Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill blog tour #IsThatYou @stet_that @noexitpress @annecater


Source: Review Copy


Winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Jean Mason has a doppelganger.

She’s never seen her, but others* swear they have.

*others | noun. A peculiar collection of drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers and vagrants – the regulars of Bellevue Square.

Jean lives in downtown Toronto with her husband and two kids. The proud owner of a thriving bookstore, she doesn’t rattle easily – not like she used to. But after two of her customers insist they’ve seen her double, Jean decides to investigate. Curiosity grows to obsession and soon Jean’s concerns shift from the identity of the woman, to her very own.

Funny, dark and surprising, Bellevue Square takes readers down the existentialist rabbit hole and asks the question: what happens when the sense you’ve made of things stops making sense?


Bellevue Square is one of the most unusual books I have read recently. Although I did enjoy the story, I did find that it did take me a little while to get into this one. The premise is strong and had me intrigued, but it just took me a little longer to be pulled into the plot. But once I got into the story I flew through it. If you’re after something that is a little different and will keep you thinking, this is a novel I would definitely recommend.

The lead character, Jean is informed that she has a doppelganger. A woman has been spotted who looks exactly like her. It then becomes Jean’s obsession to track the woman down. Jean was a character who grew on me and who I did find fascinating. Her quest to track down Ingrid, her lookalike pushes the plot forward. She begins to spend her time looking out for her in Bellevue Square. This is where the story really becomes interesting. As the story progresses, we meet several characters who pass through this square who Jean becomes acquainted with.

There are some really good scenes in this book where the pace keeps you flicking the pages although it does slow down at some parts in the middle. Some of my favourite scenes were when Jean is spending time with her family and these scenes really make her character feel human.

You do have to suspend the belief system a little bit as you’re reading this book but that was what made this novel particularly exciting. When I’m reading a psychological thriller I do have a tendency to be thinking about what potentially could be coming next and I sometimes manage to guess the twists. But with Bellevue Square I found this to be a completely different reading experience. I didn’t know what to expect next and I found the characters and the central idea to be utterly unique, compared to anything I have read before.

Overall I did find this book to be an enjoyable and an exciting read. I don’t think this is a story that will be quite for everyone but if you enjoy unusual stories and if you’re looking for something that is unique, then I would definitely suggest giving this book a try. You will find that you’ll get lost in Jean’s world as she tries to work out what is happening in her life and as she pursues her quest to hunt down the mysterious Ingrid.

Reading Bellevue Square has made me keen to read more from Michael Redhill; he is a fascinating writer who explores some intriguing ideas. I do keep wondering how he managed to come up with the idea for this story. Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to Katherine Sunderland at No Exit Press for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: No Exit Press

Publication date: 15th August 2018

Print length: 256 pages




@1stMondayCrime September Panel @claremackint0sh @VickyNewham @bethklewis @lucyatkins

First Monday Crime is back after a summer break and the next panel will be at the usual venue at City University, London on Monday 3rd September 2018. First Monday Crime really is the place to be if you’re a lover of crime fiction.

I think you will agree with me that there are some top authors attending next week’s panel and I can’t wait to hear them discuss their books and their writing. So let’s take a look at who will be appearing and I will have all the info about where you can reserve your free space at the end of this post.

Let Me Lie: The Number One Sunday Times Bestseller by [Mackintosh, Clare] Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh really doesn’t need any introduction in the thriller world. I still rave about her debut novel I Let You Go whenever I’m chatting to anyone about books. I don’t think a twist in a novel has shocked me as much since I read it back in 2015. How is that three years ago? Her latest novel is Let Me Lie you can read my full review by clicking HERE and here is a little bit about what you can expect from the book.

“In her latest novel, Let Me Lie, Clare weaves an intriguing tale centering on the suicide of a young woman’s parents and her quest to find out what really happened to them. She is determined to prove that there is more to her parent’s death than what meets the eye.”

Turn a Blind Eye: A gripping and tense crime thriller with a brand new detective for 2018 (DI Maya Rahman, Book 1) by [Newham, Vicky]  Vicky Newham

Vicky Newham’s first novel Turn A Blind Eye was released earlier this year and it is the start of what promises to be a thrilling new series. It follows DI Maya Rahman who is investigating the murder of a respected head teacher. The shocking murder has taken place at the school she attended when she was growing up in London’s East End. Cryptic clues left by the killer lead the police to believe that someone form the local Buddhist community is involved. To find out more about the book you can read my full review by clicking HERE and here is a little bit about what you can expect.

Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham is an intelligent and confident debut and DI Maya Rahman is a character who will keep crime fans coming back for more. Vicky has created a complex case for her lead character to get to grips with in her first novel. This book is perfect for fans of Sarah Hilary’s Marnie Rome series.”

Bitter Sun by [Lewis, Beth] Beth Lewis

Next up we have Beth Lewis. Beth Lewis’s second novel, Bitter Sun was released earlier in the year and it’s one I haven’t got round to reading yet but I am really excited about it. Isn’t the cover stunning? Every time I look at it it keeps taking me back to the recent heat wave.

The Night Visitor: The gripping psychological suspense of the Summer by [Atkins, Lucy] Lucy Atkins

And finally we have Lucy Atkins whose latest novel is The Night Visitor. This is another novel which has been on my TBR pile for far too long and I can’t wait to get round to finally reading it, it’s one that I have heard so many good things about.

The panel is being moderated by Rod Reynolds author of, The Dark Inside, Black Night Falling and Cold Desert Sky.

As I mentioned earlier, the event takes place at City University, London and it starts at 6.30 p.m. After the panel we’ll all be heading across the road to The Blacksmith and Toffeemaker for a drink. The nearest tube station is Angel and all you do is turn left out of the station and walk straight down St. John’s Street. You can reserve your free space by clicking the link below.


The Cold Cold Sea by Linda Huber blog tour @LindaHuber19 @LoveBooksGroup


Source: Review Copy


They stared at each other, and Maggie felt the tightness in her middle expand as it shifted, burning its way up… Painful sobs rose in her throat as Colin, his face expressionless now, reached for his mobile and tapped 999.

When three-year-old Olivia disappears from the beach, a happy family holiday comes to an abrupt end. Maggie is plunged into the darkest nightmare imaginable – what happened to her little girl?

Further along the coast, another mother is having problems too. Jennifer’s daughter Hailey is starting school, and it should be such a happy time, but the child is increasingly moody and silent. Family life has never seemed so awkward, and Jennifer struggles to maintain control.

The tide ebbs and flows, and summer dies, but there is no comfort for Maggie, alone now at the cottage, or for Jennifer, still swamped by doubts.

‘A psychologically astute, edge-of-the-seat story.’ Hilary Johnson

‘Unsettling and disturbing… I couldn’t put it down.’ Rebecca Muddiman

‘Breathtaking and utterly compelling.’ Debi Alper


Linda Huber takes the reader on an emotional journey in her latest novel. The Cold Cold Sea is the perfect title for this book. It is a haunting but gripping tale which examines every parent’s worst nightmare.

Olivia is three-years-old when she goes missing during an outing to the beach whilst she and her family are on holiday in Cornwall. A massive police investigation ensues but it seems increasingly likely that Olivia went into the sea and that her disappearance is the result of a tragic accident. This leaves her mother, Maggie in a desperate state of limbo as she has no idea if whether to hope for her daughter’s safe return, or the discovery of a body so they can finally have some closure.

This was a book that I couldn’t stop reading once I picked it up. Linda captures the panic of Olivia’s parents when the three-year-old disappears well. The pain that they both go through in the following days is heart-breaking and believable; you can see how this sort of tragedy can destroy families and break some people up. The opening prologue of the novel is chilling and very vivid. Nothing is clear about what is happening and this compelled me to read on.

In the aftermath of Olivia’s disappearance, Linda explores the effects that Olivia going missing has had on her family and it does make you think how other families going through this same situation cope behind the spotlight of the media when their world is falling apart. It is a slow burner but the story really pulls you into the pages and I continued to wonder if Maggie was ever going to be reunited with her daughter. Linda Huber did keep me in suspense as I wondered what the outcome for the family was going to be.

This is the first novel which I have read by Linda and I am eager to pick up her earlier work after reading her latest. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. There will be times when you’ll just want to shout at the characters and you’ll want to find out what the outcome for Olivia and her family will be. This book comes highly recommended from me. Thank you to Kelly at Loves Book Group for inviting me to take part in the tour and for providing me with a copy of the book to read.

Publisher: Amazon Media

Publication date:

Print length: 275 pages




The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft Book Review @elle_croft @orion_crime

The Guilty Wife: A thrilling psychological suspense with twists and turns that grip you to the very last page by [Croft, Elle]

Source: Purchased Copy


I’m guilty of many things.

Bethany Reston is happily married. But she’s also having an affair with a famous client.

And no one can ever know.

But I’m innocent of murder.

When Bethany’s lover is brutally murdered, she has to hide her grief from everyone.

But someone knows her secret. And then one day the threats begin.

With an ever-growing pile of evidence pointing to her as the murderer, the only way she can protect her secrets is to prove her innocence. And that means tracking down a killer.


With Elle Croft’s latest book, The Other Sister hitting the shelves next week, I thought it was high time that I got round to reading her first novel The Guilty Wife. I decided to listen to the audiobook, and whilst I was listening in the car en route to and from work, I didn’t want my journey to end; it’s not often that I find myself thinking that I would be quite happy to be stuck in traffic. Perhaps listening to audiobooks during my commute is the way to go in future. Elle Croft’s plot is so terrifying. I wanted to know what the outcome for her lead character, Bethany was going to be.

Bethany is a character who you will become invested in. At the beginning of the novel we learn that she is having an affair, so perhaps this doesn’t paint her in the best light, and I didn’t care very much about her because of this. But as the story takes a darker turn, my opinion towards her changed and I was completely on her side for the rest of the book.

I really felt frustration quite a few times as I was reading and this was down to Elle Croft’s brilliant characters who kept me gripped, there was a time when I actually shouted with anger when one revelation dropped. I was questioning the possible motives of every character in the book, and this was what made the novel so enjoyable. I wanted to work out the answers, I wanted to know why this was happening to Bethany and who could be behind the terrible events that were taking place. And Elle Croft delivered a satisfying but very chilling ending.

After reading her first novel, I’m now excited to read her next. The Guilty Wife is a taut and a very well plotted psychological thriller that has many secrets to keep the reader enthralled. I have absolutely no hesitation in giving it five stars.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 1st December 2017

Print length: 321 pages


The Edge of Sanity by Chris Thomas blog blitz @cthomasauthor1 @Bloodhoundbook

I’m delighted to be able to share with you a guest post by Chris Thomas, the author of The Edge of Sanity as part of the blog blitz. You can find out more about his path to publication in the post below, but first here’s what the book is about.

Chris Thomas - The Edge of Sanity_cover


In a derelict squat, the Smart Man watches as the new narcotic developed by his shadowy organisation wreaks havoc on it, unsuspecting victims. The drug is now ready for sale on their exclusive darknet marketplace.

Elsewhere, DCI Robert Smith, the retired head of the Cyber Crimes Unit, seeks out crime boss Curtis Slater at his remote farm. He offers to provide Slater with information in exchange for money. But what information is he offering?

Meanwhile, former detective Pete Harris had started a new life, away from the Cyber Crimes Unit, with his daughter and begins to rekindle his relationship with old colleague Grace Brooks.

With his life seemingly complete, Pete’s world comes crashing down as he is drawn into Slater’s game with fatal consequences. He must join forces with his old enemies in a race against time. But can Pete save his daughter and Grace from the clutches of Slater, the Smart Man, and the sinister ringmaster, the Professor?


To start with the inevitable cliché, everyone has a book in them.

Certainly, for the years that I had banged on at my wife about writing a book, I certainly believed this to be true. The problem was, I didn’t really like reading. Or rather, I did like reading, I just found it difficult to find the time to put to reading. When I did manage to sit down with a book, I would get three or four pages in and fall asleep, regardless of how exciting the story was. Reading just had that effect on me.

A few Google searches on ‘how many words is a novel’ or similar, made the task of sitting down and writing 80,000 words, especially when I could barely read 1,000 and maintain consciousness, even more daunting.

Eventually, my wife found me an evening course entitled ‘Kickstart your Creativity’. Whilst I would say that the course did very little to ‘kickstart’ any sort of creativity per se, what it did show me was two things.

Firstly, that I was able to put down words very quickly. The 1,000 word homework we were set each week would take little more than half an hour to write.

And secondly, that those 1,000 words usually turned into something that people actually enjoyed listening to in the lesson. One week’s homework even turned into a 7,000 word behemoth that people asked me finish and email to them so they could read the end.

So, in that respect, the course fulfilled its purpose. I still knew nothing of writing techniques, story structure, plot and character development but all of a sudden knew that the task of writing a novel was no longer the Herculean task it first appeared.

Then it appeared on television. The Richard & Judy Book Club Search for a New Bestseller competition. Unpublished authors could submit a three-chapter sample and synopsis, the field would be whittled down to ten who would then have six months to produce the finished novel before a single winner emerges victorious with a shiny publishing deal.

This was my competition. I was there, confident I could nail this at my very first attempt. I was just missing one vital ingredient. Any sort of story whatsoever.

I had always known that I wanted to write some sort of vigilante justice-based story. I watched news stories that, like most decent people who saw the same, made my blood boil. Murders, rapists, paedophiles escaping full and proper punishment. Rich celebrities avoiding buying their way out of trouble.

I happened to be watching a bunch of YouTube videos about this relatively unknown entity called “The Dark Web”. The more I watched, the more intriguing it became. There were some seriously messed up things down there, things which most people probably couldn’t even comprehend as even being possible to exist. It occurred to me that anything you could think of, no matter how disgusting, disturbing, vile or sinister, the chances are that someone had already done it and put it up on the Dark Web.

But it took a while for the penny to drop. I could have watched a YouTube video entitled “Why don’t you set your book on the Dark Web” in massive flashing letters and it still not click. Thankfully, it did.

Rather than follow the premise of most of the more questionable Dark Web content, i.e. nasty people doing nasty things to innocent, unwilling victims for the delectation of other nasty people I decided to change it around. Good, albeit of dubious morals, people doing nasty things to nasty, guilty unwilling victims for the delectation of other “good” people. Make it a shiny “Strictly Come Dancing” prime-time-style gameshow, throw in this crazy new currency called Bitcoin and hey-presto, The Red Room was born.

It got nowhere with the Richard & Judy competition obviously, but by now I was 30,000 words in and decided to finish it.

And finish it I did. I then went down the traditional route of submitting to literary agents. Most agency websites make it clear that you shouldn’t expect to receive an answer before about six weeks, if indeed you ever receive one at all. I sat at work one Friday afternoon, with all my submission emails open, each one with a different submission requirement depending on where it was going, before taking a deep breath and hitting send on the lot. A couple of hours later, when I got home, I could not believe my eyes when I already had a response from one of the larger agencies in which the lady basically said, “Thank you for sending. I love the concept of the Red Room and will read it as quickly as I can and be back to you shortly”.

Oh. My. God. That was it. The whole weekend, my mind raced. Book deal, massive advance, movie screenplay, Oscar winning adaption. In my head, I had basically just submitted the new Silence of the Lambs. Might even get Anthony Hopkins to play Alastair Goodfellow. Actually, maybe Hugh Jackman or Robert Downey Jr would be better.

Until the following Friday, when I got the standard-worded rejection email back.

That then prompted a rethink and I began investigating the myriad self-publishing platforms that were available. As one who tends to shy away from social media, the idea of having to self-publicise my work, which I wasn’t sure was even that good, seemed scary as hell. But, it seemed the best way to put my work ‘out there’.

After engaging a self-publishing company to design the cover, edit, proofread and typeset, The Red Room was finally released on 28th February 2017. I had support from friends and family who I had essentially pestered endlessly into buying a copy and the book even reached the heady heights of 7th in the Amazon subcategory of (for some reason) Books > Humour > Criminals & Lawyers.

Being print-on-demand, I was even able to print myself a hard-back copy of my book. Nothing more than a huge vanity trip, but it is a perfect memento of my foray into the world of self-publishing.

But, being a complete noob in the world of books, online book groups, book bloggers and so on, I was absolutely staggered at just how massive this world is. Blog tours. I mean, what the f**k is a blog tour? Once I realised how this strange new world worked, I realised that by trying to do it on my own I would simply drown without a trace.

I carried on submitting it, this time to smaller independent publishers before I finally received the amazing news that the utterly brilliant Bloodhound Books wanted to sign it.

A book deal. Someone who actually knows that the hell they are doing. A new cover, proper editing, publicity. Even one of those blog tour things. It was nothing if not ultra, mega-exciting.

‘The Red Room’ was changed to ‘Enter the Dark’ in order to avoid 50 Shades of Grey confusion and the rest, as they say, is history.

Apart from the second cover change to coincide with the next extra special event- signing the follow up ‘The Edge of Sanity’.

The writing and signing of The Edge of Sanity was a completely different beast. Enter the Dark took me approximately four months from start to finish (in and around my actual real-life job). No pressure, no expectations. It seemed to flow well and almost write itself. The Edge of Sanity was a slog.

Bizarrely, the concept came relatively easily. The news at the time was inundated with stories of designer drugs, ‘Zombie Spice’, ‘Krokodil’, comatose drug users stumbling around city centres. That would become the basis of The Edge of Sanity.

Despite this, it took me nearly nine months to finish. At one point, I went six weeks without adding any words whatsoever. Work was hard and stressful. By the time I did eventually finish, it felt as though I had crawled through a field of barbed wire.

But get there I did, and I was hugely grateful when Bloodhound agreed to sign and publish it. Someone else was going to edit it, someone else would design the cover, proofread it, publicise it. From an author point-of-view it was a far more enjoyable journey at the business end of the publishing route and will be very exciting to see the response once it is released.

The journey from talking the talk to actually walking the walk has been fairly epic and all the more satisfying knowing that many people only manage the first half. I’m still waiting for the lightbulb / sledgehammer-to-the-face moment that provides me with the concept to finish the trilogy, but would consider it an ‘unfinished work’ until I do. A stand-alone book may be the next project, something unrelated.

But whatever happens, I am hugely grateful to all the wonderful people at Bloodhound Books for making it happen. And even more grateful to all the people who have stumped up their hard-earned money to buy the book or taken the time to read it and review it. It all helps to make us better writers.


Thank you to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Chris for taking the time to write this fascinating post. If you would like to purchase a copy of The Edge of Sanity you can do so by clicking on the link below.



B L O G B L I T Z (2)


Do No Harm by L V Hay blog tour @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks @annecater

Do No Harm by [Hay, L V]

Source: Review Copy


Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.


I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as I was reading this book. L. V. Hay takes the reader on a whirlwind of a ride in her latest novel; there are so many twists and turns and the characters will really get under your skin. I was excited to read this book from the moment I saw the cover. I enjoyed her previous novel The Other Twin but in my opinion I think Do No Harm is even better.

From the start of the novel, L.V. Hay gets the intrigue going. Her two protagonists, Lily and Sebastian are tying the knot and Lily is looking forward to starting the rest of her life and forgetting about the troubles she has had with her ex-husband, Maxwell. But someone is watching the proceedings with a keen eye and you get the sense of dread that Lily and Sebastian’s marriage isn’t going to be plain sailing. Something bad is going to happen.

Do No Harm is highly addictive. I think it is a story that would make an excellent television drama. Lucy Hay has created some really disturbing characters in her latest book. I could never quite be sure who was telling the truth and when the final revelations came at the end, I was just sitting there with my eyes widening as I read the final words on the page. At the centre of everything that is going on in the plot are Lily and her son Denny. Denny, of course, is the innocent bystander, caught up in his parents failed marriage. The tension heightens between Lily and her ex Maxwell, particularly over Denny. I could understand Maxwell’s point of view at the beginning of the novel and how angry he must be feeling towards Sebastian, who is now Denny’s step-dad. But as the story moved forward I began to take a dislike to him and I felt for Lily who had to deal with this new situation. I wondered if her relationship with Sebastian was ever going to work because of this.

There were several occasions where I thought I knew where the plot was going but Lucy  turned the story on its head. As I got to the end I kept saying to myself in my head “no, no, no!” I couldn’t believe how things were changing for Lucy’s characters. You do become invested in their lives and I really cared about what was going to happen to Lily and Sebastian.

Do No Harm is an excellent, character driven psychological thriller that I highly recommend. Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 30th June 2018

Print length: 300 pages



The Girl I Used To Be by Mary Torjussen blog tour @MaryTorjussen @headlinepg

The Girl I Used to Be Cover

Source: Review Copy


How can you hide your mistakes when you don’t know what they are?

Gemma Brogan needs a break from her life.

A work event looks the ideal chance to get away. And a friendly new client seems like the perfect gentleman when he joins Gemma for an innocent dinner . . .

But the next morning she has no memory of how the night ended and he has vanished into thin air.

Suddenly, Gemma is plunged into a twisted nightmare she can’t control. To protect her future, and her family, she will have to confront shocking secrets from her past – and the truth about the girl she used to be.

Completely gripping and full of page-turning twists, this is the perfect psychological thriller for fans of Erin Kelly’s HE SAID SHE SAID and Laura Marshall’s FRIEND REQUEST.


Mary Torjussen knows how to write suspense. Her latest novel, The Girl I Used To Be is a book you can easily fly through in an afternoon. It is a character driven drama and she puts her protagonist, Gemma in a terrifying situation that is going to be very difficult for her to work her way out of.

What Mary does so well with her characters, is that she puts very ordinary people in very frightening but believable scenarios. Her protagonist, Gemma owns an estate agent’s, so she and her colleagues are dealing with members of the public near enough every day. But it dawns on them in this book that they never really know quite who they are dealing with. This is what Gemma finds out when she becomes involved with one particular client who threatens to put her own security in danger. However she soon begins to realise that she really has no idea who she has become involved with and that he might be more dangerous than she previously thought possible.

Gemma was a character who I could root for throughout the book. She is a strong lead, having to run a business and be solely responsible in providing for her family’s income as her husband, Joe doesn’t work. Instead he stays at home to look after their son Rory. I have to admit that this was what I really didn’t like about Joe and I found him a difficult character to get on with. I don’t think he quite comes across as lazy in the book but for now he is very set in his ways and his routine and I did keep thinking to myself, surely Gemma could do better.

Mary’s plot and writing is highly addictive from the first page. I stayed up reading way too late as I waited to find out what was going to happen to Gemma. At the beginning of the novel there is a scene which takes place fifteen years earlier at a party which she attended to celebrate finishing her A-level exams. I was intrigued to learn how this scene was going to become relevant to the plot later on and things do begin to become clearer as Mary delves into the lives of her characters. I was able to guess one of the twists but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story as I was still interested to find out what was going to happen to Gemma and how she was going to deal with the situation.

If you’re a fan of psychological dramas, I highly recommend The Girl I Used To Be. Mary  pulls you into the plot and into the lives of her characters and you will want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens to them. I can’t wait to read what she writes next. Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to the publisher for providing an advance review copy.

Publisher: Headline

Publication date: 3rd May 2018 (kindle) 9th August 2018 (paperback)

Print length: 352 pages



Kiss of Death by Paul Finch blog tour @paulfinchauthor @AvonBooksUK


Source: Review Copy


Don’t let them catch you…

A Deadly Hunt
DS ‘Heck’ Heckenburg has been tasked with retrieving one of the UK’s most wanted men. But the trail runs cold when Heck discovers a video tape showing the fugitive in a fight for his life. A fight he has no chance of winning.

A Dangerous Game
Heck realises that there’s another player in this game of cat and mouse, and this time, they’ve not just caught the prize: they’ve made sure no one else ever does.

A Man Who Plays With Fire
How far will Heck and his team go to protect some of the UK’s most brutal killers? And what price is he willing to pay?


As I’m sitting here writing this review, my mind keeps flicking back to that ending. I had heard that the ending of this book was going to be quite something and Paul Finch really did deliver. Wow, did he get the adrenaline pumping and now I really want to talk about it with someone, but I definitely can’t say anything about it here. No, you’ll just have to read the book for yourself to find out what happens and if you are a long-time fan of these books and the characters, like me, be prepared to be in for a shock.

Kiss of Death is the seventh book in the DS Mark Heckenburg series. I have been a huge fan of this series since I read Stalkers a couple of years ago and I have read every book since. In the latest book, Heck seems to be at a bit of a loose end in his career and he is tempted to move to a different squad, when the position of a DI arises, particularly as their budget continues to be eaten up by police cuts. This is a theme which runs through the book. You can see that Mark still has strong feelings for his boss, Gemma Piper, otherwise known as The Lioness by her team at Scotland Yard. Over the course of these novels you have been able to see that he has never quite forgiven himself for letting Gemma go after they had a short relationship when they were young police officers. Their relationship has always interested me and Gemma is a character who I find fascinating.

As Heck and the rest of the squad continue to remain uncertain about their future, they are tasked with tracking down some of the UK’s most wanted criminals who have gone on the run. And as their investigation into the missing criminals deepens, it takes a very disturbing path. You don’t realise quite how the investigations are going to pan out at the beginning but Paul really pulls the different strands together well.

If you are new to this series then be prepared for an action packed and tense ride. Kiss of Death can easily be read as stand-alone, but I really would recommend going back and starting this series from the beginning. They are all brilliant stories and you will get a lot more enjoyment out of the plot if you see how Paul’s characters have developed over the course of the series.

Heck is such a brilliant character. It was my work colleague who actually first introduced me to these books as Heck is also one of her favourite characters in crime fiction. Unpredictable is one word to describe Heck. He isn’t a police officer who will keenly follow orders, but as Gemma says, he does get results which is why he is sometimes given free reigns on a case. He is an officer who will fight for justice even if it means putting his own life and the lives of others around him at risk. Heck is also a character who you will root for right from the start.

Once you finish reading this book you really will be desperate to read the next book straight away. I know I’ll be first in the queue to read it and I’ll be thinking about what’s happening to Paul’s characters right up until then. Thank you to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing me with a copy of the book to read via Netgalley.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 9th August 2018

Print length: 464 pages



Kiss of Death Blog Tour Banner

The Lingering by SJI Holliday Book Review @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks

The Lingering by [Holliday, SJI]

Source: Review Copy


Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.


Recently I’ve read a couple of really good ghost stories and The Lingering by SJI Holliday I think has to be the best. I was so excited to pick up a proof at the Theakston Crime Festival in Harrogate, and I wasted no time in starting it. Dark, unsettling and so, so creepy; this book and the characters within the pages will stay with you long after you have finished reading.

What I love about SJI Holliday’s writing is how she cleverly manages to weave a tale and take it in a completely unexpected direction and especially her character development is brilliant. She is a writer who is very good at her twists, and her plotting is superb.

I’ve previously read and enjoyed her Banktoun trilogy so I had high hopes for her latest book and I was captivated from the first page. We meet married couple Jack and Ali who are starting a new chapter in their lives together when they decide to sell up their home and take up residence at a self-sufficient commune. I wanted to know what had drawn them to this particular place and why they would make such a huge decision and leave the comfort of home for something that is totally different to what they’re used to. The prologue in this book teases you as you immediately get a feeling that something dark and mysterious is brooding and it sets up the journey that Ali and Jack are about to embark on. You know you are in for a spine-chilling read.

SJI Holliday weaves a crime element into her plot, and this was done to great effect. But I’m not going to talk any more about this here, you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out what happens. The atmosphere in the book is excellent, and it brings the commune and the surrounding countryside to life. If I ever see a building remotely similar to the commune whenever I’m driving around country lanes, I think I’ll be speeding up and keeping very clear.

The Lingering is dark and atmospheric; it will linger in your mind and beware, it may give you nightmares. It is psychological suspense at its very best. The book is available to pre-order by clicking the link below. You really don’t want to miss it.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 15th September 2018 (Ebook) 15th November 2018 (paperback)

Print length: 300 pages


When I Find You by Emma Curtis giveaway! #giveaway #competition

To celebrate the paperback publication of When I Find You by Emma Curtis, I’m giving away one paperback copy of her new book. To enter the competition please leave a comment below saying why you want to read this book. I’m afraid the competition is open to UK entries only. The competition will end on Friday, 10th August 2018 at midnight and one winner will be drawn at random. If you would like to find out more about the book please take a look at the blurb below. Good luck!

When I Find You: The twisty new thriller from the author of One Little Mistake by [Curtis, Emma]


What do you do when someone takes advantage of your greatest weakness?

When Laura wakes up after her office Christmas party and sees a man’s shirt on the floor, she is horrified. But this is no ordinary one-night-stand regret.

Laura suffers from severe face-blindness, a condition that means she is completely unable to identify and remember faces. So the man she spent all night dancing with and kissing – the man she thought she’d brought home – was ‘Pink Shirt’.

But the shirt on her floor is blue.

And now Laura must go to work every day, and face the man who took advantage of her condition. The man she has no way of recognising.

She doesn’t know who he is . . . but when she finds him she’ll make him pay.