A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #OrendaBooks #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours and Orenda Books for my spot on the Blog Tour and my e-copy of this terrrific book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series


The Skelfs are a well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another women, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything… It’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.

The really like the simplicity of this cover and as I again look at it after reading the book it is also so appropriate. The synopsis does a great job of setting the basics up for this story. This is the first in a new series by Doug Johnstone and I have to say I cannot wait to see what these feisty Sklef women get up to in further books.

This is a story that is about coming to terms with the death of a loved one who left one or two skeletons lurking behind him. Jim’s death leaves not only a big hole in the lives of his family, it also leaves a hole in the two businesses. One is a funeral directors the other is a private Investigation business.

Taking over two businesses throws up a few surprises, in fact surprise is something that each of the three Skelf women, in this story, have got to deal with. Some hit closer to home than others. In some respects this book is like reading interconnected stories, that have an individual feel at times but also are linked.

The individual stories gradually make themselves known and after a slower start I suddenly found myself finding my feet. There were a few characters to get my head around, but gradually I did and I was able to see the story rather than trying to remember who was who.

Dealing with grief at the same time as discovering secrets and trying to keep business running is a tall order. This is something the Skelf ‘s seem to take in their stride. These are strong women, who do have moments of doubt but continue on.

This is a really good read that has more than a few surprises tucked in the pages, very cleverly worked and quite a lot of facts scattered throughout that added some wonderful reading extras.

If you are a reader who likes crime and mystery reads then this will be right up your street, I am really looking forward to what happens next and what the author can weave into his next book. A Dark Matter gets a definitely recommended from me.

Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also playermanager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

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No Mercy by Robert Crouch @robertcrouchuk #mystery #BookReview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for Robert Crouch’s latest book No Mercy. I am a big fan of Robert’s Kent Fisher series and he is an author who is on my “will automatically read” list. So when I saw an email asking me if I wanted to read book #5 in the series it was an automatic “Yes please” without reading any of the blurb.

So without further ado, let me show you what No Mercy is all about…

COULD YOU KILL IF JUSTICE FAILED YOU?

Highways Inspector, Derek Forster, couldn’t go on after the death of his wife. Even though he had a secret lover, he took his own life. Or did he?

Samson Capote, the restaurateur from hell, brutally attacked and left to die in a deep freezer. Did he antagonise too many people? Was he sharing Forster’s secret lover?

Millionaire entrepreneur, Clive Chesterton, falls from his yacht and drowns in Sovereign Harbour. Why did he have Forster’s missing journals in his cabin?

When Kent Fisher becomes a murder suspect, he realises he could be the next victim of a killer who shows no mercy.

Can Kent connect the deaths and solve the mystery before the killer gets to him? 

I am a big fan of this series and I adore the character of Kent Fisher an Environmental Health Officer who runs and animal sanctuary and solves the odd murder.

This is the latest in the Kent Fisher series and while you can read it as a stand-alone, why would you even want to, just read the series from the beginning.

So this book sees Kent right in the thick of things as usual, he is quite used to being in this position as he does seem to attack trouble. This time however he has things coming at him from all sides. It starts with his ex-girlfriend rocking up on his doorstep, then an alleged suicide starts the ball rolling. As the story pans out things gather momentum and a bigger picture is gradually seen.

This book could just as easily be called the Trials of Kent Fisher, except it wouldn’t fit with the “No” titles of the previous books. There are problems at work and on the home front and I felt really sorry for Kent having to deal with so much. But as one lead leads to another things gradually start coming to light until quite a dramatic final few pages when things are pieced together fully.

The author has once again done a cracking job with Kent Fisher, there are many different things going on in the story and not once did I feel confused. The pacing is spot on for me and suited the story so well. I do admit to being invested in this character and I am chuckling as I write this, because there were times when my blood boiled as I read parts of the story where Kent was being given a rough time by some of the powers that be! This is credit to the author for making this reader care about what happens to this fictional character.

I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Kent and the other characters, there are some old favourites as well as a few new ones that are pertinent to this story. The whole book was a pleasure to read and I sat and read it over one lazy evening.

If you like a good mystery series that has a wonderful classic ‘whodunit’ style as leads are followed and deductions are made, and if you haven’t yet come across Robert Crouch’s Kent Fisher series then do go and look it up, it is a fabulous series that I have loved from the very start. No Mercy is a cracking read and I would Definitely Recommend it.

Robert Crouch writes the kind of books he loves to read. Books ranging from the classic whodunit by authors like Agatha Christie, the feisty private eye novels of Sue Grafton, thrillers by Dick Francis, and the modern crime fiction of Peter James and LJ Ross.

He created Kent Fisher as an ordinary person, drawn into solving murders. He’s an underdog battling superior forces and minds, seeking justice and fair play in a cruel world. These are the values and motivations that underpinned Robert’s long career as an environmental health officer.

He now writes full time from his home in East Sussex. When not writing, he’s often find walking on the South Downs with his West Highland white terrier, Harvey, taking photographs and researching the settings for future Kent Fisher mysteries.

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Check out the series on Amazon UK

Black Summer (Washington Poe Series #2) by M.W. Craven#Bookreview

I am so delighted to share my thoughts on Black Summer by M.W. Craven. This is #2 in the Washington Poe series. I adored the first book The Puppet Show, and had the second on pre-order for so long, so it will come as no surprise that I also have the 3rd book The Curator on pre-order and it is going to be an agonising wait until it is released on June 4th!

So with out further ado, let me show you what Black Summer is all about…

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

When I started to read the first few sentences of Black Summer I thought to myself how nice they were… a few sentences later I thought Wow, that was a brutal intro! Within the matter of one page the author took me from sweet and charming to brutal yes in one single page. This is an author who knows exactly how to capture this reader from the very first page, and he held me in his literary grip right to the very last page. This was a one-sitting read!

I adored the characters of Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw when I was introduced to them in The Puppet Show and picking up Black Summer was like meeting up with friends. As much as I like Poe and his tenacity, I have to say that the social awkward Tilly is a readers dream. The author uses this character to inject perfect little comments that are occasionally not mentioned at the best moments, they inject a quick sense of humour.

The case that Poe finds himself in is one of an old crime. It calls into question the investigation and also Poe’s professionalism. Poe is a character who is hard-headed, uses his gut instincts and is confident. The possibility that he has messed up does cause a brief wobble in his armour and it is good to see him reach out and ask for help. Enter Tilly, the techno-genius, maths genius and profiler. What she lacks in people skills she more than makes up for in knowledge.

The case of a murdered girl turning up alive is a great basis for a story. But what comes after is where this author really does work some very devious and complex literary magic. He has created a story that is mesmerising and completely addictive. All the way through the story I discovered random facts that are connected with the investigation. These are woven into the story in such a way that they are part of the story.

The author uses the scenery of Cumbria to wonderful effect, his descriptions of the area are vivid and show an obvious knowledge, once again little facts are included adding another dimension to the story. For me, the characters of Poe & Tilly show a dynamic that has been developed since the last book, it feels like a natural progression. The story-line though is just Wow!

If you like crime thrillers, then if you have not already got this book on your shelf, then you really should. It is a fabulous 2nd in the series read that is just brilliant and I Absolutely Recommend it.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Deadly Harm by Owen Mullen @OwenMullen6 #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Deadly Harm by Owen Mullen. My huge thanks to Owen for sending me a copy of this book for me to read.

Let e show you what it is all about…

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It’s been five years since Mackenzie Darroch was abducted and held captive in a derelict house.

She thought she’d found her way out of the darkness. She was wrong.

When she witnesses a car crash and saves the driver’s life, it sets in motion a chain of events that will alter both their futures.

The two women get involved in a high profile police case and draw the attention of a ruthless reporter. Gina Calvi is convinced Mackenzie is not what she appears and is prepared to do anything to prove it.

Meanwhile, across the city, Kirsty McBride, a young single mother, is persuaded to leave a violent relationship. Her partner, Malkie Boyle a Glasgow hardman, is due to be released from prison. Once back on the street and bent on revenge, Boyle is determined to find the people responsible for stealing his family from him.

Can Mackenzie save them or will Boyle get his revenge?

As I sit and think about writing my thoughts up about this book there are a few words that spring to mind, hard-hitting, intriguing, brutal, gritty and violent. The synopsis skims and suggests what the story contains, a story that is not simply one but a series of interconnected stories and of events that are brought together.

Meeting Mackenzie is something that has saved many women in the refuge that she runs. She herself is the survivor of a brutal crime and one that still haunts her. The refuge takes in people from different walks of life and backgrounds, domestic abuse isn’t isolated to one type of person or a certain class of person, it is something that can affect anyone.

The author has created a story that shows how relationships can go so wrong for some people. Whether it is stress from work or having no job, having plenty of money or having none. The author has given perspectives from the victims and also the abusers. Getting into the mind of a man who is hell-bent on finding out why his girlfriend didn’t meet him, or why a neighbour called the police is quite unsettling reading. But the author tackles it in a compelling way.

As I read the story I got what I felt was an insight into various perspectives from different people. Overworked police, victims of abuse, abusers, criminals, and a reporter. All these people and the role they play in this story have been so well worked to create a book that is very difficult to put down. Loyalties have a lot of meaning in the story and some are very easy to appreciate and then there are those that are based on fear.

Now, this is a crime, thriller mystery read that has various angles. The first is right at the beginning of the story and the twists and turns just don’t stop. They get deeper and more entwined as you read. Often you find yourself drawn further and further into a story, Deady Harm had me hooked from the very beginning and left me stunned by the end.

If you want a hard-hitting crime thriller read that is gritty and very well written then I suggest you grab a copy of this book. It is a cracking read and I Highly Recommend it.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

#TopReads – Books that I have loved this year (2019) by genre – (Part 1) Crime, Thriller, Mystery & Fiction Books #MeAndMyBooks

Now I know we still have another week to go before the actual end of the year, but I always do my Top Reads list before Christmas so I can maybe tempt anyone with a final Christmas present purchase, or for those who are lucky – to help you spend your Christmas book vouchers 😁I am listing my favourite reads by genre and the books are all the books I have chosen are ones I have read this year.

I have read 220 books at the time of writing this post so that means the books I have loved this year is vast. Because I have read for as long as I can remember, it means I have got very good at knowing the sort of books I like and think I will enjoy. This doesn’t mean I only stick with what I know, I do experiment and try new genres and styles.

Many books cross genres, I am going to list them by the genre that works for me 😁

Crime, Thriller, Mystery

Fiction

Come back tomorrow (Dec 22nd) to see my favourite book in Romance, Rom-Com & Historical fiction.

On the 23rd December I will be sharing my Top Reads in Fantasy, Distopia, Young Readers and Non-Fiction.

With all these amazing books I wonder which ones will make My Top 10 on Christmas Eve. I have picked 10 books that are special for many reasons. Then I do have one, yes One! Book that will take the Top Spot of – “My #1 Read of the Year!” Okay, I just made that up 🙂

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Why She Ran by Geraldine Hogan @gerhogan @Bookouture #Bookreview

I am so delighted to share my thoughts on Why She Ran by Geraldine Hogan. My huge thanks to Sarah for my spot on the Blog Tour and also for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

‘Rachel. They must have made a mistake. A mother would know?’ She let her words pour into the emptiness of the kitchen. She began to shiver. ‘I can’t feel anything,’ she said softly and rocked back and forth, as if she was a huge child, seeking solace in the simple gesture.

When young, pretty nurse Rachel McDermott is found murdered in the harsh lights of the hospital kitchen where she works, her mother can’t accept the news, and the small Irish town of Corbally reels in disbelief. Rushing to the scene, Detective Iris Locke vows to find the sick killer, whatever it takes.

The last person to see Rachel alive was her close friend, sixteen-year-old Eleanor Marshall, a troubled teenager, estranged from her family. Eleanor was spotted fleeing the kitchen where Rachel’s body was found and becomes the main suspect. Iris has a search party combing the endless woods near the Comeragh mountains where they believe she is hiding. But Iris is consumed with worry for the vulnerable girl and can’t shake a prickly disquiet that Eleanor shouldn’t be a suspect.

Eleanor’s sister agrees but a day later, when she is found dead in the area Eleanor is hiding, things don’t look good for the runaway teen. Iris can’t see Eleanor, who still sleeps with her childhood teddy bear, as someone who would kill her little sister and her best friend, but all the evidence seems to point that way.

Sleep-deprived and desperate to find the truth, Iris takes a closer look into Rachel’s background and discovers that she was keeping strange, shadowy company the night before she died. Convinced that Eleanor is in terrible danger, Iris sets out to find her, in the icy-cold woods, alone. But what if somebody else makes their way through the darkness and reaches Iris and Eleanor first?

This gripping mystery thriller is perfect for fans of Carol Wyer, Robert Dugoni and LJ Ross.

The title of “Why She Ran” is so intriguing, the “She” is a young girl from influential and moneyed parents. Why she ran is gradually unveiled as the story unfolds.

She, is Eleanor who is currently staying in a treatment facility and is estranged from her parents. She has escaped and Detective Iris Locke is desperate to find her her, and for more than the reason of being a suspect in the murder of Rachel McDermott, one of the nurses at the treatment centre.

This is the second book in the Detective Iris Locke series, and even though it can be read as a stand-alone, as I did, I would advise reading the first book. I say this because there is a story from the first that carries into this second book. The author does a cracking job of filling in the basics of what you need to know, but I felt that I would have a better understanding of Locke’s character if I had read in order.

Locke has gone through a hell of a time and is still coming to terms with changes in her personal life. She is thrown in at the deep-end to a certain extent as she is asked to lead this investigation into Rachel’s death and also Eleanor’s disappearance. There is some in-house rivalry that simmers through the story and it adds a good snarky moments for Locke to deal with. It is something she doesn’t really need a the moment as she has enough on her plate because Eleanor’s father has a lot of influence and she has to tread carefully.

This is a good story that moves a long at a slightly slower pace, but this sort of mirrors the pace the investigation flows at. It is quite a complex case as there are so many unknowns, but it is at the same time easy to follow. As well as the main focus of the case, Locke’s background, as I have mentioned, is touched upon. Also her second in command has a few of his own problems. I like this inclusion of personal details into a story like this, it humanises the characters and also grounds them.

The story took some surprising routes and concludes in a quicker paced finale. The quick step-up in pace gives a sense of urgency and comes at just the right point of the investigation and adds another level of tension.

I really enjoyed this crime thriller and I will try my very best to read the first one as I really want to know more about Locke, she intrigues me as the author hints at a how Locke was in the previous book compared to how she is now, almost like a before and after comparison.

This is a really intriguing read that threw some surprising twists that I didn’t see coming. A police procedural that has a different feel as it it not just a murder investigation, but also the search for a girl who has disappeared. Why She Ran is a book I would definitively recommend.

Geraldine Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree in Training and Management from University College, Galway. She is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of four contemporary fiction novels under the pen name Faith Hogan.
HER SISTER’S BONES is her first crime novel, her second WHY SHE RAN is due out in December 2019.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!

You can find out more about Geraldine on – FacebookTwitterInstagram

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In Plain Sight by Adam Croft @adamcroft #Bookreview

I am so delighted to share my thoughts on In Plain Sight by Adam Croft. I have several books by this author and have not read one yet! This has now changed and I am kicking myself for allowing this series to slip down my kindle reading list. My huge thanks to Lucy Croft for getting in touch and providing an e-copy of Adam’s latest book in the Knight & Culverhouse series.

Let me show you what it is all about…

A trail of death. A web of corruption. The ultimate betrayal.

A series of armed robberies on local petrol stations leaves Mildenheath CID chasing their tails. But things are about to get a whole lot worse.

When an elderly woman is killed during an armed raid on her jewellery shop, Knight and Culverhouse realise one of their own is involved — a police officer.

With the future of Mildenheath CID at stake and the lives of their loved ones under threat, time is running out — fast.

As they begin to investigate the web of corruption, they discover just how deep it runs — and how close to home. But are they prepared for the truth?

When I read the synopsis for this latest in the Knight & Culverhouse series I knew I wanted to read it. To be fair the synopsis for all the books in this series have been good, which is why I have bought several of them. In Plain Sight however, is the first I have read from the series and it is book #9! So I can honestly say that yes it does work well as a stand alone, and if like me you can’t seem to read in order, it is also a great way of sparking a definite interest to read the series from the beginning.

So, the synopsis does give the basic details for the story line of this book and it has a gritty feel to it, this is definitely continued into and throughout the story. As the case weaves it’s way through the streets of Mildenheath, I was introduced to various characters. There are those in the CID team, the odd local criminal as well as a few business owners and employees. Along with these, there are also those closest to Knight and Culnerhouse themselves.

The story deals with the police work and investigation dealing with the robberies of three petrol stations and also the death of a business owner. But it also combines the family and outside work lives of the two lead detectives. These personal stories add a good human interest aspect as it deals with things that go on at home, that do cause additional tension that does have a slight overflow into the work life.

There are various things I really enjoyed about the story. The crimes are realistic and well laid out with details and plots that are logical but not straight-forward. The personal stories have really interested me as even though I could easily follow them, there is obviously more that has previously happened that make me want to read the earlier books to catch up. This is especially the case with Culverhouse and his daughter Emily, and also with Knight and her new relationship.

I also liked how the author uses the recent PCC (Police and Crime Comissioner) aspect within his stroy. The use of an overseer with political leanings adds for really good reading and explosive interactions between the Commissioner and Culverhouse.

AS this is a well established series, the dynamics between the various member of the CID team is obvious. The author uses well developed characters and uses them to to good effect. Culverhouse is an old school copper who occassionally strays into the greyer aspects of policing and Knight is the one who tries to rein him in and steer him in the right direction with her voice of reason, not always succesfully either!

This was a fabulous read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a gritty, relevant police procedural with wonderful characters and a great story lines. An ideal read for crime fans and one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post , a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Poker Game Mystery by Peter Bartram @PeterFBartram @annecater #Bookreview

I am so delighted to share my thoughts on The Poker Game Mystery by Peter Bartram. I have read a few books by this author before and I have always enjoyed them. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this brilliant book.

Let’s have a look at what it is all about…

Poker is a game for the dead lucky…

Crime reporter Colin Crampton discovers nightclub bouncer Steve Telford murdered. Colin can’t understand why five cards of a poker hand are laid out next to the body.As Colin investigates, he becomes entangled with three former special forces soldiers from the Second World War. All have motives to kill Telford. But Colin’s probe is derailed when a shock change at the Evening Chronicle puts the paper’s – and Colin’s – future in peril.The tension ratchets higher when the life of a young girl is on the line. Colin is forced to go head-to-head in a poker game with sinister newspaper owner Quentin Pell to save her.There are laughs alongside the action as Colin and his feisty girlfriend Shirley shuffle the cards and play the most dangerous game of all – with their own lives at stake.

Purchase LinkAmazon UK

Right from the off I am going to say that I am a big fan of this author’s main protagonist Colin Crampton and his side kick Shirley. Together they are brilliant and the author manages to create a very humorous dynamic between the two.

Colin is the Investigating reported for The Chronicle, a Brighton newspaper. Colin is in the front for getting the scoop when a body is discovered. The more Colin digs for more information the more he discovers. His girlfriend, Aussie model, Shirley is a brilliant wing man woman and, together they find themselves in the thick of things.

The thing I really like about these books is how even though there is a serious nature to the crimes that Colin investigates, the author injects a very dry old style sense of humour. This humour is very appropriate for the mid 1960’s setting of the book. There are many witty one liners that are the sort of jokes that make you roll your eyes at there cheesiness, but at the same time have you smirking.

As the crime is investigated it deepens, it takes various routes before the finale is finally reached. There are various leads that the dogged reporter has to follow, and let’s just say some of them are a little shady. But for Colin, the ends justifies the means and it could be a life changer for a young girl.

The author uses his experience as a journalist into his story so well. There are little things that have found there way naturally into the story that I found so interesting. Mentions of printing, paper and war time newspapers make an appearance. There were things that I was completely unaware of, but the experience and knowledge the author brings really does show.

This is a cosy mystery that I loved. I have read several of these books in the past and really enjoyed this old style sleuthing of the story. The stories are wonderfully worked out and have a good pace to them. There are some characters that make regular appearances and I have some definite favourites. Each book can be read as a stand-alone because each case Colin works on is followed from start to finish.

I think this series works really well as they are not entirely serious and because they have a reporter as the investigator it gives them a credible edge. It is also a really good way of getting a glimpse into the way newspapers and reporting was done in the 60’s.

This is a fabulous series with an inventive reporter who is prepared to take a risk. Who, along with his girlfriend, find themselves in the midst of danger and of bodies on a regular basis. How poor Shirley puts up with Colin I will never know, but I am so glad she does as they are fabulous.

If you are after a well written cosy mystery that will leave you with a grin on your face from the humour, that has a serious crime to be solved and is really well written then pick up the latest edition of one of Peter’s books. The Poker Game Mystery was brilliant and I highly recommend it.

Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series. His novels are fast-paced and humorous – the action is matched by the laughs. The books feature a host of colourful characters as befits stories set in Brighton, one of Britain’s most trend-setting towns.

You can download Murder in Capital Letters, a free book in the series, for your Kindle from www.colincrampton.com.

Peter began his career as a reporter on a local weekly newspaper before editing newspapers and magazines in London, England and, finally, becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700-feet down a coal mine and a courtier’s chambers at Buckingham Palace. Peter is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fabulous 🙂 xx

Hemlock Jones and the Underground Orphans by Justin Carroll @WriterJustinC @CazVinBooks #Bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Hemlock Jones and the Underground Orphans by Justin Carroll. My thanks to Caroline at Bits About Books for arranging my spot on the Blog Tour and also for arranging a copy of this fabulous book. My apologies for being late with this review, I hadn’t realised the Tour dates had changed, but better late than never as they say 🙂

This is the second book in the Hemlock Jones series and I loved it as much as I did the first one. Before I get carried away singing the praises for this author’s Hemlock series, let me show you what it is all about…

When orphans vanish from their beds across Victorian London, twelve-year-old demystifier Hemlock Jones and her companion, Edward, take the case!


This time, the trail will lead them from their Baker Street home, along lost rivers and into the heart of the city, to face exotic enemies and a charming man with dark plans…

Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans is the second of the Hemlock Jones Chronicles, the award-winning series of detective adventures for children and adults.

Oh it is so good to be travelling around Victorian London with Hemlock and Eddie, oops sorry Edward! Hemlock and Edward are a fabulous combination. Hemlock is a demystifier, she takes the mystery out of criminal cases that she decides to investigate and Edward is her Associate.

Her latest case is one that involves the disappearance of orphans. She is approached as she had helped on a previous case, though her and Edward did not get the credit they deserved, instead it went to that other famous consultant from Baker Street! Though she did not get the credit, she is recognised as being a help, so she agrees to give her expert help in the search for the missing children.

Now, you know I mentioned how I enjoyed wandering around Victorian London with the duo? Well, this time I was glad that as a reader I can experience things from the pages of a book! I bet Edward would wish to be in my position instead of traipsing and crawling through the rat infested sewers!

This book is fabulous and has mystery, intrigue and uses powers of observation and deduction or should I say demystification! I should mention that it is aimed at a younger audience, but this grown up (depending who you ask!) reader loves it!

It is a story that is accessible and is at a pace that holds the attention, there are quieter moments in it but these are moments are essential to the case or are about the lives of the characters themselves. I think this story is ideal for giving a younger audience a mystery novel that has a feel of the classic Sherlock Holmes but in a more upbeat way, it has action and adventure as well as mishaps and danger. I remember trying to read a Sherlock story when I was younger and I was not old enough to understand it, but if I had access to Hemlock Jones I would have been so happy. I will add that as an adult reader I love the Sherlock Holmes books!

The story itself is good and holds the attention, there are mentions of the yuckier side of London and it also has reference to a poem / folk tale that I think would make for good further reading for the target audience. I love that the main heroes of the story are children and their escapades are in an adult world. They are given a chance to deal with an investigation that is adult sized, but its their belief in their own instincts and observations that lead to solving the case.

This is a fabulous read and I think that the younger audience would absolutely enjoy it. It is the 2nd book in the Hemlock Jones series and I would definitely recommend it.

Justin Carroll is an author who balances his love of comic books and games with a passion for martial arts and musicals.

Ever since he stopped wanting to be a dinosaur, Justin wanted to be a writer. He graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language from King’s College, London in 2004 and now, when not writing, he fritters away his time on all manner of geeky things.

Shortlisted for several international short story competitions, Justin was a finalist in the 2010 British Fantasy Awards with “Careful What You Wish For” (Wyvern Publishing) and placed in the top twenty of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge twice.

December 2012 saw the birth of Justin Carroll’s first novel: Everything’s Cool – a dark, psychological thriller.

His second novel, Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death, is a Young Adult novel and the first in a series featuring Hemlock Jones, the fiery 12-year-old demystifier whose brain easily equals and surpasses that of the famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. “Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death” won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Wishing Shelf Awards.

Now, Justin has published the second book in the Hemlock Jones Chronicles: Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans, perfect for all fans of 10 years and above of adventurous detective mysteries!

Follow Justin on – Author websiteTwitterFacebookAmazonGoodReads

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be wonderful 🙂 xx

A Grave for Two by Anne Holt #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on A Grave for Two by Anne Holt. I received this book as part of a giveaway by Readers First. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I Admit that I will be reading more!

Let me show you what it is all about…

‘Anne Holt is the godmother of modern Norwegian crime fiction.’ Jo Nesbø

Selma Falck has hit rock bottom. Having lost everything – her husband, her children and her high-flying job as a lawyer – in quick succession, she is holed up alone in a dingy apartment. That is until Jan Morell – the man who is to blame for her downfall – rings her doorbell, desperate to overturn a doping accusation against his daughter, Hege – Norway’s best female skier. He’ll drop his investigation into Selma, but only if she’ll help… With just weeks until the Olympic qualifying rounds, clearing Hege’s name, and getting Selma’s own life back on track, seems impossible.

But when an elite male skier is found dead in suspicious circumstances, the post-mortem showing a link to Hege’s case, it becomes clear to Selma that there is a sinister web of lies, corruption and scandals lurking in this highly competitive sport. As time starts to runs out, another person is found dead, and Selma realizes that her own life is at risk…

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and she has left me with a curiosity to read more. The main protagonist of this story is Selma Falck, a woman with a past history and intriguing life. I met her as she was in a dingy flat as she has no job prospects and things look grim and uncertain. She is given a second chance when the father of the number one women’s Norwegian skier comes to ask for her help. The skier is Hege Chin Morell, she has been accused of taking an illegal drug and it threatens her Olympic dreams.

Along with Hege, another athlete is also brought into the story. Though its his death that is in question. There are several threads of other story lines that the author has woven into A Grave For Two and she deals with corruption, cronyism, drug and doping accusations as well as a more personal look into Selma’s life.

This is a wonderful read and a slow burner that is intriguing and has well woven story-lines. The investigation that Selma embarks on takes her down some dubious and shady paths. I liked how the author flitted between all the different threads and gradually built up the story towards its climax. For the most of the story I was addicted and found it very interesting reading, but then as the end approached I found myself loosing that addiction. I felt that things were dragged out a little too much. At this point for me a lot of the questions had been answered and there was still the odd revelation to be revealed but it just felt like it slowed in pace a little. It may that my tiredness didn’t help as I was trying to finish the book before going to bed.

Even though I felt a little disappointed by the ending, I still enjoyed the vast majority of the story and it has left me wanting to know more about Selma and what has happened in her life up to this point. This is an author who I will be revisiting in the future.

This is a story that I would recommend to readers who like a slow burn to their mysteries, with suspicion and corruption and a personal side stories.

Many thanks for reading my post 🙂 xx