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

Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch (Review)

Today I am on the tour for Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch and bringing you a review. The book is available now on Kindle. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Nova has upped and left her husband, fleeing domestic violence, with her daughter Lily in tow. She moves to the middle of nowhere but is still anxious he will find her and Lily. When she wakes up and goes to check on her daughter one morning, it appears that may be exactly what had happened. Lily is gone. Naturally, she calls the police in hysterics.

Officer Ellie James is on the case upon investigating, it appears that Lily doesn’t even exist and Nova is the one with the criminal record, but to officer James, things don’t feel right and she’s determined to get to the truth. However, her job is made more difficult by uncooperative work colleagues who seem generally incompetent, but are also prejudiced against Ellie for a previous incident.

Clara is Nova’s new neighbour and landlady. She lives on a farm and owns the land and the building that Nova is renting. Things aren’t all they seem on the farm, and Clara is clearly hiding something.

Without a Trace is a fast-paced, psychological thriller which had me glued to its pages. The drama didn’t let up, and just when I thought I knew what was going on, the author would throw a curveball. I hate to use the common “twists and turns” trope but this book was it. So many twists. The outcome was not what I was expecting at all. I really really enjoyed this book. The only thing was the ending felt a little rushed and I found it a little unsatisfying, though I was pleased to get to the end of the case and find out the truth! This book really build up the tension and I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed it.

About the Book

Lily’s gone.
Someone took her.
Unless she was she never there…

A little girl has gone missing.

Lily was last seen being tucked into bed by her adoring mother, Nova. But the next morning, the bed is empty except for a creepy toy rabbit.

Has Nova’s abusive ex stolen his “little bunny” back for good?

At first, Officer Ellie James assumes this is a clear custody battle. Until she discovers that there are no pictures of the girl and her drawers are full of unused toys and brand new clothes that have never been worn…

Is Ellie searching for a missing child who doesn’t actually exist?

About the Author

Carissa Ann Lynch is a USA Today bestselling author. She resides in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with her husband, children, and collection of books. She’s always loved to read and never considered herself a “writer” until a few years ago when she couldn’t find a book to read and decided to try writing her own story. With a background in psychology, she’s always been a little obsessed with the darker areas of the mind and social problems.

book reviews · Bookish

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald (Review)

Happy Tuesday! Today I am on the tour for Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald, available from the 16th May in Paperback, Kindle and Audio-book editions. I received this book for free as part of the tour. More info after the jump. Please check out the other tour stops too!

Mary Shields is a menopausal, alcoholic, probation officer, who’s tired, fed up and ready to pack it in. She’s got a foul mouth and a bad attitude, but an obligation to help people due to her job. It appears Mary is not a bad person, but she does have a whole bunch of problems which results in things becoming chaotic to the detriment of those under her care/supervision.

The book doesn’t focus on Mary’s alcoholism, and this isn’t made super crystal clear during the book, in my opinion, but the presence of alcohol is firmly there and Mary clearly has quite a relationship with it. There’s no obvious sneaky flask, or vodka in water bottles, it’s more nuanced than that. I quite appreciated that. Many people have issues but they’re not always glaringly obvious or displayed in the usual means.

Mary has a tricky new charge to deal with – Liam Macdowall; murderer of his wife, author of the book “Cuck”, filled with letters to his dead wife and now hailed a hero and poster boy for mens rights activists with an ego far too large for his former prison cell.

Mary has a son, and he seems far more level headed than her. Macdowall has a daughter named Holly. The two of them become friends and Mary is really unhappy about the situation, but it appears the pair of them have far better wits about them than their parents do. Liam is bad at following the rules of his life license. Mary is bad at managing Liam. Perhaps things would be different if she wasn’t so self absorbed.

Worst Case Scenario is pretty funny, tense at times and a whirlwind of chaos. Mary just seems to break things more and more. I really enjoyed her character despite her serious issues. I was looking forward to seeing where her smart-mouth would land her! I’m honestly unsure how I feel about the ending though. I wanted more. What next? But not all books have happy endings and everything wrapped up neatly in a bow. This book is one of them. You – the reader, can come up with your own theories and ideas about what happens next. I feel like this book would be a good book-club read as there are many points for readers to discuss. Overall, I quite enjoyed this book. Mary and her dark humour were quite entertaining!

About the Book

Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line. Liam Macdowall was imprisoned for murdering his wife, and he’s published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that makes him an unlikely hero – and a poster boy for Men’s Rights activists.

Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences.

A heart-pounding, relentless and chilling psychological thriller, rich with deliciously dark and unapologetic humour, Worst Case Scenario is also a perceptive, tragic and hugely relevant book by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.

About the Author

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of Dead Lovely (2007) and nine other adult and young adult thrillers, including My Last Confession (2009), The Donor (2011) and most recently The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Helen has worked as a criminal justice social worker for over ten years. She is one of thirteen children and grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband and two children.

book reviews · Bookish

The Judas Tree by Susan Bacoyanis (Review)

The Judas Tree is the second book in the linked series by Susan Bacoyanis, available now, published by Endeavour Media. It is a short read [185 pages] suited for anyone who is a fan women’s psychological thrillers. It’s available both in Paperback and Kindle formats and is available on Kindle Unlimited. If you’ve not tried Kindle Unlimited before, you can get a free, 30 day trial here!

Mary, a 46-year-old divorcee, is a damaged woman who endured many years of abuse and buried it, never dealing with her issues or her feelings surrounding what she went through. She is convinced that she does what is best for the greater good and that her actions are justified.

Having been left for a younger woman, she moves to England. Beginning an affair with her new neighbour across the road, Jonas, she is now the “other woman,” in a relationship with a married man. A man who is nasty, taunting her with the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, quite contrary” and already a clearly unfaithful man, he goes on to betray her too. Watching out of her windows, she sees that Jonas has other regular female visitors and is cheating on her, so she sets out for revenge in this dark, psychological thriller.

The history of Mary Tudor is woven through the book and the author explores abuse throughout; some of the acts are taken from real life events in an attempt to generate awareness.

There are so many twists and turns, this book is a wild ride and will grip you from start to finish as you witness Mary’s crusade for revenge and how she deals with her “three blind mice.” Despite becoming a murderess, you can feel empathy for Mary and all she has endured and the series of events that led to her doing the things she did.

My only criticism is that some of the police procedural didn’t ring true, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all as this book is not focused around a police investigation.

Filled with twists and turns, The Judas Tree will have you hooked from start to finish.

Mary Webster’s reaction to her lover’s betrayal is off the chart…Mary seems like an ordinary 46-year-old divorcee, beginning a new life in rural England, but she has depths of pent-up pain, the result of 20 years of marital infidelities and abuse. All she needs is a trigger to unleash savage emotions.


When she becomes entangled with Jonas, a married man, Mary suddenly finds herself in the opposite role of the ‘other woman’. Jonas has a nasty streak, however, and taunts with the nursery rhyme ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary…’.


But when Mary uncovers Jonas’s web of seductive lies, betraying not only herself but his wife and several young village women, she plots her revenge and acts out the real meaning of the nursery rhyme…
As things go from bad to worse, Mary is driven over the edge of normality. Because Mary is not normal … she is damaged. Her only redeeming quality is her belief that she is acting for the greater good …

Susan Bacoyanis’s intriguing psychological thriller The Judas Tree is a chilling tale of multiple acts of betrayal and the consequences of greed. It has deep echoes of Penelope Mortimer’s angry woman classic of the Sixties, The Pumpkin Eater.

Bookish · Uncategorized

Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon (Spotlight)

Today I am on a blog tour for Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon, out now in both Kindle and audiobook editions. Dig Two Graves is the first part of a four part series of Keith’s Solomon Gray character and you can find the other books here.


About The Book

Was it suicide … or murder? Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray is driven to discover the truth. Whatever the personal cost.

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective’s son was, the son Gray has not seen since he went missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there – or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery. Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray’s number on the dead teenager’s mobile phone?

Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray’s old church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons and his son’s abduction. 

Crippled by loss Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption. But is the killer closer to home than he realised?

Set in the once grand town of Margate in the south of England, the now broken and depressed seaside resort becomes its own character in this dark police suspense thriller, perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

Dig Two Graves is the first in the Solomon Gray series. Pick it up now to discover whether Gray finds his son in this thrilling new crime series. 

Author Bio:  

Keith Nixon is a British born writer of crime and historical fiction novels. Originally, he trained as a chemist, but Keith is now in a senior sales role for a high-tech business. Keith currently lives with his family in the North West of England.

 Readers can connect with Keith on various social media platforms:

 Web: http://www.keithnixon.co.uk

Twitter: @knntom
Facebook: Keithnixonauthor
Blog: www.keithnixon.co.uk/blog


Bookish · Uncategorized

Favourite Character to Write (Guest Post)

Today, I am really pleased to be bringing you a guest post from fellow Staffordshire county…human JF Burgess, author of The Killer Shadow Thieves which is available now in both Paperback and Kindle formats; it’s also available on Kindle Unlimited. You can read his post and find out more below!



Favourite character to write.

That’s got to be the protagonist, 45-year-old widowed detective Tom Blake, whose wife and 10-year-old son was tragically killed in a fatal hit and run car crash ten years ago. Tom was driving at the time and his daughter Isabel was also in the car, both miraculously escaped the accident with minor cuts and bruises – but he still suffers from emotional flashbacks and neck pain from whiplash caused by the accident. They never caught the joyrider who killed his family but he vows to bring the perpetrator to justice once day.

He’s an intuitive, firm but fair detective who hates sitting hunched over a computer and loves the thrill of the chase and adrenaline rush you can only get from this type of job. A bit of a perfectionist, who thrives on the uncertainty of each new case and the thrill of the hunt, which brings out the dark side of his personality when good triumphs over evil?

He’s a great leader, but also quite vulnerable at times, which makes him very likeable and real. And like all good detectives, he has to fight tooth and nail for every bit of ground gained against the criminal underworld.
I really enjoyed developing his character and watching him grow. I see a lot of myself in him which is only natural I suppose. Ultimately, I think readers will enjoy rooting for him whilst trying to work out who the murder really is?
Heather Eames at Book Jar Journeys reviews sums the reader character connection up when she says…
“The characters and their development throughout the novel are a definite highlight for me. As the story progressed, I was more drawn in and intrigued by what was going on. I also enjoyed (perhaps the wrong word) the family drama that was introduced and think that it made the characters more human, I was reading with my heart in my mouth when his daughter was kidnapped!”

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Blurb

Widowed detective DI Tom Blake sets off a chain of events that change his life forever, when the brutal murder of an alcoholic skinhead, and arrest of a vicious Turkish loan shark, unwittingly disrupts an international gang’s daring plans to steal the world-famous Staffordshire Hoard.

In a cruel twist of fate, Blake’s daughter is kidnapped and the trail propels the bereft detective on a personal quest to Miami to save her life. Operating outside the law, he enters into an illicit showdown with a mysterious artefacts Collector, almost costing him his life.

As the body count rises, Blake and his team struggle to unravel the conspiracy of a shadowy killer who leaves no trace. With only circumstantial evidence against each of the suspects, they hit a wall, until twenty-six-year-old photographs linking them to the murdered skinhead emerge. It seems the victim’s depraved past is the key to identifying the killer.

Can the police uncover the truth through all the lies and deception, and crack the case before someone else gets killed? And will they recover a legendary national treasure, worth millions, before it’s lost forever?

jfburgess

Author Bio

I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent and spent many years doing less than ideal jobs in and around the Potteries five towns, before finally taking the plunge and quitting work to follow my creative side. As a keen horse-racing fan, I started off in 2007 self-publishing betting how-to manuals.

This is my main business, but my real passion is for crime fiction, both reading and writing.

Inspired by authors such as Mel Sherratt, Peter James, Val McDermid, James Oswald, Kate Ellis, Martina Cole and Ian Rankin, and in need of a new challenge, I decided to try my hand at writing crime fiction.

After months of hard slog and sheer determination, I finished my first novel: The Killer Shadow Thieves. This is the first in a planned series of gritty crime fiction books set in Stoke on Trent, involving charismatic DI Tom Blake and his larger-than-life sidekick DS Jon Murphy.

The follow up, The Deadly Legacy, is a cult serial killer thriller, with a 200-year-old secret at the heart of a plot full of unexpected twists, which push the relationships of a rich pottery family into life-threatening conflicts.

I write tense, gripping, crime fiction mysteries with a twist – or urban crossbreed, as I call it. My thrillers take you deep inside the criminal mind.

I live with my wife and family in Stoke-on-Trent, England. You can find out more about me at www.jfburgess.co.uk, or on Twitter at @burgess1012.