The Secretary by Renee Knight blog tour #bookreview @TransworldBooks @alisonbarrow

I’m thrilled to be joining the blog tour for The Secretary by Renee Knight on my blog today.

The Secretary by [Knight, Renée]


Look around you. Who holds the most power in the room? Is it the one who speaks loudest, who looks the part, who has the most money, who commands the most respect?

Or perhaps it’s someone like Christine Butcher: a meek, overlooked figure, who silently bears witness as information is shared and secrets are whispered. Someone who quietly, perhaps even unwittingly, gathers together knowledge of the people she’s there to serve – the ones who don’t notice her, the ones who consider themselves to be important.

There’s a fine line between loyalty and obsession. And when someone like Christine Butcher is pushed to her limit, she might just become the most dangerous person in the room . . .


The Secretary is a tense psychological drama with a shocking conclusion that had me sitting up in my seat as I realised what was happening on the page. I haven’t read Renee Knight’s first novel Disclaimer, but now that I have read her latest one I will be bumping it up my TBR pile. If you’re thinking of hiring a personal assistant any time soon, this book may make you want to reconsider.

We meet Christine Butcher who becomes the secretary of Mina Appleton, a successful celebrity businesswoman who is very well respected in the public eye and in government as well. Mina soon takes over the family business from her father, who is also a member of the House of Lords. But Mina doesn’t quite share the same qualities and the values on which he built the business on, fairness and equality. As Christine is drawn into Mina’s luxurious world, she realises that she will do anything for her boss, including putting her work first before the needs of her own family and lying for her in court as well.

You really do get a sense of Christine’s obsession for her job and for making sure that everything is perfect for her boss. From the opening pages, I was kept on my toes as I tried to work out what was going to happen between Christine and Mina. There is a dark sense of foreboding throughout the book, and there is a real sense of imminent danger for both characters which kept me engrossed in the plot as I waited to find out what was going to happen.

Renee Knights writing quickly drew me into the story, and it does make for an addictive read. There is a slow build up to the main events which take place, but once the court case gets going and the true colours of Mina and Christine begin to come to the surface, the tension is turned up a notch. I loved the way how Renee Knight rounded everything up at the end of the novel, and it was very chilling.

This is a book with a small cast of characters, but both Mina and Christine make the plot so addictive. I just had this horrible feeling when I started that something was going to go very wrong for them both and this is what Renee gets you thinking about right from the first page.

Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to the publisher for sending me an advance review copy.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 21st February 2019

Print length: 297 pages

If you would like to purchase The Secretary, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones


A Killer’s Alibi by William Myers Jr extract @WilliamMyersJr

I’m delighted to be bringing you an extract today from William Myers Jr new novel A Killer’s AlibiWilliam Myer’s first two novels in the Philadelphia Legal series have been bestsellers with the first book A Criminal Defence hitting the number one spot on the Amazon bestseller list. But before I share the excerpt, here’s what the book is about.

a killer's alibi


When crime lord Jimmy Nunzio is caught, knife in hand, over the body of his daughter’s lover and his own archenemy, he turns to Mick McFarland to take up his defense. Usually the courtroom puppeteer, McFarland quickly finds himself at the end of Nunzio’s strings. Struggling to find grounds for a not-guilty verdict on behalf of a well-known killer, Mick is hamstrung by Nunzio’s refusal to tell him what really happened.

On the other side of the law, Mick’s wife, Piper, is working to free Darlene Dowd, a young woman sentenced to life in prison for her abusive father’s violent death. But the jury that convicted Darlene heard only part of the truth, and Piper will do anything to reveal the rest and prove Darlene’s innocence.

As Mick finds himself in the middle of a mob war, Piper delves deeper into Darlene’s past. Both will discover dark secrets that link these fathers and daughters—some that protect, some that destroy, and some that can’t stay hidden forever. No matter the risk.



Eight are with him at the table. His three best friends: Vinny Itri, Dominic Ricci, and Geno Moretti. Four guys who work for his father: Bruno, Dave, Tomasino, and the guy everyone calls “Pits” because of his pockmarked face. And, of course, his father: Big John.

It’s his twelfth birthday, March 15. Outside, the night is bitter cold, the South Philly streets covered in ice and snow. Inside, Alighieri’s is cozy. And it’s all theirs, Big John having persuaded the owner to close the restaurant for the private party—a big favor to grant on a Saturday night, as his father has reminded them all.

The older men amaze the boys with ribald stories, everyone guf­fawing over “Three-way” Wendy Mancini and “Pass-around” Patti Peregrino. The mobsters shift gears eventually and trade veiled tales of “jobs” they’ve done, the boys recognizing the word as code for one type of illegal activity or another.

They feast.

“My boy reaches manhood, we eat like kings,” says Big John.

The waiters bring plate after plate, starting with the antipasti: meats, cheeses, and peppers; prosciutto, provolone, and Sicilian olives; stuffed portobello mushrooms; mussels; steamed clams in spicy mari­nara sauce; calamari stuffed with crabmeat. For entrées, the crew orders perciatelli Genovese, linguine and claims, penne alla vodka, fettuccini Alfredo, pork chops Milanese, and osso buco di vitello. Big John orders the special—pasta with Italian gravy and meatballs—and makes clear he expects his boy to order the same.

He does as his father suggests, though his mouth is really watering for the branzino.

His stomach full to bursting, he unbuttons his pants even before the waitstaff brings out the desserts: tiramisu, cannoli, semifreddo, tar­tufo. There will be no cake.

“Fuck cake and candles,” Big John says. “This ain’t a kiddie party. Right, boy?”

“Right,” he answers.

The real dessert, he knows from Geno, will come later. Geno is the oldest in his group, having turned twelve the month before. His father, not as well-off as Big John, put out a big spread at home. Then, after everyone left, he took Geno to a motel near the airport.

“When I opened the door,” Geno told him and Vinny and Dominic, “there she was, smiling on top and bottom.” As Geno told it, he didn’t let up until the sun rose, and the woman told him he was “amazing” and “the best” and “You’re going to break some hearts in your time, that’s for sure.”

The waiters clear the table. The owner comes over, thanks Big John for hosting such a special occasion in his restaurant. No check is ten­dered or asked for.

He and his father walk outside, and his eyes water in the frigid air. He has on a heavy winter coat, long-sleeve shirt, undershirt, and wool pants his mother bought him for the occasion, but he’s still freezing. Big John just has a fall jacket over a short-sleeve shirt, and it seems he could stand outside all night and not mind it one bit. It amazes him how tough his old man is. In so many ways, they couldn’t be more different. Big John is five nine and weighs two hundred pounds, not an ounce of which is fat. His father’s head is starting to go bald, but everywhere else he’s covered with thick black hair, and he has a perpetual five-o’clock shadow. The old man has an overhanging brow, a fat nose, and a jaw so square it looks like his head was carved from a block of wood.

He, on the other hand, is 120 pounds soaking wet and has a thin nose and sharp jawline. The only things they have in common physi­cally are their dark eyes, which turn into black pits when they’re angry.

His friends pile into Dave’s car to be driven home. The last to get in, Geno, glances back at him and gives him a thumbs-up. Earlier in the night, Geno had given him four Trojans, saying he’d be disappointed if he didn’t use them all.

Bruno gets in the driver’s seat of Big John’s Cadillac, and his father takes shotgun. Tomasino waits for him to get in the back seat, then slides in beside him. He’s thinking Bruno, Tomasino, and Pits will get dropped off, after which Big John will take him to the motel. But the car leaves their neighborhood with all the grown-ups still inside, and they make their way to I-95 South, then to Route 1 West.

He’s starting to get nervous now, because he’s thinking his father’s crew are all going to be waiting around while he’s with the woman. Maybe in the next room . . . maybe listening in.

What if I mess it up? Will she tell them? Will they laugh at me?

His father wouldn’t laugh. Big John would be pissed if he didn’t perform, especially if his men were there to hear it.

The drive goes on and on, the men seeming to grow quieter as they get closer to wherever they’re going. After they turn off the main roads, they go from one winding country road onto another, a single lane in each direction. It is pitch-black—no moon, no stars, and hard to see outside—but he senses the roads are lined with farm fields.

Finally, they turn onto a dirt road. Up ahead, in the Caddy’s head­lights, he sees a second car, a dark sedan, pulled over to the side. Bruno pulls the Seville up behind it, and Big John orders everybody out.

The air here is even colder than in the city, and his eyes sting as soon as he gets out of the car. No one is saying anything, so he doesn’t, either, simply follows the four men into the field, keeping his head down and using their bodies as shields against the wind. They walk for a while until he hears two voices ahead. Actually, three voices, but one sounds muffled.

Big John, Bruno, Tomasino, and Pits stop, and he stops behind them. His father looks back at him, waves him forward.

“Come on,” he says in his gravelly voice.

His heart is beating a mile a minute as he steps forward. He knows what his father does for a living—sort of, at least—and he guesses what he’s about to see even before the men move aside.

The man is on his knees, his hands bound behind his back, his mouth wrapped with duct tape, his face a battered mess. He is naked. There is a large hole in the ground to his left. To the kneeler’s right, two men stand. One of them leans on a shovel. Watching them shiver, he realizes that it must’ve taken them hours to dig the hole in the frozen ground.

“Come up here, son,” Big John says, grabbing his arm and pulling him closer. “You see this guy? He stole from me. And that means he stole from you. And from your brother and from your mother, too.”

He looks at the man, who looks up, tears and terror in his swol­len eyes. The man mumbles something through the tape, but it’s indecipherable.

“The real reason he’s here, though? I trusted him. He led me to trust him. You see, son, he was one of our own. And that means he didn’t just steal from us—he betrayed us.”

Big John stares into his eyes, and he can tell his father is looking to make sure that he’s getting it.

He nods.

“You know what happens to a Judas, don’t you?”

He nods again, and his father reaches into his jacket and pulls out a gun. He’s seen it before. It’s a .38 Special. A revolver with a cylinder that holds six bullets. His father told him all about it one night at the kitchen table. “You see this?” Big John had said as he cleaned and oiled the weapon. “Some people say dog is man’s best friend. I say bullshit. This is man’s best friend. You take care of this, it’ll take care of you.”

Big John holds out the gun now. And only then does it hit him what this is all about, what his father has brought him here to do. His jaw starts to drop, but he stops it. He takes a deep breath, then accepts the gun. For all the times his father has let him see the weapon, he’s never let him hold it. He’s surprised at the weight of it.

Big John nods at the kneeler, then steps back. Taking his cue, he moves up to the guy.

He can’t hesitate, can’t let himself think about this. If he does, he knows he won’t be able to do it. He raises the gun to the back of the man’s head and pulls the trigger. The recoil is stronger than he expected, and it pushes his hand and arm up into the air.

It takes all his willpower to keep his knees from buckling, to keep from throwing up. To keep from bursting into tears.

“Dirty Judas,” he says. Then he calmly turns to his father and hands him the gun.

Big John’s mouth spreads into a grin.

He watches his father put the gun back inside his coat, then reach out to pat his head. More than anything, he wants to smack away his father’s hand. But of course he doesn’t, just smiles as he tousles his hair.

“Now you’re a man,” his father says, reaching down to shake his hand.

He shakes with Big John, then with the other men as they move forward to take their turns.

“Good job,” says Tomasino.

“Good man,” says Bruno.

“Your son’s got a heart of stone,” Pits says to Big John.

Big John Nunzio is beaming now.

They all stand still for a minute, watching their breath turn to steam. Then his father, Bruno, Pits, and Tomasino lead him back to the Cadillac while the two other men kick the body into the hole and start shoveling.

He’s numb the whole ride back. He tries to think about school, basketball, the girl with the red hair in homeroom whom he has a crush on—anything not to face what he’s just done. But he can still feel the solid weight of the gun in his empty hand. The man’s whimpers and the crack of gunfire resound in his ears. The smell of the man’s fear is fresh in his nose, as is the ripe stench of his evacuated bowels.

Every now and then, his father glances back at him. After the third or fourth time, he says, “Hey, Dad, what was that veal Dave had? It looked good. You think Mom can make it?”

Big John smiles. “I’ll find out what it was, bring some home for your mother to cook.”

He smiles back, his guts roiling at the thought of eating anything ever again.

Later that night, his old man comes into his room, sits on the bed. He pretends to be asleep, acts like his father woke him up.

“You made me proud tonight, Jimmy. You knew what had to be done, and you did it. And you didn’t hesitate, which looked good.” Big John pats his knee, gets up, walks toward the door. Then he turns around. “It gets easier. What my old man told me my first time. And he was right. But I guess I don’t even need to tell you that. You’re a natural. You got the heart for it.”

He waits for two hours, until long after Big John and his mom and his brother are sound asleep. Then he goes into the bathroom and throws up everything he ate that night. And when he’s done, he crawls back into bed and cries himself to sleep.

If you would like to purchase A Killer’s Alibi, you can do so by clicking on the following link below.

Amazon UK

About the Author 

W. Myers Author Pic Closer-up High Res

William L. Myers, Jr. is the No. 6 best-selling author for Amazon Kindle in 2017 for his debut novel. Once you pick up his legal thriller and best-selling novel, A Criminal Defense, it becomes obvious he is not new to the intricacies of the legal profession. Open A Criminal Defense and you’ll find yourself lost in a labyrinth of deceits and hidden agendas, a world where everyone has a secret. You never know what is going to happen next or when the plot is going to take another unexpected turn.
Don’t miss his second book An Engineered Injustice which debuted in January 2018. You’ll really feel what it’s like to be a young attorney in the trenches, beating the streets, against all odds. His third novel, A Killer’s Alibi debuts in January 2019.

Born in 1958 into a blue-collar family, Mr. Myers inherited a work-ethic that propelled him through college and into the Ivy League at The University of Pennsylvania School of Law. From there, Mr. Myers started his legal career in a Philadelphia-based mega defense firm. After ten years defending corporate America, he realized his heart wasn’t in it. So, with his career on the fast track to success–he gave it all up and started his own firm. It was time to start fighting for the common guy.

That was twenty-five years ago and since then, he has focused on representing railroad employees and other honest, hard-working people who have been injured by others. He has represented thousands of clients in his tenure and has become a highly-regarded litigation attorney up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

The Riverboat Mystery by Faith Martin blog tour #bookreview @FaithMartin_Nov @JoffeBooks @Books_n_all

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Riverboat Mystery by Faith Martin.



Jenny Starling has a job on a luxury paddle steamer working for a wealthy businessman. All she has to do is cook for his small number of guests. But things quickly turn sour.

Then she discovers the body of one of the passengers in the store cupboard. Who wanted him dead and why?

Jenny will have to ignore many red herrings and follow the clues to get to the bottom of a complex and intriguing murder mystery.

This is the third of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with a great cast of characters and baffling crimes which will keep you in suspense to the final page.


Faith Martin is an author who has been on my radar for a while, so I was excited to get round to reading The Riverboat Mystery. This novel was originally titled Dying for a Cruise and written under Faith’s pen name Joyce Cato.

This is the third novel in the Jenny Starling series, but it can very easily be read as a stand-alone. This is a really well-written, old fashioned, English murder mystery, set aboard a luxurious boat which is the pride and joy of its owner. Name any price, and he would never dream of selling it. As the guests begin to arrive, the tension begins to simmer, and frictions between them start to occur. And then as the cruise gets underway, the body of one of the guests is found. It is clear to Jenny and the police that the killer is already on board and is one of the guests.

Although the mystery here takes some time to build, I found the characters to be brilliantly engaging. I loved Jenny; she is serious about her job and only expects the finest of ingredients to work with. Her employer was an intriguing character, and I have to say that I think his parrot stole the show in some scenes and added some excellent humour.

Jenny is an amateur sleuth, and bodies tend to turn up wherever she is based. She reluctantly gets involved as the police investigation develops. Faith Martin did keep me guessing as there were plenty of motives that could have been the reason why one of the guests was killed.

This was an engaging murder mystery, and I was interested to find out who had committed the crime. It is a fairly quick read that will keep you hooked and fascinated by the characters. If I had one criticism, it would be that I felt the second half after the body is found, was a little rushed, but overall I found it to be a very good read. If you’re a fan of cosy crime, then this book should definitely be on your TBR pile.

Thank you to Jill Burkinshaw at Books n All Book Promotions for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Joffe Books

Publication date: 3rd February 2019

Print length: 199 pages

If you would like to purchase The Riverboat Mystery, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK


Riverboat Mystery Blog Tour Banner

In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter blog tour #bookreview @JPCarterAuthor @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K

In Safe Hands: A D.C.I Anna Tate thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat (DCI Anna Tate) by [Carter, J. P.]


How far would you go to save the ones you love? The first book in a stunning new crime series featuring DCI Anna Tate.

When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy in particular is fighting for his life.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying…


Wow, what a gripping book. There were some incredibly tense scenes that had me staring wide-eyed at the page as I waited to see just how the events on the page were going to unfold.

In Safe Hands opens up with a shocking scene, when armed men enter a children’s nursery and kidnap nine children in broad daylight. From that moment on the hunt is on as the police race against the clock to track down the kidnappers.

DCI Anna Tate is an intriguing character. This case hits far too close to home for her as her own daughter, Chloe was abducted by her ex-partner ten years earlier. Anna has spent years trying to track them down, but her own searches have proven fruitless. Now, just as she is investigating perhaps the most significant case of her career, a new witness comes forward with startling new evidence. But the man who possesses the knowledge is rapidly fading as he is dying from cancer. Can Anna really abandon the nine children who have been kidnapped for this one last hope of finding her own daughter?

JP Carter raises the stakes high, right from the opening pages of this book. It is a novel that will get your adrenaline pumping, and I found this out myself as I was reading as there were so many developments and moments when I found myself holding my breath as I thought, was this going to be the part when they found the kidnappers. The author did a great job of raising the jeopardy, and the writing makes it such a compulsive read, I couldn’t put it down. I had to find out what happened.

This is the first book in a new series, so it is going to be interesting to see where Anna’s search for her own daughter is taken from here. JP Carter has left me with so many questions as to what is going to happen next to her. I really want to know what has happened to her daughter and I feel that she is close to finding out the truth, but I am worried as to what that truth is going to be.

My only criticism is that I did find it easy to work out who the person behind the kidnappings was fairly early on, but this did not spoil my enjoyment of the story as the race really was against the clock to track down the children before one of them was killed. This was the part of the novel that I found most gripping as I could never be sure how the events were going to pan out in the end for the children and their families.

Overall, a very good start to a new series, it’s one that I am keen to follow. JP Carter is an author who knows how to write gripping prose, and I can’t wait to read the next book.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 24th January 2019

Print length: 384 pages

If you would like to purchase In Safe Hands, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones



WWW Wednesday – 13th February 2019

WWW Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Taking On A World Of Words to record and share our weekly reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading?

After the Eclipse by [Dorricott, Fran]

A little girl is abducted during the darkness of a solar eclipse. Her older sister was supposed to be watching her. She is never seen again.

Sixteen years later and in desperate need of a fresh start, journalist Cassie Warren moves back to the small town of Bishop’s Green to live with her ailing grandmother. When a local girl goes missing just before the next big eclipse, Cassie suspects the disappearance is connected to her sister – that whoever took Olive is still out there. But she needs to find a way to prove it, and time is running out.

Amazon UK  Waterstones

What have I recently finished?

THE RIVERBOAT MYSTERY an absolutely gripping whodunit from a million-selling author by [MARTIN, FAITH]

Jenny Starling has a job on a luxury paddle steamer working for a wealthy businessman. All she has to do is cook for his small number of guests. But things quickly turn sour.

Then she discovers the body of one of the passengers in the store cupboard. Who wanted him dead and why?

Jenny will have to ignore many red herrings and follow the clues to get to the bottom of a complex and intriguing murder mystery.

This is the third of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with a great cast of characters and baffling crimes which will keep you in suspense to the final page.

Amazon UK

What am I hoping to read next?

Last Lullaby: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 2) by [Wyer, Carol]

Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?

When the body of young mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband in their immaculate, silver bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: the word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood.

Determined to find justice, Natalie quickly discovers the husband is hiding a troubled past, and she’s sure the teenage babysitter’s alibi doesn’t quite add up.

But before Natalie can dig deeper, another mother is murdered, her young son left distraught, staring at a fresh ‘who’ scrawled beside her.

Natalie knows it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again, but all the key suspects have alibis. It’s her toughest case yet, and with her marriage hanging by a thread, the cracks are beginning to show.

Just when Natalie finds an unsettling clue she thinks could solve the case, another young woman and her baby disappear, and a member of Natalie’s team is put in terrible danger.

Can Natalie stop this twisted killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever?

Amazon UK

So that’s it for this week. What are you all currently reading and what have you just finished? It’ll be great to read your comments.

The Plotters by Un-Su Kim #bookreview @mattclacher @4thEstateBooks

The Plotters: The hottest new crime thriller you’ll read this year by [Kim, Un-su]


Plotters are just pawns like us. A request comes in and they draw up the plans. There’s someone above them who tells them what to do. And above that person is another plotter telling them what to do. You think that if you go up there with a knife and stab the person at the very top, that’ll fix everything. But no-one’s there. It’s just an empty chair.

Reseng was raised by cantankerous Old Raccoon in the Library of Dogs. To anyone asking, it’s just an ordinary library. To anyone in the know, it’s a hub for Seoul’s organised crime, and a place where contract killings are plotted and planned. So it’s no surprise that Reseng has grown up to become one of the best hitmen in Seoul. He takes orders from the plotters, carries out his grim duties, and comforts himself afterwards with copious quantities of beer and his two cats, Desk and Lampshade.

But after he takes pity on a target and lets her die how she chooses, he finds his every move is being watched. Is he finally about to fall victim to his own game? And why does that new female librarian at the library act so strangely? Is he looking for his enemies in all the wrong places? Could he be at the centre of a plot bigger than anything he’s ever known?


The Plotters is quite different to the usual crime thrillers that I read, but it is very good, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Korean noir is a new genre to me, so I am definitely excited to explore it more. The writing was very engaging, and the opening captured my interest straight away, just imagine treating your would-be-assassin to dinner without realising he is plotting to kill you.

With the crime and thriller genres becoming quite crowded, it can be quite difficult to find something that is fresh and very different, and I think this book is just that. I think what made this book so engaging for me was its characters. We meet Reseng who is a contract killer, working for Old Raccoon who to everyone else runs an ordinary library, but to those in the Seoul’s criminal underworld, it is the centre of organised criminal activity, where assassins are given their tasks and plots are hatched. It is a life that Reseng has become used to, having been raised by Old Racoon after being discovered abandoned as a baby.

There is a lot of dark humour that runs throughout the book, and I really liked how the author managed to weave this into the story. I especially liked the chats that Reseng has with his friend, Bear who helps him dispose of the bodies. I found Reseng to be a very philosophical character, and very intelligent. Although he is a trained assassin; which is what should make you fear him, I found that I actually really liked him. He almost treats his victims with respect, which I found very unusual, most assassins, I’m sure, would just rather the job be over and done with as quickly as possible, without the slightest care for the person they have been sent out to kill.

I definitely found The Plotters to be a much more character driven story. Aside from Reseng, there is also a hugely engaging wider cast of characters, and it was the dialogue between them that really brought them to life. I became so intrigued by them, and I wanted to find out more about their lives. Some parts of the novel I didn’t fully engage with, such as the political side of the events that were taking place, but overall it turned into a read that really surprised me and has left me eager to read more from Un-Su Kim.

With a cast of highly engaging characters and writing that will make you fly through the pages, this is a debut that I highly recommend.

Thank you to Matt Clacher at 4th Estate Books for sending me an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: 4th Estate Books

Publication date: 12th February 2019

Print length: 306 pages

If you would like to purchase The Plotters you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Waterstones

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain Book Review @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks


Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.

There’s just one problem.

Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.


Dirty Little Secrets is an excellent example of how to write a psychological thriller. I remember being totally gripped by Jo Spain’s previous novel The Confession last year, so I jumped at the chance to read her second and I dived into it straight away; Jo Spain has delivered another brilliant book. Told from the perspectives of residents within a tight-knit community it makes for an utterly compulsive read that I could not put down.

The gated community known as Withered Vale is a collection of exclusive properties for the very wealthy. At the beginning of the book, one of the residents, Olive Collins, is found dead, but here’s the thing, her body was left rotting away in her house for three months before it was discovered. How could anyone not have checked on her in all that time, or realised that something was wrong? Already I could feel the tension as I wondered which of the neighbours knew something about Olive’s death and if any of them had played a part in it.

This book really will make you examine your own neighbours just that little more closely. Within such a small, tight-knit space there are some very different characters, who all have their own sets of problems. And it becomes very clear that none of them were particularly keen on Olive. So was one of them responsible for her death?

Jo Spain gets to know the psychology of her character’s really well, as I was reading I had suspicions of just about all of them. We also get to hear from Olive’s perspective, I found this unusual at first, because at this point, she is already dead, but as I got into the story, I thought it worked really well. We often don’t get to hear from the perspectives of victim’s in crime novels, so this is what made Dirty Little Secrets a really interesting read. I’m sure Olive is a character who will provoke strong opinions among readers.

This is an excellent, character-driven novel that I am a big, big fan of. Jo Spain has leapt onto my list of must-read authors. She creates a real sense that everyone in this book is hiding something and I just had to know what the truth was.

Thank you to Quercus Books and Netgalley for providing me with an advance review copy.

Publisher: Quercus

Publication date: 7th February 2019

Print length: 416 pages

If you would like to purchase Dirty Little Secrets, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Couple by Sarah Mitchell blog tour #bookreview @SarahM_writer @bookouture

The Couple: An unputdownable psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist by [Mitchell, Sarah]


Whatever you think you know… you’re wrong.

Following a whirlwind four-month romance, lawyer Claire and hotel entrepreneur Angus are engaged to be married. Happy and successful, and ready to start their new life together, Claire and Angus find what they believe to be the perfect home.

But when Claire meets Mark, the man selling them the house, he looks eerily familiar. He looks exactly like the man she loved five years ago, the man she couldn’t bear to lose.

As Claire finds herself irresistibly drawn to Mark and crosses lines she never thought she’d cross, Angus’ behaviour becomes increasingly suspicious. Soon Claire doesn’t know whether she can trust Mark, Angus… or even herself.


The Couple is such a fast-paced read. I tore through it; you know a book is good when you read more than 60% in a day; it literally ate up my weekend. There is a lot going on in this book, but it makes for such a gripping read, and the tension simmers from the first page to the last.

Claire works as an immigration lawyer for the Home Office, and her job is to defend their cases. At the beginning of the book, she and her fiancé, Angus are celebrating their engagement; everything should be perfect and happy, but something doesn’t appear right in their relationship. Claire already feels on tenterhooks, even before her stepfather mistakes Angus for her previous partner, Daniel in his speech. From this point on I knew that this was going to be a novel I was going to enjoy as Sarah Mitchell was starting to create a real sense of unease and I had to know how everything was going to unfold.

Claire’s job as an immigration lawyer was fascinating, and you get to see what must go on behind the scenes in some of these cases, and I felt that this was an area which had researched well; I could sense the tension there was in the courtroom as we waited for the verdict to be given to the judge. Claire is such a perplexing character. You can see that something has happened in her past with her previous boyfriend, Daniel and I wanted to find out what had gone on between them. We do visit back to this time as Sarah takes us back five years earlier.

Sarah ratchets up the tension as we get to understand more disturbing truths and what is really going on behind the scenes in Claire and Angus’s relationship. There was a final twist that left my head in a spin. I had to think about it for a while, I must admit, but once I did, I thought it was done very well, and there was a very satisfactory ending.

This is the first book by Sarah Mitchell which I’ve read, and I’m very eager to read her next one. The Couple is an utterly captivating page-turner, it’s probably best to read when you haven’t got any plans for the day as you’ll want to continue reading on.

Thank you to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour tour and for providing me with an advance review copy.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 5th February 2019

Print length: 322 pages

If you would like to purchase The Couple, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo


The Couple Blog Tour Poster

Dead Pretty by Candy Denham blog tour #bookreview @CrimeCandy @CrimeSceneBooks


The first in a series featuring Dr Jocasta Hughes, part-time GP and on call Forensic Medical Practitioner in the small English seaside town of Hastings. Intelligent, witty, well-plotted crime-fiction. More cosy than not.


Dead Pretty by Candy Denman opens up with a really grisly and shocking opening. It will really make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. We are introduced to a callous killer who is standing over his victim and you just know that this killer isn’t finished yet and that there will be more murders to come. This is a thoroughly engaging introduction to a new crime series that I am certainly keen to follow.

We meet Dr Jocasta Hughes, a pathologist and part time GP. Jo is called a crime scene when the body of a young prostitute is found and it becomes clear that the young woman has been murdered. Candy Denman keeps the tension building as Jo and the police attempt to identify the killer whose crimes are quickly making national news. And we know that the killer has his eyes on Jo; can they find out who he is, before it’s too late?

Dr Hughes is a really likable protagonist. She’s single and in her thirties and her mum is heavily pushing her to have a relationship and get married. Jo was a character who I really engaged with and you can see that she really cares for her patients, even though at times it is a job that can be incredibly tough. I also liked her relationship with her friend Kate who was a really bubbly character and it will also be interesting to see her friendship with DI Miller develop.

The crimes that take place in this book are chilling as well as the criminal behind them. There was such a shocking truth once it was finally revealed. The second book in the series is already out, and I will definitely be picking it up. Candy Denman is an exciting new name in crime fiction and I can’t wait to read more books by her.

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 me with a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Crime Scene Books

Publication date: 24th July 2017

Print length: 328 pages

If you would like to purchase Dead Pretty, you can do so by clicking on the following link below.

Amazon UK


dead pretty blog tour poster

January Wrap-Up

I can’t beleive we’re now into February. If you’re in the UK I don’t know how badly you’ve been affected by the recent bad weather, but we’ve certainly had a dusting of snow where I live over the last couple of days. At least the evenings are starting to get lighter though and that there is the promise of spring just around the corner.

So, first month of the year, I sorted out my priorities first and foremost and set myself a target of reading 200 books this year on Goodreads. I managed to surpass my goal last year of reading 150 books in 2018, so at the moment I’m feeling confident I can manage it. And I am on track as I’ve so far managed to read fourteen books, does starting two of those at the back end of 2018 count as cheating? So, what have I read so far?

  1. Red Snow by Will Dean
  2. The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister
  3. The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve
  4. In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter
  5. The Party by Lisa Hall
  6. The Couple by Sarah Mitchell
  7. Bollywood Wives by Alex Khan
  8. Fade to Grey by John Lincoln
  9. The Secretary by Renee Knight
  10. Promise to the Dead by Victoria Jenkins
  11. Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb
  12. To Catch A Killer by Emma Kavanagh
  13. The Disappeared by Sibel Hodge
  14. Sleep by C.L. Taylor

2019 books

My first five-star read of the year went to Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb which I was on the blog tour for on the 30th January. It’s another fantastic addition to the Lori Anderson series.

I was quite busy on the blog this month. I’ve taken part in nine blog tours, one of which was a guest post and one an extract.

Quite a busy reading schedule for the month ahead as well, as I have nine blog tours in the diary. First for this month is on Monday and that is for Dead Pretty by Candy Denham.

I also managed to make good progress on my own writing in January. I’ve got stuck into editing my first book over the last couple of weeks, while still scribbling away ideas for the second book in the series which I’m getting excited about.

I only attended one book event this month, and that was a Rooftop Book Club event at Headline Publishing for their New Voices 2019 tour. It was fascinating to listen to Richard Lumsden author of The Six Loves of Billy Binnes, Emily Gunnis author of The Girl in the Letter, Rhik Samadder, author of I Never Said I Loved You, Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange and Sarah Davis Goff, author of Last Ones Left Alive. It was a shame that Dominic Nolan couldn’t attend to talk about his debut crime novel, Past Life but I did manage to get a proof copy of the book on the night, and I can’t wait to read it. It was also great to catch up with Karen from My Reading Corner and Linda from Linda’s Book Bag.


IMG_4563                   IMG_4564

On Monday I’ll be at First Monday Crime in London, and there’s still time for you to reserve your free seat. You can do so by clicking HERE.

So that’s it for January. First month of the year done and dusted. What books have you been reading this month and what are you planning on reading in February? Let me know in the comments, it’ll be great to read them.