The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith #bookreview #BlogTour @evecsmith @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Waiting Rooms by [Eve Smith]


Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.


If I’d read The Waiting Rooms a year ago, I think I would have thought that the idea of a global antibiotic crisis was something very far off in the future, beyond my lifetime. Then the coronavirus pandemic happened, and this idea became cemented in my mind as a terrifying possibility. This novel couldn’t be more timely. The Waiting Rooms is one of the most original reads I’ve recently read.

In Eve Smith’s debut novel, once you reach the age of seventy, you’re virtually written off by society. What the current crisis in the world has shown us is how vulnerable we are, and how we often take antibiotics and other pills for granted. We think of plagues and a health crisis as something associated with the medieval period, or at least I did, up until now. The thought that once you hit a certain age, you will be denied any lifesaving medicine is scary; you simply expect the health service to always be there for you.

We meet the lead character Kate during a delicate situation. She is having a meeting with a young couple, and they are talking about ending the life of the young woman’s father. The tension in the room is high. But this is Kate’s job, and this is her reality day in day out. Instead of being able to care for her patients as she would like to do, she has to administer the drug that will let them drift off peacefully. And if this isn’t hard enough for Kate, she is accused of heinous things by angry protesters including being a murderer. Kate is also desperate to find her birth mother, who gave her up for adoption soon after her birth. But as Kate tries to make contact, she finds out that her mother has put measures in place to stop her. But why wouldn’t she want to meet her daughter?

We’re also introduced to Lily, who is fast approaching her seventieth birthday. Lily is residing in a top-notch care home where fear is even more palatable. There are strict quarantine measures in place, much like there is today and even the tiniest scratch could mean the end for you. Lily also has a secret which she is desperately trying to keep covered up. Her worst fear is that someone will discover it.

Another voice we hear from is Mary. Eve Smith takes us back to twenty-seven years prior to the crisis happening. Mary is a scientist currently living in South Africa. She is twenty-three when she begins a relationship with Dr Bekker when they both discover that they share an interest in botany. I thought this part of the novel was really intriguing, and I wondered how it was going to feed into what was happening in the present. There is also tension in these scenes as well, as Eve Smith gives us an insight into what’s happening around the world with new outbreaks of diseases. I also loved the description of the South African landscape, which Eve Smith describes really well. Although it soon becomes clear how Mary’s story is connected to Lily’s, Eve Smith doesn’t reveal the shocking aftermath of these events until much later on in the book.

You can see that Eve Smith has done her research and even though it is a scary realistic prospect, I hope that this doesn’t happen until well beyond my time. I found the ending sad but very satisfying. The Waiting Rooms is one of those books which I’m sure you won’t be forgetting about in a hurry.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 9th April 2020 (kindle) 9th July 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

The Waiting Rooms is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones


FINAL The Waiting Rooms BT Poster

The Bone Jar by S W Kane #bookreview blog tour @kinkstah @RandomTTours #TheBoneJar #thriller #crimefiction

I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for The Bone Jar by S W Kane on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Bone Jar (Detective Lew Kirby Book 1) by [S W Kane]


Two murders. An abandoned asylum. Will a mysterious former patient help untangle the dark truth?

The body of an elderly woman has been found in the bowels of a derelict asylum on the banks of the Thames. As Detective Lew Kirby and his partner begin their investigation, another body is discovered in the river nearby. How are the two murders connected?

Before long, the secrets of Blackwater Asylum begin to reveal themselves. There are rumours about underground bunkers and secret rooms, unspeakable psychological experimentation, and a dark force that haunts the ruins, trying to pull back in all those who attempt to escape. Urban explorer Connie Darke, whose sister died in a freak accident at the asylum, is determined to help Lew expose its grisly past. Meanwhile Lew discovers a devastating family secret that threatens to turn his life upside down.

As his world crumbles around him, Lew must put the pieces of the puzzle together to keep the killer from striking again. Only an eccentric former patient really knows the truth—but will he reveal it to Lew before it’s too late?


The Bone Jar is a complex, chilling and an atmospheric police procedural by S W Kane. London is in the grips of one of the worst snowstorms for decades. When the body of an elderly woman is discovered in an abandoned asylum, scheduled for demolition, the police soon realise that this case isn’t going to be easy to solve. But who could have murdered someone so vulnerable? As they speak to people who knew the murdered woman, including her family, they uncover conflicting accounts about her. Was she a saint, or was she evil? Who held such a bad grudge against her that they wanted to see her dead?

The old asylum, Blackwater, which becomes the scene of the crime, gave the book a very haunting feeling. With the discovery of the body, it seemed to me that there were many undiscovered secrets about the place. Although the setting is near enough abandoned, there is one man who still lives there, who managed to claim squatter’s rights. Raymond Sweet is a former patient, but he isn’t willing to leave the area, even though he has been offered a handsome sum of money by the developers to do so. I wanted to know what he knew about the place, and it’s past. What went on when Raymond was a patient there? Did he know anything about the murdered woman? Raymond also has a secret which he is keen to protect at all costs.

As the plot developed, I became more and more intrigued about the woman, especially when dark secrets about her past were revealed. I was never able to guess how the plot was going to unfold and S W Kane built up the tension really well as the book came to a close.

I also really liked the two main characters. DI Lew Kirby is the detective working on the case, and I thought his character was well developed. He has a love for old cars but hates the police-issue Corsa he drives. Even his mother calls it a ‘student car.’ S W Kane also introduces us to Connie, an urban explorer who has a keen interest in the asylum. Both Connie and Lew are two really engaging characters who I would like to see explored further.

I have heard that The Bone Jar is the first book in a new trilogy and I’m excited to read what S W Kane has in store for us next. I highly recommend this book.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 1st July 2020

Print length: 328 pages

The Bone Jar is available to buy:

Amazon UK


The Bone Jar BT Poster

Down to the Woods by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview

I’ve finally caught up on M.J. Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series. I’m sharing my thoughts on the ninth book in the series, Down to the Woods on my blog today.

Down to the Woods: DI Helen Grace 8 (Detective Inspector Helen Grace) by [M. J. Arlidge]


If you go down to the woods today, you better not go alone . . .

The last thing Tom Campbell remembers is camping in the New Forest with his girlfriend, Melissa. Now he is helpless, alone and consumed by fear, hunted through the woods by a sinister, masked figure…

When Tom’s body is found, displayed with grisly relish, Helen Grace takes the case. But before she can catch her breath, a second victim is taken – there’s a serial killer on the loose.

Something dark and deadly stalks the forest. Helen and her team must race against time to catch the perpetrator, before more blood is shed.

But the hunt will take Helen back into the eerie twilit woods – and this time she might not make it out alive.


In Down to the Woods, the eighth novel in M.J. Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series, a killer is on the loose in the New Forest. DI Helen Grace is called to the scene after the body of a man is found hanging from a tree. It seems at first that this could be the work of an eco-warrior, as Helen and her team delve further into the man’s past. But then a woman is found in the same area, and this prompts belief that a sadistic killer is on the loose, who doesn’t care who their victims are. Unless they can find a connection between the victims, this will make it very hard to track the killer down.

What I love about these books is that M.J. Arlidge always keeps the pace turning up a notch and he uses short and snappy chapters. After reading the last book in the series a few weeks back, it had left me wondering how Helen and her team were getting on. There is also a new member of Helen’s team who M.J. Arlidge introduces us to, DS Joseph Hudson. It appears that he and Helen may have a future together, but if you’re a follower of this series, you will know that Helen and relationships don’t work well together. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops further. I think Helen deserves it after everything that she’s been through throughout the series.

Journalist, Emily Garanitia, is up to her usual tricks. You would think that she would have learned to have stepped back a little bit, after what happened to her in the previous novel. If anything, though, she seems more determined to break the rules to chase down a story, even if it means upsetting her boss. The only person who she seems to worry about is herself, and her own career prospects. I don’t particularly like her as a person, but she is compelling, and I wondered just how close she was going to get to the investigation. She’s always never far from Helen Grace.

DS Charlie Brooks is also in the spotlight in this novel. Her daughter is having night terrors at home, which are starting to have a negative impact on her work life. But Charlie’s relationship with Helen begins to improve again, and I really liked this aspect of the novel.

I don’t think this is my favourite of the series, but I would still definitely recommend reading the books in order, to get the most out of the characters and their individual stories. I’m looking forward to seeing what M. J. Arlidge has install for us next.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 20th September 2018

Print length: 473 pages

Down to the Woods is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

DI Helen Grace series:

Eeny Meeny

Pop Goes the Weasel

The Doll’s House

Liar Liar

Little Boy Blue

Hide and Seek

Love Me Not

Down to the Woods



The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton blog tour extract @KJHAuthor @Wildfirebks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part. As part of the blog tour I’m sharing an extract from the book. First, let’s take a look at what the book is about.

The Last Wife: The addictive and unforgettable new thriller from the Sunday Times bestseller by [Karen Hamilton]


Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.

Nina and Marie were best friends-until Nina was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before she died, Nina asked Marie to fulfill her final wishes.

But her mistake was in thinking Marie was someone she could trust.

What Nina didn’t know was that Marie always wanted her beautiful life, and that Marie has an agenda of her own. She’ll do anything to get what she wants.

Marie thinks she can keep her promise to her friend’s family on her own terms. But what she doesn’t know is that Nina was hiding explosive secrets of her own…


Clients trust me because I blend in. It’s a natural skill – my gift, if you like. I focus my lens and capture stories, like the ones unfolding tonight: natural and guarded expressions, self-conscious poses, joyous smiles, reluctant ones from a teenage bridesmaid, swathed in silver and blood-red. The groom is an old friend, yet I’ve only met his now-wife twice. She seems reserved, hard to get to know, but in their wedding album she’ll glow. The camera does lie. My role is to take these lies and spin them into the perfect story.

I take a glass of champagne from a passing server. I needn’t be totally on the ball during the latter half of the evening because by then, people naturally loosen up. I find that the purest details are revealed in the discreet pictures I snatch during the final hours, however innocuously an event starts. And besides, it seems this event is winding down.

The one downside of my job is the mixed bag of emotions evoked. I rarely take family photos any more, so normally, I’m fine, but today, watching the wedding festivities, the longing for what I don’t have has crept up on me. People think that envy is a bad thing, but in my opinion, envy is a positive emotion. It has always been the best indicator for me to realize what’s wrong with my life. People say, ‘Follow your dreams,’ yet I’d say, ‘Follow what makes you sick with envy.’

It’s how I knew that I must stop deceiving myself and face up to how desperately I wanted to have a child. Delayed gratification is overrated.

I place my camera on a table as the tempo eases and sit down on a satin-draped chair. As I watch the bride sweep across the dance floor with her new husband, I think of Nina, and an overwhelming tide of grief floods through me. I picture her haunted expression when she elicited three final promises from me: two are easy to keep, one is not. Nonetheless, a vow is a vow. I will be creative and fulfil it. I have a bad – yet tempting – idea which occasionally beckons me towards a slippery slope.

I must do my best to avoid it because when Nina passed the baton to me, she thought I was someone she could trust. However, as my yearning grows, the crushing disappointment increases every month and the future I crave remains elusive. And she didn’t know that I’d do anything to get what I want. Anything.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 25th June 2020

Print length: 384 pages

The Last Wife is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones



Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds #blogtour #bookreview @Rod_WR @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be re-sharing my review for Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Blood Red City by [Rod Reynolds]


When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime.

Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.


I must admit, I’ve still not read Rod Reynolds previous Charlie Yates novels, they have been sat waiting patiently on my TBR pile for far too long. Now that I have read his latest, Blood Red City, I’m determined to get to them as soon as possible. For those of you that like an action-filled book that gets going right from the first page, and doesn’t let up, you will love this one. As I was reading it, the book put me in mind of the recent BBC Drama, The Capture, so if you were a fan of the series, I think you will enjoy this. This book blew me away!

The hook is there right from the start when journalist, Lydia, is shown a video of an apparent assault on a man in the London Underground. More recently Lydia has been covering the show business section which she hates, and she sees this as an opportunity to get back to doing what she loved. But as she investigates the case further, it seems that no one appears to have witnessed anything. In the era of fake news, it’s little wonder that it may seem that the whole video Lydia has seen could be a lie. Whatever the cost, she is determined to find out what happened. Who is the man? What if there has been a cover-up? As Lydia’s investigations get underway, she falls under the eye of some frightening individuals, and it becomes very clear that by investigating this matter to bring out the truth, she is putting her own life at risk.

As the plot of gets underway, we are introduced to another individual who comes across as ruthless and dangerous, a criminal mastermind. Michael Stringer becomes aware of Lydia’s investigations, and he attempts to track her down. But what is his purpose here? What interest does he have in what Lydia is doing? Is he somehow connected to the video?

When Rod Reynolds first introduces us to Michael, he made me feel nervous. I could see that he is someone who is cunning and that he has a lot of power at his fingertips. I feared for Lydia at this point as I could see that she was sailing closer and closer to danger, and I didn’t know what was going to be around the corner for her. I felt this especially when in the scenes when Lydia was under surveillance and Rod captured the sense of the chase well in his writing, and he raised the tension.

Blood Red City has an action fueled plot which will keep you turning the pages as each chapter presents a heart-racing new turn of events. Rod Reynolds wraps the book up really well, and I am hoping that there is going to be another book following this one. This is brilliant, highly, highly recommend!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 11th April 2020 (kindle) 23rd July 2020

Print length: 300 pages

Blood Red City is available to buy:

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones 


Blood Red City BT Poster

The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven #bookreview

I realise I’m very late to the party with this book. I finally got the chance to read The Puppet Show this week and I am kicking myself that I haven’t read it sooner.


A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of. Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it. As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …


I have been meaning to give M. W. Craven’s Washington Poe series a go for months now and I’m so pleased that I’ve finally had the time to do so. After reading so many rave reviews for this series, I can see what I’ve been missing out on. The Puppet Show is one of the best police procedurals I’ve read. Detective Washington Poe is a force to be reckoned with, and he is certainly not a person who you want to get on the wrong side of. His partnership with Tilly Bradshaw is brilliant. Tilly suffers from her own problems and struggles with social skills, which often makes her a target for bullies. I thought she was such a unique character in the crime fiction field, and I can’t wait to see how her friendship with Poe develops further.

I liked Washington Poe right from the moment when M. W. Craven first introduces him. I really liked how he stepped in and defended Tilly in the opening chapters. He would be a great friend to have, but you certainly wouldn’t want him as an enemy. Washington has been called in to deal with a horrific case after the burnt out body of a man has been discovered in a stone circle. The case bears all the hallmarks of a ritual killing, but what is all the more disturbing, is that Washington’s name has been carved into the victim’s skin. This discovery prompts the police to believe that Washington may well be the killer’s next intended victim.

I think Washington’s friendship with Tilly is one of the strongest parts of this book. Unlike some of her colleagues, Poe recognises her talents, and he often appreciates her honesty which is really refreshing. But the plot as well is extremely gripping. I wanted to find out the reasons behind the gruesome murders, and the search for answers take Poe and Tilly to some very dark places. Normally when I read police procedurals, I have a couple of suspects in mind, but I didn’t have a clue who the culprit behind the killings was. I would say that this book isn’t for the faint-hearted as there are some pretty disturbing scenes along the way.

The Puppet Show is a book that you could devour in a matter of hours. After finishing the first book in the series, I’ve already ordered the second book, and I can’t wait to catch up Tilly and Poe again. I suppose one of the advantages of starting a series, several books in, is that I don’t have to wait patiently for the next book to be released. If you enjoy crime novels with a mixture of horror, then this is the book for you, if you haven’t come across it already.

Publisher: Constable

Publication date: 7th June 2018

Print length: 368 pages

The Puppet Show is available to buy:

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones

Safe by S.K. Barnett #bookreview blog tour @SK_Barnett @arrowpublishing @RandomTTours #Safe

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Safe by S.K. Barnett today on my blog. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.



She was only six years old when she disappeared. Posters went up, the police investigated.

But no one could find her.

Now, twelve years later, she’s home.

And knocking at your door.

You’re so happy to see her. But soon you start to wonder why she can’t answer your questions.

Where has she been? How did she find her way home?

And who is she?


From the first page of this book, I was gripped to the narrative and the writing style. Safe is a dark, twisty novel, and it pulls you deep into the story, you won’t want to stop reading until you have found out the truth.

The pace in this book rockets along. In the opening chapters, a young woman turns up in what was once her hometown and goes to the police station. She believes she is a girl who vanished from the town in 2007, who hasn’t been seen since. The case sparked a massive public effort to find her when she first went missing, but now there is little evidence that a kidnapping happened in the town all these years later. When the girl’s parents meet her, they are delighted and thankful to have their daughter back. But her brother has reservations. But what is it that he knows about his sister’s disappearance that his parents don’t? Why doesn’t he believe that this woman is the sister he lost twelve years earlier?

I was intrigued from the moment I first met the girl who claims to be the missing girl. As the police sat down to interview her, I wanted to know where she had been for the past twelve years and how she managed to escape from her kidnappers? I also wondered if they would come after her, and it seemed as though she was in constant danger. This was what I thought made this book original. Once a missing child is found, you would expect them to feel safe, for the nightmare to be over. But that isn’t the case here.

It’s really hard to talk about this book without giving anything away. S.K. Barnett created a claustrophobic feeling as the girl becomes reacquainted with the family who lost her. But there was an eerie atmosphere as she begins to settle into her new life. I was desperate to know what was really going on here and if everything was as it seems. It was the same feeling that you sometimes get when you wonder if something is too good to be true. I knew there was a lot more to discover here.

From quite early on in the book, I thought I had the ending worked out, and although I was partly correct, S.K. Barnett managed to throw in a final twist that I didn’t see coming. I thought the whole concept of Safe was very original, and I thought it was told really well. The author creates heart-pounding suspense and keeps you guessing as the story unfolded.

This is definitely one of those books that will have you reading well into the night. It was a top read for me. Highly recommended.

Publisher: Century

Publication date: 11th June 2020

Print length: 336 pages

Safe is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Waterstones


Safe BT Poster

The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the second book in the DI Amy Winter series by Caroline Mitchell, The Secret Child today on my blog.

The Secret Child (A DI Amy Winter Thriller Book 2) by [Caroline Mitchell]


DI Amy Winter knows evil. She’s lived through it.

Four-year-old Ellen is snatched by a stranger in the dead of night. Her devastated mother, Nicole, receives four identical phials and a threatening note in a familiar scrawl that chills her to the bone. But she always knew this would happen. She’s been expecting it for years . . .

According to the note, one of the phials is poisoned. Nicole is given a deadly challenge: if she drinks one, the sadistic kidnapper will notify the police of Ellen’s location. The sender claims to be Luka Volkov but Luka is supposed to be dead, killed long ago in a fire that haunts all those involved.

DI Amy Winter is still reeling from the discovery that she is the daughter of a serial killer, and her childhood trauma only makes her more determined to bring Ellen home. When another child is taken, Amy finds herself in a race against time. To rescue the children, must she seek help from the one person she wants to forget?


Caroline Mitchell’s latest book in the DI Amy Winter series, The Secret Child is an exhilarating read right from the get-go. Caroline Mitchell opens the book with a chilling scene when a man gains access to the room of a young girl. He gains her trust, and she follows him outside. But what are the man’s intentions? It becomes clear that he is a man intent on revenge, but what is it that her family has done? Why has he taken an innocent young girl?

Caroline Mitchell keeps you thinking and guessing right throughout this book. As the investigation into the young girl’s disappearance begins, the suspect is identified, but there’s a problem. The man who claims to be behind the girl’s disappearance is dead, so who is the person who is claiming to be him? Are they really who they say they are?

The writing keeps you utterly gripped to the page. For Amy and her team, the investigation soon turns into a game of cat and mouse when they receive contact from the kidnapper. He is willing to reveal the location of the girl, but he has a string of demands, and he wants a secret that has been kept buried for decades to finally be revealed. This is what made the book really tense. Amy knows that she has to play her cards right; otherwise, it could mean devastation for the young girl and her family.

What follows on from the previous book is Amy’s horrific new reality, after she received contact from her birth mother, who is in prison for a string of murders. Amy’s parents were known as ‘the beasts of Brentwood,’ and it is a scar she has had to carry. She desperately hopes that the secret won’t get out amongst her team; she fears this as she wonders if it will make them view her differently. This is a really fascinating part of Amy’s life, and it is going to be interesting to see how this develops from here.

The secrets that have been kept for decades are horrific. I could see why the suspect wanted to carry out what he was doing. There are some devastating reveals as the book reached its conclusion. After reading the first two books in this series back-to-back, I can’t wait to see what Caroline Mitchell has install for us next. If you’re a crime fiction lover, you need to read these books.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 7th March 2019

Print length: 330 pages

The Secret Child is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Remain Silent by Susie Steiner #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Remain Silent, the third book in the Detective Manon Bradshaw series by Susie Steiner on my blog today.


The body of a young migrant is found hanging from a tree.

No signs of struggle. No indication that it is anything other than a tragic suicide.

Except for a note, pinned to his trousers, that reads ‘The dead cannot speak’.

A murder investigation begins with DI Manon Bradshaw at the helm. But with the other migrants unwilling to speak, and protests on the streets, hatred is starting to drown out the facts.

Can Manon uncover the truth before it happens again?


Susie Steiner’s new novel, Remain Silent is a powerful and a heart-breaking read. I am a huge fan of Detective Manon Bradshaw and Susie’s writing, so when I started reading this book, I didn’t want to rush it. I wouldn’t say that it’s fast-paced, but there’s something about Susie Steiner’s writing that holds your attention, and it draws you into the story very easily. This time around, however, the police investigation does seem to take a bit more of a back seat, as Susie Steiner explores the horrific world of human trafficking and the sufferings of those who fall into its trap.

Since she returned to Cambridgeshire, Manon has been assigned to the cold case team. Manon is about to be thrown headfirst into a new investigation, though, when she discovers the body of a Lithuanian man hanging from a tree. Manon and her team are soon directed to a group of Lithuanian migrants. Susie Steiner paints a stark portrayal of the horrific conditions these men are living in who have travelled to the UK in the search for a better life. Manon knows that she will have a difficult job of getting the men to tell the truth as they are terrified of the gang masters. But as the investigation gets underway, Manon’s own world begins to crumble apart, and she soon finds herself in a desperate situation.

Although Susie Steiner tackles some dark and horrific subjects, there is also a lot of humour in her books, and this is what I really like about her writing. Manon has a brilliant sense of humour, and I absolutely love reading the conversations that she has with her friends, especially with Bryony. I’m often howling with laughter when I read the conversations they have together, and that’s what makes these books such a joy to read. I think she would be a great person to chat to if you were going through a tough time; she would soon make you feel better.

Susie Steiner also explores Manon’s relationship with her adoptive son, Fly, further in this book. I enjoyed this part of the novel as well. Manon has recently given birth so it did make me wonder if this would have an impact on her relationship with Fly.

Susie Steiner’s writing is what makes these books unmissable. If you haven’t yet read these books, then you need to. This is crime fiction at its very best!

Publisher: The Borough Press

Publication date: 28th May 2020

Print length: 368 pages

Remain Silent is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The July Girls by Phoebe Locke #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The July Girls by Phoebe Locke on my blog today.

The July Girls: The most 'extraordinary' summer chiller of 2019 by [Phoebe Locke]


Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost.

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives . . .


I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to read The July Girls. I read Phoebe Locke’s debut novel, The Tall Man a couple of years ago and when this book was released, I heard so many good things about it from fellow bloggers. Phoebe’s writing draws you into the story right from the first page. In her latest book, her narrator is ten-year-old Addie, and it follows her through into her teenage years. Addie is the daughter of a suspected serial killer who has been targeting young women for years. One girl always disappears on the same night in July every year, the day of Addie’s birthday. Addie is also the police’s only hope of catching him.

I thought Addie’s voice in this book was really strong. On Addie’s tenth birthday, bombs are detonated across London and later on in the evening, Addie’s father returns home covered in blood. You can see just how frightened and confused she is when she begins to understand what her father has done. Phoebe Locke also creates a sense of fear that Addie’s father will come after her and that she and her sister, Jessie, aren’t safe. What is even creepier is that every year, for her birthday, Addie receives a gift in the post, an item which she suspects belonged to her father’s victims.

I was nine-years-old at the time of the 7-7 bombings, which happened six days before my tenth birthday, so it is not something that I specifically remember happening. This is what made it interesting for me, seeing everything unfold through Addie’s eyes. Although Addie knows that something terrible has happened, it seems to drift over her head; she is more concerned about the plans for later on in the afternoon as it is her birthday. Phoebe Locke captured the horror of what happened in her writing, even though it does not have a direct impact on the story.

I really liked Addie’s relationship that she had with her sister, Jessie. Jessie is the only motherly figure Addie has ever had, and you can see that they would do anything for each other. Jessie intrigued me as well. She is a few years older than Addie, and she seems to know about the crimes their father is responsible for. It made me wonder what she knew, and I kept turning the pages to find out the answers. Addie is also desperately craving answers about her mother and her father as well.

The July Girls isn’t a fast-paced book, but the suspense and tension build as the year’s progress when Addie begins to gain more knowledge about her father and her past. Phoebe Locke delivers an unpredictable ending that I did not see coming. This book is the perfect summer read.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 27th June 2019

Print length: 352 pages

The July Girls is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones