Last Place You Look by Louisa Scarr #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the first book in a new police procedural series by Louisa Scarr, Last Place You Look.

Last Place You Look: A gripping police procedural crime thriller (Butler & West Book 1) by [Louisa Scarr]


The man you love has been murdered. You’d do anything to find out the truth. Wouldn’t you?

A man lies dead in a hotel room, and the police attend his home address to inform the widow. Nothing unusual, until DC Freya West realises that the victim is the man she has been having an affair with. The future she imagined has been snatched away.

Meanwhile, her new boss, DS Robin Butler, is preoccupied with his own problems. Mistakes he thought were buried deep in his past now threaten to be exposed. Before long, both Butler and West are keeping secrets that could end their careers – and worse.

When the detectives have a chance to tell the truth, they choose to keep quiet. But once that line is crossed, is there any going back? After all, breaking the law is easy when you know how to uphold it.


Last Place You Look is the first book in a new police procedural series by Louisa Scarr, featuring detectives Robin Butler and Freya West. It opens with an intriguing opening scene, and Louisa does explore some interesting topics in her book, which I haven’t seen explored too much before in crime fiction.

The discovery of the body of a man in a hotel room, who seems to have died in a sex game gone wrong, prompts the start of a complex investigation. As Freya and Robin begin to investigate, their own personal lives begin to get caught up in the work they are doing, and this complicates matters further. Their investigations also take them into some seedy areas as they try to solve the case, such as sex clubs and swingers parties.

There isn’t a lot of fast paced action in this book, but I was really intrigued and I thought Freya and Robin’s personal lives were fascinating. They are both two very different characters but they work together really well. Robin is a deeply complex character. He has suffered from trauma in his past and Louisa Scarr gradually reveals what happened as the novel progresses. You can certainly feel a lot of the emotions that he is experiencing. Freya is also going through something deeply traumatic, and her emotions too, also come through very strongly in Louisa’s writing.

The tension builds in this book as we begin to understand more about Freya and Robin. I don’t want to give too much away here, but as we get to know more about them, it did make me wonder what impact this would have on the case. Both of their lives are very interesting, and I am looking forward to seeing where Louisa Scarr takes them next. What has happened to them in this book has made me wonder how things for them will move forward from here.

Last Place You Look is an intriguing start to a new series, and I’m definitely going to be getting the next book. Crime fiction fans, you definitely need to add this to your TBR pile, if you haven’t done so already.

Publisher: Canelo Crime

Publication date: 8th April 2021

Print length: 362 pages

Last Place You Look is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

My top 10 reads of 2021

It’s hard to believe that this year is drawing to a close. It has been good to see some live book events return this year. I was really pleased to get to the Theakston Crime Festival in July, even though it was a bit different to how it usually is, it was still a great weekend.

It’s been really difficult to choose a top ten this year. I’ve managed to read a total of 146 books this year so far. These are the books that have stayed with me throughout the year. In no particular order:

Fragile: Secrets and Betrayal in the Stunning Break-out Psychological Thriller from the Theakstons' Crime Novel of the Year Winner by [Sarah Hilary]

I am a big fan of Sarah Hilary’s writing. I love her Marnie Rome books but Fragile is her first standalone psychological thriller. You can read my full review by clicking here.

When I read When I Was Ten, I knew straight away it would be in my top ten books of the year. To read my full review, you can click here.

The Beresford by [Will Carver]

The Beresford is perfect for you if you are looking for a chilling read. I flew through it. You can read my full review by clicking here.

When They Find Her: An unputdownable thriller with a twist that will take your breath away by [Lia Middleton]

The twist at the end of When They Find Her blew my mind. It is such a gripping read. You can read my full review by clicking here.

Black Reed Bay: The MUST-READ thriller of 2021 … first in a heart-pounding new series (Detective Casey Wray, Book 1) by [Rod Reynolds]

Black Reed Bay is the start of what I hope will be a long running series featuring Detective Casey Wray. You can read my full review by clicking here.

Vine Street: THE TIMES Crime Book of the Month by [Dominic Nolan]

Vine Street by Dominic Nolan is a really brilliant book. To read my full review you can do so by clicking here.

Shiver: a gripping locked room mystery with a killer twist by [Allie Reynolds]

Shiver is the perfect book to read this winter if you haven’t got round to reading it yet. You can read my full review by clicking here.

Girl A: The Sunday Times and New York Times global best seller, an astonishing new crime thriller debut novel from the biggest literary fiction voice of 2021 by [Abigail Dean]

I was a huge fan of Girl A when I read it earlier in the year. It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. You can read my full review by clicking here.

The Last House on Needless Street: The Bestselling Richard & Judy Book Club Pick by [Catriona Ward]

I loved, loved this book. It is very creepy and very original. You can read my full review of The Last House on Needless Street by clicking here.

Bad Apples: 'The stand out in a truly outstanding series.' Chris Whitaker (The Tuva Moodyson Mysteries Book 4) by [Will Dean]

I’m a big fan of Will Dean’s writing and I loved his latest book, Bad Apples. I read this over Halloween and it was the perfect creepy read. You can read my full review by clicking here.

I hope you have a brilliant year in 2022.

Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping novel by Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Daughters of Night.


From the pleasure palaces and gin-shops of Covent Garden to the elegant townhouses of Mayfair, Laura Shepherd-RobinsonDaughters of Night follows Caroline Corsham as she seeks justice for a murdered woman whom London society would rather forget . . .

London, 1782. Desperate for her politician husband to return home from France, Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham is already in a state of anxiety when she finds a well-dressed woman mortally wounded in the bowers of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The Bow Street constables are swift to act, until they discover that the deceased woman was a highly paid prostitute, at which point they cease to care entirely. But Caro has motives of her own for wanting to see justice done, and so sets out to solve the crime herself. Enlisting the help of thieftaker Peregrine Child, their inquiry delves into the hidden corners of Georgian society, a world of artifice, deception and secret lives.

But with many gentlemen refusing to speak about their dealings with the dead woman, and Caro’s own reputation under threat, finding the killer will be harder, and more treacherous, than she can know . . .


I loved Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s debut novel, Blood & Sugar when I read it a couple of years ago. I was really excited to get a copy of her latest, Daughters of Night and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get round to reading it. This is an outstanding book and Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s writing draws you into the setting and she brings Georgian London to life to well. It is so rich in historical detail that it feels as though the past has come back to life.

Following the brutal murder of a young woman, Caroline Corsham employs Peregrine Child, a thief-taker, to help her find out what happened and who murdered her. The young woman, whose body has been found, is a prostitute and most of society would much rather forget about her. There are many people high up who, it appears, are trying to cover up their tracks and prevent the murder from being solved. But Corsham and Child are determined to find out what happened, regardless of what the rest of society says. Their investigations take them into the city’s dark underbelly and into the treacherous world of prostitution and they put themselves in very real danger.

Laura Shepherd-Robinson has written a really intriguing mystery on Daughters of Night. Her writing is very immersive and although this is quite a long book, it didn’t feel like that at all, I was flying through the pages. I really admired Caro for wanting to get justice for the young woman who had been murdered, Lucy Loveless, who it feels would not have had a voice to be heard otherwise were not for Caro. Caro did briefly appear in Laura’s debut novel so it has been good to get to know her better. She is the wife of Captain Henry Corsham, the main protagonist in Blood & Sugar, and is waiting for the return of her husband, who has been abroad in France for many weeks. Although she did appear in the Laura’s last book, this book can easily be read as a standalone.

I thought Peregrine Child was also a very engaging and intriguing character. He and Caro work together really well as they both fight to get justice for Lucy. We also meet Pamela whose viewpoint the story is also told from and she is a very intriguing character as well. There are so many layers in this book which add depth and mystery to the plot. I loved how Laura brought her characters to life. They feel like real historical figures who you might read about in a history book.

Daughters of Night is a book which you can really lose yourself in. It is very entertaining and it is crying out to be turned into a television drama. I can’t wait to read what Laura Shepherd-Robinson writes next.

Publisher: Mantle

Publication date: 18th February 2021

Print length: 592 pages

Daughters of Night is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Thriller Challenge

I spotted this challenge on Crime by the Book’s Instagram page and I thought I’d give it a go in a blog post. The challenge is this, show a thriller with:

  1. Your favourite detective
  2. Your favourite villan
  3. Your favourite plot twist
  4. A creepy setting
  5. An unreliable narrator
  6. A cover your obsessed with
  7. An ending you never saw coming

My favourite detective:

Someone Else’s Skin (DI Marnie Rome 1) by [Sarah Hilary]

I love Detective Inspector Marnie Rome in Sarah Hilary’s police procedural series. I go back to these book so often and I loved seeing her develop over the course of six books. I’m hoping she is going to return in a new book soon.

My favourite villan:

Evil Games: A gripping, heart-stopping thriller (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Series Book 2) by [Angela Marsons]

I love Dr Alexandra Thorn in the Kim Stone books by Angela Marsons. She made her first appearance in book two in the series, Evil Games and I always get really excited whenever she has appeared in the series since.

My favourite plot twist:

I Let You Go: The Richard & Judy Bestseller by [Clare Mackintosh]

The twist in I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh really blew my mind. I read it a good few years ago now and I still haven’t forgot about. It remains one of my all time favourite reads.

A creepy setting:

The Lingering by [SJI Holliday]

The Lingering by SJI Holliday has a really creepy setting. It really gave me chills as I was reading it. It’s the perfect ghost story.

An unreliable narrator:

Behind Her Eyes: The No. 1 Sunday Times best selling thriller with a shocking twist, now a major Netflix series! by [Sarah Pinborough]

The characters in this book really held my attention and they are definitely unreliable. Behind Her Eyes was recently adapted for Netflix and I thought they did a really good job with it.

A cover your obsessed with:

The Sanatorium: The spine-tingling breakout Sunday Times bestseller and Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick by [Sarah Pearse]

I really like this cover for The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse. I think it really draws you into the setting.

An ending you never saw coming:

When They Find Her: An unputdownable thriller with a twist that will take your breath away by [Lia Middleton]

The ending in When They Find Her by Lia Middleton really took me by surprise.

What would your answers be? Let me know.

Lightseekers by Femi Kayode #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the brilliant debut novel by Femi Kayode, Lightseekers.

Lightseekers: 'Intelligent, suspenseful and utterly engrossing' by [Femi Kayode]


They already know who killed the men. What they don’t know is why.

When three young students are brutally murdered in a Nigerian university town, their killings – and their killers – are caught on social media. The world knows who murdered them; what no one knows is why.

As the legal trial begins, investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo is contacted by the father of one of the boys, desperate for some answers to his son’s murder. But Philip is an expert in crowd behaviour and violence, not a detective, and after travelling to the sleepy university town that bore witness to the killings, he soon realises that someone really doesn’t want him there and will do anything to prevent him learning the truth.

Will he uncover what really happened to the Okiri Three?


Lightseekers is a brilliant debut by Femi Kayode. He has crafted a stunning novel with a real sense of place. I was pulled into this book from the first page and it was so engrossing and it felt really fresh as well.

We are introduced to psychologist Philip Taiwo who has travelled to Nigeria to investigate the deaths of three young boys. It is a case which has been brushed under the carpet but the boy’s families believe that there is something more to uncover here. It is Philips job to uncover the reasons why the boys were killed and hopefully provide some answers for their family.

When Philip Taiwo lands in Nigeria it seems as though there is uneasiness in the air. Femi Kayode explores the tensions between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria in his book, which for me, made for really enlightening reading. I don’t know an awful lot about Nigeria, but Femi Kayode’s writing really made me feel as though I was there, experiencing the conflicts between its people and also the landscape as well. This also adds to the tension that is there throughout the book, simmering away in the background. It also creates a real sense of foreboding, especially as Philip tries to piece together what was going on behind the scenes here.

Philip was a really interesting and likeable character. He has just recently returned from the United States and so has become accustomed to their way of living. He knows he has a tough task ahead of him but you can also see that he is determined to do his best to give the victim’s families answers. You can see that his doing this for the families and not himself. But soon, Philip finds himself very close to danger. This creates a lot of tension in the book which makes it really gripping as well. I had no idea how things were going to unfold for Philip and I wanted him to find the answers he was looking for.

There are a number of shady characters in the book who Philip is introduced to after he arrives in Nigeria. They each add to the sense of mystery in the novel. I really liked the friendship that develops between Philip and Chika, who picks him up from the airport, but who soon plays a much bigger role in the story.

Lightseekers is an utterly compelling read. Philip is a lead character who you will be rooting for right from the first moment when you are first introduced to him. I will definitely be reading what Femi Kayode writes next.

Publisher: Raven Books

Publication date: 4th February 2021

Print length: 414 pages

Lightseekers is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

First Monday Crime December @1stMondayCrime

It’s hard to believe that this is the final First Monday Crime panel of the year. We have four more brilliant authors appearing on next week’s panel. But before I reveal more details about who will be appearing and how you can access the event, let’s find out a little bit about the authors and the books.

The Dark by Emma Haughton

The Dark: The unputdownable and pulse-raising Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month by [Emma Haughton]

In the most inhospitable environment – cut off from the rest of the world – there’s a killer on the loose.

A&E doctor Kate North has been knocked out of her orbit by a personal tragedy. So when she’s offered the opportunity to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice.

The move seems an ideal solution for Kate: no one knows about her past; no one is checking up on her. But as total darkness descends for the winter, she begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death wasn’t accidental at all.

And the more questions she asks, the more dangerous it becomes . . .

Fragile: Secrets and Betrayal in the Stunning Break-out Psychological Thriller from the Theakstons' Crime Novel of the Year Winner by [Sarah Hilary]

Everything she touches breaks . . .

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperately trying to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong.

So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands.

But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees he is hiding secrets of his own.

But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easily they can be to break . . .

The Christmas Murder Game: The must-read murder mystery for Christmas 2021 by [Alexandra Benedict]

Twelve clues.
Twelve keys.
Twelve days of Christmas.
But who will survive until Twelfth Night?

Lily Armitage never intended to return to Endgame House – the grand family home where her mother died twenty-one Christmases ago. Until she receives a letter from her aunt, asking her to return to take part in an annual tradition: the Christmas Game. The challenge? Solve twelve clues, to find twelve keys. The prize? The deeds to the manor house.

Lily has no desire to win the house. But her aunt makes one more promise: The clues will also reveal who really killed Lily’s mother all those years ago.

So, for the twelve days of Christmas, Lily must stay at Endgame House with her estranged cousins and unravel the riddles that hold the key not just to the family home, but to its darkest secrets. However, it soon becomes clear that her cousins all have their own reasons for wanting to win the house – and not all of them are playing fair.

As a snowstorm cuts them off from the village, the game turns deadly. Soon Lily realises that she is no longer fighting for an inheritance, but for her life.

This Christmas is to die for . . . Let the game begin

A bumper collection of delightful stories featuring Bruno, Chief of Police and France’s favourite cop, all set in the beautiful Dordogne valley and the ravishing Perigord region of the south west. Here is a landscape of meandering rivers with medieval castles overlooking their banks, of lush hillsides and spreading vineyards, of delicious local wines and world renowned cuisine.

With titles like ‘The Chocolate War’; ‘The Birthday Lunch’; ‘Oystercatcher’; ‘A Market Tale’ and ‘Fifty Million Bubbles’, you may be sure that champagne and gastronomy will feature as well as cosy crime in ‘Dangerous Vacation’. Bruno strides through these tales, staying calm. settling local disputes and keeping safe his beloved town of St Denis.

Only on one occasion does he panic: in ‘Bruno’s Challenge’, his friend Ivan, proprietor and chef of the town’s popular eatery, suddenly collapses on the eve of a large anniversary dinner, and he asks Bruno to take over the restaurant. After a few protests followed by some deep breaths, the inimitable Bruno meets his challenge and saves the day.

First Monday Crime will be back live on their Facebook page from 19.30 pm. Jake Kerridge is moderating the panel. To access the event you can do so by clicking on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook page.

First Monday Crime

The Girl in the Ground by Stacy Green #bookreview #blogtour @stacygreen26 @bookouture

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Stacy Green, The Girl in the Ground.

The Girl in the Ground: A completely gripping mystery and suspense thriller (Nikki Hunt Book 4) by [Stacy Green]


She was beautiful: shiny blond hair, crystal blue eyes and the widest smile Nikki had ever seen. She thought back to what she had seen in the ground, the dirt that caked the white bones. All that remained of her now was the silver locket that was still around her neck…

When construction workers unearth a girl’s skeleton in Stillwater, Minnesota, Special Agent Nikki Hunt is called to the scene by her boyfriend Rory. Nikki knows instantly that the girl was murdered, but she is shocked when Rory immediately recognizes her. The victim was his childhood sweetheart, Becky, and he was the last person to see her before she went missing twenty-four years ago.

With the love of her life now a potential suspect, Nikki is forced to take a step back from the case. But then her colleague Liam finds lies in Rory’s statement – it appears that Becky may have been carrying Rory’s child when she was killed. Despite this, Nikki still thinks he could be innocent, and knows she must find the real killer herself if Rory stands any chance of walking free.

When Nikki finds a potential link to two pregnant girls who were found murdered years before it’s clear that this is the most twisted killer that she has ever faced. And then another girl goes missing from Stillwater. Can Nikki unearth the truth and protect the man she loves? And will she find the missing girl in time to save her life?


Stacy Green has become one of my favourite authors in the crime fiction genre. I love her Agent Nikki Hunt books. They are always really addictive and I really like Nikki. The latest case she is investigating in The Girl in the Ground, hits far too close to home when it’s her boyfriend, Rory who discovers the remains of a young woman at a building site. It might even be the case that Rory knew the victim.

I was really intrigued by the mystery in this book. It starts off with a chilling opening where we see two girls collecting river stones. And this scene ends on a very chilling note which made me want to read the rest of the book right away.

I’ve really liked seeing Nikki and Rory’s relationship develop over the course of the last few books and I was worried where this latest development would take them. You can see clearly how distressed Rory is at the finding the remains, but that doesn’t stop him from becoming a potential suspect in the eyes of Nikki’s colleagues. Rory’s emotion does come through very strongly in Stacy Green’s writing.

There is tension on every page as Nikki and her team race to find a killer. I wanted to know what the killer’s motive was and how this young woman had gone undiscovered in the ground for so long. I also wanted to know more about Rory’s connection to the victim. As in the previous books in the series, Stacy Green keeps the suspense and intrigue ticking up a notch with each new chapter. This is what I really love about her writing.

Things take an even more surprising turn when a pregnant woman, who is a surrogate, disappears. There are some very dark themes which Stacy Green explores in this book, including sex trafficking. It does make for tense reading when Stacy Green delves into the stories of the victims in her book. But she does this sensitively.

I really enjoyed The Girl in the Ground. I am a big fan of this series and this book is one of my favourites in the series. If you enjoy gripping detective novels, you won’t be disappointed.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 1st December 2021

Print length: 266 pages

The Girl in the Ground is available to buy:

Amazon UK


The Girl in the Ground - Blog Tour Poster

Fall by West Camel #bookreview #blogtour @west_camel @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by West Camel, Fall. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Fall by [West Camel]


Twins Aaron and Clive have been estranged for forty years. Aaron still lives in the empty, crumbling tower block on the riverside in Deptford where they grew up. Clive is a successful property developer, determined to turn the tower into luxury flats.

But Aaron is blocking the plan and their petty squabble becomes something much greater when two ghosts from the past – twins Annette and Christine – appear in the tower. At once, the desolate estate becomes a stage on which the events of one scorching summer are relived – a summer that shattered their lives, and changed everything forever…

Grim, evocative and exquisitely rendered, Fall is a story of friendship and family – of perception, fear and prejudice, the events that punctuate our journeys into adulthood, and the indelible scars they leave – a triumph of a novel that will affect you long after the final page has been turned.


West Camel is such a brilliant writer. I loved his debut novel and his latest book, Fall, is another brilliant, beautifully written piece of fiction. The prose is stunning and the characters are so well drawn. There is real magic in West Camel’s writing; it draws you into the worlds he creates and holds your attention.

We meet twin brothers, Aaron and Clive who both lived in the same apartment building in Deptford. It is their childhood home but both have different ideas for the future. The building is filled with ghosts from their path and this haunts them both. The brothers different ideas create a strain in their relationship. It also becomes apparent that there is a dark secret hidden in their past. I wanted to know more about this from very early on and I wanted to know what really went on between them. As the story unfolds West Camel begins to make clear why both brothers have a very different view of their home. And this is where the darker picture in the story begins to come clear.

The novel is told over a forty year period. In 1976 something horrific happened at the tower which has affected the lives of everyone who was there that night ever since.

All the characters came to life well. We also meet another set of twins Annette and Christine who lived in the tower block in the 70s. They were the towers first black residents and you can clearly see how many people in the building feel about this. They strike up a friendship with Aaron and Clive and I really enjoyed reading the scenes when they were together. The dialogue between them was really well done.

Zoë Goldsworthy is another interesting character. She designed the tower block and I loved that we got added bonus material in the book, drawings showing the building how Zoë imagined it. Zoë is a character who fascinated me from the moment we were introduced to her. I wanted to learn more about her background and what role she had in the story. 

There are some shocking final reveals as the full scope of the family tragedy becomes clear and West Camel reveals what really happened that fateful night that haunts Aaron and Clive’s memories. Fall is such a brilliant book and the title is perfect for it in so many ways. It is a multi-layered book that is so well written and thought out. West Camel is fast becoming a favourite writer of mine and I can’t wait to read what he writes next.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 9th October 2021 (kindle) 9th December 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

Fall is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones