I Dare You by Sam Carrington cover reveal @sam_carrington1 @AvonBooksUK

I have a very exciting cover reveal for you today on my blog. I was thrilled to be invited to share the cover of Sam Carrington’s new novel, I Dare You, which is out in December. But before I reveal the cover, let’s have a look at what the novel is about.

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AN INNOCENT GAME. A SHOCKING CRIME. A COMMUNITY FULL OF SECRETS.

Mapledon, 1989
Two little girls were out playing a game of dares. Only one returned home.
The ten-year-old told police what she saw: village loner Bill ‘Creepy’ Cawley dragged her friend into his truck and disappeared.
No body was found, but her testimony sent Cawley to prison for murder. An open and shut case, the right man behind bars.
The village could sleep safe once again.

Now…
Anna thought she had left Mapledon and her nightmares behind but a distraught phone call brings her back to face her past.
30 years ago, someone lied. 30 years ago, the man convicted wasn’t the only guilty party.
Now he’s out of prison and looking for revenge. The question is, who will he start with?

 

Now I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Can I have a drum roll please …

 

 

 

 

 

I DARE YOU PB

I Dare You, is being published on the 12th December 2019. But you can pre-order the book by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer cover reveal @carolewyer @bookouture

I’m delighted to be able to share with you the cover of Carol Wyer’s new novel, The Blossom Twins. But before I get on with the reveal, let’s take a look at what her new book is about.

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Their parents thought they were hiding…

One beautiful summer’s evening, thirteen-year-old twins Ivy and Erin Westmore snuggle down in a tent in their back garden, giggling and sharing secrets.

When their mother goes to wake the girls the next morning, their tent is empty.

The alarm is raised and Detective Natalie Ward is put onto the case. When the twins’ bodies are discovered on nearby marshland, covered with deep pink petals, an icy shiver travels down Natalie’s spine. Everything about the girls’ deaths reminds her of a horrifying case she worked on earlier in her career, which saw a killer of the worst kind placed behind bars.

The next day, that feeling is heightened when she receives a chilling note saying ‘I’m back’. Is this killer a copycat or did Natalie put the wrong person in prison all those years ago? In a small town, where no stranger goes unnoticed, what is Natalie missing?

Consumed by the case, determined to prevent more deaths, Natalie misses the fact that it is her attention the killer wants. And to get it, he has his sights set firmly on her precious daughter Leigh…

Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will keep you flying through the pages long into the night.

 

If you’re a fan of Carol’s books, as I am, it sounds like we’re in for a real treat. Now I’m sure you want to see the cover. Can I have a drum roll please …

 

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The-Blossom-Twins-Kindle

The Blossom Twins is published on the 12th December 2019 but you can pre-order it by clicking on the link below.

Amazon UK

Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown @IsabelAshdown @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

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When 17-year-old Eva Olsen awakes after a horrific accident that has left her bedbound, her parents are right by her side. Devoted, they watch over her night and day in the attic room of their family home in the forests of Norway.

But the accident has left Eva without her most recent memories, and not everything is as it seems. As secrets from the night of the accident begin to surface, Eva realises – she has to escape her parents’ house and discover the truth. But what if someone doesn’t want her to find it?

MY THOUGHTS

Lake Child is the second book by Isabel Ashdown, which I have read, and it’s a cracker. Dark, full of mystery and devastating secrets this is a book that will both thrill and chill you.

There was a very mysterious and sinister feeling to the opening pages. Teenager, Eva, is being held by her parents in a locked attic. Convinced her parents are hiding something from her, Eva is determined to find out what they are keeping secret. We also know that Eva was involved in a horrific accident. The police haven’t been able to find the person responsible for what happened. The local community are gripped by what has happened to Eva as it isn’t very often that such a harrowing, but exciting event happens in their local area.

I loved the setting of Isabel’s latest book, Norway, and I loved the image of the isolated house on the lakeside with the forests surrounding it. The time of year which Isabel chose to set her book, which is winter, for me, was perfect. It creates a very sinister atmosphere. During winter, Norway receives very little sunlight, and this creates a more impending sense of danger as Eva’s parents believe that someone is watching them from within the forest.

In England, far away from Norway, distraught grandmother, Maxine is writing a book about the disappearance of her granddaughter, Lorna. She is doing this with the help of a ghost writer who is interviewing her for the book. Lorna’s disappearance became a media sensation, and still, people are trying to work out what happened to her. But Maxine is a mysterious character, and it certainly seems that she is trying desperately hard to keep some facts about her past a secret.

I was very interested to see how the two storylines were going to come together. They are pulled together in a very captivating way. Although I did work out some parts, there were also some shocking and chilling reveals that I hadn’t predicted and they took me by surprise.  There was one reveal where I did actually gasp as it dawned on me what had happened. It’s not very often that a twist has that effect on me.

Throughout the novel, I didn’t warm to Maxine very much. I couldn’t quite work it if she was taking advantage of her family’s tragic situation by speaking to the press. I couldn’t work out if she was distraught by what had happened and if she just was willing to do absolutely anything to find her granddaughter.

Although the opening was gripping, and I wanted to know what was going on in Eva’s world, I did find it to be a bit of a slow start. The suspense soon begins to build however. You may feel the same, so I would definitely stick with it as the plot becomes darker and much more gripping. I felt exasperated for Eva. I wanted her to get to the bottom of what was really going on. I wanted to shake her parents for not being truthful with her.

Lake Child is a thoroughly enjoyable read which will grip and shock you. I couldn’t stop reading as I reached the final chapters; I was desperate to know what was going to happen. Atmospheric, chilling and very satisfying.

Publisher: Trapeze

Publication date: 19th September 2019

Print length: 336 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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Lake Child Blog Tour Part 1

Lake Child Blog Tour Part 2

 

Morecambe & Vice 2019 blog tour @MorecambeVice @william1shaw @BOTBSPublicity

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour celebrating the return of the Morecambe & Vice Crime Writing Festival which is taking place between the 28th and 29th September.

As part of the blog tour I’m delighted to be interviewing William Shaw about his new book, Deadland, the second novel in the DS Alexander Cupidi series.

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YOU CAN RUN

The two boys never fitted in. Seventeen, the worst age, nothing to do but smoke weed; at least they have each other. The day they speed off on a moped with a stolen mobile, they’re ready to celebrate their luck at last. Until their victim comes looking for what’s his – and ready to kill for it.

YOU CAN HIDE

On the other side of Kent’s wealth divide, DS Alexandra Cupidi faces the strangest murder investigation of her career. A severed limb, hidden inside a modern sculpture in Margate’s Turner Contemporary. No one takes it seriously – not even the artwork’s owners, celebrity dealers who act like they’re above the law.

YOU CAN DIE

But as Cupidi’s case becomes ever more sinister, as she wrangles with police politics and personal dilemmas, she can’t help worrying about those runaway boys. Seventeen, the same age as her own headstrong daughter. Alone, on the marshes, they’re pawns in someone else’s game. Two worlds are about to collide.

Kent and its social divisions are brilliantly captured in Deadland, a crime thriller that’s as ingeniously unguessable as it is moving and powerful.

Deadland is available to purchase by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo Waterstones

Interview with William Shaw

William Shaw

Hi William, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Firstly can you tell us a little bit about what your latest book is about?

Deadland is about two poor teenage boys in Dartford who nick a phone, little realising that it’s the worst thing they could have possibly have stolen in their life. It’s also about how the rich expect to get what they want, all wrapped up in a deadly chase across Kent.

Your lead character, DS Alexandra Cupidi appeared in your standalone novel, The Birdwatcher. Why did you decide to write a series about her?

By the time I started Salt Lane I had written four books with male leads; what interested me is that of the women in those books who were my secondary characters were a bit tricky. It’s relatively easy to write male characters in detective fiction. They can get away with being drunken, promiscuous and impulsive in a way that women characters can’t. For better or worse, readers judge women characters more harshly. Having written Cupidi as this rather driven, impulsive person, someone who always feels they’re failing as a parent, I thought, what would happen if I made her a lead? Writing her keeps me on my toes. Readers have to like her, but I still want them to be tutting a bit about how she choses to live.

Do you think that Sergeant William South, your lead character in The Birdwatcher, will make any future appearances?

Oh yes. He’s back in Deadland. Changed by what happened to him at the end of The Birdwatcher (no spoilers), but back for good. Zoë still worships the ground he walks on.

You’ve set your latest books in Kent along the coastline. I found the setting very atmospheric when I was reading Salt Lane and The Birdwatcher. Is Kent an area you know particularly well?

I live in Brighton – so that bit of Kent is relatively close (though a pig to drive to). Everybody outside of the South East thinks the whole of the area is built up and wealthy. The idea that there is this socking great windswept bit of marshland, next to a this wild bit of shingle, comes as a shock to some people. It’s a great, beautiful landscape to set stories in. Writers tend to use Google Maps a lot; the great thing about the headland of Dungeness is that the foreshore is all private. No Google Maps cars are allowed there. The only way to get to know the place is to visit it. I’m off there on Thursday as it happens!

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster?

I started as a total pantser, but writing at least one book a year, that becomes a bit dangerous. The cover of my next book, Grave’s End, was designed long before I had finished it. So I’ve found it wise to know a bit about where I’m heading. But I still like those strange moments where the plot refuses to go where you intended it to.

How much research do you undertake before you begin writing?

Some. I love research. It’s one of my real pleasures. But I try and avoid doing too much at the start because otherwise the research is in charge of your story and ideally you want that the other way round. I then research as I go to see if what I’ve written is plausible. In Grave’s End I’m writing about badgers. At one point a badger brings up some bones from the ground. After I’d written it I invited a Professor who has studied badgers for years out for lunch and asked him if this could happen. ‘Oh yes. Happens all the time in graveyards,’ he said.

Is there anything you have particularly enjoyed reading recently which has stuck in your mind?

I really liked Mark Hill’s The Bad Place that reminds me that a little touch of humour amongst the grimness is always good; Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs has a real quirkiness to it that I enjoyed a lot. On non-fiction I really loved The Edge of the World; How The North Sea Made Us by Michael Pye which makes any European nationalism sound ridiculous because it shows how much we’ve been sharing, trading and intermingling for millennia.

How excited are you about appearing at Morecambe & Vice?

I can’t believe that this is my third Morecambe & Vice. I genuinely love it there.

And finally is there anything you can tell us at all about what you’re working on next?

I have just finished a book called Grave’s End which involves several badgers. See above. It was a book that slotted together so nicely I’m really proud of it. I’m just embarking on another one that is about trawler men and a supposed drowning. Any title suggestions gratefully received.

 

Thank you William for taking the time to answer my questions and thank you to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

 

ABOUT MORECAMBE & VICE 

In September 2017, Morecambe & Vice made its sparkling debut at the glorious Morecambe Winter Gardens. Described as a weekend ‘full of warmth, wit and wisdom’, authors, speakers and guests from across the globe flocked to the sunny seaside for a weekend filled with criminal shenanigans.

Now, in 2019 we are back for our third year running! This year the North West’s quirkiest crime-writing festival will be bigger and better than ever before! Keep an eye out on our Facebook page and Twitter stream, as we start to announce authors and panels.

https://www.morecambecrimefest.co.uk/

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Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson #bookreview blog tour @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks @annecater

It’s my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Blood Song (Roy & Castells) by [Gustawsson, Johana]

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The action swings from London to Sweden, and then back into the past, to Franco’s Spain, as Roy & Castells hunt a monstrous killer … in the lastest instalment of Johana Gustawsson’s award-winning series

Spain, 1938: The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016: A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule.

Terrifying, vivid and recounted at breakneck speed, Blood Song is not only a riveting thriller and an examination of corruption in the fertility industry, but a shocking reminder of the atrocities of Spain’s dictatorship, in the latest, stunning installment in the award-winning Roy & Castells series.

MY THOUGHTS

Johana Gustawssson never ceases to amaze me with her plots. Her books are very different to what is out there in the mainstream crime fiction market at the moment, and this is what makes them so appealing and so fresh. So if you are looking for a crime series that is different and will keep you gripped, I would highly recommend that you read these books.

As was the case in her last two books, there is a historical element to her latest novel, Blood Song. And this is what I really like about her books. This time Johana takes us back to 1930s Spain during the reign of the dictator, Francisco Franco and she shines a light on this brutal time period in Spanish history. But how exactly does this part of history have a bearing on what is happening in the present, when a prestigious Swedish family are brutally murdered?

Although I travel to Spain on holiday every year, I have remained completely unaware of what happened during the period when Franco ruled the country. I don’t think I was ever taught about it at school. I often hear references to him, but I have never thought to ask for more details on what happened during this time. Johana paints a vivid portrayal here of what happened, and some parts do make for a tough read, and she doesn’t shy away from the brutality inflicted upon the Spanish people. But it is enlightening and important to the story. The scenes where Johana takes us to Spain are very dark and sinister.

What I’ve really liked about Johana’s books is how she puts her own spin on historical events. Her previous book, Keeper, was based on the Jack the Ripper murders and her debut, Block 46, was partly based in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. The historical accuracy is all there, and it feels very authentic. Johana then uses her imagination to shape how the past has an effect on the future. This is what makes her writing and her plots unique and fascinating.

The plot pulls together in a very clever way. When I start Johana’s books, I always wonder, how she’ll tighten everything up and make the plot feel realistic, but it works very well. When you get to the end of her books, everything does make so much sense, and that’s what makes it feel very satisfactory as well. The structure of the story flows well and never once did I feel lost. I often feel that sometimes, this can be the case when stories jump through multiple time zones.

Blood Song is an intelligent, captivating and an original piece of writing. It’s very well written and expertly translated by David Warriner. This is a series which is very evocative, haunting and skilfully written.

I’m looking forward to reading what Johana writes next.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 19th July 2019

Print length: 300 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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FINAL BloodSongBT

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey #bookreview @dianefjeffrey @HQDigitalUK

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey, her third psychological thriller. I’ve also reviewed her previous novel, He Will Find You on my blog and you can find my review by clicking here.

The Guilty Mother: A new gripping and emotional psychological thriller for 2019 which asks: who would you believe? by [Jeffrey, Diane]

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She says she’s innocent.
DO YOU BELIEVE HER?

2013

Melissa Slade had it all: beauty, money, a successful husband and beautiful twin babies. But, in the blink of an eye, her perfect life became a nightmare – when she found herself on trial for the murder of her little girls.

PRESENT DAY

Jonathan Hunt covered the original Slade Babies case for the local newspaper. Now that new evidence has come to light, Jon’s boss wants him back on the story to uncover the truth.

With Melissa’s appeal date looming, time is running out. And, as Jon gets drawn deeper into a case he’d wanted to forget, he starts to question Melissa’s guilt.

Is Melissa manipulating Jon or telling him the truth? Is she a murderer, or the victim of a miscarriage of justice?

And if Melissa Slade is innocent, what really happened to Ellie and Amber Slade?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve been a fan of Diane Jeffrey’s work since I read her debut and I think The Guilty Mother is her best yet. The plot is intriguing. Former police officer, Melissa Slade is serving a prison sentence for the murder of her baby daughter. This occurred a few years after her youngest died from cot death. But Melissa’s family, particularly her ex-husband, is certain of her innocence and they have been campaigning for her release. Now they may finally have a chance to get her out after new evidence comes to light which may help prove her innocence.

Melissa is a character who I could never be sure about. I think my thoughts were influenced by Jonathan, a journalist for the local paper, who is asked to report on Melissa’s case. From very early on, Jonathan appears to decide that Melissa is guilty and he doesn’t seem to be very willing to report on her case. He fears that he may help a convicted murderer go free. This is what put an interesting spin on the story as I could see just how deeply this decision affected Jonathan.

The story gets going right from the first page when we see Melissa being escorted in a police van to court. There was so much tension in this scene. I felt as though I was there, watching everything unfold before my eyes. I wanted to know who this woman was and what the outcome of her trial was going to be. I wanted to know what she had done.  It makes for a very gripping opening.

Jonathan was a great character. I was interested in his own story as well as he has suffered his own devastating loss. I wondered if this was what influenced his own thoughts about Melissa’s case, and why he suspected she was guilty. I could certainly see why he didn’t want to be drawn into Melissa’s story. I also liked Jonathan’s colleague, Kelly. I’d definitely like to see her story explored further, Diane certainly leaves the ending open to that possibility.

There were many characters here who kept me thinking about what could have happened the night Melissa’s daughter died. I didn’t like her new husband, who gave me an icy feeling right from the moment Diane first introduces him. And I was also interested in who else had been in their home that fateful night. Diane kept me thinking about who was and who wasn’t telling the truth about that night.

The suspense and tension carries right the way through this book. I’m still thinking about those final scenes a few days after I finished reading it. The Guilty Mother is chilling, unpredictable and totally gripping. Diane’s writing will keep your eyes glued to the page. This is a brilliant read!

Publisher: HQ Digital

Publication date: 2nd August 2019

Print length: 384 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo

Dead Flowers by Nicola Monaghan #bookreview blog tour @nicolanovelist @Verve_Books

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of Dead Flowers by Nicola Monaghan as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Clare at Verve Books for inviting me to take part.

Dead Flowers by [Monaghan, Nicola]

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She doesn’t trust the police. She used to be one of them.

Hardened by ten years on the murder squad, DNA analyst Doctor Sian Love has seen it all. So when she finds human remains in the basement of her new home, she knows the drill.

Except this time it’s different. This time, it’s personal…

MY THOUGHTS

Dead Flowers by Nicola Monaghan was such an intriguing read. Steeped in family secrets, this is a book that will keep you on your toes.

We are introduced to forensic scientist, Dr Sian Love who has just inherited a property, an old pub from her uncle once known as The Loggerheads in Newark. But within a short time after moving into her new home, Sian makes an unsettling discovery in the basement. Two skeletal remains have been abandoned there many years before. But after Sian and her partner, Kris reports the grisly find to the police, Sian finds that she can’t trust them. She sets out trying to identify the remains herself. This is despite Sian being an ex-police officer herself. Why doesn’t Sian trust her former colleagues? What discovery is she afraid they will make before she has a chance to find out the truth herself.

Finding the remains of two decaying human bodies is certainly not the welcome you would want when you move into your new home. I think if this ever happens to me, I would want to sell the place and move on. I couldn’t bear the thought of something dreadful that may once have occured there. I had a feeling right from the opening pages that Sian was going to uncover something very dark in her family history. But I couldn’t work out why she wanted to go about finding answers herself, rather than leave it to the police to deal with. Why would she want to risk her reputation and potentially do something illegal and especially Kris’s reputation as well, who is still a police officer? This is what gave the book an edgy feel as I wanted to see if there was any chance that Sian would be able to crack the case herself. Was she doing this to try and protect someone?

Both timelines which Nicola explores here are fascinating. Nicola takes us back to 1971 when The Loggerheads was a vibrant, busy pub at the heart of the local community. There were some very edgy characters in these scenes. They kept me on my toes as I waited to see how events between them were going to unfold. I knew something drastic was going to happen, and I wanted to see who was going to cause it and who would end up being the victim. Would any of them turn out to be the remains discovered many years later?

From the opening page, I wanted to see what dark secrets were going to be uncovered and what sort of an impact this would end up having on Sian. The edginess is there right from the start as Sian gets closer and closer to the truth, and ultimately she puts herself in grave danger. I wanted to see just how she was going to get out of this. Dark and suspenseful Dead Flowers is a very gripping read. I would definitely recommend it.

Publisher: Verve Books

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length:

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

Amazon UK  Kobo

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DEAD FLOWERS BLOG TOUR- CORRECTED

Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates #bookreview blog tour @Anne_Coates1 @urbanebooks @LoveBooksGroup

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of the first book in the Hannah Weybridge series by Anne Coates, Dancers in the Wind. With thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Dancers in the Wind: A gripping thriller that will leave you breathless (Hannah Weybridge Book 1) by [Coates, Anne]

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SHE IS HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH, BUT WHO IS HUNTING HER?

Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan. When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence.

Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat. As she comes to realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth …. and stay alive.

MY THOUGHTS

I came to the Hannah Weybridge series a little late when I read the third novel in the series, Songs of Innocence last year. I really wish I’d started from the beginning, so I’m glad that I’ve now had the chance to go back to the start with Dancers in the Wind.

Set in the early 1990s, in Anne Coates’ first novel, the police are trying to track down a brutal killer who has so far murdered three prostitutes in the Kings Cross area. At the same time, freelance journalist, Hannah Weybridge is asked to write an article on prostitution in the area, and she partially becomes involved in the investigation. As part of her research, Hannah speaks to a young woman who goes by the name of Princess. But as Hannah continues to pursue her research, she becomes unwittingly pulled into a dark and dangerous world. Soon she can’t predict if she’ll survive.

There is an edgy feeling to the plot, and Anne Coates has created a sinister atmosphere as Hannah is pulled further and further into this dangerous world. When Hannah first meets Detective Inspector Tom Jordan, who is leading the investigation into the killings, I wasn’t sure if I should trust him. I did feel scared for Hannah as she appeared to grow closer to him, and I began to wonder just how this was going to end for them both.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the plot was Hannah’s relationship with Princess in the wake of their interview. A short while after they first speak to each other, Princess turns up on Hannah’s doorstep after being severely beaten and pleads with Hannah for help. Of course, Hannah is completely unsure of what to do, and at first, she is reluctant to help Princess, fearing for her and her daughter’s safety. At this moment, I wanted to know what it was that Princess had got herself mixed up in and who she was so scared of. Would this have any implications for Hannah and her daughter?

We don’t hear a lot about the police investigation, only when Hannah is in the company of Tom Jordan, but I liked the feel this gave the book. Hannah is in the realms of the unknown here. This is a far more terrifying prospect for her as she doesn’t fully understand what she is dealing with. If she had been working for the police, she would know what leads they were following and if they would have anyone in the frame for the murders.

Dancers in the Wind is a strong debut by Anne Coates. The short chapters made it a pacey read, and there was always that hook that kept me reading on. The storyline is engaging, and it leads to a satisfactory ending with perhaps room for further exploration in the future. I will be making sure I read the second book in the series soon.

Publisher: Urbane Publications Limited

Publication date: 13th October 2016

Print length: 304 pages

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

Amazon UK   Waterstones

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No Place of Refuge by Ausma Zehanat Khan blog tour @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for No Place of Refuge by Ausma Zehanat Khan. As part of the blog tour, I’m re-sharing my review of book two in the series, The Language of Secrets. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

No Place of Refuge by [Khan, Ausma Zehanat]

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Amid a global crisis, one woman searches for justice…

The Syrian refugee crisis just became personal for Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty.

NGO worker Audrey Clare, sister of Khattak’s childhood friend, is missing.

In her wake, a French Interpol Agent and a young Syrian man are found dead at the Greek refugee camp where she worked.

Khattak and Getty travel to Greece to trace Audrey’s last movements in a desperate attempt to find her. In doing so, they learn that her work in Greece had strayed well beyond the remit of her NGO…

Had Audrey been on the edge of exposing a dangerous secret at the heart of the refugee crisis – one that ultimately put a target on her own back?

No Place of Refuge is a highly topical, moving mystery in which Khan sensitively exposes the very worst and best of humanity. Fans of the series will love this latest instalment.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE LANGUAGE OF SECRETS (BOOK TWO) 

The Language of Secrets Cover

This is a novel I can easily give five stars to. The Language of Secrets is the first novel by Ausma Zehanat Khan, which I have read. Although her second book is part of a series featuring the same characters, it can easily be read as a stand-alone.

In The Language of Secrets, Ausma tells a powerful and absorbing tale which is very relevant to what is going on around the world today. The plot centres on the murder of a young Muslim man who has been working for the Canadian police as part of an undercover operation to expose a terrorist cell at a nearby mosque. Inspector Esa Khattak investigates the case. His partner, Rachel Getty goes undercover to try and expose a killer who may be among the congregation who worship at the mosque.

As I was reading, I thought it would be interesting to see how Esa’s relationship with the Muslim community would be affected. Many of them appear abhorred by what has happened, and they can’t speak highly enough of the victim. I imagined that some relationships he has would turn sour because of this.

There are some thought-provoking scenes in this book; I thought this particularly when Rachel was becoming acquainted with the members at the mosque. There is one scene in particular, which struck with me when they are discussing terrorism in all of its different forms. I think it is true that we associate acts of terrorism more with certain groups of people when it has happened throughout history. I thought Rachel’s undercover operation was one of the most gripping aspects of the story. You can see the worry that Khattak has for her as she becomes more absorbed in what has been happening at the mosque. There is tension here as you begin to fear that Rachel’s true identity will be discovered and you are fearful about what will happen to her.

There are some dramatic final scenes in this book which I thought gave the novel a satisfying ending. I was constantly wondering if the police were going to manage to stop the attack the terrorists were planning.

Although it is a heavy read at times, and it does tackle a difficult subject matter, I found The Language of Secrets to be utterly absorbing. It is a dark and engaging story that I’m sure will stay with you long after you finish reading.

Publisher: No Exit Press

Publication date: 24th January 2019 (No Place of Refuge)

Print length: 352 pages

If you would like to purchase No Place of Refuge, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone #bookreview blog tour @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Michael J Malone’s, In the Absence of Miracles. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

A young man discovers a family secret that turns his world upside down in this dark, emotive, shocking psychological thriller by number-one bestselling author Michael J. Malone

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.

Shocking, chilling and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

MY THOUGHTS

Dark family secrets and the theme of betrayal, haunt Michael J Malone’s latest thriller, In the Absence of Miracles. This is a heart-wrenching tale, and there is such emotional depth to Michael’s writing. I was pulled in by the characters straight away. I wanted to unravel the secrets that were hiding in their past. I also wanted the answers to many questions I had about the characters themselves.

John Docherty’s elderly mother has recently suffered a massive stroke. He knows that he will need to sell the old family home to pay bills to ensure she has the care she needs. It is an uncomfortable decision he has had to make, but he knows his mother’s health must come first. But as he is clearing out items at his family’s property, he uncovers a photograph which sends his world into a spin. He may have once had a brother, a brother who he never knew about. John sets out to try and find out what happened to him. He tries to find out why his family decided to keep his existence a secret from him and his younger brother Chris. But what John discovers is far more shocking than he ever thought possible and it makes him question his own past. Things between them will never be the same again.

I really connected with John as he tried to uncover the truth. What he uncovers is devastating, and John’s emotions came through so strongly in Michael J Malone’s writing as he attempts to come to terms with what he finds. There are some tough themes which Michael explores in this book, such as sexual abuse and trafficking. I did find some parts of the story uncomfortable to read at times, but I was compelled to read on, and Michael deals with these subjects sensitively, not making them over gratuitous. Michael looks at the psychological aspect more, and this is particularly the case with John and his family. Michael examines how past events have affected them in the future. This is also what makes this book a very powerful read.

One of the things which always stand out for me in Michael’s writing is his sense of place and his description. This is something which I can see he thinks a lot about before putting pen to paper as everything he writes about is very vivid. There is tension as well here, as John and Chris come closer to learning the truth, and this is turned up a further notch in the final chapters leading to a heartbreaking and a satisfactory conclusion.

Michael J Malone has written a superb novel, and as I was reading, I felt as though I was in the hands of a very accomplished writer. I have two novels of Michael’s which I still need to catch up on, and I really need to do that very soon. In the Absence of Miracles is a novel, I feel that is best to be savoured and not one to rush. You’ll still be thinking about the characters after you have turned the final page.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 19th September 2019

Print length: 300 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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In The Absence of Miracles BT Poster