Afraid of the Light short story anthology #bookreview @NolanDom @Jo_Furniss

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on a brand new collection of short stories by some excellent crime writers. Afraid of the Light is being released to support The Samaritans and all proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the charity. If you’re looking for something that will fill up a couple of hours of the day, then diving into this anthology will be a real treat. And I’m sure that once you have read these stories you will return to them again and again.

Afraid Of The Light by [Victoria Selman, Adam Southward, Dominic Nolan, Elle Croft, S R Masters, Phoebe Morgan, N J Mackay, Rachael Blok, Heather Critchlow, Jo Furniss, Robert  Scragg, Clare  Empson, James  Delargy, Kate  Simants]


Some people are scared of the dark. But it’s the light that exposes the secrets.

A young boy with nightmares faces up to his demons. A deathbed confession turns the world on its axis. A five-year-old watches his parents bury a body in the garden. A soldier returns from the war to find the horror isn’t yet over.

Afraid Of The Light brings the imagination of fourteen bestselling crime writers together in a collection that will keep you up all night. From a deadly campfire game to a holiday gone wrong, to an AI assistant with a motive and a love affair that can only end in murder, this is a gripping, twisty set of stories to send a shiver down your spine.

“The stories are wildly entertaining in their own right, but they also address the concerns and fears we all feel: isolation and loneliness; guilt and grief; justice and punishment. And perhaps most importantly of all: redemption and hope.” — Alex North


Afraid of the Light is a brilliant collection of short stories that you could quite happily lose an afternoon too; it is an excellent way to pass the time. Each writer brings their own unique flair to this collection. What you will get with each tale is an utterly gripping narrative that will draw you into each story and the characters who inhabit them. I’m certain that I’ll be returning to these stories again. I’ve also found some new authors by reading them who I’ll definitely be checking out soon, so this is also the perfect opportunity to get to explore new talent.

What these stories do so well is that they expertly transport you to different locations. To the heart of the Bolivian rainforest in Drowning in Debt by Helen Critchlow, I’m sure many readers will agree with me that one of the characters gets their just deserves in this story. Dominic Nolan takes us inside prison walls in, Daddy Dearest and completes his story with an utterly chilling revelation. Then we’re taken to a future very much within humanity’s grasp in Are You Listening by Adam Southwold and To Evil or not to Evil by Jo Furniss. In these two gripping stories, the authors explore the dangers of advancing technology. Is it inevitable that machines will become smarter than humans, and what will they do when that becomes an eventuality? A strong voice narrates Sausage Fingers by Victoria Selman, and it pulls you into a disturbing story of a girl’s jealousy for another who always steals the spotlight. In Rachel Blok’s Just a Game, a group of girls are camping when the body of a young boy is discovered one morning outside their tent. They are forced to make a devastating decision. Phoebe Morgan’s Sleep Time is a devastating read as a desperate mother tries to work out what is happening inside her son’s head, but is too late to stop him from carrying out an awful act.

But Coming Home by Nikki McKay takes on a slightly different tone as the story is told from the perspective of a man who has recently returned home from war. And the tension is turned up a notch in Sheep’s Clothing by Robert Scragg, which is a tense story about one man’s quest for revenge.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection. I think it’s quite hard to become attached to a character in a short story, but the authors definitely achieved this here. In Elle Croft’s Deathbed, Beth dead I became so wrapped up in the character’s tale that I’m still thinking about her even now. S R Masters Loveable Alan Atcliffe will make you think twice about who you should put your trust in. In Frantic Clare Empson manages to convey the terrifying thoughts one woman has in only a few short pages, as a secret she has been carrying threatens to destroy her family. In James Delargy’s Planting Nan, he looks at childhood innocence, but he gives it a chilling twist. It makes for quite a disturbing read as his character tries to make sense of what is going on in her environment. Shadow by Kate Simants ends this anthology on a very chilling note.

What this anthology does so well is that it gives you a taste of each writer’s style and their writing. You’ll definitely want to find out more about the author’s work when you have finished this. This is a gripping collection of short stories that will chill you and provide you with several hours of entertainment. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Amazon Media

Publication date: 21st April 2020

Print length: 142 pages

Afraid of the Light is available to buy: 

Amazon UK

Are you Listening? – Adam Southward
Daddy Dearest – Dominic Nolan
Deathbed, Beth Dead – Elle Croft
Loveable Alan Atcliffe – S R Masters
Sleep Time – Phoebe Morgan
Coming Home – N J Mackay
Sausage Fingers – Victoria Selman
Just a Game – Rachael Blok
Drowning in Debt – Heather Critchlow
To Evil or Not to Evil – Jo Furniss
Sheep’s Clothing – Robert Scragg
Frantic – Clare Empson
Planting Nan – James Delargy
Shadow – Kate Simants

All author royalties from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Samaritans.

Samaritans is a charity working across the UK and Ireland to reduce the number of people who take their own lives and help people who are struggling to cope with how they’re feeling or with life’s challenges. When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year.

You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at, or visit to find your nearest branch.

Night by Night by Jack Jordan #bookreview @JackJordanBooks

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to read Jack Jordan’s latest thriller, Night By Night. I’m a huge fan of his books so I will be making sure that I am not this late when his next book comes out.

Night by Night: A darkly addictive fast-paced thriller perfect for fans of Erin Kelly and Alice Feeney by [Jack Jordan]


If you’re reading this, I’m dead.

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink. But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance?

Rose is determined to uncover the truth. But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…


Night by Night is a heart-breaking and a powerful read by Jack Jordan that will pull you in from the first page. It is written with urgency and pace, and I became invested in Rose’s world as she becomes involved in an investigation purely by chance. She comes across a journal which details a haunting account of a young man, Finn Matthews, who is targeted by another individual. Finn is convinced that the man is going to kill him. But when Rose takes the journal to the police, she finds that there are very few people who are willing to talk to her. It is clear just how exasperated that she feels like this and I felt angry that they weren’t showing any interest.

In the opening chapters when we first meet Rose, I have to admit that I didn’t particularly like her, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading when I reached the end of chapter three. It did propel me to read forwards, and I ended up racing through the novel. But as the story develops, I became more and more invested in Rose’s character and in her plight to get justice for the young man whose journal she has discovered. And it isn’t long before she has found similar cases which have been brushed under the carpet.

Rose herself has suffered from a horrific trauma which has destroyed her family. In the early pages, she is suffering from insomnia, and this leads to a devastating event throwing her life and her family into chaos. I felt really sorry for Rose. Jack Jordan builds her character really well, and as we learn more about her past, we can see why she has become attached to the man she is reading about and why she is so determined to get him justice. But the more determined she became I could also feel the danger that was closing in on Rose. There are people out there who also want to stop her from investigating, and it is clear that they are willing to do whatever it takes to get her to stop. I wondered just how far Rose was going to be able to continue, but I was rooting for her all the way.

Jack Jordan keeps the suspense and tension going, as Rose’s investigations deepen. When we hear more from Finn through snippets of his journal, I wanted to find out what had happened to him, and who was responsible for his disappearance. As Rose closes in on the person who did this, I could sense that she was putting her life in danger, and I admired her for pushing on regardless.

Jack Jordan has created characters who you will absolutely detest and characters who you will root for. It is pulled together in an utterly engaging plot that will keep you turning the pages. Next time, I’ll make sure that I don’t leave it too long to read Jack’s book when his next one comes out. Night By Night is a brilliant read!

Publisher: Corvus

Publication date: 2nd May 2019

Print length: 366 pages

Night By Night is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones


Winter Dark by Alex Callister #bookreview @CallisterAuthor @bookouture

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut thriller by Alex Callister, Winter Dark.

Winter Dark: A totally gripping crime thriller with heart-pounding suspense (The Winter Series Book 1) by [Alex Callister]


A desperate girl held captive somewhere in the city, her liquid brown eyes pleading with the camera as the clock tick-tick-ticks down.

An agent with a broken past, who has seen what happens when the counter hits zero. It took the last one three days to die while the world watched. This killer is never late, and he never breaks his promises.

But how do you catch someone who could be anyone – who only speaks through the eyes of his terrified victims and never leaves a trace? To catch a killer with no face, you have to become faceless yourself…

A pulse-racing thriller that will keep you turning the pages late into the night. For fans of Sandra Brown, Willow Rose and Mary Burton.

Please note: this book contains scenes of a sexual nature.


Winter Dark is an explosive debut by Alex Callister, and it introduces us to a fierce new protagonist who you won’t be forgetting about in a hurry. Set in an alternate world where murders can be bought on the internet through a website called Firestorm. Agent Winter sets out to apprehend the man behind it, and she is determined to make sure that he isn’t given an easy ride.

This debut blew away all my expectations. Spy thrillers aren’t typically my go-to genre, but I found that once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop. Winter is a brilliant character; she’s feisty, confident, fiercely independent and is certainly not a person who will give up, even if it means that the outcome may mean death. I found that I could visualise every scene in the book. Alex Callister takes us on a journey across Europe as Winter sets out to destroy the operation Firestorm, and there is never a dull or a slow moment. You can see how determined she is to bring justice. Winter is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

If you think along the same lines of James Bond, then that is similar to what you are going to experience here. There are no quiet moments, and there is no question about it that Winter is the person in charge of this mission, even though she has been hired to track the man responsible for Firestorm down. She knows what her role is, and she will see it through.

Alex Callister keeps the tension turning up a notch as Winter races closer and closer to the person who she is determined to find and bring to justice. I could quite easily picture this translating really well onto the big screen as the description, the fight scenes, and the characters are all so vivid.

If you’re prepared to be taken on a wild ride, then you will absolutely love this book. There’s heart-pounding tension all the way through, and Alex Callister’s writing will keep you turning the pages. I, for one, can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 7th January 2020

Print length: 336 pages

Winter Dark is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo


Goldilocks by Laura Lam #bookreview

When I first read the blurb for Goldilocks by Laura Lam I knew it was a book for me. I’m delighted to be sharing my review of her latest novel on my blog today.

Goldilocks: The boldest high-concept thriller of 2020 by [Lam, Laura]


Ravaged by environmental disaster, greed and oppression, our planet is in crisis. The future of humanity hangs in the balance – and one woman can tip it over.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

It’s humanity’s last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity like this – to step out of Valerie’s shadow and really make a difference.

But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi starts to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret – and realises time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .

This is The Martian by way of The Handmaid’s Tale – a bold and thought-provoking new high-concept thriller


Goldilocks by Laura Lam is an epic story focusing on four women who have dreamed of travelling to the stars. Their destination is an exoplanet named Cavendish, situated in the habitable zone (the goldilocks zone) of its star. It is just right for humans to be able to live on its surface, and it offers a safe haven for humanity to start anew. Earth has been turned upside down. Climate change has ravaged the surface of the planet, forcing many people to flee their countries which have become inhospitable. Scientists predict that Earth can only host human life for another thirty years. And so there must be a plan B for when that becomes an eventuality. Cavendish offers humanity that chance.

A mission lead by Valerie Black is set to become the first manned mission to Cavendish.  It also means that the three other women will become the first human beings to set foot on a world outside of our solar system. But all doesn’t quite go to plan during the mission.

This genre is quite different from what I usually read, but I have become a fan of science fiction more recently, and this book seemed right up my street when I first heard about it. And there are elements of a thriller to this book as well which intrigued me even more. I think I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to learning about the solar system and the universe. I for one can’t wait for when the James Webb Space telescope is launched, hopefully, at the end of March next year, which Laura references in the book.

There are so many topics that Laura Lam explores in her book, climate change, feminism, and greed are some of the main themes. Climate change is something that has been brought to the forefront of people’s minds recently. It is scary what is happening in the world now, but I dread to think what the world could be like in thirty years time if we don’t do anything about it. Laura Lam sets her book in the not too distant future, so it brings those fears a lot closer to home.

In the future version of the world which Laura has created, Valeria Black and her team are among the women fighting back against a male-dominated society. Misogyny is on a sharp rise on Earth, and it is a topic that has never been far from the mind of Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s foster-child. It has been her dream to explore the universe, but she knows her options are limited, which makes her even more determined to succeed.  And when they take charge of the Atalanta, the ship which will take them to Cavendish, it angers leaders back on Earth. In their eyes, the women are criminals.

Laura Lam keeps the tension mounting as the crew on the Atalanta race towards their new destination, first to Mars and then onto Cavendish. But as events escalate back on Earth, soon a perilous decision will have to be made. This leads the book to an explosive and a satisfactory climax. I’m sure will stay with me for a while.

This book deserves to be huge. If you’re a fan of sci-fi and thrillers, you will definitely enjoy this book. But if you haven’t stepped a toe out of each genre, I would highly recommend giving this book a go.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication: 30th April 2020

Print length: 353 pages

Goldilocks is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott #bookreview blog tour @RachelAbbott @Wildfirebks @annecater #TheMurderGame

I’m delighted to be taking in part in the blog tour for The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott today on my blog. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Murder Game: The breathtakingly tense new novel from the queen of psychological thrillers (Stephanie King Book 2) (Stephanie King 2) by [Abbott, Rachel]


A year ago today, we all gathered for Lucas’s wedding at his glorious Cornish home overlooking the sea.

But no one was married that day.

Now Lucas has invited us back to celebrate the anniversary. But the anniversary of what? The wedding that never happened, or the tragedy that occurred just hours before the ceremony was due to begin?

He’s told us that tonight he has planned a game. We have our costumes, we have our parts, and everyone must play. The game, he tells us, is about to begin.

What does Lucas want from us? What are we not being told? And what’s going to happen when this terrible game is over?


It’s not often that I read a book practically cover to cover, but The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott is one I literally could not stop reading. As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but compare it to the works of Agatha Christie. Rachel does a brilliant job at creating an eerie atmosphere and by hooking the reader very early on with her writing and not letting them go. There is also a really creepy vibe to this book, particularly as we move forward a year. This book will definitely make you think “oh, I’ll just read one more chapter,” before I knew it, I’d devoured the entire novel.

While this is the second book in the Detective Sergeant Stephanie King series, it can definitely be read as a stand-alone. In these books, the police investigation takes a bit of a back seat, and Rachel Abbott focuses primarily on the group of people who are at the heart of the crime that has taken place. Of course, we do get to hear from Stephanie’s point of view, as she is investigating the case, but the book’s narrative is mainly told from the witnesses point of view. I really like Stephanie, and I hope we do get to find out more about her and some of her colleagues as I like the interaction that she has with them.

The book starts a year earlier when Jemma and her husband Matt, are travelling to a house in Cornwall, the home of one of Matt’s long-standing friends. His friend, Lucas, who is a multi-millionaire, is getting married, and the wedding promises to be a glitzy event, with no expense wasted. Everything seems to be going well, but we do get the hint of something mysterious afoot, when Lucas’s sister, Alex arrives. It is clear that something dark is hidden in the past and Matt is very reluctant to talk to Jemma about it. It is only a year later when the true events of what happened come to light and dark secrets are revealed. The book is very well-plotted, and I am reluctant to talk much more about it as I want you to experience the same surprise and intrigue that I did while I was reading it.

One thing that did strike me early on was Jemma’s relationship with her husband, Matt. I found it very odd that he’s never spoken to her about his friendship with Lucas. It did seem a little strange to me that he would wait until they were driving to the venue to tell Jemma who their host for the weakened was. It may be just me, but this is one part of the plot which played on my mind.

The moment that Alex arrived at the scene, I could sense the change in the atmosphere. It was in Matt’s reluctance to tell his wife about what had happened in his past that made me want to find out what had taken place. And the tone of the novel darkens when Rachel Abbott turns the tension up a notch and every single person who was present starts to look at each other and tries to work out who could have been the culprit. I kept wondering what was really going on here, and who was hiding secrets.

The Murder Game is a compulsive psychological thriller that will keep you completely gripped to the dark and tension-filled plot. There was one twist at the end, which did blow my mind. It takes a lot for a twist in a novel to do that for me. If you’ve not yet picked up a book by Rachel Abbot definitely do yourself a favour, this is an excellent read!

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 16th April 2020

Print length: 416 pages

The Murder Game is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones


FINAL Murder Game BT Poster

Can You See Her? by S.E. Lynes #bookreview blog tour @SELynesAuthor @bookouture

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the brilliant new novel by S.E. Lynes on my blog today, Can You See Her? This is the first book by S.E. Lynes which I have read and it won’t be my last.

Can You See Her?: An absolutely compelling psychological thriller by [S.E. Lynes]


Rachel Ryder doesn’t understand how her life has changed so completely. When she was younger, heads would turn when she walked into a room. Her children needed her; her husband adored her.

But somehow the years wore that all away. She was so busy raising her children, looking after her parents… She can barely remember the woman she used to be, the one whose husband told her she was out of his league. The woman she is now just does the laundry and makes the dinner, and can walk into a room without anyone knowing she’s there.

She knows that she hated feeling invisible. She knows that she thought: what would it take for you to see me again?

And now she’s worried that she did something terrible. Because she’s sitting in a room, being asked whether she killed someone.

When no-one is watching, you can get away with anything…


Can You See Her? is the first novel by S.E. Lynes that I have read and it is outstanding! It had me hooked from the first page, and by the end, it had left me reeling, it’s not often that books have such a big impact on me. The writing is powerful and totally absorbing. You can definitely label me a big fan, and I’ll be catching up on her previous work!

What I thought was so clever is the how S.E. Lynes took us into the minds of her characters. This is a slow-burner, so if you’re looking for a fast-paced read then you won’t find it here, but what is done so well is the S.E. Lynes takes a close look at the psychological impact of a crime. This is what interests me the most and what I find all the more compelling in crime fiction novels. This book needs to be added to your TBR pile.

We first meet Rachel when she is sitting in a room with her psychologist. Most of the story takes place here as Rachel peers back into her past. Rachel is convinced that she has done something terrible, but we don’t know much more about it. It is only as her psychologist peels away the layers of the last few days do we get to see the big picture. As I delved further into Rachel’s mind, I wanted to understand what had happened, and how she came to be sitting in that room in the predicament that she now finds herself in. As more details were revealed, I could never be sure what the true story was. I had one idea forming in my mind as I got to know Rachel a little better, but I was completely surprised by S.E. Lynes final twist.

This book is also quite topical as S.E. Lynes tackles the topic of knife crime which has been hitting the headlines for the past few years.

What I thought also made this book really intriguing is that some chapters are written in the form of a police transcript, from when they have interviewed a suspect. In these sections, we get to see what people think about Rachel, and I began to form my own opinions of what had happened as I read these scenes. This is also what makes the pace of the book pick up.

I really connected with Rachel. I felt exasperated for her as it seemed that she was totally on her own. Even her own family seemed to be distancing themselves from her. You can see how much of an effect this is having on her, especially on her well-being; it was here that I began to wonder what really was going on in her own private world.

S.E. Lyne’s description is brilliant, as well. She painted the scenes in vivid detail, and I felt as though I was transported to that moment. She is a really talented writer.

I think the only way how I can sum up this review is that you need to read this book! I couldn’t stop turning those final pages as S.E. Lynes kept me glued to her words. Can You See Her? is a heart-breaking and powerful read.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 22nd April 2020

Print length: 357 pages

Can You See Her? is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo


Can You See Her - BT Poster

The Death Knock by Elodie Harper #bookreview

The Death Knock is a read I’ve been meaning to get to now for a while. This is the second thriller by Elodie Harper and if you love a combination of crime and horror you will love her books.


Three women have been found dead in East Anglia. The police deny a connection. TV news reporter Frankie smells a story…

Ava knows that the threat is real. She’s been kidnapped by someone claiming to be the killer: a stranger who seems to know everything about her.

As Frankie follows the case, she enters a terrifying online world where men’s rage against women may be turning murderous – and where her persistence might just make her a target. And Ava must struggle not only to stay alive… but to stay sane.

From journalist Elodie Harper, The Death Knock is a compelling story of the worst that man can do and the hunt for the truth – at all costs.


I’m a huge fan of Elodie Harper’s writing. The Death Knock is a chilling serial killer thriller. Elodie Harper creates a claustrophobic atmosphere in her opening chapter, as Ava wakes up in an enclosed space, the terrifying truth dawns on her when she realises that she has been kidnapped. Ava knows that there is a slim possibility that she will make it out of this situation alive. We really get the sense that she is helpless in the position that she is in and as much as I wanted her to survive, I could see that this wasn’t very likely.

The story follows TV journalist, Frankie Latch, who works for the Eastern Film Company based in East Anglia. Frankie is one of the first journalists to report on the discovery of a body. The victim is believed to have been killed by a serial killer. But as Frankie begins to report on the case, someone begins to stalk her. Frankie is terrified when her address appears online as part of a forum praising the killer. Her decision to continue to report on the killings puts her in a perilous position that could threaten her safety. But she isn’t someone who will go away quietly and wait until it’s safe to come out again.

What I like about Elodie’s writing is that she combines horror and crime, which make her books sinister reads. I connected with Ava as she fought to survive. Elodie tells the book partly from her point of view, and as we hear more from her thoughts, I was rooting for her to get free, even though it seemed impossible. She is clever and knows how to keep her captor engaged, but all the while, she is anxious that each moment with him might be her last. She knows he has killed before and won’t hesitate to do so again.

I liked Frankie as well, and I engaged with her as she set about investigating the disappearances and crimes that have taken place. She is cautious, though about not overstepping the mark, but she is determined to help bring the person responsible to justice. As her investigations deepened, there were a few people who I had suspicions about, and Elodie kept me guessing as the plot developed. But she kept the real killer masked until the final pages when the book was wrapped up in a tense finale that had me turning the pages faster and faster.

The Death Knock is an utterly compelling and a sinister read. What I also loved about it was the Norfolk landscape which Elodie described so well in her previous book. It draws you further in and makes it very atmospheric. An easy five stars from me. I can’t wait to read more from Elodie Harper in the future.

Publisher: Mulholland Books

Publication date: 12th July 2018

Print length: 336 pages

The Death Knock is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones


The Wrong Move by Jennifer Savin #giveaway #competition blog tour @JenniSavin @EburyPublishing @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Wrong Move by Jennifer Savin. With thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part. As part of the blog tour I have one copy of the book to giveaway. First let’s take a look at what the book is about.

The Wrong Move by [Jennifer Savin]



When Jessie moves into a flatshare at Maver Place, she’s finally found a decent place to live.

And when she’s befriended by fellow tenants Lauren and Sofie, she’s got great flatmates to share it with.

You think she’s safe. You think she can trust these people.

You’re wrong.

When you flatshare, how well do you really know the people that you’re living with?

The Wrong Move is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones


As part of the blog tour, I have one paperback copy of the book to giveaway. To be in with a chance of winning, head over to my Twitter page @collinsjacob115, retweet my pinned tweet and follow my account by midnight on Friday, 24th April. Good luck!


The Wrong Move BT Poster

Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview

The Helen Grace series is another series I’ve fallen behind on. I’ve just caught up on the seventh book in the series, Love Me Not and I’m kicking myself that I haven’t got round to reading it sooner.

Love Me Not: DI Helen Grace 7 (Detective Inspector Helen Grace) by [M. J. Arlidge]


A blood-red sunrise
Just after 7 AM DI Helen Grace stumbles on a dead woman lying in a country road. She has been brutally shot for no apparent reason.

Two hours later
At gunpoint a shopkeeper is forced to close up by two assailants. Before the police can get inside a single gunshot rings out.

A rampage of revenge?
Over one long day the town of Southampton is terrorized by two young killers who appear to be killing at random.

For DI Helen Grace, it’s a race against time. Uncover why they’re doing this and who’s next or always be a step behind – until the sun sets on this bloody killing spree.


Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge takes place over a single day. A shocking series of crimes are about to take place in Southampton, and Helen Grace is on the hunt for a pair of terrifying killers. They kill without mercy and to them, it seems almost like a game. Helen and her team don’t have any idea how long this killing spree will last and how it’ll end. It becomes a race against time to track their suspects down before it is too late.

Whenever I pick up a book by M.J. Arlidge, I know that I’m going to race through it. He writes with urgency, and you can feel the tension on every single page as Helen races to find the killers. The killers in this book are terrifying, when we first meet them, they gave me chills, and I had to keep reading. I was rooting for Helen to find out who they were and bring them to justice. I have to admit that they did remind me of Bonnie and Clyde and there are a few references to them in this book.

Helen feels a lot more detached from the rest of her team in this book. I think before you read this book, it will definitely help to read the previous book, Hide and Seek, but it still works well as a stand-alone. You can see that she feels very much on her own, and she struggles to reconnect with her old friends. It’s difficult to talk further about the plot here without giving too much away and I don’t want to spoil it for you.

I always find at the end of each chapter in any of the books in this series; I’m always eager to read the next making M.J. Arlidge’s books very difficult to put down. Short pacy chapters keep the pace flying forward. The writing grabs you without any effort and pulls you straight into an action-packed read.

After finishing this book, it does make me wonder how Helen will feel towards her team in the future books on the series. I can understand why she is feeling the way she is, but it is also clear that her old friends are desperate to win back her approval and friendship. I think this may take time, but I hope that they will be able to get along again.

Love Me Not is another brilliant addition to this series, and I am looking forward to catching up on the next book. If you start reading this book, or any books in this series, make sure you have a lot of free time on your hands because you will want to get to the end as soon as possible. Riveting stuff!

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 21st September 2017

Print length: 352 pages

Love Me Not is available to buy:

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Silenced for Good by Alex Coombs #bookreview blog tour @AlexHowardCrime @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources

On my blog today I’m joining the blog tour for Silenced for Good by Alex Coombs. With thanks to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.

Silenced For Good: An absolutely gripping crime mystery that will have you hooked by [Coombs, Alex]


Detective Hanlon is addicted to violence. She likes the rush, the danger, the losing control…

When Hanlon is suspended from the force for assaulting a suspect, she escapes to the remote Scottish island of Jura, home to the mysterious Corryvreckan whirlpool.

But wherever Hanlon goes, violence is sure to follow.

As soon as she checks into The Mackinnon Arms, Hanlon senses something isn’t quite right about the staff at her home for the week.

Sure enough, within days of arriving, the body of a member of staff is found floating in the sea. While police believe she was claimed by the local whirlpool, Hanlon isn’t so sure.

As she pieces together the evidence, dark secrets begin to unravel. Can Hanlon work out what is going on before another floating body is found…?


In Alex Coombs new novel, Silenced For Good, Hanlon is a detective with a difference. She has been suspended from serving in the police force after attacking a suspect. We understand from very early on that Hanlon has a very different relationship with violence. But this is what makes her character so unique and intriguing. I think some readers may not like her initially, but she is a character who grew on me, and you can see that she is still a good detective. Wherever she goes, violence seems to follow, and it isn’t long before she finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation when the body of a young woman is found.

What gives Hanlon an advantage is that she can work from the side-lines; she can use the skills that she picked up in the police force, but she can’t arrest people or force them to answer her questions. She still has friends in the police, however, and she can advise them on where they should be looking, and this is what she uses to her advantage here. I was really intrigued to see how this would work, and if some of the people she used to work with would trust her. This would then leave her on her own, which made me wonder if she would continue to investigate.

Alex Coombs builds an atmospheric setting. When Hanlon first steps inside the Mackinnon Arms, the place really gave me chills. I suspected that something was going on here, and I didn’t like the sound of the people who were running it. With the discovery of the girl, I kept thinking that it must be somehow linked to what was going on here, and this is what kept me turning the pages. It made me wonder just how close Hanlon was going to get to danger and how far she would go to find the answers for herself.

I think as the series progresses from here I would like to learn more about Hanlon’s past. It would be interesting to find out about the case that she worked on, which lead to her being suspended. I really like the angle that Alex Coombs has given this series, and it does make it feel very fresh in the crime fiction genre. I’m sure I’ll be hopping on board to find out what happens next.

This is a strong and a well plotted crime novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The writing keeps the pace flying forward. If you’re looking for a crime series with an original twist, I would definitely recommend it.

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication date: 14th April 2020

Print length: 286 pages

Silenced for Good is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo