The Autumn Tree by Tony Forder @TonyJForder #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for the latest book from one of may favourite authors. The Autumn Tree by Tony Forder is the latest in the DI Bliss series and boy oh boy is it a good one!

My thanks to Tony for my e-copy of this book and for a spot on his Blog Tour.

When dark desires have no limitations, anything is fair game.

After a young woman is found strangled to death, Bliss is called to the scene. When he learns that one of his business cards was found among the victim’s clothing, and he is told what was written on the back of it, Bliss is immediately troubled. The card was one of five he handed out to trafficked young women he and his team had previously rescued from a shipping container.

When he sees the victim, Bliss realises she was not one of those saved that day. So whose card does she have? Any why? And is it connected to her murder?

The murder investigation proves to be more complex and challenging than the team could possibly have imagined. But just as they think they have it figured out, they learn that depravity has no boundaries…

My Review…

Oh! I am a little speechless after reading the 8th book in the DI Bliss series. Wow! I never read the synopsis for these Bliss books as I have read every single book in the series. So I went into this one completely blind.

The author didn’t hold any punches with this story, it does have a theme that continues from a previous book, that being said you could, I suppose, read this latest instalment as a stand-alone. You would however be missing out on an outstanding series.

DI Jimmy Bliss is currently DS Bliss due to being demoted. This kind of gives the story an additional twist. Rather than being the team’s figurehead, he is now one of the floor guys is you like. The thing with Bliss and the rest of the team is the huge respect they have for each other and the closeness that has come with working together. The roles may have changed but the players are still the same, and there is an additional player who comes with strings!

A case is taken over by Bliss, this is due to a past case and why there are strings. The past involves people trafficking and the author has run further with the story in this latest book. This is one of the tougher stories I have read by this author, tougher because of the nature and content of the crimes involved. While the author does go into some detail, he does it in the context of the story.

The story involves such a complex case that has clues coming in left right and centre, all random and with no sort of order or focus. This is then made more complex when another case is also added to the pot. Realising that they have not got time on their side adds pressure.

The author has taken several threads and wonderfully woven them to create a very dark case for the team. Due to the closeness of the team, there is some banter and humour that does break the tension, not only for the characters but also the reader. It gave me a chance to take a big breath before continuing on several times.

The author absolutely knows the bones of his characters. As a reader I have to remind myself that they are not real people, they are characters. The author has given Bliss such a lot to deal with, but deal with it he has. Being an older character I was interested to see poor Bliss feeling his age, and dare I say contemplating his future.

This is one of the darker stories from this author and one that has a gritty and intense feel to it. Not for those who are looking for a cosy crime but one for the hard, crime thriller readers. A fabulous addition to the series and once again the author has left me wondering what will come next! One I would very definitely recommend, it was brilliant.

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Where Crows Land by Paul McCracken @PaulMcCracken_ @TheConradPress @RandomTTours #crime #thriller #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Where Crows Land by Paul McCracken. This is a a gritty urban crime thriller read that I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Tings Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book.

This gripping thriller is set in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and chronicles the dramatic events when a former detective, Joseph Carter, sets out to gain redemption from the consequences of an old case that cost him everything.

Carter is still haunted by the murders of his niece and brother-in-law at the hands of a serial killer he was trying to track down. One year on, the killer has returned and Carter, now a disgraced detective gone private, launches a personal vendetta to catch him this time around.

My Review…

Life isn’t easy for Carter. A former detective who is now a Private Investigator after going rogue. Not without just cause though. Deciding not to call in back up a year ago leads to the death of his brother in law and niece.

Being a PI sort of keeps him in the loop, keeping his finger on the pulse of the streets of Belfast. It seems the past is coming at him once again, he is being targeted. A recent case may give him a way back into investigating the murder of his family. A case that haunts him still.

This is a tough and gritty crime thriller and I really like the way the author has twisted this storyline every day possible. Creating a novel that is a mix of various plots and characters to provide a roller coaster ride through the streets of Belfast. The characters are a mix of family, friends and colleagues.

The story is one that has a good deal of intrigue and I found myself second-guessing so many times and was nowhere near to being right. As I said it is full of twists and they definitely caught me out many times.

The characters are such a mix, I did like the main character of Carter. He does seem to have loyalties and integrity, a loner to a point but more that he still hangs on to the hope that he will find those responsible for the deaths of his family. I didn’t particularly like all the characters, there is a certain amount of mistrust that the author has given them. As I read I found my doubts, in some cases were justified, but not in all cases.

This is a gritty and intriguing urban crime thriller that has a good mystery and suspense to it. One for those who like a deep plot with red herrings and one I would recommend reading.

About the Author…

Northern Irish novelist, Paul McCracken was born 16th January 1991 in the Ulster hospital, Dundonald, just outside of Belfast. He grew up in the Castlereagh area of east Belfast where he also went to school. Ever since he could hold a pencil, he wanted to be an artist and no-one, not even the school career advisor could tell him otherwise. He left education with only three GCSE’s and an Art diploma. He tried to make it as a fine artist whilst also trying to find any work to support himself financially. However, the more he learned about the commercial art world, the more he wanted no part in it. In spring 2011, he enrolled in a five day film making course through the Prince’s Trust charity. He always had a passion for storytelling. During the course, he impressed the owner of the studio at which the course was being held, through the raw creativity he displayed. The studio owner was the first to encourage Paul to write his own material, that material being screenplays. After leaving the course with new found confidence and ambition, Paul started to learn the craft of screenwriting and got to work writing his very first feature film. After securing full time work later that year, he found a renewed inspiration to write again and wrote a full length film script in the space of a week. Paul kept on writing other projects as well as continually editing the first script, but he kept the fact he was writing close to himself as he didn’t want to face any negativity if he were to tell anyone. The script would go on to score highly in an international screenplay competition, based out of Los Angeles. It would then place in the quarter-finals of the same competition for the next two years in a row, accompanied by another screenplay that Paul wrote next. Years later, after entering competitions, pitching, submitting and doing some occasional freelance scriptwriting, Paul wanted to find a way to get his work into the public eye. Writing a novel was a challenge that seemed daunting but also exciting. Having first thought of converting his best script into a novel, he decided to come up with a completely original story. In 2018, he self published his debut novel, Layla’s Song. In 2020 he secured two book deals with two different English publishers. The Conrad Press and PM Books (Imprint of Holland House Books). The first of these books was Where Crows Land, a detective thriller set in Belfast and published by The Conrad Press. His other novel, The Last Rains Of Winter is due out early 2021 with PM Books.

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The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson @HQstories #NetGalley #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson. This is one for crime thriller fans who like their reads to be on the gritty side.

My thanks to HQ Stories for accepting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

When body parts are found on the banks of the River Thames in Deptford, DI Angelica Henley is tasked with finding the killer. Eerie echoes of previous crimes lead Henley to question Peter Olivier, aka The Jigsaw Killer, who is currently serving a life sentence for a series of horrific murders.

When a severed head is delivered to Henley’s home, she realises that the copycat is taking a personal interest in her and that the victims have not been chosen at random.

To catch the killer, Henley must confront her own demons – – and when Olivier escapes from prison, she finds herself up against not one serial killer, but two. 

My Review…

If you like gritty crime thrillers then this is a book that should be on your radar. Not for the faint-hearted as there are some pretty brutal murders. If, however, you do like your crime to be a bit more bloody then give this a go.

This is the first book in the Inspector Anjelica Henley series and I loved it. The story begins really well and has a strong hook to it. The main character is Anjelica, aka Anj or Helnely. She has been on office duty after the brutal case of Peter Olivier, a man that she helped hunt down and resulted in injuries to herself.

There is a new wave of murders and body parts are being discovered around the London area. This looks to be the same sort of modus operandi as Olivier, but with some slight differences. Some of the similarities were only known to a select few people. How to catch the copy cat of an already incarcerated killer? Well, you go to see the incarcerated one!

This is a very addictive crime thriller that starts the series but gives a background to its main characters. There is a good amount of detail on the main players and they soon become very recognisable. Given this is the start, there is already a nice vibe going on between some of the characters and their backstories and working relationships are filled in to give a bigger picture.

This story also has a psychological edge to it in respect to Henley and her previous run-in with Olivier. I do like how the author did play on this a little but not too much. Trying to juggle work, family and having a trainee detective with her, she has a full plate, to say the least.

This novel has a good amount of twists, when you think things are going in one direction the author deftly turns and takes you on another route. This is a great intro for a new series and also for me to this author. I will be keeping an eye out for more Henley books in the future.

This is one for crime fans who love a good, gritty and at times brutal police procedural thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I would definitely recommend it.

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Last Seen by Joy Kluver @Bookouture #NetGalley #debut #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Last Seen by Joy Kluver. I read this one at the end of March this year and it is a debut and so start the Detective Bernadette Noel series.

My thanks to Bookouture for my e-copy that I read via NetGalley.

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I can see her, shouting with laughter as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. I can feel her tiny hot hand in mine, and my heart aches. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village seems to care that Molly is missing at all. Why?

And then Bernie makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls, and just when they think they’re making progress a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Can Bernie outwit the most warped criminal she has ever faced and bring Molly home safe, or will another innocent life be lost?

A completely addictive crime thriller with mind-blowing twists that will have you reading late into the night. If you like Val McDermid, D.S. Butler or Angela Marsons, you’ll love Joy Kluver.

My Review…

I have to say that I am delighted to see that this is the first book in a planned series because I thought this book was brilliant.

The author has woven a story that had me hooked from the first few pages, if I hadn’t had to go to work it would have easily been a one-sitting read. When a child goes missing from a park you would expect locals to go out of their way to help. Why then does it take longer for them to gradually rouse themselves?

This along with some other clues is the start of a mystery thriller that introduces Detective Bernadette (Bernie) Noel and her team racing to make the links to find the girl. Time is of the essence in a missing person case and trying to drag information and help is a real waste of time but is also an integral part of this storyline.

I do like a story that has a sense of distrust and that hints at past events. This story has those and not just for the local community. The author weaves various threads of her tale and I really enjoyed it as they were gradually drawn together.

This debut, this is a fabulous read and one that had me eagerly turning the pages as I not only wanted to know more about the crime but also about the investigating team. They are a definite mix of characters and each has specialities. Although as I have alluded to, there is something about some of them that hints at things being amiss.

I adored this story and it is a series I am looking forward to and discovering more about some key characters. A story that takes a dark turn, has several surprises and kept me on my toes. One for crime, thriller and mystery readers and one I would definitely recommend.

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The Crazy Season by Jim Ody @Jim_Ody_Author @zooloo2008 @QuestionPress

I am delighted to share my review today for The Crazy Season by Jim Ody. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and after reading his latest book, it will not be the last time! It was a brilliant read.

Joel Baxter is infamous for solving weird and bizarre cases that others avoid. So, when he receives an email from a teenage boy Tim saying his town is cursed, he cannot turn it down.

“…I will more than likely be dead when you read this. There is nothing I can do about it. It’s the curse, and we’ve hit The Crazy Season.” Every 20 years, there are a handful of unexplained teenage deaths and it’s started again.

With the help of his straight-talking friend Melody, they set out to get to the bottom of the alleged curse. Everybody in Black Rock has secrets and nobody wants to speak.

The closer they get to truth the more Joel and Melody realise that their involvement is far from coincidental.

Purchase Links – AMAZON UK US

My Review…

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I loved the tense and suspense ridden atmosphere he has created in this first book in the Joel Baxter series. I do own several of this author’s books and it is only now that I have got around to reading one. Yes, I am kicking myself for this lapse!

A journalist, Joel is used to strange and unusual events, it’s what he is known for. So the email he receives really catches his attention. With the help of his best friends sister Melody, they go off in search of the truth behind the curse of The Crazy Season not realising what exactly they are walking into.

Right from the start, this author caught my attention and what a start it was. It sort of sets the feel of the story that follows. It is one with more to it than first meets the eye. As the chapters progressed I discovered more not only about Joel and his wife Cherry but also got more of a glimpse into what exactly Joel does. He is a journalist as such but not the manic story hungry one looking for the latest headlines. He is more about trying to help find the truth and in turn, it helps others. This also helps him. Melody, well Melody is Melody, she is blunt and outrageous in what she says, but underneath her bluster, there is a caring and thoughtful women. I liked her a lot and she made me laugh several times!

The story of the curse is one that was intriguing and the author really knows how to spin a tale. More questions than answers and false leads with the feeling of Joel and Melody going around in circles, hearing similar stories but not quite getting anywhere as far as the truth goes. It’s a mysterious story with plenty of intrigues, to say the least.

The answers, or really that should be the breadcrumbs are not revealed until a lot further into the story. Up until this point, the author gives plenty for the reader to discover and think about. Introducing new characters and adding subtle hints along the way. Once things start to connect you begin to realise how well this story has been thought about. Not only that but there is something else lurking in the background.

This was such a wonderful story to read, mysterious, full of suspense and quite atmospheric. At times it had a noirish tinge to it and I really enjoyed the slower pace of the journey. It is one I would definitely recommend and I will be keeping an eye out for the next one in the series.

About the Author…

Jim writes dark psychological/thrillers, Horror and YA books that have endings you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written over a dozen novels and many more short-stories spanning many genres.

Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd.  When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife, three beautiful children and two indignant cats in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.

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Cuban Heel (Alex Cohen #5) by Leopold Borstinski #CubanHeel #AlexCohenSeries @borstinski @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for the latest Alex Cohen book, Cuban Heel (Alex Cohen #5) by Leopold Borstinski. I have read and loved everyone of these books and this one has moved on another decade to the 50s.

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Would you work with the devil to build a paradise on Earth?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen joins long-time friend and business partner, Meyer Lansky to recreate Las Vegas in 1950s Havana. When dictator President Batista gives them the opportunity to build their dream casino complexes, Alex must choose between dancing with this devil or being in debt to the Italian mob.

If he takes the mafia money then he will be tied to the men who planned his earlier downfall and removed his mentor, Lucky Luciano from the syndicate. If he refuses their investment then he will be beholden to the tinpot generalissimo and his bloated ego. But Alex knows that there is more at stake than mere gelt–now he has his family surrounding him and they will suffer the ultimate price if he makes a bad decision.

The fifth book in the Alex Cohen series is a historical thriller novel, which tears at the heart of the Jewish mob’s role in pre-revolution Cuba. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction gives each reader the shocking skinny into the building of modern America.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US – Direct from Leopold’s Website

My Review…

The setting is the 1950s, the place in Cuba and this is the 5th book in the Alex Cohen series. The author has created a series that follows the life, relationship, work and family of Jew, Alex Cohen. A man who had nothing and who has turned a profit from his various wheelings and dealings, oh and the occasional murder!

Cuba is the new Vegas for Alex’s business colleague Lansky Meyer. A country that will see the gambling empire that Meyer to possibly come to fruition. A place that he can call his own and is free from the mobs and bosses, as well as Hoover and the FBI.

Alex is a hustler, he has worked with and alongside the big bosses and now that he is back with his wife Sarah he wants a more settled life. While he is still in the thick of things, he is thinking more about the impact things could have on his family. In the past, he has been very much an act now think later guy. As he has aged and gained experience he is looking at a different lifestyle and that Cuba may provide that.

As this series does contain references to historical events, I was aware of the troubles that await Alex as Cuba, or Castro makes himself known. Being “in bed” with a president doesn’t make it a safe place when Castro makes his move.

Once again, the author has completely had me hooked on what happens next with Alex. Even though he is a rogue, I do have a soft spot for him as I have followed him from his beginnings and arrival in the US. Each decade the author takes his characters into have historical references and these are worked well in the stories.

Again Alex is at the forefront and he has certain roles, not just as a father and husband but also as a businessman. Wanting to leave certain parts of his past in the past is not easier. He is a man with a reputation and this means he is the man to go to. I do like how the author keeps him in the thick of things and never makes things plain sailing. The action and drama of Alex’s life never stop and this makes this such an exciting series.

A series that I adore and if you like historical fiction, gangsters, action, mobs and dubious dealings then this is one for you. I would definitely recommend this series and also this latest book.

About the Author…

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

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Geiger by Gustaf Skördeman #Geiger @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders #NetGalley #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Geiger by Gustaf Skördeman. This is a tense conspiracy thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed and is published tomorrow (29th April 2021).

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book via Net Galley.

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For fans of  I Am Pilgrim, GEIGER is set to become the must-read international thriller of 2021. 

The landline rings as Agneta is waving off her grandchildren. Just one word comes out of the receiver: ‘Geiger’. For decades, Agneta has always known that this moment would come, but she is shaken. She knows what it means.

Retrieving her weapon from its hiding place, she attaches the silencer and creeps up behind her husband before pressing the barrel to his temple.

Then she squeezes the trigger and disappears – leaving behind her wallet and keys.

The extraordinary murder is not Sara Nowak’s case. But she was once close to those affected and, defying regulations, she joins the investigation. What Sara doesn’t know is that the mysterious codeword is just the first piece in the puzzle of an intricate and devastating plot fifty years in the making…

Purchase link – Amazon UK

My Review…

Well, the synopsis for Geiger is definitely intriguing, well I thought so, it also makes for a very good start to this story.

This is a really good and well-plotted spy thriller that I really enjoyed. There is a blend of past and present that the author links together really well and is full of little subplots. The present is about the death of Stellan, and of his missing wife as well as the character of Sara a police officer with connections to the family. The past is more in the eighties with the fall of the Berlin Wall, German reunifications, USSR, GDR, spies, espionage, theories, politics and various other items of the time.

The mix of historical into this story was the part that I probably enjoyed the most, the cloak and dagger spy stuff if you like. But then I also liked the present story with a more procedural presence to it as you would find in a crime thriller. The idea of having a historical aspect in the story is great as it does add a great amount of intrigue. There is a good amount of detail that emerges as part of the story, this does however slow the pace down. I do like a slower paced book, and it meant I could take my time and not feel rushed while I was reading. I was able to read with the flow of the story and absorb the many details.

The author has a good mix of characters, enough for the different parts of the story and the different subplots, but not too many that I lost track of who was who. I did mention that there is a whole range of different things going on in this story, one of the themes is quite a distressing one and one I didn’t expect. While it is part of the story, it doesn’t make for pleasant reading.

A story that starts with a murder that then develops into a central European espionage ring, with mentions of family, upbringing and lifestyle there is a lot going on. A really intriguing and interesting read that had me wondering who was who and why they did what they did. I would recommend this for readers who prefer a slower-paced and intense spy-thriller story.

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Prisoner by Ross Greenwood @greenwoodross #boldwoodbloggers @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #NetGalley #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Prisoner by Ross Greenwood. I do like this authors books and have read several, Prisoner is a little different and a fabulously addicted read!

My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book via NetGalley.

Behind bars, the rules are different…

Prison Officer Jim Dalton is used to walking the landings on the male side of HMP Peterborough. It’s a dangerous place, fuelled by testosterone-driven violence, but he’s done the job for a long time. He understands the unwritten rules, and he has the prisoners’ respect. 

When a relative is sent to the jail, Dalton is transferred to the female side of the prison. His next shift is so easy, he can’t believe that the officers over there get paid the same wages. He sleeps well for the first time in years.

But when he is assigned to the young offenders’ wing, dealing with female prisoners no longer seems so simple.  As every day passes, and he gets to know the women better, he is slowly drawn in to new temptations, new traps and a new nightmare. One which could destroy everything.

Taking a break from his bestselling DI Barton series, Ross Greenwood returns with this shocking, page-turning and utterly compelling glimpse behind the bars of a women’s prison. From a man who walked the landings himself…

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

I have read quite a few of this authors crime thriller books, his latest release Prisoner is very different to what I have read in the past. Ross uses his working experience in the Prison Service as inspiration and it shows in the writing.

A blend of fact and fiction as the author writes a very compelling story around Prison Officer Jim Dalton. A man who has respect on the male side of the prison from both fellow officers and also inmates. He comes across as a fair person, but one who is struggling in his home life. The stress of the job is telling and his marriage is rocky.

A move from the male wing to the female wing for a short period gives him a reprieve as such. The stress is less and the work more manageable. There are however a different set of unspoken rules for working in the female wing, unfortunately, Jim is a little slow to heed the warnings and see the signs.

I loved the way the author created an understated thriller like this one. There is a good amount of intrigue and suspense and there is a tense vibe and atmosphere to it. The author has created some great characters and making them so believable. Having the experience of working in a prison has definitely added a wonderful balance to the story as he gives a more balanced outlook. Describing the ways in which the psychology of a male or female wing differs.

How the characters of Jim deals with the changes in his role gives a really good insight and shows how easy it is to get caught up in simple things and to fall prey to a lie. While it is obvious that this is an environment where lies and deceit are going to be part of the norm, the author takes a little bit further.

This is such a clever story and one that I adored. There are some very hard to read parts of the story, again adding credibility to an at times harrowing read. It shows the good and the bad as well as the grey areas. If you like prison-based stories then this is one for you. It is a story that sort includes many genres from the obvious crime to the thriller, suspense and also partly psychological. It is a book that I do think will appeal to a great variety of readers. Tense, gritty, absorbing and definitely recommended.

It also includes a very insightful author note as the end. 

About the Author…

Ross Greenwood is the author of six crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough and his first title for Boldwood – the beginning of a series – The Snow Killer was published in November 2019.

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Dead Secret by Noelle Holten @nholten40 #dcimaggiejamieson @BOTBSPublicity #NetGalley #DeadSecret #Crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Dead Secret by Noelle Holten today. This is the 4th book in this fabulous DCI Maggie Jamieson series and boy is it a good one!

My huge thanks to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Publicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy via NetGalley.

Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…

DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.

Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.

That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.

Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…

My Review…

This is the 4th book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series, and while it could be read as a standalone you would get a better idea of the team dynamics if you have read the series.

This is was a really riveting read and one that I feel the author really got to grips with the plot lines. It feels much bolder and more intense as the main characters have quite a lot to deal with. A body is found beaten up, quite a grisly murder with very little to go on, but possibly a robbery.

While this murder investigation is going on a report that a fellow officer and his family have been abducted comes in. Definitely a full workload for Maggie and the rest of the team to deal with.

Lucy runs a refuge that is due to open, a stranger in need of help turns up on her doorstep. Reluctant to speak about themselves or the reason behind their wounds, she is an enigma.

I did mention this story had several plot lines, so along with the cases, there is also additional threads that delve into the more personal lives of some of the key characters. With various threads, the author very craftily weaves her story and gradually gathers the loose ends over the course of the story. I loved how it wasn’t just about the cases, but also included personal stuff as well. It adds realism to the characters as they struggle with home and work life.

This is a story that I really, really enjoyed and I loved getting back up to speed with the characters again. The author draws on her knowledge of interagency investigations and her work with the Probation Service and Domestic Abuse cases, it does show as you read the story. It’s the little details that are included that make this a riveting read.

This is a tense crime thriller that I read over a couple of days. It has various threads that have been twisted and worked throughout giving a wonderful read. It is one for fans of crime, thriller and procedural genres and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

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The Black Fox by Gordon Bickerstaff #TheBlackFox @GFBickerstaff @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #conspiracy #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers to be opening the Blog Tour and sharing my review today for The Black Fox by Gordon Bickerstaff.

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles Blog Tours for my spot ont he tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous action-packed crime thriller.

Incredible conspiracy.

Intricate espionage.

Spy story.


Zoe Tampsin is resourceful, smart and Special Forces-trained, but she has been given an impossible mission.

She has to protect scientist, Gavin Shawlens, from assassination by the CIA, and discover the secret trapped in Gavin’s mind that the CIA want destroyed.

As the pressure to find Shawlens escalates – the CIA send Zoe’s former mentor to track her down and her fate seems sealed when he surrounds Zoe and Gavin with a ring of steel. With each hour that passes, the ring is tightened, and the window for discovering Gavin’s secret will shut.

Zoe is faced with a decision that goes against all of her survival instincts. If she is wrong – they both die. If she is right – she will discover the secret and become the next target for assassination.

Run for your life…

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

My Review…

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I want to give myself a stern talking to for not reading any of his books sooner. This is a crazy action-packed, conspiracy fuelled thriller that kept me hooked from start to finish.

The main lead for this story is Zoe, she is one tough cookie and knows how to handle herself in a fight. She is a clever main character who has a whole load of skills, and I am sure that there are some that I have yet to discover with other books. Her brief is to kidnap Gavin, a scientist, who has been under her watch and disappear.

What starts off as a storyline that had a simple beginning the author then jets off into a full-blown chase to the death, that involves the US and its various agencies and departments on British soil. Dodging, ducking and diving traps and lures to discover why on earth the US are willing to risk everything to get their hands on this scientist.

This is one for those, who like me, love a bit of conspiracy, a dash of espionage and a sprinkle of double-crossing within governmental agencies. I was very surprised that when I started to write this review I looked at the page count, 330 of them and the amount of detail that is included is astonishing. There are so many double-crosses, twists, foiled plans and side steps I have to take my hat off to the author for keeping track of everything and still creating a story that has a fabulous flow.

The characters are superb, Zoe as I have mentioned is a one-woman wonder. Comes across as being tough as nails but does has a slight softness to her. Gavin is a nerdy guy, but he has problems with his memory and this adds another dimension to his story. There are additional characters as you would expect, but I will let you meet them yourself.

This is a book that would appeal to those who like fast-paced, action and adventure stories that involve a superbly worked plot and has full-on chases and explosive scenes. I adored this from start to finish and I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. I studied biochemistry, and I’ve worked in several Scottish universities where I did research on enzymes, and taught biochemistry. After thirty years of teaching and research I retired my academic pen, and took of a mightier fiction pen.

I live in central Scotland with my wife and we enjoy reading, writing, and walking in the hills.

The Lambeth Group books follow the secret government investigations of agent Zoe Tampsin. A strong female protagonist with courage, determination, and guile. She is assisted by specialist consultant, Gavin Shawlens.

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