The Forcing by Paul E. Hardisty #bookreview #blogtour @Hardisty_Paul @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Paul E. Hardisty, The Forcing. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.


Civilisation is collapsing. Frustrated and angry after years of denial and inaction, a ‘government of youth’ has taken power in North America, and deemed all those older than a prescribed age responsible for the current state of the world, and decreed they should be ‘relocated’, their property and assets confiscated.

David Ashworth, known by his friends and students as Teacher, and his wife May, find themselves among the thousands being moved to ‘new accommodation’ in the abandoned southern deserts – thrown together with a wealthy industrialist and his wife, a high court lawyer, two recent immigrants to America, and a hospital worker. Together, they must come to terms with their new lives in a land rendered unrecognisable.

As the terrible truth of their situation is revealed, lured by rumours of a tropical sanctuary where they can live in peace, they plan a perilous escape. But the world outside is more dangerous than they could ever have imagined. And for those who survive, nothing will ever be the same again…


The Forcing is an epic novel by Paul E. Hardisty which paints a vivid portrayal of what could lie in humanity’s future, if we don’t save the planet. I’ve always enjoyed dystopian fiction, but I only really read it in my teens. When I read the blurb for this novel, it sounded right up my street. I can’t believe that this is the first book by Paul E. Hardisty that I’ve read.

In this novel, the younger generation have taken over the business of running the country, and the older generations are being punished for their crime of not taking the threat of the climate emergency seriously. The younger generation hold their parents and grandparents responsible for the destruction of the planet, and for destroying their futures, and so they treat them with disdain. As the novel opens, we meet David Ashworth, who prefers to go by the name of Teacher, which was his profession, before the government forced him out of his job. David enjoyed his job, and the young people he taught did look up to him. David finds himself, along with his wife, May, being forced to move from Canada, to what was once South America, and is forced to live with strangers, and there are strict rules they need to live by.

People who are forced to live together, don’t always get along, we see this in reality television shows, and you can begin to see tensions forming here, as David becomes accustomed to this new way of life. Tensions also begin to show between David and May, and it is clear to see that May no longer loves him, and is angry that she is in this situation. David is more concerned about his inaction over the years as the world descended into chaos. You can see how angry May is and this comes across so clearly in Paul’s writing. She certainly doesn’t come across of someone who is filled with remorse, like David is for the part they played.

I could sense the real fight for survival there was, and how dangerous it was for the character’s to even be out doing something so simple, like a morning run. The tension really heats up when David, and the people who he has since moved in with, decide to write their own destiny, by trying their hardest to escape the situation they are in. This is where the action really gets going in the novel. I had no idea what was going to happen to them. I could also sense that there was hope here as they strove to find something better, and I was rooting for David all the way, but this isn’t going to be a journey that is plain sailing.

As well as being a book written to entertain, The Forcing is also a book written to make you think about our future prospects on this planet, highlighting how important it is that we change things now for the better. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can’t wait to read more of Paul E. Hardisty’s work. This is definitely a book that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 16th February 2023

Print length: 300 pages

The Forcing is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones


The Night They Vanished by Vanessa Savage #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest thriller by Vanessa Savage, The Night They Vanished.


A family with a secret.
A past about to catch up with them.

At thirty, Hanna has finally decided she’s better off without her family. They hold her responsible for the incident that ruined their lives fourteen years ago and they’ve barely spoken since.

But then, whilst browsing a true crime website, she sees her family home listed as the site of a brutal murder. Number of victims: three. Date of crime: today. When the police investigate, they find no bodies, but the house is abandoned. Hanna’s family have disappeared.

To find them, Hanna will have to confront what happened all those years ago.

And the person determined to make her pay for it . . .


The Night They Vanished is a twisty thriller by Vanessa Savage. I loved the concept of this book which immediately hooked me. The novel centres on a Dark Tourist Website, a website that explores horrific crimes that have taken place in the UK.

We meet the main character, Hanna, who has become estranged from her family. She now lives at the opposite end of the country to them, having not seen them, or had any correspondence with them for years. When she becomes romantically involved with Adam, after being pushed into going on a date with him by her friend, she discovers his fascination with cold cases, and the website that he has created that revolves around them. As she gets to know him, she is horrified to then find an article on the website showing her family’s home, and stating that her family have been murdered.

Hanna is a character with a really intriguing past. I wanted to know what had happened between her and her family, and why they had no contact with each other. I could see that there was a lot of hurt, particularly as the novel also switches to the viewpoint of her sister, Sasha, showing scenes months before the article appears on Adam’s website, who still lives with Hanna’s dad. She can’t understand why Hanna, who she still adores, has abandoned them, and I could see how much pain this causes her as Sasha tries to work out why Hanna won’t have anything to do with them. Vanesa Savage also paints clearly the affect this has had on Hanna’s father as well.

It is agonising for Hanna when she sees the article about her family’s house on Adam’s website, and even more so, when the police take what has been reported by Hanna seriously. Adam insists that he has nothing to do with the article and that his website must’ve been hacked, but I felt, like Hanna, that I couldn’t trust him and that he knew more than he was letting on. Hanna knows that to get answers she’ll need to revisit her past and this takes her back to the town where she grew up, and where her family have mysteriously vanished from.

It’s as Hanna begins to focus on her past again, that the plot becomes really twisty. I loved how Vanessa Savage totally flipped the novel on its head as the book raced towards its conclusion. This book definitely has a moment that’ll make readers drop the book in shock as they realise what they have just read.

The Night They Vanished is really entertaining and I flew through it in just a few sittings. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Sphere

Publication date: 5th May 2022

Print length: 385 pages

The Night They Vanished is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Lonely Lake Killings by Wes Markin #bookreview #blogtour @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Wes Markin, The Lonley Lake Killings. With thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.


A lonely recluse. A missing girl and a community in fear.

When the body of a young local girl is found next to an isolated lake, the main suspect is the old recluse who has lived next to the lake for many years – especially when the young girl’s purse is found on the old man’s doorstep.

But DCI Emma Gardner and her partner DI Paul Riddick aren’t so sure. Why would the old hermit leave such an obvious clue? And who would want to set the old man up?

As they dig deeper into the murder they discover a community in fear, determined to keep hold of long buried secrets. And Riddick is convinced that his own dark past is somehow linked to this crime, too.

Gardner fears that she may never get the answers she needs, until a break leads her down a path she’d rather not face. One that runs directly to her own front door…


The Lonely Lake Killings is the second book in the Yorkshire murder series by Wes Markin, and the first book by Wes that I’ve read. Although it is the second book, I felt it could be easily read as a standalone, and I had no problem at all in getting into the story. Wes Markin has created a really intriguing mystery with the murder of a young girl, Tia Meadows, and there are plenty of interesting character’s who had me contemplating who could’ve killed her and why.

Wes Markin creates a fascinating backstory for the character’s, who are the central focus point in this book, and these backstories give the character’s all a potential motive for the murder of Tia, which creates a tense atmosphere. Tia appears to have been involved with a few people in the run up to her death, and this creates a lot of work for DCI Emma Gardener and DI Paul Riddick to sift through. Her father, a multi-millionaire, with a shady background, is distraught about her death. Wes Markin delves into his background as the plot of the novel progresses, and I found these scenes, especially as Wes explored his childhood, very intense.

It took me just a couple of sittings to finish this book. Rick has a very interesting and a heart-breaking backstory as well, and I felt I really connected to his character as I was reading. I could see how much pain he is still in from the horrific trauma he has suffered. I think this is where I may have benefited more from reading the previous book in the series, but Wes Markin does explain what happened to Rick very well for new readers.

There are some shocking reveals about Tia and her father, which deepen the mystery surrounding her death even further, which is part of what makes this story a real page-turner, and why I flew through it so quickly.

This is a series I’ll definitely be keen to return to.

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication date: 15th February 2023

Print length: 373 pages

The Lonely Lake Killings is available to buy:

Amazon UK


Cold Reckoning by Russ Thomas #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest book in the DS Adam Tyler series by Russ Thomas, Cold Reckoning.



The death of DS Tyler’s father irrevocably changed his life. As a child, he believed Richard had killed himself but, as the years have passed, Tyler has grown convinced he was murdered.   

When a cold case lands on Tyler’s desk, there’s nothing immediately notable about it, apart from the link it has to his father. Richard was investigating the same case shortly before he died.
Finally, Tyler has a tangible link to the past, one that could give him the answers he has been looking for. And while there are dangerous people who will do anything to keep him quiet, he knows he has to keep digging.

Because you’d risk anything for your family – even your life.


The DS Adam Tyler series by Russ Thomas has become one of my favourites. Cold Reckoning is the latest book, and it is perhaps the most personal book yet for Adam, as he grapples with the mystery of his father’s death decades earlier, and the mysterious disappearance of his boss, DCI Diane Jordan. I definitely think this is my favourite book in this series to date.

There are a lot of strands in this novel, but Russ Thomas did a brilliant job of keeping everything flowing smoothly, and I never felt, as I was reading, that I was in anyway feeling lost with the story. The mysteries of what happened to Adam’s father and his boss really pulled me into the book. I could feel the sense of urgency there was for his need to get answers. I was kept intrigued right the way through. I was urging the police to take Diane’s disappearance more seriously, even though she is a police officer, it felt as though Adam was the only one pushing for an investigation.

The pacing never drops. There are some very mysterious chapters where there is an exchange between two unknown individuals, and I wanted to know how this was going to be connected to the rest of the plot. I really liked the way how Russ Thomas brought this all seamlessly together as Adam finds out the truth. There are some brilliant twists as the novel nears its conclusion, and I could not put it down, as we reached this point. There were some tense scenes between Adam and some of the characters in this book, and I’m not going to say who, because I don’t want to spoil it, but it made me unsure of whom Adam could really trust. This is what makes the novel so tense, especially as we get towards the ending. This book will have you looking at every character with suspicion.

Russ Thomas is definitely a writer who knows how to leave his readers wanting more. I’m desperate to find out what happens next in Adam’s journey following the conclusions of this book. I highly recommend this series.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Publication date: 12th May 2022

Print length: 461 pages

Cold Reckoning is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Nasty Little Cuts by Tina Baker #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Tina Baker, Nasty Little Cuts.


A nightmare jolts Debs awake. She leaves the kids tucked up in their beds and goes downstairs. There’s a man in her kitchen, holding a knife. But it’s not an intruder. This is her husband Marc, the father of her children.

Once, their differences were what drew them together. Him, the ex-army officer from a good family. Her, the fitness instructor who grew up over a pub. But now they grate to the point of drawing blood. Marc screams in his sleep. And Debs hardly knows the person she’s become, or why she lets him hurt her.

Neither of them is completely innocent. Neither is totally guilty. Marc is taller, stronger, and more vicious, haunted by a war he can’t forget. But he has no idea what Debs is capable of when her children’s lives are at stake…


Nasty Little Cuts is definitely one of the darkest books I’ve read and it is so tense. In Tina Baker’s latest thriller, I was never quite sure who I could trust as I was reading, and Tina paints a vivid portrayal of a couple whose marriage has reached breaking point.

We meet Deb and Marc. It is early in the morning on Christmas Eve, what should be a happy, joyous time, particularly for families, but their lives are about to implode. Tina Baker throws us straight into the action, with an explosive opening.

Deb and Marc have two children, who they both adore, but you can clearly see how much they have both come to hate each other. This is revealed as Tina Baker explores past moments in their relationship, and we can see how their past has led up to this moment in their lives. They are two really complex characters, neither of whom, I felt were particularly likeable. But what is clear, particularly from Debs, is how much she loves her children, and it is clear to see that she is willing to do anything to protect them, and this is what raises the stakes and ups the tension in the novel. Tina Baker tells the novel from both Debs and Marc’s perspective, and she has given them both really distinctive voices.

There is a real intensity to Tina Baker’s writing and she transports you into the world of her character’s, as we see everything revealed through their eyes. It really is powerful writing and so compelling. It made me feel as though I was a fly on the wall, observing everything that was going on in the house. And there is a real sense of darkness to the novel as well. It is definitely one of those books that commands your attention, and the writing ensures that you keep reading. Tina Baker certainly doesn’t shy away from the darkness that has seeped into Deb and Marc’s lives.

It was interesting, how my feelings towards the characters, changed throughout the book. Like I said earlier, I was never sure who I could trust, and this is what makes the story all the more gripping and it kept me invested, and I was shocked by Tina Baker’s final conclusions.

I highly recommend Nasty Little Cuts if you enjoy dark domestic noir. I’m really excited to read Tina’s next book.

Publisher: Viper

Publication date: 24th February 2022

Print length: 348 pages

Nasty Little Cuts is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Botanist by M.W. Craven #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest book by M.W. Craven, The Botanist.


This is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life…

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he’d still have his thumb left. There’s the guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. Insanely brilliant, she’s a bit of a social hand grenade. He’s known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.

And then there’s Estelle Doyle. Dark and dangerous and sexy as hell. It’s true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street, but has she gone too far this time? Shot twice in the head, her father’s murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints. Since her arrest she’s only said three words: ‘Tell Washington Poe.’

Meanwhile, a poisoner called the Botanist is sending the nation’s most reviled people poems and pressed flowers. Twisted and ingenious, he seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice given to his victims, and regardless of the security measures taken, he is able to kill with impunity.

Poe hates locked room mysteries and now he has two to solve. To unravel them he’s going to have to draw on every resource he has: Tilly Bradshaw, an organised crime boss, even an alcoholic ex-journalist. Because if he doesn’t, the bodies are going to keep piling up . . .


I love this series, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get round to reading The Botanist. I won’t be making that mistake with the next book. Once again M.W. Craven delivers the goods and he has come up with another action-packed ride for Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw.

Washington Poe is handed an extremely interesting case, following the murder of Kane Hunt, a person with extreme views, on live national television. The person, who is behind the murder, is subsequently known as the botanist, and it seems as though they are on a mission to kill the most hated people in the country. The problem Poe comes up with here, is that some people may agree with the botanist’s methods, particularly as the people who he is targeting certainly aren’t saints.

Another intriguing part of the plot is the arrest of one of Poe’s close friends, Estelle Doyle, following the death of her father. The police are convinced that she killed him, and the evidence is certainly pointing in her direction. Poe is desperate to fight her corner and clear her name. It feels at this point, as though he is facing an impossible task, particularly when the botanist strikes again, and he has to divide his time between the two cases. But Poe isn’t the type of person who would go back on a promise, and this is what makes this book such an incredibly tense and addictive read.

The two mysteries in this book are done so well, and they kept me hooked as I read on. I really couldn’t make my mind up about Estelle, as Poe tried to find out who killed her father and clear her name. I wanted Poe to be right, but another part of me was a tiny bit suspicious that perhaps, Estelle was guilty of her father’s murder, and if this was the case, where would this leave Poe. You can see in this book just how deeply he cares for her and how much he is willing to risk to save her. I loved the cat and mouse chase between Poe and the botanist, and I wanted to understand more about what was driving this person.

Once again M.W. Craven had me howling with laughter throughout the book, especially, as always, from Tilly and Poe’s conversations. They now feel like old friends, who it’s always a delight to spend time with. Tilly is such a well-crafted character, who always makes me smile as I’m reading. I also really like their boss, DI Flynn. I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, it’s the characters who really shine through in this series and they keep me coming back.

The Botanist is a brilliant addition to the series and I can’t wait to catch up with Tilly and Poe again.

Publisher: Constable

Publication date: 2nd June 2022

Print length: 496 pages

The Botanist is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

The Blood Line by Will Shindler #bookreview #blogtour @WillShindler @HodderBooks @AlainnaGeorgiou

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Will Shindler, The Blood Line as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Alainna Georgiou for inviting me to take part.


An ordinary day. An ordinary street. A gruesome delivery waiting on the doorstep that’s going to set off an spine-chilling chain of events…

Claire Beacham returns from a busy day at work to a parcel on her doorstep – no note, no label. As a politician, she’s used to being suspicious of anonymous hate mail but today she’s too tired to worry. She opens it, finding a gruesome surprise inside. A severed head falls to her kitchen floor; the rich, red drip of blood on her hands.

It is clear to Claire and those around her that this terrifying package is a message. But who sent it, and why?

It’s Claire’s first delivery – and won’t be her last.

DI Finn cannot enjoy the gentle return to his role in the Murder Investigation Team of the Metropolitan Police that he planned. Someone is targeting Claire and with every message comes another casualty. With the clock ticking, DI Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen must wade through the depths of the murky political sphere before the bodies start piling up.


Detective Alex Finn is back in Will Shindler’s latest book, The Blood Line. What I’ve come to expect from Will Shindler’s novels is an absolutely gripping opening, and he has delivered that again with this book. We see the murder of a young immigrant in the opening pages, which raises the questions, what has this man done to deserve this fate, who is the person who’s killed him? Then in another shocking twist, the man’s severed head is delivered to the house of MP Claire Beacham, who becomes the central focus point of the plot.

Will Shindler creates suspense really well in his book. I wanted to know what connection, if any, Claire Beacham had to the murdered man. Claire Beacham is just beginning to make a name for herself, due to her work supporting domestic abuse victims. Claire comes across as a character who will fight for you, if you came to her with a problem, so it was intriguing to see what she had done to make herself a target in this way, and this made her such a fascinating person to get to the bottom of. This novel explores some tough themes, which, sadly, have become a real reality in today’s world, particularly with recent news stories here in the UK.

As the investigation into the death of the young man, and any connection to Claire progresses, Will Shindler introduces us to some shady individuals, and one of them has Alex Finn in his sights. I won’t say much more here, but this was such a tense part of the story, as I wanted to know what this man wanted from Alex. You can quite clearly see how much danger Alex is in which adds to the tension, especially when he is unware of it.

I can’t end this review without briefly mentioning that ending. This book really has left me wondering what is to come for Alex and his team next. As things take a darker turn for Alex, it made me wonder what exactly was going to happen, and the final result is devastating.

The Blood Line is another excellent book in this series that continues to keep me invested. Crime fiction fans, you definitely need to be reading this series if you haven’t picked it up already.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 2nd February 2023

Print length: 357 pages

The Blood Line is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones


Expectant by Vanda Symon #bookreview #blogtour @vandasymon @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

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


The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave.

Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy.

For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that no one is safe and the clock is ticking…

The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave. 

Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy. 

For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that no one is safe and the clock is ticking… 


Vanda Symon knows how to write a gripping first chapter. Expectant is the latest book in her Detective Sam Shepherd series, and it is another belter of a crime novel. We are launched into the story with the discovery of a murdered woman by a group of teenagers, and even more horrifying, it soon becomes apparent that the woman was pregnant, and that her unborn child was taken from her.

This case hits very close to home for Sam. Sam, herself, is pregnant and just about to give birth. You know that the case of the murdered woman is going to become a very personal case for Sam. You can clearly see her determination to get to the bottom of this, and how frustrated she is, when her boss insists on taking her off the case, because she might be too emotionally close to the investigation. I wanted Sam to be the one to get to the bottom of things as I knew she would make sure that no stone would be left unturned, and I thought her boss was treating her very unfairly in this book, which made me want to yell at him in anger. But I was also worried that Sam might be putting herself and her unborn child in danger. There is still no understanding of what the motive is behind the killing of the young woman, and there is a sense of real threat that they may strike again, and this tension continues to build.

There is a real sense of foreboding throughout the novel as Sam and the team race to find the killer. As Sam and the team try and find a motive behind the killing of the woman, Sam looks into recent similar events to see if she can find a link. Although Expectant is a work of fiction, it is horrifying to think that there are cases, like what Vanda Symon describes in her book, that exist in real life. You can see the effect that learning about these cases has on Sam, as she prepares to give birth to her own child.

I was not expecting the revelations that came as Vanda Symon wrapped up the book. There are some heart-breaking reveals, that had me flying through the final chapters at top speed to see what the final outcome was going to be. I would have to say that Expectant is the best book in this series to date.

I can’t wait to see what’s next for Sam Shepherd. This series continues to go from strength to strength. I highly recommend Expectant.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 16th February 2023

Print length: 320 pages

Expectant is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones