if there is more to this story than it at first seems, his hunch proving to be correct when she is found brutally murdered in her home. When the case merges with a major drugs investigation and the former lodger is nowhere to be found, Jack’s past comes back to haunt him. How far will he go to get what he wants?

The third book in the DC Jack Warr series sees the detective investigating a complex case that gets more and more mysterious as it progresses. What initially starts off as a potential stalking case, soon becomes bigger than the dectective could imagine, leaving him to feel guilt-ridden as he wonders if he could have done more. This is what I like about Warr as he will stop at nothing to achieve justice even if it means that he isn’t strictly on the right side of the law. We see a face from a previous book reappear but this does not mean that you have to have read the previous books – Vanished can be read as a standalone.

For many years, Lynda La Plante has been one of my favourite writers, having been a fan of the Prime Suspect, Anna Travis and Tennison series. In Jack Warr, she has created another fascinating, well-rounded character who is part of a brilliant series of books. Although Vanished has a complex, multifaceted plot, La Plante’s writing makes it easy to follow and as a result I found the book highly engrossing and intriguing. I was certainly kept on my toes throughout my reading as the twists and turns kept occurring – I could certainly empathise with Jack as he tried to solve this baffling case!

If you haven’t read any Lynda La Plante books before, you won’t go far wrong if you start with this one!

With thanks to Net Galley and Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre for my advanced copy.

Take a look at my reviews of the other books in this series:

Buried

Judas Horse

Monthly Round Up – February 2022

March already and the world is looking a very different place. Here’s hoping for peaceful times ahead.

Books I Have Read

The Dublin Railway Murder by Thomas Morris

I love reading true crime, especially anything from the Victorian era and this well-researched story of a murder that was unfamiliar to me was a fascinating tale of how the legal system operated in Ireland at this time.


Every Little Secret by Sarah Clarke

The title is incredibly apt as secrets from the past come to the fore in the present leading to the creation of even more secrets! A twisty tale which really made me question who, if any, of the characters I could trust or believe.


The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths

The latest in the Ruth Galloway series is another fantastic read, but I’d expect nothing less from Elly Griffiths. The Covid pandemic is weaved into the plot perfectly and it was great seeing how these much-loved characters coped in their different ways.


The Music Makers by Alexandra Walsh

The latest timeslip novel from Alexandra Walsh takes us back to the Victorian stage and introduces us to a range of characters and behaviours that the prudish Victorians would rather remain hidden! With history, mystery, romance and even murder, there is something for everybody!



Books I Have Acquired

From behind her came a noise, and she whirled around. Two pairs of cold, murderous eyes stared back at her from beneath hooded cloaks. She stood cemented in place, even as her brain screamed at her to run…

It’s their usual Thursday girls’ night in, and best friends Skye, Elena, and London are enjoying hanging out at Skye’s house in New Mexico, eating junk food, drinking wine, and playing with Skye’s little children, Carter and Abigail.

Until the intruders arrive.

Hearing the horrific screams from Elena and Skye, London hides the children, tiptoes out to see what has happened… and disappears.

After Carter raises the alarm, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is called in to investigate a bloodbath that appears to have no motive, no evidence, and worse still – no sign of London.

As Alyssa and her team dig deeper, the truth is always out of their reach… but what is clear is that they need to find London, and fast.

And as they uncover a link between the murders and a sinister local cult, can Alyssa find the young woman who has vanished without a trace – before London joins the list of victims?

Meet Detective Alyssa Wyatt. Mom, Wife… and a serial killer’s worst nightmare.


Two men are found dead in London’s Battersea Park. One of the bodies has been laid out like a crucifix – with his eyes removed and placed on his open palms.

Detective Inspector Grace Archer and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, lead the investigation. But when more bodies turn up in a similar fashion, they find themselves in a race against time to find the sadistic killer.

The hunt leads them to Ladywell Playtower in Southeast London, the home to a religious commune lead by the enigmatic Aaron Cronin. Archer and Quinn suspect Cronin’s involvement but his alibis are watertight, and the truth seemingly buried. If Archer is to find the killer, she must first battle her way through religious fanatics, London gangsters – and her own demons . . .


When an eccentric widow claims she is being stalked by her former lodger, Detective Jack Warr is the only person who believes her wild claims.

Days later, she is found brutally murdered in her home.

When the investigation uncovers an international drugs operation on the widow’s property, the case grows even more complex. And as the hunt for the widow’s lodger hits dead end after dead end, it seems that the prime suspect has vanished without a trace.

To find answers, Jack must decide how far is he willing to go – and what he is willing to risk – in his search for justice. Because if he crosses the line of the law, one wrong move could cost him everything . . .


Reggie and Ronnie Kray ruled London’s gangland during the 60s with a ruthlessness and viciousness that shocks even now. Building an empire of organised crime that has never been matched, the brothers swindled, extorted and terrorised while enjoying a glittering celebrity status at the heart of the swinging 60s scene, until their downfall and imprisonment for life.


Happy reading!

Monthly Roundup – January 2022

I didn’t quite reach my Goodreads Challenge least year for the first time, so I’m determined that I’m going to do it this year!

Books I Have Read

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths

The sixth book in the Brighton Mysteries series focuses more on the female characters as they investiagte the murder of theatre impressario Bert Billington. Set in 1965, I was really transported back to the Britain of that time.

Unholy Murder by Lynda La Plante

In the latest in the Tennison series, the detective investigates the murder of a nun found buried in a coffin near to the convent where she resided. Another series that just keeps getting better.


You Never Said Goodbye by Luca Veste

Luca Veste’s latest book is set in the USA and sees the lead character, Sam Cooper, slowly coming to terms that everything he’s been told about his family in the past may not be true. A twisty, fast-paced book that I really enjoyed.


Sorry Isn’t Good Enough by Jane Bailey

A gripping tale set partly in 1966 when a catastrophic event in the childhood of nine-year-old Stephanie has a knock-on effect for the rest of her life. Review to feature as part of the blog tour.



Books I Have Acquired

From the outside, it seems Grace has it all. Only she knows about the cracks in her picture-perfect life… and the huge secret behind them. After all, who can she trust?

Her brother Josh is thousands of miles away, and he and Grace have never been close – he was always their parents’ favourite.

Her best friend Coco walked away from her years ago, their friendship irreparably fractured by the choices they’ve made.

And her husband Marcus seems like a different man lately. Grace can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something.

But when her seven-year-old daughter makes a troubling accusation, Grace must choose between protecting her child and protecting her secret… before she loses everything.

Just the one new book this month as I try to make headway on the TBR list!

Unholy Murder by Lynda La Plante

When builders discover a coffin buried in the grounds of an old convent, there are no surprises when the body inside is revealed to be a nun. What is shocking, however, are the scratch marks on the inside of the lid – the woman was clearly still alive when she was buried. Her superiors are keen to dismiss it as a cold case, but Detective Jane Tennison is not so sure and soon she is embarking on an investigation that will pit her against the church and open up old wounds for a member of the team.

Lynda la Plante knows how to tell a good story and she has managed to do it again in this, the seventh in the Tennison series. As each book progresses, we see signs of the detective becoming more like the Jane Tennison of the Prime Suspect series and is already beginning to get a bit of a reputation for doing things her own way. I have enjoyed seeing Jane move forward in time and now that we are in the 1980s, it has been interesting to see her becoming more accepted in her role as opposed to the very overt sexism she experienced during her time in the flying squad in previous books.

The subject matter is, at times, quite harrowing and there may be triggers for anyone who would not choose to read about child abuse. While this is only a small part of the plot, it does help to build up a complete picture of the crime and explains the reasons behind the views of one of the officers involved.

The Tennison series is one of my favourites but this can definitely be read as a standalone if you have not read any of the other books. I look forward to seeing what case Jane investigates next!

Monthly Round Up – December 2021

I managed to read more books in December than I did in any other month, largely due to finally succumbing to Covid and having a lot of isolation time. I was grateful to have my Kindle! The TBR pile has grown considerably, however!

Books I Have Read

The Wind Chime by Alexandra Walsh

A timeslip novel set partly in the Victorian era and partly in the present day, I’d been looking forward to reading this since enjoying the Marquess House books by the same author.


Darkness Falls by Robert Bryndza

The third in the Kate Marshall series grabbed me straight away and the twisty plot kept me hooked until the end. My favourite in the series so far.


The Appeal by Janice Hallett

I can see why this book has received so much praise! Its novel format, the plot being told in the form of emails and messages, really kept me engaged throughout the whole book.


The Foundlings by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

The latest in the Morton Farrier series sees the forensic genealogist investigating the case of several babies that were found abandoned in shop doorways. Mystery, murder, mayhem… this book has it all!


The Girl From Bletchley Park by Kathleen McGurl

The latest dual timeframe novel from Kathleen McGurl is, as the name suggests, set partly in Bletchley Park during World War Two. A superb read about betrayal.

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

Like her previous book, The Appeal, the author tells the story in a novel way, this time in the form of voice messages left on a phone. What did happen to a school teacher who took her class on a field trip never to return?


Gangsta Granny Strikes Again by David Walliams

This sequel doesn’t have the same impact as the first in the series but children will love it nonetheless. some of the well-loved characters return along with the infamous Black Cat.


Mind Games by Neville Southall

This insightful look into issues faced by footballers and the wider world in general is well-written and researched and deals with issues such as racism, mental health and homophobia.



The Body Beneath the Willows by Nick Louth

The latest in the Craig Gillard series sees the detective investigating the discovery of a body with part of an Anglo Saxon dagger lodged in his neck. Is it the body of a long-missing man or is something else afoot?



Books I Have Aquired

Brighton, 1965

When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone.

Frustrated by the police response to Bert’s death and determined to prove her innocence, Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins. This is their first real case, but as luck would have it they have a friend on the inside: Max Mephisto is filming a remake of Dracula, starring Seth Billington, Bert’s son. But when they question Max, they feel he isn’t telling them the whole story.

Emma and Sam must vie with the police to untangle the case and bring the killer to justice. They’re sure the answers must lie in Bert’s dark past and in the glamorous, occasionally deadly, days of Music Hall. But the closer they get to the truth, the more danger they find themselves in…

BAFTA-winning actor, voice of everything from Monkey to the Cadbury’s Caramel Rabbit, creator of a myriad of unforgettable characters from Lady Whiteadder to Professor Sprout, MIRIAM MARGOLYES, OBE, is the nation’s favourite (and naughtiest) treasure. Now, at the age of 80, she has finally decided to tell her extraordinary life story – and it’s well worth the wait.

Find out how being conceived in an air-raid gave her curly hair; what pranks led to her being known as the naughtiest girl Oxford High School ever had; how she ended up posing nude for Augustus John as a teenager; why Bob Monkhouse was the best (male) kiss she’s ever had; and what happened next after Warren Beatty asked ‘Do you fuck?’

From declaring her love to Vanessa Redgrave to being told to be quiet by the Queen, this book is packed with brilliant, hilarious stories. With a cast list stretching from Scorsese to Streisand, a cross-dressing Leonardo di Caprio to Isaiah Berlin, This Much Is True is as warm and honest, as full of life and surprises, as its inimitable author.


On the tree-lined banks of Surrey’s River Wey, a decaying corpse is dug up by workmen in the middle of an Anglo-Saxon burial site. His modern dental fillings show that this is no Dark Age corpse…

DCI Craig Gillard is called in, but the body’s condition makes identification difficult. One man, however, seems to fit the bill: Ozzy Blanchard, a contractor employed by the same water firm doing the digging who disappeared six months ago, his crashed company car found nearby.

But then an X-ray of the corpse throws the investigation into turmoil. A shard of metal lodged in his neck turns out to be part of an Anglo-Saxon dagger unknown to archaeologists. Who wielded this mystery weapon and why? Does the answer lie in a murderous feud between two local families?

The deeper Gillard digs, the more shocking truths he will uncover.


A DEVOTED MOTHER
Sam Cooper has a happy life: a good job, a blossoming relationship. Yet, there’s something he can never forget – the image seared into his mind of his mother, Laurie, dying when he was a child. His father allowed his grief to tear them apart and Sam hasn’t seen him in years.

A LOVING WIFE
Until an unexpected call from Firwood hospital, asking Sam to come home, puts in motion a chain of devastating events. On his deathbed, Sam’s father makes a shocking confession.

A LIAR?
Who was Laurie Cooper? It’s clear that everything Sam thought he knew about his mother was wrong. And now he’s determined to find out exactly what she did and why – whatever the cost.

What happens if you discover you’ve been lied to by your own family for twenty-five years?

Sam Cooper is about to find out.


A coffin is dug up by builders in the grounds of an historic convent – inside is the body of a young nun.

In a city as old as London, the discovery is hardly surprising. But when scratch marks are found on the inside of the coffin lid, Detective Jane Tennison believes she has unearthed a mystery far darker than any she’s investigated before.

However, not everyone agrees. Tennison’s superiors dismiss it as an historic cold case, and the Church seems desperate to conceal the facts from the investigation.

It’s clear that someone is hiding the truth, and perhaps even the killer. Tennison must pray she can find both – before they are buried forever . . .

Here’s to a great 2022!


**BLOG TOUR** Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante

Police are investigating a spate of violent burglaries but when a mutilated body is found inside a Cotswolds house, they realise that this is more than just opportunistic crime. Detective Jack Warr finds himself encountering numerous dead ends as he unearths the secrets in the local community, hoping to get to the core of this organised gang. When he meets Charlotte Miles, a woman with links to the group, Warr wants to use her to lure them into committing one last job with the aim of catching them in the act. With violent acts escalating, Jack knows that he must get this right to avoid more blood being spilled.

It is always a pleasure to read a Lynda La Plante book, someone I have admired since watching the original Prime Suspect on television. After reading the first in the Jack Warr series, Buried, last year, I couldn’t wait to see where Lynda took this character next, especially after finding out his origins. Although this could definitely be read as a standalone, I found that Buried served as a great introduction to the character, helping us to understand what made him tick, whereas this book has given us the opportunity to see more of Jack as a detective. I found myself liking the character more as the book progressed, admiring his determination and policing skills, even if his tactics may not be strictly legal sometimes!


The plot moves on at a good pace and is well developed. From the horrific discovery at the start of the book, the plot progresses well until we discover how this fits in with the rest of the story, taking us on a journey through the privileged Cotswolds where nobody’s home seems safe. I had never heard of a Judas Horse before reading this book and I loved the idea of using the weak link as an insider to lead the police to the gang. We meet a myriad of characters throughout the book, each one, police, victim and criminal, bringing a different element to the story.


The Jack Warr series is promising to be another huge hit for Lynda La Plante and I look forward to seeing where she takes him next.

With thanks to Zaffre Books and Net Galley for my copy and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for organising the blog tour.


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