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When the Evil Waits

My Books of 2021

For me, this year has seen some amazing additions to existing series from some of my favourite authors. There have also been some great debuts from authors who I cannot wait to see what they write next.

In no particular order…

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

I was a bit late to the party with this one but it was definitely worth the wait! Told through a series of emails and text messages, this totally immersive book invites the reader to solve the crime. I can see why this has been a best seller.


The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh

The latest in the Eddie Flynn series is another fantastic read, this time dealing with a potential miscarriage of justice and some of the most corrupt authority figures you’re likely to come across!


The Art of Death by David Fennell

A gripping serial killer book with more than a touch of the macabre. This is the first in the series, the second, See No Evil, is due to be published in April 2022.

Darkness Falls by Robert Bryndza

The third in the Kate Marshall series is probably my favourite to date. A serial killer has been operating for a number of years but nobody has made the connection until the private detectives are asked to investigate the disappearance of a journalist.


Stolen Ones by Angela Marsons

Another fantastic read from one of my favourite authors. Kim Stone has to keep her frustrations in check when a child goes missing and a man turns up at the police station knowing more about it than he is letting on.


When the Evil Waits by M J Lee

After the ending of the previous book in the series, I couldn’t wait to read this one and I was not disappointed! Ridpath finds himself investigating the case of a child killer while having to come to terms with major events in his own life.


Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

A particularly gruesome addition to the Kim Stone series sees the detective investigating the murder of a tortured man and the disappearance of his family.


Lying Ways by Rachel Lynch

Easily my favourite of the series so far, this explosive fast-paced plot had me on the edge of my seat. If you haven’t read any of the Kelly Porter books yet, I highly recommend them.


The Foundlings by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

The latest in the Morton Farrier series sees the forensic genealogist investigating a case very close to home. I loved the use of DNA evidence to solve the case.


The Bodies at Westgrave Hall by Nick Louth

I like a locked room mystery and this murder is the ultimate example of this! A murder takes place but CCTV evidence shows that no one entered the room and no one left.


Have any of these featured on your list?




Monthly Round Up – March 2021

March has definitely been one of my leanest months, reading-wise, as for some reason, it seems to be taking me an age to read a book. Hopefully April will bring a better ability to concentrate!

Books I Have Read

When the Evil Waits by M J Lee

After the cliffhanger in the previous book, we see DI Thomas Ridpath adapting to new circumstances whilst investigating the murder of a young boy. A great addition to a very readable series and I recommend them highly if you have not yet started to read them.


The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall by Jessica Thorne

A multi-genre time travel novel which sees new employee Megan Taylor trying to alter the course of history. Just what did happen to Lady Eleanor Fairfax in 1939, and can Megan stop it from happening? With a touch of history, magic, science fiction and romance, there is something here for everybody!


Judas Horse by Lynda la Plante

The second book in the Jack Warr series sees the detective investigating a spate of violent burglaries in his own inimitable way. After getting to know Jack in the first book in the series, we start to see more of his policing in this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it and my review will follow as part of the blog tour.


The Girl in the Painting by Steve Robinson

The eighth in the Jefferson Tayte series (although this could be read as a standalone) sees the genealogist now teaching family history. He can’t resist helping with some research, however, when one of his students asks for help in identifying the subject of a painting. In true JT style, it’s not long before danger heads his way… Review to follow.


Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.

Books I Have Acquired

When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate, Detective Kim Stone arrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.

But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman’s reaction.

Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.

Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.

Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.

A secret that some police officers are also protecting.

Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.  

Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?

A portrait painting is stolen from a London home. Shortly afterwards, the owner, Nat, calls on genealogist Jefferson Tayte for his help. She believes the subject of the painting, a young girl called Jess, is a past relative and wants to learn more about her. The problem is that Nat’s research has hit a brick wall – Jess appears to have vanished from the slums of Victorian London soon after the portrait was painted.

When Tayte learns that the theft is connected with a recent murder, he’s right to be wary, but solving crimes through genealogical research is what he does best. He quickly becomes intrigued by the girl in the painting and agrees to help. What became of her? Who stole the painting, and why would they kill for it all these years later?

As Tayte and Nat go in search of the answers, can they solve the mystery and bring the murderer to justice? Or will they become the killer’s next victims?


Three sisters. Three ships. One heartbreaking story.

1911. As Emma packs her trunk to join the ocean liner Olympic as a stewardess, she dreams of earning enough to provide a better life for both her sisters. With their photograph tucked away in her luggage, she promises to be back soon – hoping that sickly Lily will keep healthy, and wild Ruby will behave. But neither life at sea nor on land is predictable, and soon the three sisters’ lives are all changed irrevocably…

Now. When Harriet finds her late grandmother’s travelling trunk in the attic, she’s shocked to discover a photo of three sisters inside – her grandmother only ever mentioned one sister, who died tragically young. Who is the other sister, and what happened to her? Harriet’s questions lead her to the story of three sister ships, Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, and a shattering revelation about three sisters torn apart…


2004

The discovery of a body in the Liverpool docklands unearths long forgotten secrets. Reporter Anne McCarthy is keen to prove herself and dives into the case with abandon. There she finds Michael, an old Irish caretaker who knows far more than he’s letting on and may have 
a connection to the body.

Vinny Connolly is starting a postgrad degree, researching Liverpool’s migrant history and a burgeoning Scouse identity. But Vinny has been neglecting his own family history and stranger Michael might know about 
his father’s disappearance in the 70s.

1955

Escaping poverty in Ireland and fresh off the boat, Michael falls in with Wicklow boys Jack Power and Paddy Connolly, who smuggle contraband through the docks, putting them at odds with the unions. While organisers rally the dockworkers against the strikebreakers and rackets. A story of corruption, secret police, and sectarianism slowly unravels. 
But will the truth out?

As the conflict heightens, Michael questions the life sprawling out ahead of him, while in the present, Anne races to solve the mystery, but is she prepared for what she’ll find?

I shall now reveal the truth of the legend behind the hound of the Baskervilles. No Baskerville should ever cross the moor at night. With a deadly phantom hound on the loose and a mysterious man living on the moor, Devon is a dangerous place to be. But Holmes and Watson must put their fears aside. The country’s favourite crime-fighting duo need to unravel the strange case of Sir Charles Baskervilles murder before his nephew meets the same fate.


The Wheel Spins is the novel about young and bright Iris Carr, who is on her way back to England after spending a holiday somewhere in the Balkans. After she is left alone by her friends, Iris catches the train for Trieste and finds company in Miss Froy, chatty elderly English woman. When she wakes up from a short nap, she discovers that her elderly travelling companion seems to have disappeared from the train. After her fellow passengers deny ever having seen the elderly lady, the young woman is on the verge of her nerves. She is helped by a young English traveler, and the two proceed to search the train for clues to the old woman’s disappearance.


Hopefully I’ll also get my head round the changes WordPress have brought in by next month too!

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

Monthly Round Up – February 2021

The second month of the year is over and there’s hope that, with regards to the pandemic, there’s light at the end of what seems to have been a very long tunnel. With limited things to do, books have definitely been essential for many during this latest lockdown.

Books I Have Read

Alone in the Woods by Charly Cox

When a teenager arrives home to find her parents have been murdered, her own life, and that of her friend, is put in danger when they realise that the killer is still in the house. This, the third case for Detective Alyssa Wyatt, was one of the books I was most looking forward to this year and I was definitely not disappointed.

Death at Rainbow Cottage by Jo Allen

When the body of a man is discovered in a seemingly motiveless attack, DCI Jude Satterthwaite finds himself investigating a complex case where he must expose hidden secrets to get to the truth.

The Empty House by Arthur Conan Doyle

This children’s adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story by Stephanie Baudet is true to the original plot and is a great way of introducing Conan Doyle to younger readers. Great illustrations enhance the book.


The Bodies at Westgrave Hall by Nick Louth

The seventh DCI Craig Gillard book is one of my favourites to date with the detective investigating the deaths of Russian oligarchs, finding his work hindered by the secret services. If you haven’t read this series yet, I can recommend it highly.

The Chester Creek Murders by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

A fascinating story of a specialist company in Salt Lake City who use ancestry DNA to help the police with cold case murders. This is the first in a series and I can’t wait to read what comes next after being introduced to the varied lives of the main characters.

A young boy’s body is found in a meadow beside the River Mersey. No DNA. No witnesses. No clues. It brings back painful memories of the Moors Murderers.

Books I Have Acquired


A child’s body in an unmarked grave. A killer waiting to strike again.

A young boy’s body is found in a meadow beside the River Mersey. No DNA. No witnesses. No clues. It brings back painful memories of the Moors Murderers.

After two weeks, the police have made no progress finding the killer. The one thing they do know; he will kill again. It is a race against time – and they are losing.

DI Thomas Ridpath has just returned to work. Diagnosed with PTSD and undergoing supervised psychological therapy, he is dragged into the case against his better judgement. When another child is kidnapped, Ridpath must confront his own demons to stop a killer before he strikes again.


September, 1939. The moon shines silver on the looming yew trees. Thinking of her fiancé, fighting for his life and country in the war, breaks Eleanor’s heart, but also gives her courage. She takes a deep breath, picks up her camera, and follows the dancing lights into the maze.

Present day. With her little brother Missing in Action, gardener Megan Taylor runs from her grief to take a job at Foxfield Hall – a centuries-old place full of myths and folklore – restoring the wild maze in the overgrown gardens. Throwing herself into shaping the tangled ivy, Megan soon becomes drawn into the mystery of Lady Eleanor Fairfax, the Hall’s most famous resident… the villagers say she disappeared without trace at the Harvest Festival in 1939, leaving behind a grieving father and a heartbroken fiancé.

Leafing through delicate old newspaper cuttings and gazing at an ornately framed portrait of the missing woman, Megan is full of questions. Although no body was ever found, could Eleanor have been murdered? Did she run away, unwilling to marry the man who loved her? Or, with her father working at the War Office, did Eleanor stumble upon a secret she shouldn’t have?

Then, one night under a full moon, a mesmerising light inexplicably draws her to the entrance of the maze. Megan is filled with a strange certainty that, if she follows it into the shadows, it will lead to the truth about Eleanor… but could Megan herself be the next occupant of Foxfield Hall to be lost forever?


My current read is When the Evil Waits by M J Lee – something I’ve been desperate to read after the ending of the previous book in the series. I’m enjoying it so far, as I would expect from this great series.

My Eagerly Anticipated Books of 2021

Some of my most anticipated books of last year appeared on my favourites list, so let’s see what this year brings!

The sudden appearance of a man’s booted feet had Addis snapping her mouth shut. Screaming, she kicked out at the tall, muscular guy as he dragged her from beneath the desk…

It was a scene from a horror movie; Gabriel Kensington and his wife Lydia found, brutally slain in their luxurious home in New Mexico. The frantic, whispered phone call from their teenage daughter Addis, spending the evening with best friend Emerson, quickly alerts the authorities to the killings – and worse, that the killer is still inside the house.

But when detective Alyssa Wyatt and the squad appear at the house, the unthinkable has happened – the girls are nowhere to be found.

Waking up in a dilapidated cabin, nestled high in the woods north of Albuquerque, the girls find themselves at the mercy of a brutal stranger who could take their life at any moment. While they fight for survival, it’s up to Alyssa Wyatt and her partner Cord to discover just why the Kensingtons have been targeted – and fast.

Because for Addis and Emerson, solving this mystery might just mean the difference between survival – or an unthinkable death…


The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.

Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.

All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm …


A portrait painting is stolen from a London home. Shortly afterwards, the owner, Nat, calls on genealogist, Jefferson Tayte, for his help. She believes the subject of the painting, a young girl called Jess, is a past relative and wants to learn more about her. The problem is that Nat’s research has hit a brick wall – Jess appears to have vanished from the slums of Victorian London soon after the portrait was painted.

When Tayte learns that the theft is connected with a recent murder, he’s right to be wary, but solving crimes through genealogical research is what he does best. He quickly becomes intrigued by the girl in the painting and agrees to help. What became of her? Who stole the painting, and why would they kill for it all these years later?

As Tayte and Nat go in search of the answers, can they solve the mystery and bring the murderer to justice? Or will they become the killer’s next victims?



When Detective Clayton Tyler is tasked with reviewing the formidable archives of unsolved homicides in his police department’s vaults, he settles on one particular cold case from the 1980s: The Chester Creek Murders. Three young women were brutally murdered—their bodies dumped in Chester Creek, Delaware County—by a serial killer who has confounded a slew of detectives and evaded capture for over thirty-eight years. With no new leads or information at his disposal, the detective contacts Venator for help, a company that uses cutting-edge investigative genetic genealogy to profile perpetrators solely from DNA evidence. Taking on the case, Madison Scott-Barnhart and her small team at Venator must use their forensic genealogical expertise to attempt finally to bring the serial killer to justice. Madison, meanwhile, has to weigh professional and personal issues carefully, including the looming five-year anniversary of her husband’s disappearance.


Brighton, 1965

When theatrical impresario Bert Billingham 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 Bellingham, 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…


A child’s body in an unmarked grave. A killer waiting to strike again.

A young boy’s body is found in a meadow beside the River Mersey. No DNA. No witnesses. No clues. It brings back painful memories of the Moors Murderers.

After two weeks, the police have made no progress finding the killer. The one thing they do know; he will kill again. It is a race against time – and they are losing.

DI Thomas Ridpath has just returned to work. Diagnosed with PTSD and undergoing supervised psychological therapy, he is dragged into the case against his better judgement. When another murder in Liverpool ups the ante, Ridpath must confront his own demons to stop a child killer before he strikes again.


I’m also hoping for a new Tennison novel by Lynda La Plante, anything by Steve Cavanagh and Kathleen McGurl and, of course, anything by Mark Billingham and Ian Rankin never goes amiss!

Are any of these books on your wanted list?

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