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**Publication Day Party** Expiry Date by Alex Walters

A day out with his family turns into a busman’s holiday for DI McKay when he stumbles across the body of a man. To compound matters further, whilst on their trip, his brother-in-law, disappears and is later found dead, seemingly after an accidental fall. Meanwhile, DCI Grant has problems of her own after an online date turns sour. Sensing that something is not quite right with the man she has just met, her fears are realised when she starts to receive abusive texts from an unknown number. In a case involving murder and human trafficking, McKay has to come to terms that someone close to him has been keeping secrets.

I did not realise that this was part of a series before I began reading, and while there are some things referred to, seemingly from previous books, I did not feel that I was hindered in any way by not knowing what had gone before. The plot was easy to follow and I found myself developing an understanding of the established characters quite early in the book.

The plot is a complex one with several story lines running concurrently and it soon becomes apparent that there is a connection between the body found by McKay and the death of his brother-in-law. Similarly, we also see a link emerging between these cases and that of Grant’s disastrous online date. This was the part of the story I enjoyed the most, and I particularly liked the scene in the restaurant when Grant and her friend came to the rescue of another unsuspecting woman who was out on a date with the detective’s stalker. Girl power at its finest!

Trafficking is featured as part of the plot, and it is in these scenes where I encountered my favourite character, Jana. My heart went out to this woman who, unlike the other women, has an inkling as to what is happening due to her understanding of the English language. Her story is an incredibly sad one and each time I read part of her story, I willed her to get away and start a new life for herself…

Throughout the book, I was trying to figure out who could be behind the murders and when the reveal happened, it was definitely not what I was expecting! This was a clever plot twist and one that I enjoyed very much. This is definitely a series that I will be catching up on!

With thanks to Bloodhound Books at to Heather Fitt for organising the publication day party!

 

**BLOG TOUR** The Quiet Ones by Theresa Talbot

Usually when a celebrity dies, their peers rush to the media to profess their sadness for the loss of a good friend. So why isn’t this the case when Scottish football coach, Harry Nugent, is found brutally murdered? Investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil believes that there is a story here, something in Nugent’s past that has been well-hidden. What she discovers is a cover-up of immense proportions that threatens to put her own life in danger.

After reading and enjoying the previous book in this series, Keep Her Silent, I was pleased to be given the opportunity to be one of the blogs on the tour for The Quiet Ones. If this series is new to you, it can be read as a standalone, so please don’t be put off by the fact that you haven’t read the first two.

The third book in the Oonagh O’Neil series sees Theresa Talbot tackling another topical and emotive subject, namely the abuse of young boys at the grassroots level of football. One of the things I admire about Theresa Talbot is that she is not afraid to shy away from controversial topics, telling the stories of the victims in a sensitive yet informative way. The chapters set in 1983 that were interspersed throughout the story were particularly hard hitting as we read about the abuse of a hopeful young footballer and how it affected his whole life. I felt increasingly angry as the book progressed, about how these people were able to hide in plain sight and continue their crimes undetected.

Just when I thought I knew where this book was going to go, Oonagh’s investigations opened up another line of enquiry, one that the police had not yet discovered. I admired how, even though she was going through some turmoil in her own life, her doggedness helped to expose the truth behind the death of Harry Nugent. There were definitely shades of Jimmy Savile here, with a cover-up involving numerous people, and it was, at times, unsettling to read.

The Quiet Ones is a superb read and one where the plot will remain with you for quite some time.

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

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Tqo8Ns

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Z0KtCq

iBooks: https://apple.co/2Mdbzod

Google Play: https://bit.ly/33y0Aez

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Death Will Find Me by Vanessa Robertson

Today, I’m pleased to be on the blog tour for Death Will Find Me, the first in the Tessa Kilpatrick Mystery series by Vanessa Roberts. The book was published on February 20th and I am thrilled to be able to share an extract with you.

The Blurb

Scotland, 1920.
Meet Tessa Kilpatrick; heiress and war-time covert operations agent.

Finding her husband – the feckless James – with another woman at a 1920s country house party, she demands a divorce. But when his body is discovered in a lonely stone bothy the next morning, Inspector Hamish Rasmussen sees Tessa as his only suspect.

Back in Edinburgh, links to another murder convince Rasmussen of her innocence. He enlists her help and together they set off on a pursuit that will bring Tessa once again face to face with the brutality of war as well as revealing to her the lengths that desperate people will go to in order to protect those they love.

Will Tessa be able to prevent a final murder or will she become the killer’s latest victim?

The Extract

The Water of Leith was fast-flowing with melt water from the Pentland Hills and the air was crisp and cold. A mile or so along the riverbank with the dogs had cleared Tessa’s head and rid her of the indecision she’d been feeling since Rasmussen’s visit that morning. By the time she, Bosun and Mycroft turned homewards, heading towards Heriot Row and a warm fire, she was resolved. She would make the list and take it to Rasmussen at Torphichen Street police station the next morning. She didn’t want to unfairly accuse anyone of being up to no good with her husband, but if finding James’s murderer meant some people had to brazen out a little embarrassment then so be it.

In the short term, she needed to warn her parents, especially her mother, of the grenade she was about to lob into the centre of Edinburgh society; she feared that the list of James’s known and possible lovers would be long and the fallout significant.

She whistled to the dogs, calling them away from their fossicking on the riverbank and turned up the steep hill of Bell’s Brae. The evening was drawing in. A few street lamps were lit, their lights glinting off the slick granite setts. For no reason she could name, the back of Tessa’s neck prickled. Just as at the boathouse, she had a feeling she wasn’t alone. It unnerved her. After she’d come home in 1917, she’d had spells of paranoia where she thought that she was being followed or that an intruder was in the house. Those had grown fewer, although she knew she was probably more vigilant than most when it came to locking doors and noticing strangers. She hoped James’s murder wasn’t going to drag her back to those fears.

Then she heard the scuff of a boot on the cobbles behind her and knew this was no irrational fear. Someone was following her. Tessa’s every sense was electrified and she spun round, fists clenched by her side to face whatever fear was behind her.

With thanks to Kelly from Love Books Group Tours for organising the tour.

Letters from the Dead by Steve Robinson

When Jefferson Tayte is tasked to find the identity of his client’s long lost 4x great-grandfather, the genealogist finds himself drawn into the search for a ruby that has been missing for generations. What is already a challenging case takes a murderous turn when others with knowledge of the ruby suddenly start turning up dead. With letters from 150 years ago being left for Tayte after each murder, each providing more information about a horrendous event in the past, can he solve his client’s mystery before he, too, suffers the same fate?

For some years I have been a fan of Steve Robinson’s Jefferson Tayte books, and I look forward to each one with great anticipation. Once again, the author has managed to produce a tense story that will appeal to fans of mystery, historical and genealogical fiction and has definitely become one of my favourite Tayte novels.

If you thought events in previous books would have made Tayte consider the potential dangers of the cases he takes on, you’d be very wrong! Once again, he finds himself taking on a deranged killer in a story that, at times, had more than the touch of an Agatha Christie about it. There was certainly a hint of And Then There Were None as we see each family member getting bumped off one by one, and the gathering of all the suspects in one room was definitely classic Poirot!

Letters From the Dead, in addition to being set in modern Scotland, also takes place in colonial India. Steve Robinson has certainly done his research to paint a vivid picture of life at this controversial time in British history. The characters were realistic and managed to show the contrast between life at the Residency for the British and the Indians. I enjoyed the slow build-up as we finally discovered just what secrets had been covered up and how this continued to affect people today. This gradual retelling of the story complemented the high octane closing chapters as the plot drew to a close.

If you have not read any of Steve Robinson’s work and are a fan of historical and genealogical fiction or merely just love a good mystery story, then you won’t go wrong with this series which is going from strength to strength.

With thanks to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for my advance copy.

Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre

51vg2nga1ql-_sx314_bo1204203200_Surgeon Diana Jager has had a troubled past and so when she meets and falls in love with I.T.expert, Peter Elphinstone, she can’t believe her luck. A wedding soon follows but it’s not long before cracks begin to appear in the marriage. When Peter is killed in a car accident, his sister, Lucy, is convinced there is more to it and engages journalist, Jack Parlabane, to investigate Diana’s involvement.

Why have I never discovered this author before?! When I realized that this was the seventh book in the series, I was quite apprehensive as I had not read any of the previous books. From quite early on, however, it became apparent that, although the series is about Jack Parlabane, he would only play a minor role in the book, with the main focus being on what actually happened to Peter Elphinstone. It is not until towards the end of the book that Jack really comes into his own and, although it is clear that he has had problems in his past, a previous knowledge of the character is not essential and, therefore, Black Widow can be read as a standalone.

The story is told, mainly, from the points of view of Jack and Diana and also of the police officers investigating the accident. This is a clever tactic as we get to see the story from all angles and helps to place doubt in your mind as to who is telling the truth. Throughout the book, I didn’t really know how I felt about Diana – was she the arrogant surgeon as perceived by her work colleagues or was she really a lonely, vulnerable woman desperate for a family of her own? By the end of the book, I knew the answer…

I love a book with a good twist and Black Widow certainly ticks all the boxes on that count. Although I had my suspicions about what happened, the truth came as a shock and was one that I did not see coming.

Black Widow is highly recommended and, on its strength, I shall be reading the rest of the series as soon as possible!

With thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK and NetGalley for the ARC.

Rather be the Devil by Ian Rankin

imageForty years ago, Maria Turquand was found murdered in her hotel room on the same night that a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there. Despite the case being quite high profile at the time, no one was ever convicted of the crime. Now, with time on his hands, retired detective John Rebus is determined to solve the case. Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, local gangster Darryl Christie has been the subject of a vicious attack. Is the notorious Big Ger Cafferty involved or is Christie’s rumoured involvement in a large-scale money laundering scheme to blame?

Now a couple of years into his retirement, and despite his health being a cause for concern, it soon becomes apparent that Rebus is not going to be spending his twilight years relaxing. Unable to take a complete break from the job that consumed his life, his interest in the Maria Turquand case puts him, once again, in contact with his old colleagues Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox. One of the more fascinating parts of these later books in the series (this is the 21st!) is the change in relationship between Rebus and Clarke. Once the superior officer, John must now rely upon his former subordinates in order to find out the information he needs.

Of course, one of the highlights for Rebus fans is the return of Gerald Cafferty. Like Rebus, he is seeing the younger generation take over his once thriving ‘business’ and, on the surface, he looks to be far removed from it. We have learned to never underestimate Big Ger, however, and the scenes between him and his nemesis, Rebus, are an absolute joy to read. There has always been a grudging respect between the two men and this is shown powerfully during the end scenes of the book when the life of one of the men looks to be in serious danger.

Ian Rankin has, again, produced a superb book which shows that, although Rebus may be advancing in years, there is still life in the old dog yet! After decades of reading this series, I dread the day Rankin decides that Rebus should hang up his boots for good.

With thanks to Net Galley and Orion Publishing Group for the ARC.

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