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**BLOG TOUR** Death at Eden’s End by Jo Allen

When 100-year-old nursing home resident, Violet Ross, is found dead, it seems like, although a tragedy, it is just a case of demise due to old age. One member of staff, however, is concerned by the haste to draw a line under the incident, feeling that a post mortem should be carried out on the old, but otherwise healthy, woman. In an environment where everyone seems to be hiding something, DCI Jude Satterthwaite and DS Ashleigh O’Halloran must uncover an age-old secret before another person is found dead.

Death at Eden’s End is the second in the Jude Satterthwaite series, the first being Death by Dark Waters. I felt that the previous book served as a good introduction to the series, introducing the characters but leaving us wanting more. I was pleased that in this book, we get to find out more about Jude, and feel that he became much more of a rounded character. Similarly, we previously found out some of Ashleigh’s backstory and this was expanded upon here with the introduction of a character from her past. As a result, I definitely developed more of a connection to Jude and Ashleigh than I did in the previous book.

I really enjoyed the setting for the murder, especially as the victim seemed an unlikely one. It was apparent from the start that all was not well at Eden’s End, the Lake District nursing home, with an abundance of characters who seemed to be hiding something and had the opportunity to carry out the murder. This is definitely a book about secrets and we soon realise that Violet was hiding some major ones of her own. With a plot that takes us right back to World War Two, and the subsequent consequences of a person’s actions, there were plenty of twists and turns to hold my attention and make me desperate to find out the culprit and discover what their motive was. Although I deduced part of the plot, I didn’t work out who the killer was and was shocked when all was revealed.

I really enjoyed Death at Eden’s End, and feel that this was even better than the previous book. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

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

Buy links:

 Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Q67Knr

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2LrQJ2P

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Loiucm

iBooks: https://apple.co/35LzYqq

 

**BLOG TOUR** All His Pretty Girls by Charly Cox

When a young couple find a savagely beaten, naked woman in the New Mexico mountains, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is plunged into a particularly testing case. The woman, Callie McCormick, is seemingly the latest victim of a mysterious psychopath who is linked to a string of deaths, but who has, so far, left no clues as to his identity. When Wyatt finds herself close to a breakthrough, she unwittingly puts herself straight in the firing line. The killer knows who she is and wants her to know his name, even if it means destroying everyone around her…

I don’t often read crime books set in the USA, preferring, instead the more familiar UK criminal justice system. There was something about All His Pretty Girls that grabbed my attention, however, and piqued my interest enough to make me want to read it. All I can say is, I am so glad I did! It is hard to believe that this is the author’s debut, as it is a confident, well-written serial killer novel with some fantastic twists and turns!

Alyssa Wyatt is a great character with an emotional backstory which has shaped her police career. I liked the relationship she had with her team, particularly her partner, and thought it made a refreshing change to see a united team, all focused on the job in hand. In books like this, I am accustomed to seeing the detective having an erratic home life so it was pleasing to read scenes involving her supportive, well-balanced family – even if there is a little bit of animosity towards her mother-in-law!

The killer in the book is a particularly heinous one and there are several descriptive scenes which should come with a health warning! His shadow box containing ‘mementos’ of his previous victims was particularly graphic, and you could feel the panic Callie was feeling as she wondered what her fate would be. In a clever piece of writing, I also felt some sympathy towards the killer as we read about his childhood, and realised what a horrific start to life he had.

All His Pretty Girls is a fast-paced, breathtaking read and is one that I struggled to put down. This will definitely be making my list of favourite books of 2019 and I sincerely hope that this is not the last we see of Alyssa.

With thanks to Hera Books and to Sarah Hardy from Book on the Bright Side.

 

**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** Avaline Saddlebags by Netta Newbound and Marcus Brown

It would appear that someone is targeting male to female transsexuals after the bodies of two women, Jade Kelly and Gina Elliot are discovered. Newly-promoted DI Dylan Monroe and his team know that this is a killer who is destined to strike again so will do anything to apprehend him. Unfortunately for Dylan, this means him going undercover at Dorothy’s, a drag and cabaret bar in Liverpool, and the only place that the victims seem to have had in common. With a whole community living in fear, will Dylan find the killer before more blood is shed?

Over the years, I have read hundreds, if not thousands, of books in the crime fiction genre and it is very rare to find something that hasn’t been done before, but Avaline Saddlebags appears to have managed this. This book is like a breath of fresh air with its gritty, at times graphic, plot but with genuine lighthearted moments that had me laughing out loud.

Dylan is a great character, likable, hardworking and prepared to do anything to close a case, even if this means dressing up as a woman and lip-syncing in a local bar! This gave us many comic moments as Dylan tried to come to terms with applying make up and walking in high heels. Perhaps the funniest moment, though, came as his friend Bella’s waters broke, leaving him to accompany her to the hospital in full make up much to the bemusement of everyone he encountered!

Some of this book is not for the faint of heart as we discover how these poor women have been mutilated. One scene, in particular, may make male readers wince! I did find this essential to the plot, however, as it really brought home how depraved the killer was and how mentally unstable they had become. I did not work out who the killer was, although the clues were there all along. I did have my suspicions about one character but was pleased to be wrong!

This is one of my favourite books of the year so far, and I cannot recommend it enough.

With thanks to Junction Publishing, Netta Newbound and Marcus Brown for my copy and to Sarah Hardy from Book on the Bright Side for organising the blog tour.

In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin

When the body of a missing private investigator is discovered in the boot of a car, alarm bells begin ringing – the area had already been searched years before, when the man first went missing. Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is now part of the team investigating the murder whilst also trying to discover what went wrong with the original case. Was there a cover up and just how involved was her mentor, retired detective John Rebus?

John Rebus is one of my favourite fictional characters and so news of a new Ian Rankin book always makes me happy. In a House of Lies has been sat on my Kindle for a while so I thought it was time to give it a read! I am glad that, although Rebus is now retired, he is still finding ways of worming his way into an investigation although, this time, he is slightly more involved than he probably wishes!

The plot is a good one with dodgy characters a plenty, each one having a motive for wanting the deceased out of the way. Like in any good Rebus book, we get an insight into the dark underbelly of Edinburgh, with the legendary ‘Big Ger’ Cafferty featuring prominently. Any scene with Rebus and Cafferty is always my favourite. Their relationship is still a complicated one – they share a grudging respect for each other but at the same time would stop at nothing to sell the other one down the river.

The other plot running throughout the book was probably my favourite. After receiving silent phonecalls, Siobhan Clarke makes the connection to a recent case where she put away Ellis Meikle, convicted of the unlawful killing of his girlfriend. Convinced of his nephew’s innocence, his uncle, Dallas, tries to intimidate Clarke, only to need her help in trying to find new evidence to help his case. This is where Rebus comes in and where we see that there is still life in the old dog yet. Speaking of dogs, I am glad to see that Brillo is still on the scene!

Another great Rebus book and I hope that it’s not too long before we get the next one!

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!

**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.

 

 

 

The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth

The body of a man is found on a quiet Exmoor Lane, seemingly the victim of a hit and run. With no clues to his identity and a severely damaged face, the police are finding it impossible to identify the deceased. Meanwhile, DCI Craig Gillard is called away to Devon on family business and finds himself embroiled in the case when the car involved in the hit and run is traced back to his aunt. As he digs deeper, Craig starts to uncover long-hidden family secrets which will have serious repercussions for his whole family…

There are dysfunctional families and then there is Craig Gillard’s family! Summoned to help his aunt when she is linked to the hit and run, he soon finds that there is much more to her story than meets the eye. I admired Craig’s integrity when he found himself in an extremely difficult position, even if the local police force were not initially enamoured with his desire to help. Craig’s family are not likeable at all and it was satisfying to see the stance he took when trying to uncover the truth.

It is hard not to feel sympathy for Craig as, slowly, more and more secrets are revealed about his family, none of them positive. It is a wonder he is as normal as he is as we discover the crimes and misdemeanors that have been taking place in his family for decades. One of these crimes, a cold case which Craig decides to investigate, was my favourite part of the plot and I was very pleased with its outcome. I felt really sorry for Craig’s wife who supports him throughout the book, not knowing what secrets he, himself, is hiding.

Sometimes you read a book and start to visualise what it would look like on TV and this was definitely the case for me with The Body in the Mist. This book really does have everything – a modern-day police investigation, a cold case, heinous family secrets and a criminal trial – and I could quite easily see this as a mini-series. I, for one, would be gripped!

Although this is the third in the series, it can be read as a standalone so it is not essential to have read the previous two. I have read the previous book, The Body on the Shore, and whilst I really enjoyed that one, The Body in the Mist really is something special. Just when I thought the book had reached its conclusion, the twist at the end truly made me gasp – it will be interesting to see what happens in book 4 as a result of this revelation!

If you haven’t read any of this series yet, you won’t go far wrong by starting with The Body in the Mist. One of my favourite reads of the year so far.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC. If my review has made you curious, stay tuned to my blog as on May 27th, as part of the blog, tour, I have a great extract to share with you.

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Death by Dark Waters by Jo Allen

It’s summer in the Lake District and fires are breaking out across the moors, fires that are spreading faster than they can be extinguished. When the burnt body of a child is discovered, a child that no one seems to have missed, DCI Jude Satterthwaite soon finds himself leading a murder investigation. With the temperature rising and the body count increasing, will Jude be able to catch the killer before it is too late?

I enjoy reading books set in the Lake District as I find that the location always plays a central part in the plot. This is definitely the case here with the hills and moors providing an atmospheric backdrop to the sad tale of a murdered child. The description made it easy to imagine the areas being searched by Satterthwaite and his team and the real locations made it seem more true to life.

Although the book is billed as a DCI Satterthwaite mystery, the detective does not take a central role in the plot. Although we do find out much about his backstory, we also spend a lot of time with his new DS, Ashleigh O’Halloran. Both of the detectives have a history and while we find out a fair bit about Satterthwaite, I feel that there is a lot of Ashleigh’s past that we are yet to discover. Death by Dark Waters definitely felt like an introduction to the main characters and I can easily see more being revealed in future books.

The plot is a solid one and, although some parts are easy to predict, it is an entertaining tale with a few twists along the way. A good start to a new series.

With thanks to Aria and Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

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