Cold As The Grave by James Oswald @SirBenfro @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Review

I am so delighted to be sharing my review for Cold As The Grave by James Oswald. I recieved my copy as part of the Blog Tour and my thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for accpeting my request to join.

Let’s see what the bookis all about…

The ninth book in the Sunday Times-bestselling phenomenon that is the Inspector McLean series, from one of Scotland’s most celebrated crime writers .

Her mummified body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave.

As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean’s team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end mews street… and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl’s final resting place.

But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? The answers are far from what McLean or anyone else could expect. The truth far more chilling than a simple cold case…

Wow! 5 Stars! Will, that do? Is that enough for a review? I only ask because I am not sure quite how to articulate my thoughts into some sort of coherent review!!!!!

This is a police procedural with such a creepy and sinister undertone to it. A supernatural air adds to the atmosphere and reminded me of a Victorian gothic story with swirling mists, ominous shapes and shadows, but very much set in the present day.

Following DCI McLean around Edinborough because DCI’s sit at desks working on budgets and reports right? Well, that is where you would be wrong! He likes to get right in the thick of things, getting a feel for the case with his feet firmly on the ground. He is very much like a dog with a bone as when he gets his teeth into the case he does not let go and tenaciously hangs on till the end.

McLean is such a committed copper and his team around him have a similar ethic. In the background, there is a lurking menace, a character that he has a past with. A character with cogs constantly turning and finger in all the pies. While they don’t have a huge physical role as such it is their presence definitely is there. It felt a little like Moriarty to Holmes.

I loved the route the author took with this story, it kept me on my toes and constantly questioning what I thought. The way the victims met their demise was gruesomely brilliant, it sounds wrong to say that but, it was so different and added to the suspense and mystery. Definitely not your usual MOand that added such a wonderful tense feel to the investigations and the overall air of the story.

How the author would get to the ending had me a little concerned until I got there myself, and I am so happy to say he got it so right. I really should stop trying to see ahead as I am often wrong-footed!

Now I know this is quite a vague review to the story and I have picked out some of the things I loved about it. When I finished this book and tried to write a review I crossed and scribbled out so many things, they contained spoilers and hinted too much at what happened. In the end, I decided that picking out some of the key things that worked so well for me.

If you like your crime thriller reads that are dark, atmospheric, mysterious and ominous, with a storyline that has various elements that have been brilliantly drawn together, then this should really be on your ‘Must Read’ list!

Cold As The Grave by James Oswald is a book that gets an ‘Absolutely & Highly Recommended’ from Me!

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Blog Tour

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

The Outsider by Stephen King #20booksofsummer (1/20) #Review

I am delighted to share my review today for The Outsider by Stephen King. This is the first of my #20BooksofSummer reading challenge that I am taking part in.

When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man.

Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day.

As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King’s propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear.

Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?

It’s been a while since I read a book by this author, well apart from a re-read of IT a couple of years ago.

The Outsider started as a crime thriller read after the brutal murder of a young boy. All the evidence points to one man. Other evidence places that same man in another place.

I enjoyed the crime aspect of this story and the thrill of the investigation. I enjoyed the feeling of something being wrong. I did have a theory early on, and to be honest I think that is something most readers would pick up on Mine was based on an urban legend/myth that I thought would be a fitting suspect.

Because this is a King book there are certain expectations that I have before reading. I expect a story that is not straight forward, that is going to have an unsettling feeling, a level of horror that me turning all the lights on. This story definitely does have all those.

The story has an almost two-part feel. The first is more the investigations, witnesses and trying to work out the various angles. The second part is something a little bit different. It also sees the appearance of my favourite character in this story, Holly.

Holly is a character who is almost a mystery in herself, I know she has appeared in other books, but I have not read them. She for me is a linking character. She helps join the two parts of the book for me. Linking the crime investigation to what follows.

There is a good amount of tension that builds up, I think a lot of this was my imagination trying to leap forward trying to guess what the author was going to come up with.

By the time I got to the crucial point of the story where the suspect is cornered, I was thoroughly enjoying the book. Then the reasons behind the murder were explained and I have to say I felt a little deflated. As I was reading it I thought “Oh is that it!”, I just felt it ended a bit quick.

Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy the story a lot, I thoroughly enjoyed the tense build-up, the eerieness and the crime investigation. The description of the brutal nature of the crime was uncomfortable to read. For me this story had more of a suspense and mystery feel to it rather than a horror.
With that in mind, I would recommend this book to readers who like crime, thriller, suspense with mysterious leanings in the second half.

It is a book I would Recommend.


Book #1 of 20 in my #20 Books of Summer reading Challenge

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

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten @nholten40 #KillerReads #DeadInside #Review

I am so excited to be sharing my review for Dead Inside by Noelle Holten. If you are a Book Blogger then you cannot have missed the buzz around Noelle’s debut novel Dead Inside. I for one have been so eager to read this book and have had it on pre-order ever since the ink went live back in October. I was fortunate to get an eARC via Killer Reads and my huge thanks to them for accepting my request to read this outstanding book.

Publication Day for the ebook is due for 31st May.

And… in case you wondering, yes there is another book to follow Dead Wrong and yes i have it on pre-order as well 🙂 … Roll on November 2019.

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

Wow!

Wow!

WOW!!!

Where to start!

When I see a book written by someone that has worked or works in the area that the book is set in, my interest twitches up an extra notch. This means that I kind of expect some extra details or the author will try to impart some of that experience onto the page of the story.

When you read Noelle’s career resume I think you will agree it is impressive. As I started to read the story I became aware immediately that she had very successfully transferred her experiences into an extremely gripping read.

Lucy is a deliberate dual personality character. By this, I mean that she has her career persona and then her at home as a wife persona. The contrasts, or the reasons behind having these two faces soon becomes apparent as the story emerges. As a Probation Officer, Lucy needs to be strong, she cannot afford to get caught up with her clients. She is aware that while this works very well at work, she knows it will not work at home. Knowing this, she reacts and responds accordingly!

Maggie is one of the investigators who has been brought in as a murder has been reported. She is apprehensive as she starts to work with a new team and she soon begins to find her feet and settle into her role. Now I have to say that there is something else about this character that has intrigued me. I am beside myself to see what is revealed in the next book!

The thing I liked about this book, well actually there was lots of things I loved, not just liked. Hang on! Scrap that!!! I loved everything about this book! The story is set out in very quick chapters that flitted back and forth between the main characters. It meant that the pace was good and had me eager to read what would happen to each character, I wanted to know about everyone all at the same time!

This was a read that had two main storylines that were intermingled in an absolutely brilliant way. There is that of the investigation into the murders. Then that of Lucy with her job and home life. Along the course of the reading, I found these gradually merged and meandered into each other. It left me with such a feeling of suspense, trepidation and also fear. Yes fear for one of the characters, what would happen, would it happen… I know I’m not being helpful, but I am petrified of giving spoilers!

I have to mention other characters in this book they are colleagues, friends and if you are a Book Blogger you will discover they are somewhat familiar!

I am just going to stop here and get to the very basics! If you want a hard-hitting crime thriller then you seriously need to get this book. A fabulous story that is the beginning of what I feel will be an amazing writing career.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten gets an Absolutely and Highly Recommended from Me!

Photo & Bio from Amazon UK

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog. 
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

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

The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware #Review

I am delighted to share my review with you for The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware. I bought a hardback copy of this book and I always take off the cover so they don’t get damaged when I read them. I am so glad that this is something I do or I would have missed this simple yet stunning cover underneath!

When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. 

There’s just one problem – Hal’s real grandparents died more than twenty years ago.

Hal desperately needs the cash and makes a choice that will change her life for ever. She knows that her skills as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money.

But once Hal embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life…

The brand new psychological thriller from the Sunday Times and New York Timesbestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10.

Oh Wow! What a fabulous read!

This is such an atmospheric, slightly creepy and sinister feeling read. Cornwall lends itself so well and adds to the atmospherics of the novel and provides a wonderful backdrop to the story. Add to that an old creepy house with a severe housekeeper in the form of Mrs Warren and tarot cards to add an extra level of chills.

The plot with Hal taking off from her tarot reading booth on Brighton Pier to accept an inheritance was so addictive. It had that rags to riches theme, well almost… Almost because Hal is not sure that she is indeed the right person. The tension builds as I found myself wondering if Hal would go through with her plans, or whether she back out. Is she the real deal or is she a mistaken identity? Well, these thoughts and others kept me turning the pages.

The author excelled in the way she portrayed Hal, I found myself caring about her and what would happen. Would she be in danger? How was she going to manage to pay her bills? Would she be able to keep her booth on the Pier? Yes I know these are everyday concerns, well apart from the danger one, but it is the everyday things that help a reader to understand a character.

Hal has some real heart-stopping moments and also discovers more about who she is and also about her mum and family. Not everything she had been told was the truth! She has dealt with a rough past a tough present and, now has to deal with being part of a scenario that could make the future one that she could never expect.

This is not an action packed read, in fact it is a slower pace as the tension simmers and grows. The author has created a story that gripped me from the first few pages, the tension built and I could not put this one down!

This is a fabulous and mysteriously compelling read. and one I would absolutely recommend.

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

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Twisted by Steve Cavanagh. Steve’s previous book Th1rt33n was an absolute corker of a read, and I will say that if you think Twisted will follow the same path you will be mistaken, instead Twisted is a very different animal indeed!

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK 
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…

Well how to even start a review of this book… the title… Twisted, yes it certainly suits the book. It is Twisted and full of twists from the synopsis and the 3 things you should know right through until the end. There is a murder, yes the police will charge the murderer even though they haven’t got him yet, they don’t know who it is, and the real twist is that if you discover who the murderer is then you are the next victim… Right keeping up so far?!!!! Good!

Open the cover of the book and the title page reads Twisted by Steve Cavanagh, the next title page…What! Wait a minute! Two Title Pages! haha yes there are two of them and it reads… Twisted by J. T LeBeau who the flaming hell is J.T LeBeau? The next page I came across was an Author’s Note that was very intriguing and signed by the author LeBeau. This is the start of a deceptively clever book that me turning pages as it gradually pulled me further into it’s plot.

What to tell you about the story! Well, I am going to use a line from the authors note at the beginning of the book “From here on in, don’t believe a single word you read.”, as I write this I am sniggering because as I read the line at the beginning it wasn’t till the end that I realised how prophetic it would actually turn out to be!

This is supposed to be my review or my thoughts about a book I have read, but it has left me at a bit of a loss for words. I wont tell you anything about the plot or the characters for fear of spoiling the story. So instead I am keeping this very simple…

This is a ‘twisted’ murder, mystery, crime, thriller read with a ‘twisted’ psychological kick to it. It is deceptive, clever at times bloody and at others times jaw-dropping when you you come across the twists. It blind sided me on occasions and now I have read the book I can see the whole picture a little more clear… which means maybe I now know the identity of J.T LeBeau 😱 or do I?😉

This gets a highly recommended from Me! 🙂

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

Jaded by Rob Ashman @RobAshmanAuthor @lifebookish #review

I am delighted to be one of the readers who was invited to take part in sharing reviews for the Publication Day of Jaded by Rob Ashman.

This is the 4the in the DI Roz Kray series and it is an absolute beaut of a read. So why don’t I show you the synopsis so you can see what it is all about…

A body washes up on a Blackpool beach, tortured and shot through the head.

A man is found in an alleyway with his throat ripped open.

A woman is murdered in a hospital bed.

What connects them?

DI Roz Kray’s private life is in turmoil as she struggles to unravel a baffling case and DCI Dan Bagley is hell-bent on making her working life a misery.

Billy Ellwood is a chameleon. What forced him to disappear eighteen years ago? And what was the promise?

When Kray makes a shattering discovery it rocks her world to the core. The stakes could not be higher. She’s left with no choice.

This time … it’s all or nothing.

A small confession from me here… I have read the first book in this series and I absolutely adored the main protagonist Roz Kray, but somehow books 2 & 3 have fallen through the cracks on my reading, so i can honestly say that book 4 does work well as a stand-alone… the author does give snippets and details of past stories and I think he does this without giving too much away.

Jaded is in someways quite a powerful and emotional rollercoaster of a journey for a couple of the characters. Even though they have differences, there are also similarities. Their personal stories are heartbreaking and anchors them to the past. I know, I know this is so vague, but I’m not giving anything away as to spoil your reading of this book!

Roz has to deal with an every increasing workload and for the most part she is doing this without the support of her superior. One thing about her is her stubborn-ness, she is not one to let her superior get one over on her, or belittle her, this stubborn streak has a way of getting up the nose of a certain superior! Thankfully she has the respect and support of a good team who work alongside her. Roz goes with her gut instincts and has the time to listen to other theories and suggestions from colleagues as the cases are being dealt with.

The cases themselves are dark, brutal and are somewhat of a bloodfest. The case are different in their execution or should I say the means of execution are different in each case!

Billy Ellwood, Wow what a character and then some. His storyline is superb in so many ways and his involvment is brilliant. Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? I ‘aint tellin’. Decide for yourself!

Before I started this book I had struggled a little with reading a book in one sitting, usually taking two days for a book of this length. This book knocked that out the water, I started this and finished it in one day, I literally could not put it down. I was immediately drawn into what was a wonderfully brutal open chapter… that just sounds so wrong…”wonderfully brutal” but I know crime readers will know exactly what I mean.

This is a crime thriller that really doesn’t hold back on any of it’s punches and each one is fully loaded for maximum effect. if you like hard, dark, brutal crime, thriller reads then this is one for you!

A brilliant book and one I would Highly Recommend!

Image and Bio taken from the Author’s Amazon Page.

Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.
Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.
It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result. 
Rob has published Those That Remain, In Your Name and Pay the Penance with Bloodhound Books and has since written Faceless, This Little Piggy and Suspended Retribution which will also be published by Bloodhound.
When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

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

The Feud by Amanda James @akjames61 @lifebookish @Bloodhoundbook #PublicationDay #review

I am absolutely delighted to be one of the Bloggers to help share in the Book Love for The Feud by Amanda James. My thanks to bot Amanda and Heather at Bloodhound Books for inviting me to take part and also sending me an e-copy.

The Feud is being published today, so…

I have been a fan of Amanda’s books for a while now and I have read quite a few. I have also been lucky enough to meet her and she is lovely.

So why don’t we have a look and see what The Feud is all about…

Matthew Trevelyar leaves his job in London to return to his Cornish roots in the village of St Agnes. After losing his wife to leukaemia, he wants to make a fresh start. 

His new life is going well until Matt returns to his cottage to discover a grim warning on his doorstop. The message is clear – Leave now and go back to London.

Not wanting to give up his new life, Matt eventually discovers that there has been a 200-year-old feud between his family, the Trevelyars, and another local family, the Penhallows.

When Matt learns that one of his ancestors burned down a barn belonging to the Penhallows, and that there were tragic consequences, he understands why his family name is mud. But why is Matt paying for the sins of his ancestors now? And is there more to the feud than meets the eye?

Amanda James is the bestselling author of the psychological thrillers Another MotherThe Cornish Retribution and Rip Current, as well as the heart-warming women’s fiction novel, The Calico Cat. The Feud is a suspenseful drama which will appeal to fans of authors like K.L. Slater, Shalini Boland and Lucy 

A feud between two Cornish families has gone on for 200 years. The Trevelyar and Penhallow families have built up years of hatred and mistrust, though not every family member holds firm to the hereditary grudge as others do. So when Matt moves back to the village, he soon learns how deeply rooted The Feud runs.

There is such an underlying sense of malice throughout this story, it gives it such a suspenseful edge. Using the feud as the basis for the story, then adding and expanding on it makes it such a compelling read. The malice gradually increases as the story progresses and it made me wonder how far a person would actually go.

I loved the way this author took the feud to various extremes. She uses family members and friends like chess pieces and has a fabulous way of moving and manipulating them into place. I found friends were manipulated, the truth was distorted and twisted in this old vendetta. On Matt’s arrival in the village sparks off the revenge and family honour and it is just the tip of the iceberg as revenge turns in vengeance.

The pacing of the story is such a good fit for the plot, it sits very nicely with the characters and the story. I found it very easy to get caught up in as the author wove a dark and somewhat mysterious tale.

There are several things I have come to expect from this author based on previous books I have read. I have found she always delivers on a very compelling story-line, has interesting characters, atmospheric descriptions that work well with the characters and plot and at least a couple of good twists along the way. The Feud ticked all the boxes and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this dark and twisted story of revenge.

It’s one I would definitely recommend.

Amanda James has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true.

Amanda has written many short stories and has ten novels currently published. Her time travelling debut – A Stitch in Time was published in April of 2013 and has met with great success.

Amanda lives in Cornwall and is inspired every day by the beautiful coastline near her home. Five suspense/mystery novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and the Behind the Lie – April 2017 pub – HQUK ( HarperCollins) 2018 Another Mother, and Rip Current – Bloodhound Books. The Calico Cat – family drama/coming-of-age out now with Bombshell/Bloodhound.

Amanda can usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Follow Amanda on – Amanda’s blogTwitter Facebook

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

Perfect Crime by Helen Fields @AvonBooksUK #NetGalley #review

Today I am delighted and excited to be sharing my review for Perfect Crime by Helen Fields. This is Book #5 in the DI Callanch Crime Thriller series. My huge thanks to Avon Books UK for approving my request on NetGalley for an e-copy. I read this book wayyyyy back in January and finally, I can share my thoughts 🙂

Anyone who reads my blog may be aware that I am a huge fan of this author and the Perfect series. I think I may have just found my favourite one…

so far…

Let’s see what it’s all about…

Synopsis:

Your darkest moment is your most vulnerable…

Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.

Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…

An unstoppable crime thriller from the #1 bestseller. The perfect read for fans of Karin Slaughter and M. J. Arlidge.

My Thoughts:

Di Luc Callanch and DCI Ava Turner are investigating murders, that at the beginning look like suicides. They seem unconnected and random. I have learnt from experience, that this author does not do unconnected and she does not do random. What she does do is clever, devious and intriguing.

As I have read every one of the books in this series I have got to know the various characters and their traits. It was great to get to know a little more about them and see the ways in which they work together as a team. Working as a team has, in the past been a little tense as the pecking order is established and trust is gradually built on. Perfect Crime sees the old faces again as well as a couple of newcomers. One has made a previous appearance, I am reserving judgment on this one at the moment. The other definitely goes out on a limb…

The one thing I really like about this series is the way friendships and past stories have been built up over time. Luc and Ava… well I could seriously bash their heads together. Their friendship has always hovered on a precarious tightrope of emotion. This story shows a more personal side to each of them as the investigations take precedence over “normal life”. Luc delves into his past, he is trying to quash his demons that have had a way of always hanging around, but in doing so he leaves himself vulnerable and open to trouble that also threatens Ava.

The investigation is wonderful and well paced. I really enjoyed the false leads and was wrong-footed in a spectacular way when I finally discovered who was responsible. The author really does have a knack for leading the reader down blind alleys and leaving a trail of red herrings.

There are so many things I want to say about this book, and all are good. It has a twisted and devious plot with details about suicide and the help that can be sought. It plays on the vulnerability of those who are the lowest point in their lives. Adding in sinister characters who exploit perceived weakness in others makes this a deceptively dark read.

I adore this series and would recommend it to anyone who has not yet read any. This is a police procedural series that also incorporates personal life details of the main characters. It is something that is expanded on with each book and builds up a relationship with the reader.

If you love crime, thriller books and have not yet read this series then Why the hell not? If you have read the series, then you are in for a real treat with this one. It is deceptive, sinister and devious making for a cracking read. It gets a Highly Recommended from me.

And… I cannot wait for the next one PERFECT DARK 🙂

About the Author:

Helen can be found on Twitter @Helen_Fields for up to date news and information. A former barrister, Helen now writes a Scottish set crime series – D.I.Callanach and D.I. Ava Turner. Her debut novel Perfect Remains and the second in the series Perfect Prey are Amazon best sellers. Her next book ‘Perfect Death’ is due out on 25 January 2018. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, and lives with her husband and three children.

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

The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today with you all for The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven.

You see those author quotes on the front cover … Yep they are all true!!!

So let’s have a look and see what this fabulous book is all about…

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive… 

I had read so many great reviews about this book from fellow Book Bloggers that I had to get myself a copy.

My verdict… WOW!!!!!! I should have read it as soon as I had bought it!

If you have read the synopsis then you will realise that this is dark. It is also so brilliantly written right from the very first page to the very last page. You will get to meet to fabulous characters in Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw.

I love Poe and Bradshaw, they are so different and the dynamic between the two of them is an absolute pleasure to read. Their contrasting personalities soon becomes obvious as you get to know them. I loved how Poe tones himself down when he is around Bradshaw, and how she is picking up some of Poe’s confidence.

The plot is an absolute dream to read, it is deliciously dark, devious, sinister and deceptively twisted. It has procedural elements but is based around Crime Analysis and the National Crime Agency. I have to say this route gives a different investigative approach than the usual police procedural ones and it has been worked really well by the author.

I liked that Poe is unused to the terminology used by Bradshaw so needs it to be put in basic terms for him to understand, it made it easy for me to understand as well 🙂

Now the other thing I really enjoyed about this story was the extra character …Cumbria… the Cumbrian landscape played such a wonderful part in creating the atmospherics and added such a sense of drama to the story.

I am so looking forward to getting to know more about Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw and can’t wait to read more.

This is a dark, crime thriller story with a fabulous plot, characters and flow. It gets a Highly Recommended from me.

M.W. Craven
Image taken from the Author’s Goodreads Page.

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.


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Cover Reveal for The Feud by Amanda James @BloodhoundBook @lifebookish

I am delighted to welcome you all to the Cover Reveal for The Feud by Amanda James. Before I show you the cover how about we have a look and see what the synopsis says about it…

Matthew Trevelyar leaves his job in London to return to his Cornish roots in the village of St Agnes. After losing his wife to leukaemia, he wants to make a fresh start.

His new life is going well until Matt returns to his cottage to discover a grim warning on his doorstop. The message is clear – Leave now and go back to London.

Not wanting to give up his new life, Matt eventually discovers that there has been a 200-year-old feud between his family, the Trevelyars, and another local family, the Penhallows.

When Matt learns that one of his ancestors burned down a barn belonging to the Penhallows, and that a child died in the fire, he understands why his family name is mud. But why is Matt paying for the sins of his ancestors now? And is there more to the feud than meets the eye?


It sounds great doesn’t it?

Having read it myself I can say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have read several of Mandy’s books and I have enjoyed them all.

How about a read of the opening pages…

Opening Chapters –

The Feud with an intro and comments from the Author.

I would like to talk about the importance creating impact and interest in the opening chapters of a novel. When you consider the number of books on the shelves and virtual shelves nowadays, writers, and less well-known writers in particular, have to make sure that when a reader opens the cover of their book they are compelled to read on. This of course is easier said than done and for me one of the hardest things to get right. The writer of course knows the story, or at least some of it, (I never really know what is going to happen!) but the reader has no clue apart from the blurb. Therefore, to make an impact and create enough interest for the reader to want to know the rest of the story is a little tricky. They have no knowledge of the various characters’ personality, feelings, motives or twists and turns of the plot, because literally nothing has happened yet.

It could be argued that with writing suspense, it is somewhat easier to create a dramatic opening than some genres, but that keeping up the mystery without giving too much away as the story progresses is far from simple. I love a challenge, and that’s one of the reasons I love writing suspense.

The Feud opens with a dramatic situation. I use the setting to create a feeling of unease in the reader and as it’s set in the past, a desire to see how it relates to the present. I have included an extract from the opening pages below to illustrate what I mean. The scene is set in 1818.


 ‘Fire, Wenna. Fire! Look, the barn is almost lost to it, and the outhouse too!’

Kenver runs to the bedroom door, pulling Wenna behind him. ‘Get the children. Run to the well, form a line! We need to vanquish this devilry before it consumes the house!’

In his nightshirt, Kenver runs to the paddock, a scarf around his mouth to protect against the thick acrid smoke. It proves no barrier and soon he’s on his knees by the well, coughing so hard he feels his lungs will collapse. Somehow, he pulls up a bucket of water and runs at the barn, hurls the water at the wall of fire and staggers back a few paces as the flames force a retreat. A bucket of water against this? It’s like a teardrop. There is no hope.

He raises his arm to shield his eyes and watches his family of six mustering by the well with buckets to form a human chain. The fire mocks them. It’s too little too late. Kenver hurries to his wife and children. ‘It’s no good. We are beaten. Come, we must take the horses and flee. The farmhouse will burn, and us along with it if we stay much longer!’

Wenna shakes her head. ‘I can’t go until we’ve found Jago. He’s nowhere in the house!’ His wife kneels on the ground, sending a wail from her throat keening up to the sky.

His next youngest, Tilda, rubs streaks of soot from her eyes with the back of her hand and sobs, ‘Father, I am sorry to tell ’ee that my brother went to the barn to be with the ailing pup. He said not to tell ’ee in case ’ee were mad at him for sleeping all night out.’

All eyes fix on the barn just as the last blackened wall collapses with an ear-splitting groan. Sparks chase each other to the heavens and then race along the ground to the farmhouse. Wenna sends up another wail more heart-rending than the first and the children join in, hugging each other in despair.

Bewildered, Kenver asks, ‘He went to be with that sickly scrap of a sheepdog pup that I said wouldn’t see daylight? The one I forbade him to fret over?’

Tilda’s mouth forms a square of anguish. She nods and collapses next to her mother, wailing at the sky like a banshee.

Kenver forces his legs to carry him a few feet away. He can’t let the children see him weep. They would lose all sensibility. His legs do their duty then refuse to do more and he finds himself on his knees in the grass. The roar of the fire deafens him as it takes possession of the farmhouse and right now, Kenver can’t care less if he ever hears anything again – sees anything again. He would rather be deaf, dumb and blind than to be here and witness such carnage. His little five-year-old son is gone. Taken, burnt, consumed in hellfire.

‘Father, how can this be? It is too much to bear,’ George, his eldest, says, as he kneels next to him, puts a hand on his shoulder.

Kenver shakes his head and wipes moisture from his eyes. ‘I know not, lad. But I swear I’ll find out and avenge my youngest son. Fires don’t start by themselves.’

George gasps, takes his father’s arm, a horrified expression on his face. ‘But who would do us such evil?’

Kenver hawks smoke-filled phlegm from his throat and spits it out in disgust. ‘I have just the evil devil in mind, lad. And he’ll be sorry for what he’s done. I swear by almighty God, he’ll be sorry – and so will his sons and his line ever after. Mark my words.’


The reader will now have ideas and questions about what’s happened and what’s going to happen. The book is entitled – The Feud and the last line indicates that the book might be about revenge upon the arsonist’s present-day family. They might be wondering if revenge is justified, given the passage of time, and how they would feel in a similar situation. Also, who is the ancestor of Kenver, and how will he or she deliver this vengeance? Hopefully, the reader will continue to turn the pages to find out.

The next dramatic extract drops a little puzzle into the story that will keep the reader guessing. Matt, one of the main characters, has recently moved to St Agnes in Cornwall where the story is set. He’s from London and has taken a job in the primary school there and hopes to make a new life. As we see. Some in the village don’t want him there…


Whistling, Matt steps outside onto the gravel path and points his keys at the car. As he turns to lock the door, the whistle sticks in his throat and his stomach comes up. Right in front of him there’s a rustic plant barrel in the recess by the front door; inside it there’s a wooden pole with… He swallows hard and forces himself to look. To look and make sure he’s not hallucinating. No. No, it’s real. There’s a badger’s head stuck on the top of a pole stained red with the poor creature’s blood. Like its eyes, the mouth is open, showing a row of bloodstained teeth. Secured with twine further down the pole, there’s a white sign with red writing that Matt assumes is also blood. It reads:

FUCK OFF BACK TO LONDON!

Shaking, Matt releases a slow breath, leans against the wall and wonders what the hell to do next.


Questioning sets up a ‘dialogue’ between writer and reader which I believe is essential. It enables the reader to really engage with the text and helps to engender a satisfying read.  Sometimes these questions aren’t asked in any conscious way but are part of the ‘feeling’ the reader has for a book. It is all part of the dialogue. This dialogue is either strong enough to keep you eagerly turning those pages and reading to the end, or to end the conversation early and close the book.

I hope I have managed to do the former 🙂


Now how about we have a look at the Author…

Amanda has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published, given that she left school with no real qualifications of note apart from an A* in how to be a nuisance in class. Nevertheless, she returned to education when her daughter was five and eventually became a history teacher. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when her first short story was published. Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published.

Amanda grew up in Sheffield but now has realised her lifelong dream of living in Cornwall and her writing is inspired every day by the dramatic coastline near her home. She has sketched out many stories in her head while walking the cliff paths. Three of her mystery/suspense novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and the Behind the Lie. Rip Current is also set in Cornwall and will be published by Bloodhound Books in April 2018.

Amanda, known to many as Mandy, spends far more time than is good for her on social media and has turned procrastination to a fine art. She can also usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Amanda’s blogTwitter Facebook

Okay I think I have put this off as long as I can…

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Well almost…

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Got to have a drum roll…

drummer muppets GIF

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WOW!!!!!

It’s dramatic and I love it…

Thank you for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂