book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Siren Song by Rebecca McKinney (Review)

Hello you lovely lot! I hope everyone is staying safe and well. Today I am on a Love Books Group Blog Tour for Siren Song by Rebecca McKinney. It’s available now and for the duration of the tour, it will be a bargain 99p on Kindle! I received a copy for free as part of the tour.

Siren Song is the first in a future series, it’s book One in Harrison Jones and Amy Bell Mysteries and not the usual type of thing I read as this one is a little bit different. Siren Song has a touch of the supernatural, the occult, the psychic, whatever you would prefer to call it.

Harrison Jones is a University Professor by day… but he’s also a Psychic Investigator, even if he tells himself he is not. One day, he sees Amy Bell on a bridge, and I mean… he really sees her. Harrison, also known as Harri – or Indiana to Amy has the ability to see in to people, to see imprints of feelings, thoughts and memories left by people on objects and in the air where people have been. Some people are more open to be read and in that moment, Amy’s body was screaming out for something, someone, anything! …and thus, they met.

What they didn’t bank on, was becoming a detective duo, investigating a case of a missing singer. After the incident on the bridge, Amy decided she had to look Harri up. She found out he worked at the uni and visited him. She expressed how she felt when they met on that bridge – she FELT him read her; only, she didn’t know what that feeling was at the time. He explained his ability to her, but she thought is was a load of nonsense and left, only to convince herself later that actually, maybe it was true and real. Meanwhile, a lady was seeking his help to find her daughter.

After some stuff happened (sorry! you’ll need to read the book for that!), Harri decides to let Amy help with the case he ended up unable to say no to. Set in Scotland, a little detective work and some psychic power shenanigans sent them all the way to Greece and they uncovered far more than they anticipated.

This book had me hooked! It’s so well written, the characters are absolutely fascinating and it’s interesting to see how the psychic abilities are able to help with the case. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what I thought of it at first, but it really pulled me in after a while and I found myself really enjoying it. When I got to the end, I remember thinking that I hope there would be another tale of these two – I was thrilled to find out that it’s the plan! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It may be about something “supernatural” but it doesn’t feel fluffed or flimsy. It added a really nice element to the story that added to my intrigue. I’m really glad I took a chance with this one.

About the Book

A man who glimpses other people’s inner worlds, and a woman who can foresee death. Can they trace a missing girl before the worst happens?

Harrison Jones is a university lecturer with a secret: he moonlights as a psychic detective. Amy Bell is a paramedic who has the uncanny knack of knowing things are going to happen before they do. From their first accidental meeting on an Edinburgh bridge, both of their lives are destined to change.

Harrison invites Amy to help him investigate the disappearance of a beautiful young singer. The search will lead them into the murky world of human trafficking, from Edinburgh to the streets of Athens, and into the darkest corners of the human mind…

book reviews · Bookish

A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the Orenda tour for A Song of Isolation by Michael J. Malone. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour. It is out on September 17th in Paperback format and available now in Kindle format. Please check out the other tour stops!

A Song of Isolation is a frustrating tale of greed. That’s what it boils down to in the end. Amelie once was the darling of the silver screen, however, an incident caused her to decide to give it all up. She was living a relatively normal life with her partner, Dave, when after Damaris, the next door neighbours child fell off her bike in the garden. Little did they know that this would turn their entire lives upside-down when Dave is accused of assaulting Damaris.

Tense and uneasy, this book takes you on a bit of a rollercoaster. We know a spade is a spade, but not everything is as it seems. The way the characters are written is incredibly important for a premise like this to be able to work and Michael J Malone really pulled it off. Right from the start, you get an impression about the main characters that will influence you later on. The characters develop well along side the story and the plot and as it unfolds, you can tell that something is not right. These are not the characters we know. Something is off.

Despite knowing something is right, nobody told the rest of the world as they’re easily influenced by the media and sent on a witch hunt against Dave and also Amelia who has chosen to stand by Dave when some serious accusations are thrown his way. They’re treated with nothing less than contempt and yet she stayed by his side until she was physically forced to leave, until another discovery led her to brave coming home. Little did she know, far more was waiting at home for her than she realised in time to come.

In the end, it all boils down to greed and a complete disregard for everyone else in order to get what one wants. This is tense and well paced, one of those books that carries you along and before you realise it, you’re over half way through and you’ve gotta see it through to the end. Or at least, that was the case for me. I felt angry and frustrated but also sympathetic to the cast of characters. I feel it important to note that this book is pretty dark, but not graphic, yet the tale still hits pretty hard. I had to take some time to process it once I had finished, rather than moving on to my next read. People can easily be led without them even realising it and some people will stop at nothing to achieve their own ends…

About the Book

Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?

Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.

While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.

Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives … in an instant.

book reviews · Bookish

House of Straw by Marc Scott (Review)

Good afternoon! I hope everybody is keeping safe and well. Today I am pleased to be on the blog tour for House of Straw by Marc Scott. It’s available in Kindle and Papaerback formats. I received a paperback copy for free for review purposes.

Review

House of Straw follows two women, Bree and Poppy. Bree loses her brother in a tragic and brutal way, however, he becomes a hero in the process. The question is, was this tragedy truly an accident? People hound her about the possibility of a suicide note, but things really aren’t the situation they think it is. Bree ends up falling in to absolute despair and her friend Kayleigh tries her best to help her friend.

Meanwhile, Poppy is living in a flat, with an abusive, nasty piece of work that she calls her boyfriend, due to feelings of obligation. Poppy clearly has a lot of issues, however, she managed to get herself clean from drugs after some time at her majesty’s pleasure and manages to stay clean after that, despite her drug abusing boyfriend. It’s not surprising Poppy has a lot of problems. To say she was dealt a rough hand seems like an understatement.

It turns out, Bree and Poppy are half sisters. They share a parent. It turns out that they also share something else thanks to that parent. It’s clear the two of them are very troubled women. At first, it seems they are absolute polar opposites, Poppy having a rough upbringing and eventually going through the care system where Bree led a more privileged life. The book follows them through their current day struggles and tells us about their past. It feels wrong to say that their tales are fascinating but.. they are. Fascinating and disturbing.

Poppy had a horrible time. I found myself gasp out loud at one moment and wanting to cry because my heart hurt for her. This book is focused around the characters so it’s important that a good job is done with character building. Now, neither of these women are particularly likeable but I couldn’t help but root for them, even knowing what they’ve done, their characters and the bubbles they live in are incredibly well written and it makes their life stories enticing and interesting. I feel a bit like I was staring at a fish tank.

I think this is one of those stories that lingers in the mind, that will stay with you. I couldn’t often predict what would happen next, all I knew was “something bad is going to happen”, twists all over the place. The ending picked up pace and there were a lot of revelations in a short space of time, things I didn’t predict. When I finished, I had to sit for a moment and process what happened. The writing really evokes feelings for these two women, good and bad – or it did for me, personally. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed such a tragedy of a book, but it was a fantastic read and I’m interested to see what Marc Scott does next! House of Straw is a true psychological thriller that really hones in on the troubled minds of these women and I couldn’t put it down.

About the Book

Traumatised by the tragic death of her twin brother, Brianna falls into a state of deep depression, isolating herself from the world and all those that care about her. When a twist of fate reveals that she has a half-sister she finds a new purpose in her life and sets out to find her sibling, desperately hoping she can fill the void left in her world.

Poppy has not enjoyed the same privileged lifestyle as her sister while growing up. Abandoned into the care system at the age of eight, she has encountered both physical and sexual abuse for most of her life. Passing through the hands of more care homes and foster families than she can remember, the damaged product of a broken upbringing, Poppy has never found a place to feel truly safe. Kicking back at society, she turns to drug abuse and acts of extreme violence to escape from reality.

When the two siblings are finally united, they discover that they have much more in common than their DNA. Their paths are shrouded with sinister secrets of betrayal and regret and both girls share a deep-rooted hatred for one of their parents. As the dark truths of their lives are unveiled they realise that nothing can ever be the same again…  

audiobooks · book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Far from the Tree by Rob Parker (Audiobook Review)

Hello everyone! It’s another day in the middle of a pandemic, so I’m bringing you a slice of escape with a review of Rob Parker‘s latest offering, Far From The Tree, an Audible exclusive, as part of a blog tour. I got to hear the book for free before it’s release. There are two more installments to follow this one, which I am thrilled to hear. You may recognise Rob Parker’s name as he has been featured here several times previously. You can check out the tag to find my posts on some of his other works, but for now, let’s get in to Far From The Tree!

About the Book

Brendan Foley has worked to balance the responsibilities of a demanding job and a troublesome family. He’s managed to keep these two worlds separate, until the discovery of a mass grave sends them into a headlong collision. When one of the dead turns out to be a familiar face, he’s taken off the case. 

Iona Madison keeps everything under control. She works hard as a detective sergeant and trains harder as a boxer. But when her superior, DI Foley, is removed from the case, her certainties are tested like never before. 

With stories of the Warrington 27 plastered over the news, they set out to solve the crime before anyone else. The local constabulary is small and under-funded – Brendan knows they can’t crack this case alone, and he’s not letting a rival force take over. Not with the secrets he fears are lurking. Their investigations lead them into the murky underworlds of Manchester and Liverpool, where one more murder means little to drug-dealing gangs, desperate to control their power bases. 

But as Madison steps into the ring for the fight of her life, the criminals come to them. It’s no coincidence that the corpses have been buried in Foley’s hometown. The question is, why? Foley might not like the answer…. 

Introducing a gripping new crime thriller, perfect for fans of Clare Mackintosh, Ian Rankin and Line of Duty.

Far From The Tree is the latest offering from Rob Parker, an audible exclusive, performed by Warren Brown. I’ve not listened to a lot of audiobooks, and this is the first time that I’m reviewing one on my blog. I’m delighted that my first is one by Rob. I had really high expectations for it, and it didn’t let me down.

The thing about audiobooks is that it isn’t just the story itself, but it’s the performance as a whole. If the voice actor is rubbish, it doesn’t let the book shine. I’m happy to say that Warren Brown did an excellent job, his voice really suited the content and it was really easy for me to get in to as his performance really lured me in to the story.

A small bit about the book. Far From The Tree is set in Warrington. It opens up with a group committing theft, right off the bat. I wondered where this was going… it becomes an important point later on. Roll on the next day and Brendan Foley is called to a case, what essentially is a mass grave has been discovered, by chance, in what would become a notorious case. That sure had me sit up a little straighter. What was all this about?

They started to work through the bodies and Foley was absolutely shocked to see a familiar face. Someone he cared about deeply and someone who didn’t fit the trend of the grave. With such a personal note, they wanted to pull Foley from the case, however, he made a strong case and they allowed him to stay on… for a while. Eventually they pulled him off the case but he continued to work on it with his colleague.

The book is punchy, quickly paced and tense throughout. I didn’t realise how long I’d been listening to it when my partner pulled my attention away. I’d tuned the world out and was wholly inside this dark, dramatic and gritty tale. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have aphantasia, I can’t really visualise things, though I’ve been doing things people suggest may help – anyway – there was plenty of description to get a good idea of the exact atmosphere that Rob was building, the grounds for this thrilling and intense, hard-boiled mystery with a fascinating cast of believable characters.

On numerous occasions, this book managed to surprise me. I don’t want to post spoilers, so I wont, but the ending of the book was.. *chef kiss* .. I loved it. The pace picked up along with the intensity. I found myself almost forgetting to breathe. I can’t wait for the next installment. What’s the equivalent of being unable to put a paperback down. I couldn’t stop listening? It doesn’t seem weighty enough. I was enthralled for the entire book, but the ending… Ooof. Damn. I loved this audiobook, and hopefully you will too. There’s a reason it very quickly shot up to best-seller status. I’d love to see it as a TV show!

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten (Review)

Hello! I hope you are all keeping safe and well. Today, I’m pleased to be closing off the blog tour for Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten – Out now in both Paperback and Kindle formats! You can pick it up for 99p for a limited time!

Dead Wrong is the second book in the Maggie Jamieson series from Noelle Holten. I read the first book (Dead Inside) previously, but this reads just fine without the knowledge from the previous book – however, I’d recommend picking it up anyway because the extra character context is always nice.

First of all, this book is set in my town, so that instantly won points with me. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have trouble imagining things, so having known the location, it really helped me get in to the book. Some locales are fictionalised, though I’m pretty sure I know where they’re supposed to be.

Maggie has returned to Stafford and is on quite a tricky case. Years prior, she had caught a serial killer, only, the victims are only now turning up. Had she put the wrong person behind bars?

Dead Wrong has a really enjoyable cast of characters that feel real and believable. Being with Maggie on a ride-a-long to get to the bottom if this case was incredibly enjoyable. There is mounting tension throughout and plenty of curiosity. A seed is planted – a thread of something else going on which has only served to make me anticipate the next book which I believe is coming out in October!

I read this book cover to cover. Honestly. I cared so much about the characters, especially Maggie (of course) but also Kate and Nathan – part of the cast that feature quite prominently throughout. The tension and suspense was mounting and the pages left in the book were dwindling, I never guessed the true conclusion (would that make me a terrible detective?!) though there was one thing I guessed correctly. I can’t really elaborate without a major spoiler!

Trust me, this is one to read if you want a thrilling crime-fiction book, with a strong female protagonist, that you can’t put down!

About the Book

The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…
 
They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…
 
But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.
 
Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl (Review)

Happy humpday! Today, I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl (Translated by Don Bartlett). It’s a Nordic Noir so I couldn’t say no, could I! I was gifted a copy of the book for review purposes.

About the Book

Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death.

Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…

A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation.

Review

Sister is the 8th book in the Oslo Detective series. This book was my first introduction to the series and reads perfectly well as a stand alone. It’s translated from Norwegian but reads perfectly well, you’d never guess it wasn’t in it’s native language. Very little gives it away as a translated version.

The characters are brilliantly written and it doesn’t seem to matter at all that I don’t have the previous books for extra context to their characters; though I’m sure I’d benefit from reading those too. The protagonist is excellent, with a lot of depth. He’s not just a straight up good guy, he has his demons, his own battles and this makes him a superbly interesting character.

Frank Frølich is working as private investigator. While away doing some work for a retailer who believes a staff member is skimming off the inventory, he decides to pop in to a quiet cafe and strikes up a conversation with the working staff member, Mathilde. They end up taking a liking to each other and begin a relationship. A short while after dating, Mathilde mentions she has a friend who’s seeking a PI. Unsure about how likely he is to be paid by the job, Frank agrees to at least talk to her friend Guri.

Guri explains that she is trying to assist an asylum seeker who came to Norway a few years after her sister. The young woman is now facing deportation and can’t seem to find her sister anywhere. She claims that returning to home country will likely result in her death. Frølich agrees to help and finds the sister pretty quickly, but things aren’t quite as they seem. An author visits him, questioning why Frank is investigating. Shortly after, the author turns up dead.

It doesn’t take long for Frank to find the woman. Supposedly, she doesn’t even have a sister. During the course of his investigation, he’s warned off the case and several people turn up dead and now he is under suspicion too. This only serves to egg him on to discover what is actually going on, stepping in to the dark truths about illegal immigrants in Norway. There are a whole lot of red flags and things that just aren’t quite right.

Incredibly well written, well paced and pretty darn intense, Sister really gets you hooked. Just as soon as you think maybe you know what’s going on.. BAM! Curveball! I hate to use the trope “twists and turns” but it really does. So much comes under examination and if you blink, you’ll miss it. You really have to pay attention to this one. There is a lot going on. I felt like I was part of the investigation and had to figure out this case alongside Frank Frølich. Excellent for those who like to do their own share of the sleuthing while they’re reading!

book reviews · Bookish

The Bloodline Will by A.B Morgan (Review)

Hey guys! I hope you all had a wonderful bank holiday weekend! Today I’m on the tour for The Bloodline Will by A.B Morgan. It’s out now in both Paperback and Kindle formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

The Bloodline Will is the second book in the Second Chance Investigations series. I didn’t read the previous one, and while doing so would have provided a little more context for the situation in the start of the book – the main character being in psychiatric care, it reads perfectly fine as a standalone. I’d like to go back and read the first one now though.

Ella Fitzwilliam is in a facility, rather than prison after having her life blown up by Konrad Neale; a journalist who exploited her for his own career. He goes to visit her in the facility to apologise but also see’s Abigail Nithercott – the wife of a well known businessman, wealthy and usually kept out of the public eye. Konrad is obsessed with the family, convinced they’re hiding something and wants to unveil it. In that moment, he decides to once again, use Ella to achieve his goal.

The doctor overseeing Ella’s care doesn’t seem very professional nor does she treat her patients very well. It turns out, Konrad’s wife, Lorna, has decided she wants to help Ella and her case (Ella doesn’t want to be held indefinitely, she would rather go to prison and do her time) and in a way, make amends for what Konrad did to her. After hearing about Dr Yellnow, they uncover that her doctor is not who she says she is and it really changes the tide of things. Because of all of that, Ella is able to be released. The details aren’t really gone in to, but I don’t think they need to. However, the incident isn’t really revisited and I kind of wish it was. I want to know what happened with that doctor and the other patients that are mentioned early on in the book.

The pace is comfortable and steady and I find myself really taking a liking to Ella and the people she ends up surrounding herself with. Konrad seems like a terrible person at first, but I think morality catches up to him a little. It’s a really nice cast of characters, especially Mal; Ella’s new PI partner. I found myself drawn in, also fascinated to find out what the deal was with Abigail Nithercott. Did she actually have problems or was she putting it on? Or both? What was the big family secret? I got reeled in as more details came to light, including somethings I didn’t expect. One thing I knew of for sure though – I do not like the Nithercotts.

The pace picks up late in the book as several characters go to attend a pre-opening session of a new local venture. It turns out to be packed with drama and the truth is revealed. The Nithercotts big secret.

I really enjoyed this book, it was interesting and exciting. I always hesitate a little when I see that mental health patients will be depicted, but I trusted in the authors background (a former mental health nurse) and she didn’t disappoint. I was so pleased that Ella wasn’t depicted as a “crazy person” or that people with her diagnosis are unstable and dangerous. I feel a point was made that with the right treatment and medication, Ella could live a normal life, she just needed a chance and the right help and I feel this is very important. So often are mental health patients depicted as if manic episodes are the norm for everyone, it made me really happy that this wasn’t the case. There was a huge contrast between Ella and Abigail and quite a point about how Abigail did NOT get the help she should have, but nor did she seem to want it. I thought it was quite insightful. Waffling on a little here, I know, but I feel it was something worthy of acknowledging and noting.

Overall, I would indeed recommend this book, I’d also suggest reading the previous installment first to give that extra context to this book. I found this review a challenge to write without including spoilers because there’s a surprising amount of drama in this book and that really kept me interested.

About the Book

He made a mistake, and for the sake of his future career, investigative reporter Konrad Neale must apologise in person to Ella Fitzwilliam.

Detained under section in a secure forensic unit, she doesn’t foresee a bright future. And she despises Konrad for exploiting her and exaggerating the truth about what she really did.

All in the name of journalism

However, when he spots famous recluse Abigail Nithercott in the same facility, he cannot resist the chance to scoop the next big story.

But must use Ella to uncover the dark Nithercott family secret.

Blood. Thicker than water, it spills…

Some family trees have to die.

book reviews · Bookish

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb (Review)

Greetings! Today I am chuffed to be on the Orenda tour for Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb. Orenda just have so many awesome releases recently! This one is available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook formats. I was sent a copy for free for review purposes. Be sure to check out the other tour stops!

Deep Dark Night is the fourth installment in the award winning Lori Anderson series. I haven’t read the previous installments, but this reads perfectly fine as a standalone.

Lori is a single mother and bounty hunter, working for the FBI with her partner, JT. Specifically, an Agent Monroe, an absolute git of a bloke who really left a bad taste in my mouth. He’s a really well-written and unlikable character, especially compared to Lori, our protagonist, whose pretty awesome and relateably human. Her and JT have an excellent dynamic and you can’t help but cheer for the pair of them, both in their work and personal lives.

The book starts off as a fairly slow burn, luring you in as Lori prepares for a high stakes poker game in a penthouse at one of the cities tallest buildings; against a mob boss named Cabressa in a bid to entrap him for the FBI, using a very high valued chess set to lure him.

Things seem worrisome as Lori doesn’t seem to excel at poker, however, she walks in like she owns the place and seems to put on a convincing act. Things seem to go to plan until something entirely unexpected occurs. The entire city is plunged in to darkness, the penthouses panic room system is triggered and Lori, JT and the other players are locked inside. It turns out, they’re being held hostage by a voice over the speaker system. But who is it, and what’s their true agenda?

It turns out, none of the players are who they say they are, except for maybe Cabressa. They’re instructed to find out which one of them is Heron – someone who seems to be muscling in on Cabressa’s turf. The person over the speaker seems to already know, so why does he want them to find it out? The drama ramps up at a steady pace while the players and the reader, try to figure out what on earth is going on, while slowly, they get picked off and “Heron” is no closer to being found.

Perfectly balanced suspense, drama and action, Deep Dark Night is a tense ride with a perfect female protaganist whom I found myself really hoping came out on top of the whole situation. Realistic and relatable as opposed to some superhero that defies mortal limits; Lori Anderson is a believable and interesting character.

Far more complex than anticipated, this book really kept me on my toes and I couldn’t deduce the outcome until nearer it being revealed which was awesome. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

About the Book

A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

About the Author

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts.
My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.
Follow Steph on Twitter @CrimeThrillGirl and on Facebook facebook.com/CrimeThrillerGirl or visit her website: crimerthrillergirl.com

book reviews · Bookish

Finding Milly by Nathan Burrows (Review)

Happy Weekend! Today I am on the BOTBS tour for Finding Milly by Nathan Burrows. It’s out now in both Paperback and Kindle Formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited. I received a copy for my participation in the tour.

About the Book

Jimmy Tucker is dying. There’s only one person he wants to tell. His daughter—Milly. But when he gets home from the hospital, she’s vanished without a trace.

The inoperable brain aneurysm deep within Jimmy’s head could burst at any time—a cough, a sneeze, or a blow to the head could kill him instantly. With the police not interested in Milly’s disappearance, Jimmy takes things into his own hands and begins to look for his only daughter. But it doesn’t take him long to realise that his daughter is not the woman he thinks she is.

As he gradually discovers Milly’s shocking private life, Jimmy enlists the help of Gareth Dawson, an ex-crook with a big heart. But Gareth can only help Jimmy up to a point.

As the pressure mounts, can Jimmy uncover the truth about Milly’s disappearance before it’s too late—for either of them?

Finding Milly hooks you right off that bat. Jimmy Tucker has an appointment at the hospital, only to learn that the cause of his recent headaches are an untreatable anyeurism and he doesn’t have long left. He wants to tell his daughter Milly, but she isn’t about when he gets home – not unusual, but she doesn’t turn up later either. His wife, Milly’s mother, passed away ten years prior. Milly is all he has left and his love for her is prevalent throughout the book. So where is Milly?

Jimmy uncovers some strange things about his daughter. He’s reported her missing to the police, but he’s not one to just sit and wait for them to do their thing. With the help of some other people, he gets to the bottom of things, racing against his remaining time on the ticking time bomb in his head.

This book is a kind of a slow burn but very steadily paced and you’ll have read half of it before you even realise. Well written, Finding Milly really draws you in with it’s well balanced plot and immersive locale. It has a constant level of tension and excellent character development and dynamic between them. Really fantastic read.

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Till Morning is Nigh by Rob Parker (Review)

Bracken is back on a whole new adventure! I’m so pleased to be on the blog tour for “Till Morning Is Nigh” by Rob Parker, the latest Ben Bracken Thriller. Following The Penny Black, Bracken is set to get himself into a whole heap of trouble… again. Read on for my thoughts! Till Morning is Nigh is available now in eBook and Paperback formats and is available on Kindle Unlimited.

It’s no secret that Bracken is one of my favourite protagonists to date. He’s not your typical “hero” and he’s plenty flawed. In Rob Parker’s latest offering, Bracken has a chance at a whole new life. More.. legally this time, though all still very questionable. He’s not hiding off-the-grid. He’s been given a chance. He’s got a family now and a new job consulting with the NCA.

He’s now part of a team, something different to what we’re used to from this lone wolf. However, will he play the part or will he go off and do what he wants? Does his new family effect his decisions? He has a newborn son with his partner, Carolyn, whom already has two children from her previous relationship. That’s a whole interesting story there, but it’s a spoiler for previous books, so if you’ve not read them, I’d recommend you do. 😉 It’s noticeably softened Bracken but you’ll have to find out for yourself what it means for his adventure.

A race against time with a topical, political theme, Till Morning Is Nigh is unsettling and tense throughout as Bracken goes above and beyond – as per usual, gets himself to a whole heap of trouble – as usual and puts himself firmly amongst the grey.

A little slower of a pace than his other books, this is an excellent thriller with well-built tension that had me genuinely unable to put it down – I wasn’t kidding when I say it’s unsettling and tense. While a work of fiction, the topical theme hits close to home with the current political tensions and the threats of extremism and only led to a more immersive read. I had to follow it through to the end for my own sanity. The ending didn’t fully sit with me, some of the action elements didn’t feel totally believable but I put it down to adrenaline and went with it, I’m totally fine with that, that’s literally my only criticism and it’s barely a criticism. I really enjoyed the book as a whole and I can’t get enough of Bracken. So I am pleased to say this is yet another excellent offering from Rob Parker.

About the Book

Dragged half dead from a river, Ben Bracken, fugitive ex-soldier, is in a bad way.

But, too valuable to discard and too dangerous to set free, an old friend offers him a choice: abandon his identity and become a desk-bound advisor to the National Crime Agency, or go back to the prison he broke out of – a place where he is extremely unpopular.

Bracken is forced to accept – and he’s becoming a different man.

But all this changes when, days before Christmas, an undercover narcotics officer is murdered in horrific circumstances, and only Bracken has the inside track on the key suspect. Throwing himself into the fray, Bracken finds himself in a very present-day ideological conflict, uncovering a plot which has huge implications for both Manchester’s political, socio-economic landscape, and the nation at large – coming to an explosive conclusion amidst the twinkling fairy lights and frost-tipped boughs of Christmas Eve…