Can You See Me Now by Trisha Sakhlecha @TrishaSakhlecha @RandomTTours @panmacmillan #mystery #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Can You See Me Now by Trisha Sakhlecha. This was a fabulous book and I would like to say a huge thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Blog Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging for my copy from the publisher Pan MacMillan. It wasn’t until I read Trisha’s bio below that I realised that this book is based on an actual event!

From Trisha Sakhlecha,Can You See Me Now? is a gripping psychological suspense thriller about a young Indian woman, now a government minister, whose past secrets are about to reverberate into the present and shatter her life. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Erin Kelly.

Fifteen years ago, three sixteen-year-old girls meet at Wescott, an exclusive private school in India.
Two, Sabah and Noor, are the most popular girls in their year. One, Alia, is a new arrival from England, who feels her happiness depends on their acceptance.

Before she knows it, Sabah and Noor’s intoxicating world of privilege and intimacy opens up to Alia and, for the first time, after years of neglect from her parents, she feels she is exactly where, and with whom, she belongs.

But with intimacy comes jealousy, and with privilege, resentment, and Alia finds that it only takes one night for her bright new world to shatter around her.

Now Alia, a cabinet minister in the Indian government, is about to find her secrets have no intention of staying
buried . . . 

My Review…


I absolutely adored this book and the author has done such a brilliant job of creating a story that is full of intrigue and mystery.

The story is told in two different timelines. One is the present the other is 15 years ago while three girls were at a prestigious school in Delhi. The girls are Sabah, Noori and Alia. Alia is the newest member of the group and for the first time in her life, she feels that this is a group to which she should belong.

The past is one that builds a picture of school life for the girls and shows the dynamics between the three of them. Building on their characters and personality traits, the author gradually weaves in an air of mistrust and jealousy. Close friendships are only close when secrets and trust are kept intact, but when a comment is let loose then cracks start to form.

In the present, Alia is a politician, a position she has worked hard to for over the years, Sabah is a documentary filmmaker wanting her next story. There are things in the past that have never been fully revealed. Yet there are some things that are starting to surface.

This is such a brilliantly addictive read. I really enjoyed the dual timeline format of this story. The author used it to great effect, providing links and also reasons for mistrust in the present. The mystery behind an event in the past was one that was gradually teased out. There were several little subplots that gave more suspicions and doubt and it wasn’t until much later int he story where things were finally brought to a conclusion.

Very enjoyable from start to finish. Gripping throughout and one I think readers of crime, mystery thrillers would enjoy. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Trisha Sakhlecha grew up in New Delhi and now lives in London.  For her new novel, she draws upon a true story – a famous scandal that erupted at her own high school and which changed India.  She works in fashion and is a graduate of the acclaimed Faber Academy writing course. In the past, Trisha has worked as a designer, trend forecaster, and lecturer.  She is the author of Your Truth Or Mine? www. trishasakhlecha.com or on Instagram @trishasakhlecha Critical acclaim for Tisha Sakhlecha

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Seven Days (DI Jack MacIntosh #2) by Michelle Kidd #SevenDays #DIJackMacIntosh @AuthorKidd @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #PublicationDay #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers to be opening the Blog Tour for Seven Days by Michelle Kidd. This is the 2nd book in the DI Jack MacIntosh series and is a cracking read. The first book was The Phoenix Project and you can read my full review HERE.

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book. I would like to wish Michelle a very happy Publication Day 🤗

One killer. One city. One week.

July 2012 and a serial killer is terrorising the streets of London. With the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games in just seven days time, Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh and his team at the Metropolitan Police have one week to find him. With the killer’s motives unknown, and a mysterious clue being left at each scene, the case takes on a menacing and personal twist. Distracted by his own demons, will DI Jack MacIntosh solve the case before it is too late?

The clock is ticking.
Tick.
Tock.

Purchase Link – Amazon UK or US

My Review…

This is the second book in the DI Jack MacIntosh series and it is another excellent crime thriller read. A serial killer is leaving bodies of women around London, nothing seems to connect them, there are no real similarities apart from some marks left on their bodies, and a random item left near the body.

The story is set just before the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, time is not on Jack and the team’s side as those higher up want the case wrapped up before the prestigious event. The added pressure of a time constraint, as well as a case with very little clues, is bad enough, but add in a new team member who is vague, distant and at times elusive really doesn’t help.

If you have read the previous book then you will have some idea about Jack, Stu and Isabel. These three are returning characters whose stories are woven into each other. The author has continued their individual stories, well more Jack’s, into this second book. These three characters are interesting and are being developed further. If you haven’t read the first book then you will miss some detail, but the author does a good job of providing a recap. In my opinion, though they are better read in order.

The author weaves a story that has the in=vestigating team scratching their heads, they clutch at straws at times as they try to progress with their hunt for the killer. The killer also relates his actions in this novel and this adds a wonderful sense of intrigue. It also allows for some wonderful red herrings to be dropped along the way. There is a psychological aspect to the story, and again it adds another element.

I really like the characters in this series, and there are the obvious new introductions. The continuation of existing characters backstories is good and I like getting to know them more. Another good aspect was the time limits that had been placed on the case, giving the team a sense of urgency and this is added to further in the story.

This is a fabulous crime thriller read that had me hooked very quickly. Even though this is still a new series I was delighted to find how quickly a couple of the main characters came back to me. This is one for crime fans, who like their police procedurals and it is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Michelle Kidd is a self-published author known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels.

Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.

But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.

In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and had not looked back since. There are currently three DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fourth in progress.

Michelle works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order J

Bibliography:

The Phoenix Project (DI Jack MacIntosh book 1)

Seven Days (DI Jack MacIntosh book 2)

The Fifteen (DI Jack MacIntosh book 3)

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The Kindness of Psychopaths by Alan Gorevan #TheKindnessofPsychopaths @AlanGorevan @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Bloggers to be opening the Blog Tour today for The Kindness of Psychopaths by Alan Gorevan. This is such a brilliant book and I wish to say a huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles for my spot on the blog tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Here is more about it…

How far would you go for those you love?

When Valentina López Vázquez vanishes from her home one morning, it’s obvious that she was taken by force. What happened to her next is not so obvious.

The disappearance forces two men on a gruelling search for the truth: Barry Wall, Valentina’s frantic husband, and Joe Byrne, the nihilistic detective in charge of the investigation.

They are locked on a devastating course that will take them to places darker than they ever dreamt – places without limits…

Don’t miss this page-turning thriller. Perfect for fans of Shari Lapena, Peter Swanson, Jennifer Hillier, and Linwood Barclay.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK or US

My Review…

Wow, this is an absolute belter of a book and one that once I had started I just could not put down. The title does hint at this having a psychological element, the synopsis hints at crime. What you get is an awesome read that has so many twists and turns making this such an addictive read.

Joe Byrne is a detective, as got to get to know him over the course of the story it is a wonder how this man manages to keep going. He isn’t going to win Mr Popularity, and this makes him a bit of a loner as he bounces from situation to situation. Each more extreme than the last that eventually leads the reader to the finale.

What starts off as a missing person soon morphs into something else. Joe has a little bit of an issue when it comes to where his moral compass points, don’t get me wrong I can see the reasons behind his decisions, but, still! I do like this character a lot, he is a maverick.

This is such a cleverly written thriller, it moves from event to event drawing the reader in further and further. Never sure who to believe, what their individual motives are. The story moves along over alternating timelines, the first part of the book jumps in time and is a great way of introducing the characters.

I am being so vague about this review, in fact, it is such a good book I just want to tell you all about the excellent plot, the brilliant storyline, the fabulous characters and that ending! Talk about a fitting title to a story or what!

This is a story that is quite complex but flows so well, the author has done such a great job of twisting in various elements and in such a way that as I was reading I could easily follow. There are so many little details dropped in along the way that gradually make sense by the time you get to the end of the book.

This is a brilliant read and one for readers who love a crime, mystery thriller read with a psychological thread. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Alan Gorevan is an award-winning thriller writer and intellectual property attorney. He lives in Dublin.

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Danger Close by Cameron Curtis #DangerClose #CameronCurtis @inkubatorbooks @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #crimefiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Danger Close by Cameron Curtis. This was such a fab read and I wish to say a huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the tour and for arranign my e-copy of the book.

He wanted peace. But war would always find him.

Ex-Delta Force sniper Breed has spent most of his life at war and now he’s trying to make some time for peace. But when a veteran from his old unit is beheaded in El Paso, Breed feels duty bound to bring the killer to justice. A feeling that only grows stronger when his friend’s widow and son are also murdered.

As he uses all his specialist skills to uncover the truth, Breed finds himself working with some unlikely allies – a devious CIA operative, and a determined Latina reporter who is investigating the trafficking of underage girls. Together, they uncover a conspiracy to launch a massive attack on US soil.

The terrorists are confident – they have powerful friends in the Mexican cartels and US law enforcement. But they have reckoned without one thing—Breed.

Danger Close – the first in the stunning Breed action thriller series. Perfect for fans of Lee Child, Jason Kasper, David Archer.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

My Review…

If you like a good action-adventure book with various threads then Danger Close is one that should be on your radar. Ex-military sniper Breed wants to know more when an old colleague of his is found beheaded on his ranch. Local law enforcement is ok but doesn’t have the knowledge that Breed does when it comes to looking at the terrain, looking for signs and clues and also there is, of course, the fact that Breed spent years working alongside him. What the police think are leads make no sense to Breed.

This book in some ways has a slight Jack Reacher style to it, in as much as an ex-military is out looking for justice so if you like those types of books then I think this one will be a good one to keep an eye out for.

I liked how the author wove Breed into the investigation along with a couple of other characters. There is some suspicion as to what really happened and why not only the man but also his family were killed. Being close to the Mexican border there is the obvious drugs, crime, cartel angle but Breed gradually finds out more when he teams up with a journalist and also an Agent to get to the bottom of the mystery.

I did find that the flow of the story kept me eagerly turning the pages and this added to the suspense and intrigue that was gradually built up. Adding in backstories, people trafficking, corruption, drugs, terrorism and also a race against time increases the tension. I really liked the characters, Breed is the main protagonist and I am glad to notice that this book is the first in a series. I am looking forward to getting to know him more, maybe he has a first name!

There are plenty of surprises, a good amount of twists that kept me guessing and I really enjoyed reading this. I liked how the characters were gradually introduced over several chapters as there is a good amount of names. I also noticed that the author does include quite a few specs as far as weaponry was concerned, not overly so but enough to make them stand out a little.

This was a really good intro into a new series, and I think it is one that would appeal to crime, thriller, mystery readers as well those that like specifically trained ex-military turning their skill set towards discovering the truth. It is a book that sort of dips into a couple of different genres and I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Cameron Curtis has spent thirty years on trade floors as a trader and risk manager. He was on the trade floor when Saddam’s tanks rolled into Kuwait, when the air wars opened over Baghdad and Belgrade, and when the financial crisis swallowed the world. Having written fiction as a child, he is the author of the Breed Series of action thriller novels published by Inkubator Books. The first, DANGER CLOSE is scheduled for launch in February 2021. The second, OPEN SEASON, will be released in May.

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An Eye for an Eye (Detective Kate Young #1) by Carol Wyer #AnEyeForAnEye #DetectiveKateYoung @carolewyer @AmazonPub @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for An Eye for an Eye by Carol Wyer, this is the first book in the Detective Kate Young series, so what better place to start if you have not read anything by this author before.

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles Blog Tours for my slot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.


DI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.
But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.
As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

My Review…

A new series sees the introduction of Detective Kate Young. From the outset this is a detective that has troubles, she is broken and is given the chance to get back on track again as she leads an investigation to the death of a local businessman.

Kate’s story runs alongside the investigation in rather a distinct way. This is ideal for the reader as both unfold together. The plot is not straight-forward and Kate and the other officers seem to find more dead ends rather than answers. It also doesn’t help when the people they talk to all seem to have something to hide, they do of course have a good reason!

As I mentioned there are two stories within this story, that of Kate and that of the investigation. At first, it seemed a little strange, but gradually I began to put things together and suddenly for one of the threads the penny dropped. It was one of those eureka moments, of course, it was the author that led me to this but I still had to read to discover the full truth.

The other storyline took a route that really does have far-reaching implications. Keeping the pressure on, keeping the team on their toes and adding additional stress to an already stressed Kate. I know this is quite a vague review but I am not going to give any spoilers.

Kate is a character who is hanging on by a thread, quite literally she is walking a tight-rope between holding everything together and completely breaking down. It is her tenacious attitude and to a certain extent her stubborn pride that keeps her from falling. She has a reputation for being the best at what she does and even in her fragile state the author really does give Kate everything to deal with. But, I have to say that the strength of the character really made this work for me.

This is definitely a complex storyline but it flowed wonderfully so I never felt lost. There are a good amount of twists, red-herrings and no matter how I thought it was going to pan out I was nowhere near to working things out. There are surprises that kept me eagerly turning the pages. This is a great first book in a series that I really enjoyed, a mix of crime, thriller and mystery with a darker and disturbing side as well as a human interest story. A fabulous read and one I would recommend and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store next.

About the Author…

USA Today bestselling author and winner of The People’s Book Prize Award, Carol Wyer writes feel-good comedies and gripping crime fiction.

A move from humour to the ‘dark side’ in 2017, saw the introduction of popular DI Robyn Carter in LITTLE GIRL LOST and demonstrated that stand-up comedian Carol had found her true niche.

To date, her crime novels have sold over 750,000 copies and been translated for various overseas markets.

Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’, featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.

She currently lives on a windy hill in rural Staffordshire with her husband Mr Grumpy… who is very, very grumpy.

When she is not plotting devious murders, she can be found performing her comedy routine, Smile While You Still Have Teeth.

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The Island by C.L. Taylor #TheIslandBook #YAThriller @HQStories #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Island by C.L. Taylor. It has been a while since I read one of Cally’s books, so I was really looking forward to this one. Aimed at Young Adult Readers it also works very well for Adults as well.

Here’s more…

Lost meets The Hunger Games in the thrilling new young adult novel from C.L. Taylor, the Sunday Times and million-copy bestselling author.

Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re coming true.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

My Review…

I really enjoyed this YA book and how the author approached fears and phobias through a group of teens alone on an island near Thailand.

The group of 6 have known each other all their lives, they have holidays every year. As they have grown up they have drifted apart somewhat, dynamics between each of them have altered. Tragedy has hit more than one of the group and this leads to a small void starting to encroach on the group.

A holiday on an island, a chance to get away under the supervision of a guide should be good for the group. However, when the guide dies things that had been kept hidden or controlled start to unravel. A sense of seeing beyond the mask if you like as the situation the teens find themselves in changes dramatically.

I really enjoyed the tense suspense of this novel and how the author explored the changing and challenging dynamics of the group. As they find themselves in disarray they also start to suspect that there is a danger stalking them. What or who this is they are not sure, who is to blame, who is playing games and what is to happen are questions that I needed to know the answers to as I read.

The isolation of the island adds to the sense of loneliness and separation. As I got to know each of the 6 better I began to realise that there is more than meets the eye, they are not quite the stable group I initially thought they were.

This is a really good tense, suspense ridden YA thriller and one that I really enjoyed. A good deal of mystery, intrigue and suspicion across the novel gives it that page-turner addiction. One I would recommend.

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The Mist by Ragnar Jónasson , Andreas Jäger (Translator), Victoria Cribb (Translator) #IcelandicNoir #crime #trilogy #bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Mist by Ragnar Jónasson. This is the final book in the Hidden Iceland Trilogy and I am absolutely gutted to have come to the end of it. This has been such a brilliant literary journey.

Here is more about the final instalment…

1987. An isolated farm house in the east of Iceland.

The snowstorm should have shut everybody out. But it didn’t.

The couple should never have let him in. But they did.

An unexpected guest, a liar, a killer. Not all will survive the night. And Detective Hulda will be haunted forever. 

My Review…

This is sadly the final book in the Hidden Iceland Trilogy. This has been an absolute corker of a series and it has been set out very differently. The series runs back in time, so the first book is set in the present, and the final book set back in time. Running the series this way gives the reader a chance to experience a character from a slightly different perspective. I would advise reading them in the order they are meant to be and the way they have been published.

The main character is Hulda Hermannsdottir, a Detective. Her husband is Jon and they have a daughter Dimma. Family life is strained especially in the run up to Christmas. Hulda is called to a crime scene and then the story goes back in time to just before the events.

I really like the way the author has laid this series and especially this story out. If you are after blood and guts then you are not going to get it. This is a wonderful example of Icelandic noir, its atmospheric, has flawed characters and has a bleakness to it that adds to the overall subtle sense of suspense.

It is in a small part a police procedural, but this is not the main concept of the story. The author gradually builds up a scene, adds characters, develops them, adds a little tweak to them and then develops and adds more as the story progresses. I really enjoy this style and I have to say this author does this so well. The story is more about the interaction of the characters, there are not many but the author uses them so well. He drops links that I didn’t expect and it all works so very well.

The flow is quiet, patient and yet totally gripping from the first few pages. The series has been a wonderful journey and I have absolutely l loved each one. They do have an emotional side to them, not the gushy sort but a more heartbreaking sort, although the first book did have me blubbering.

This is a trilogy that fans of noir, crime, mystery and human relationships and interaction would love. I thought all three books were excellent and I would definitely recommend them all.

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Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner @LisaGardnerBks @arrowpublishing @rachel90kennedy #crime #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and my huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Arrow Publishing for advanced copy of this brilliant book.

Let me show you more…

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.

My Review…

The synopsis gives a great intro as to who Frankie Elkin is, and I have to say she is a character who I really like. She has her vulnerabilities and it is through the course of the story that you gradually learn more about her.

Frankie is someone who doesn’t really fit in, she is not able to stay in one place for long. A drifter who is seeking the truth behind people who have gone missing. She has swapped the addiction of alcohol for finding people. For someone that doesn’t quite fit, she does seem to be able to make unlikely acquaintances and has discovered that not being a figure in authority makes her more trustworthy as such. Maybe trustworthy isn’t the right word, but people open up to her more. I think her character is one that uses truth and honesty about her alcoholism and uses it in everyday situations.

Her latest case choice is that of a missing schoolgirl, a bright girl who didn’t get into trouble and always attends class and has a good future ahead of her. Why then would she disappear. The case has gone cold and Frankie decides that she want s to help.

I hadn’t realised that there were people who actually do this in real life. Not for monetary gain or fame but just to help families find closure or to reunite them.

The story of Frankie and her involvement is one that takes time, it is a good paced story and one that I found myself eagerly turning pages for. The characters cover a mixed bunch, some have more involvement than others, but there aren’t any hangers-on so it makes the flow so good. The main premise is finding a missing girl, but the story is a lot more than that as Frankie soon discovers. It is a story that gradually unearths more than she originally bargained for.

I do like how the author has woven Frankie’s story around that of the missing girl’s case and this is where some of the other characters come in and are worked well. Being a recovering alcoholic gives her an in if you like, AA is a support group so it does stand to reason that there will be a character that will go the extra step.

This is a cracking story and one that I found really addictive. It is a crime mystery but not of the blood and guts kind. There is a mix of gangs, police, friendly faces as well as discovering Frankies mysterious past. It is a book that I would definitely recommend and I am looking forward to reading more of this author’s previous books.

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The Darkness Within by Graeme Hampton @GHam001 @BOTBSPublicity @HeraBooks #BOTBSPublicity #crime #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to day to share my review for The Darkness Within by Graeme Hampton. This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I would like to say a huge thanks to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Publicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of the book.

Here is more about the book…

You can run… but death will always find you

A man is discovered on a leafy North London street, fighting for life after a brutal beating. DI Matthew Denning and his team are quickly called in to to track down the monster responsible.

Except the victim is hiding secrets of his own. His name shows that he was reported missing two decades ago – but it’s clear that the missing person is not the same man lying broken in a hospital bed.

A visit to a squalid East London flat unearths a victim with his throat slit, his body left to decompose. A sad end to any life – but when it is identified as former DCI Frank Buckfield, star of the Met police, the case takes on a new significance.

Two seemingly unrelated cases – but as Denning, along with DS Molly Fisher, investigates further, they uncover links between the two victims that lead back to a ring of silence cloaking the blackest of crimes.

But as Denning and Fisher try to track down a killer with revenge on their mind, they find themselves pitted against a psychopath who will kill to keep their secrets hidden. Can they uncover the truth, before they end up the latest victims?

The latest in the gripping London crime series featuring DI Matthew Denning and DS Molly Fisher, The Darkness Within is a must-read if you like Angela Marsons, L.J. Ross or Joy Ellis.

My Review…


This the first time I have read a book by this author, starting part way through a series is never the best idea but I do have to say that this book well as a stand-alone. The obvious benefit of reading in order means that you get to know the characters traits and how they interact, I soon found myself getting to grip with these as I read.

This story starts with the discovery of a body, that of an ex DCI. The crime is murder, the reasons for it are not easy to come by for DI Denning and his team. This case will test them all and when results are slow to come the hierarchy do what they do best and add unnecessary pressure. Another similar murder and some accusations and rumours start to emerge of historic crimes that may have been covered-up start to emerge.

I really enjoyed this book, it is not a fast-paced story and this was good for me as I got to know more about the characters as while they were dealing with the cases before them. Sometimes it is nice to get into a more detailed book as far as the investigation, the characters and the storyline goes. As the characters are new to me I did occasionally forget who was who, but this didn’t stop any enjoyment. The investigation is a slower more dogged one, knowing that something isn’t right and proving it are two very different things and this kind of sums up the story in a way. Finding the evidence, connecting the dots and proving that your gut instinct is correct provides a very gripping read.

I really liked this and yes I do wish I had read the previous books, this is a series I will keep going with. I really enjoyed the mix or current crimes with links to historical ones, the power struggles and how the case was worked through and sorted. A crime, with a strong police procedural and more of mystery aspect rather than a full-on crime thriller and one I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Graeme Hampton was born in Paisley, and grew up in Stirling. After leaving school,
he trained as a stage manager and worked in London for a number of years. He
returned to Scotland in his late twenties to study for a BA in English Literature at
Stirling University. His first novel, Know No Evil – featuring Met detectives DI Matt
Denning and DS Molly Fisher – was published in 2019 by Hera Books. This was
followed by Blood Family in January 2020. The Darkness Within is the third novel in
the series.
Graeme lives in Hastings, East Sussex.

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Forgotten Lives (A DCI Stirling Investigation #2) by Ray Britain #Forgotten_Lives @ray_britain @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Forgotten Lives by Ray Britain. This is a fantastic crime, police procedural book that I thoroughly enjoyed. My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the tour and also for my e-copy of the book.

Here’s more about it…

A man is murdered with quiet efficiency on his doorstep. A strange emblem left behind suggests a gang killing but when more bodies are found with the same emblem, and one of them a cop, DCI Doug Stirling’s investigation takes a sinister turn.


But what linked the victims in life, and now in death?


When more deaths are uncovered, miles away and years apart, but all with the same emblem left behind, pressure mounts on Stirling. Is it the work of the same person? If so, why are they killing again, and why here? One thing is clear. The killer is highly skilled, ruthless, and always one step ahead of the investigation. Is someone feeding information to them?


Working in a crippling heatwave with too few investigators, too many questions and not enough answers, when wild media speculation of a vigilante at work sparks copycat attacks, demonstrations for justice and with politicians fearing riots, Stirling needs a result – fast!


Meanwhile, Stirling’s private life is falling apart, not helped when Lena Novak of the National Crime Agency is assigned to his team. But is she all that she seems? Things could not get worse. Stirling takes a call from a retired cop. Things just got worse!


As Stirling closes in on the killer he finds the killer’s trademark inside his home – he is being targeted.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

My Review…

This is the 2nd book in this series, but the first one I have read so I can say it works very well as a stand-alone. I didn’t feel I was missing out on too much, but I do wish I had read the first beforehand.

So, DI Doug Stirling. Seems like a pretty decent guy, a workaholic who seems to spend more time awake and working than he should. But the demands of the job are as such that it cannot be helped. His home life is hit and miss with a relationship in the balance.

A body is reported, then another and another. There is no apparent link, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. What Stirling and the team don’t realise is that when this link is discovered things really get serious. Crimes from the past are starting to emerge leaving the reader wondering how far and for how long this enigmatic killer has been on the loose.

This book is a fair lump a book and I did a double-take when I realised how long it would take me to read. It turned out that this book needed to belong to get the questions answered from a series of long-running events, things needing to link up and to be done in such a way as to not falling place too conveniently.

There was something about the way this book has been written that struck me as slightly different from other crime books. This one seemed to have more of a technical, interagency, knows how things work set of feel. When I mention it has a technical feel, don’t think computer tech, but instead think of a more procedural line. There are several aspects that made me think that the author is someone that knows his stuff. Indeed, when I checked out his bio I could see straight away I was right. This definitely shows in the writing, the plot, the story and also how the interaction between hierarchy and other agencies have been worked.

The author has definitely taken a hard subject for a reader to read about, but I do think he has done it in a way that does not edge to the graphic, more insinuating events. I much prefer this approach when reading, in this case, less is more. It was the reactions, comments, and emotions of officers that gave the gravity of the crimes.

This is one of those books that has a lot going on in it if you tried to explain it, but makes perfect sense while reading. It is laid out in a way that makes it compulsive reading, it nagged at me when I put it down! It does have more of a slower pace as there is a lot of detail, but this really works well in this case, although the pacing did pick up.

The way this is laid out is in days, with subchapter of hourly breakdowns. Giving the reader a time frame adds to the tension, the working pattern, the out of hours calls and the long working days. Again this and also mentions of budgets, cuts, not enough resources, all adding to the fact that the author has an experience. In fact, some of his bio does have similarities to that of his main character.

This really is a book that shows the pressures of the job, the stress on home life, the working pressures under tense and media-frenzied scrutiny. A brilliant read and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Ray Britain’s second novel ‘Forgotten Lives’ follows closely on from ‘The Last Thread’ (2017) with a new investigation for DCI Doug Stirling, the toughest of his career.

As a police Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) Ray led specialist investigations. He was also a Hostage & Crisis Intervention Negotiator – a voluntary role –  responding to hostage situations, many firearms incidents and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily. His roles took him to the USA, India, Europe, Australia and elsewhere, receiving Commendations in recognition for his work.

Ray’s real-world experience puts the reader at the heart of a complex, fast moving investigation with all of its uncertainties, stresses  and frustrations, and of the dark, bitter sadness’s of people’s lives.

Ray also worked with the Serious Fraud Office and the Home Office, London, and with the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate.

When not writing, Ray might be found mountain hiking, following rugby, skiing, reading, sailing, or generally keeping fit..

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