Wednesday, 11 September 2019

BLOG TOUR: Endgame (Detective William Fawkes #3) - Daniel Cole


A locked room. A dead body. A secret that went to the grave.

When retired police officer Finlay Shaw is found dead in a locked room, everyone thinks it's suicide. But disgraced detective William 'Wolf' Fawkes isn't so sure.

Together with his former partner Detective Emily Baxter and private detective Edmunds, Wolf's team begin to dig into Shaw's early days on the beat. Was Shaw as innocent as he seemed? Or is there more to his past than he'd ever let on?

But not everyone wants Wolf back - and as his investigation draws him ever deeper into police corruption, it will not only be his career on the line - but the lives of those he holds closest as well...


What did I think?

Oh I can't even begin to tell you how much I've been looking forward to this book and I'm delighted to say that it did not disappoint.  Endgame is the third in the Detective William Fawkes (Wolf) series, following on from Ragdoll and Hangman.  I don't know how Daniel Cole does it but each book seems do outdo the previous one, despite them all being brilliant in their own right.  

Endgame grips the reader by the throat right from the start with a double whammy: an apparent suicide and the arrest of Wolf.  Wolf is convinced his old mentor, Finlay, wouldn't have killed himself and he does a deal with the police commissioner, who happens to be Finlay's old friend Christian, to allow him to investigate what everyone thinks is an open and shut case.  Bringing the gang back together, Wolf teams up with old pals Baxter and Edmunds and what a trio they make.  The sexual tension between Wolf and Baxter is palpable, reminiscent of Ross and Rachel in a will they/won't they scenario.  To complete the Friends analogy, I really like Edmunds who is a bit of a Monica in his dogged determination and organisation skills. 

As Wolf investigates Finlay's death, he takes a closer look at Finlay's life.  Roll back to 1979 with Finlay and Christian hailed as heroes in a drugs bust, but not everything is as it seems.  Buried secrets don't stay buried for long, especially not when Wolf is on the case.  It's like a game of chess and just when one player thinks they are about to call checkmate, the game is turned on its head.  I loved all these twists and turns that kept my heart racing in my chest and my eyes racing down the page.

I think you could possibly read Endgame as a standalone but I really would recommend you read Ragdoll and Hangman first as it does have links to the previous books; so anyone picking up Endgame as their first Daniel Cole book will undoubtedly want to read the previous two books right away to see the full picture.  The whole series is amazing, but Endgame is the cherry on top.  

Daniel Cole writes so vividly and energetically that his words seem to fizzle and crackle on the page; it's so visual that I really wouldn't be surprised to see this series on tv in the future.  Endgame is a blistering conclusion to the Ragdoll trilogy but I'm hoping it's not the last we've seen of Wolf and Baxter.  As gripping as a vice, Endgame is an electrifying heart-in-your-mouth thriller; it has more thrills and stomach clenching moments than a rollercoaster and a waltzer merged together.  Absolutely superb and definitely unmissable!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon



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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

BLOG BLITZ: Bloodline - Pamela Murray


When a young boy discovers a man’s body lying in a doorway, DI Burton and DS Fielding are called to the scene.

Believing the man was homeless, the police are shocked to discover the true identity of the victim; a Detective Constable from London who was working undercover.

But when the DNA from the victim is linked to a cold case Burton and Fielding find themselves looking into another unsolved murder.

And as the case unfolds, the detectives are faced with unpicking through a web of lies and deceit. But can they solve the murders before any more blood is spilt?  


What did I think?

I came across Pamela Murray as she is a local North East author and although I haven't yet read her debut, Murderland, I was eager to read the second book in the Burton and Fielding series, Bloodline.  So it is without any doubt that I can say that Bloodline can be read as a standalone as I found it gripping, intriguing and a mighty-fine page turner.  It has definitely made me want to read Murderland as soon as possible to get to know Burton and Fielding a little better; there's definitely a lot more to come from this pair.

The prologue is an amazing double ended hook, set in 1986 with a murder and present day with a man spying on his girlfriend as she meets with another man.  How these stories weave together and become clear later on is simply brilliant, but these threads are left tantalisingly dangling when the body of an undercover cop is discovered.  Then there's a double whammy of tasty storyline as the undercover case is picked up and the victim's DNA brings up a match in the database linking him to a cold case.

I loved the DNA storyline, both the links to the victims and the DNA kits that you see for sale these days.  I must admit, I am slightly sceptical as to what their purpose is as it seems an easy (and sneaky) way to collect and record DNA of unsuspecting people rather than just give them clues as to their ancestry.  I didn't realise that the DNA kits also match your results with others who have taken the test, although they do warn people in advance that they can discover illegitimacy, adoption or donor-conception.  It may seem like a bit of fun buying such a gift for the person who has everything but imagine the repercussions if they found out that their whole life was a lie.  I love books that have thought-provoking discussion points like this, so I have found myself thinking about this long after finishing Bloodline.

With strands of intrigue woven through the storyline like a double helix, Bloodline is a fast-paced gritty and compelling thriller.   You can't fail to be hooked by the amazing prologue and it's impossible to put the book down after that.  A highly recommended read from an outstanding local talent.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon



About the author:

Pamela Murray is from the North East of England, and has spent most of her life living in Boldon. She began writing at an early age when she and her school friend used to write stories for one another. The writing continued on and off over the years, but was only recently reignited when the same school friend introduced her to the local writers group she was in.

Pamela had intended to enter Journalism after leaving school but found herself going to work in a Public Library instead, and has always had more than a passing interest in books and literature.

When not writing, Pamela is passionate about Cinema and her three grandchildren. She has also appeared as a Supporting Artiste in two episodes of the hit TV crime series "Vera".





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Saturday, 7 September 2019

BLOG TOUR: A Shadow on the Lens - Sam Hurcom


The Postmaster looked over my shoulder. As I turned to look I saw a flicker of movement from across the street. I felt unseen eyes peer at me. 

He walked away without another word. I watched as he climbed onto his bicycle and sped away down the street. I turned back and looked over my shoulder. 

Someone had been watching us.

1904. Thomas Bexley, one of the first forensic photographers, is called to the sleepy and remote Welsh village of Dinas Powys, several miles down the coast from the thriving port of Cardiff. A young girl by the name of Betsan Tilny has been found murdered in the woodland - her body bound and horribly burnt. But the crime scene appears to have been staged, and worse still: the locals are reluctant to help.

As the strange case unfolds, Thomas senses a growing presence watching him, and try as he may, the villagers seem intent on keeping their secret. Then one night, in the grip of a fever, he develops the photographic plates from the crime scene in a makeshift darkroom in the cellar of his lodgings. There, he finds a face dimly visible in the photographs; a face hovering around the body of the dead girl - the face of Betsan Tilny.


What did I think?

I enjoy reading both historical fiction and crime thrillers so my interest was already piqued when I read the blurb of A Shadow on the Lens.  Then when I read that the book is set in the small Welsh village of Dinas Powys, which is where my maternal great great great grandfather was born in 1827, I just had to read it.  My ancestor had moved to the North East by 1904 (which is when this story is set), maybe leaving brothers and sisters in Dinas Powys, so I was very excited to read a book set in the village he left behind; although no Norris's featured in the story.

It took me a little while to get into the rhythm of the book but the murder of Betsan Tilny is so very intriguing that it keeps the pages turning nicely.  A forensic photographer is summoned to the village to investigate the crime and this was the first oddity to intrigue me - why a photographer and not a police inspector?  It soon becomes clear that the locals want Thomas Bexley to simply take his photos and leave their village without discovering who or what has committed the crime.  Everyone in the village appears to be hiding something so the sooner Thomas is gone the better.  

We take it for granted these days that we take a photo and see it instantly but there's something so very mystical and magical about developing photographs and back in 1904 (only a few years after the Kodak Brownie was introduced) photos were developed on plates in a dark room.  When Thomas develops his photographs he can't believe his eyes as the murder victim appears as a ghostly apparition.  When Thomas is suddenly struck down with a fever and his negatives disappear, he wonders if he imagined it all but he remembers clues from the photographs that he couldn't possibly have known about beforehand.  This puts him in more danger than he could ever have imagined.

I loved the spooky supernatural element to the story which really makes A Shadow on the Lens something different.  Encompassing so many genres means that it will appeal to crime, historical and fantasy readers, which is not something that many books can claim to do.  A Shadow on the Lens is a spooky, goosebumpy, gothic-style historical crime thriller and a fantastic debut from Sam Hurcom.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon




About the author:

Sam Hurcom was born in Dinas Powys, South Wales in 1991. He studied Philosophy at Cardiff University, attaining both an undergraduate and master's degree. He has since had several short stories published and has written and illustrated a number of children's books. Sam currently lives in the village he was raised in, close to the woodlands that have always inspired his writing.


A SHADOW ON THE LENS is Sam's debut novel.




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Friday, 6 September 2019

BLOG TOUR: A Litter of Bones (DCI Logan Crime Thrillers #1) - JD Kirk


Was the biggest case of his career the worst mistake he ever made?

Ten years ago, DCI Jack Logan stopped the serial child-killer dubbed 'Mister Whisper,' earning himself a commendation, a drinking problem, and a broken marriage in the process.

Now, he spends his days working in Glasgow's Major Investigations Team, and his nights reliving the horrors of what he saw.

And what he did.

When another child disappears a hundred miles north in the Highlands, Jack is sent to lead the investigation and bring the boy home.

But as similarities between the two cases grow, could it be that Jack caught the wrong man all those years ago?

And, if so, is the real Mister Whisper about to claim his fourth victim?

A Litter of Bones is the explosive debut crime thriller novel from JD Kirk, an exciting new voice in Scottish crime fiction. Perfect for fans of L.J. Ross, Ian Rankin, Chris Brookmyre, and Stuart Macbride.


What did I think?

The first thing that stood out for me when reading A Litter of Bones was the amazing first line; it gives us a hint of the dry humour that JD Kirk uses throughout the book to accompany the seriousness of a missing children storyline.  Without making light of a dire situation, I loved how JD Kirk injected some dry humour into his writing to fully flesh out his characters and keep the reader fully entertained.  Although we are reading crime, we don't necessarily need it to be constant violent deaths and grisly crime scenes, so with spending time on character development JD Kirk gets the balance perfectly right in his amazing crime debut.

JD Kirk has hit a gold mine with his DCI Jack Logan character; he's got Owen Petrie, a serial killer, incarcerated in Carstairs, the notorious psychiatric hospital outside of Glasgow, but Logan still has unfinished business with 'Mister Whisper'.  Logan is haunted by the abducted little boy whose body was never found and he refuses to let the case go cold.  When there are disturbing similarities to a new abduction, the police wonder whether there's a copycat or whether the wrong man has been caught.  Logan stands by his conviction and joins the taskforce in the hunt for the new missing boy, but he can't ignore the link to the previous abductions...how can this be happening again when the killer has already been caught?

I really loved this book; it's so intriguing and it had my brain whirring with so many questions and possibilities flying around my head.  How is Petrie doing this?  If not him, then who?  Has the right man been caught in the first place?  Is something supernatural going on?  Perhaps an ethereal Mister Whisper conjured by saying his name in the mirror 3 times?  It's so good when a book gets you thinking like that, it just shows how invested in the story you are, and I was 100% invested in this one.  I felt as if I was reading with my eyes open as wide as they could be sometimes, almost in a permanent state of surprise, so it really shouldn't have come as a surprise when I did actually gasp out loud in shock at one point (luckily I was reading alone, otherwise that would have taken some explaining).

Having been a long-time fan of Billy Connolly, I couldn't mistake the essence of Scotland running through the prose; from the jaggy bushes (remember Billy's jaggedy-arse wool?) to the bone drenching smirr of the Scottish rain.  I love these little homages to dialect that bring the book to life and make it memorable.  I found this book so entirely engrossing that I can't think of a single criticism of it; I loved the characters, the setting and the storyline and I'm really looking forward to reading more DCI Logan books.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon




About the author:

JD Kirk lives in the wilds of Scotland, where he spends his days making stuff up and writing it down. He lives with his wife, two children, one dog, and – if his daughter has anything to do with it – a cat in the very near future.

Having been writing in various genres for over a decade, JD turned his attention to crime fiction in May 2019, and hasn’t looked back. A Litter of Bones is his first crime novel, and the first of his hundred-plus books that his wife could bring herself to read.





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Wednesday, 4 September 2019

BLOG BLITZ: The Girl in White - John Nicholl


Harry Gilmore has no idea of the terrible danger he faces when he meets a beautiful girl in a local student bar. Drugged and abducted, Harry wakes up in a secure wooden compound deep in the Welsh countryside, where he is groomed by the leaders of a manipulative cult, run by the self-proclaimed new messiah, known as The Master.

When the true nature of the cult becomes apparent, Harry looks for any opportunity to escape. But as time passes he questions if the master’s extreme behaviour and teachings are the one true religion.

With Harry’s life hanging by a thread, a team of officers, led by Detective Inspector Laura Kesey, investigate his disappearance. But will they find him before it’s too late?


What did I think?

I've read quite a few of John Nicholl's books so I know you're always guaranteed a quality novel from him, which is exactly what you get with The Girl in White.  As with all John Nicholl's novels, The Girl in White is dark and creepy but it's slightly different in that it's not set in a domestic situation.  As always though, John Nicholl manages to make my skin crawl with his chilling storyline and mesmeric writing.

Although the police feature in this book, it's not DI Gravel this time but rather his replacement, Laura Kesey.  As much as I love the DI Gravel books, it's nice to have a change now and again and I'm looking forward to getting to know the new cop in town: DI Kesey.  Laura certainly has some big boots to fill but I really like her; she's determined and smart so I think she'll do very well.

I've always found cults very creepy and wondered how they manage to attract members when you hear so many horror stories.  I wouldn't be surprised to find that this story is very true to life as surely most sane, intelligent people don't become members of cults by their own free will.  University student, Harry, is drugged and abducted when he meets a young woman in a bar and wakes up in the compound of a cult.  Harry's story is also a good reminder about accepting drinks or leaving drinks unattended when you're out in bars as there are some psychotic people out there!  DI Kesey is on the case to find Harry but can she find him before his mind is lost to the cult?

It's quite a short book so its length and the compelling storyline make it easy to read in one sitting, which is what I did.   With the end of the book approaching, I couldn't read it fast enough but it did feel a tiny bit rushed towards the end, however, it was a very satisfying ending nonetheless and leads on nicely to another DI Kesey instalment.  

The Girl in White is another excellent book from John Nicholl; it has all the dark and creepy qualities I've come to expect from him to ensure my stomach clenched and my skin crawled but I couldn't tear my eyes from the page.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon



About the author:
John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written seven darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon #1 bestseller.

John’s books are set in the UK and have a strong Welsh flavour. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.

You can find out more about John and his books at: http://www.johnnicholl.com





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Tuesday, 3 September 2019

BLOG TOUR: In the Absence of Miracles - Michael J Malone


John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash.

And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence…


What did I think?

Michael J Malone has stolen my words; I was left utterly speechless after reading In the Absence of Miracles and know that this is a book I will remember (and recommend) for a long time to come.  It's difficult to put my thoughts in order to write a review that will even begin to do justice to how good this book is, but here goes.

I know from reading the magnificent A Suitable Lie that Michael J Malone knows how to shock and surprise and boy, did he make my jaw drop this time!  From the very first page, I felt completely immersed in Michael J Malone's hypnotic writing; it's somehow very calm and comforting until it punches you in the gut just when you least expect it.  A little bit how John Docherty must have felt when he discovered a photo of an older brother he has no memory of.  As John starts to unearth his buried memories he digs up a lot more skeletons than a missing brother.

There's so much going on in John's story that you literally can't put this book down.  John is such a complex character, from his relationship with Angela, that he seems intent on destroying, to his almost passive martyrdom that he is the brother saddled with visiting their mother in the nursing home.  John wants to find out what happened to his brother and his investigation discovers more teen boys going missing when the fairground is in town.  There's always something unnerving yet alluring about the fairground and I loved this aspect of the story.

Haunting, emotional, shocking and hypnotically captivating, In the Absence of Miracles is heartbreaking and moving; nobody writes domestic noir as emotively as Michael J Malone and I doubt anyone would be able to read this book devoid of emotion.  100% without doubt this is a very highly recommended read.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon



About the author:


Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.







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