A weekend at Capital Crime @CapitalCrime1

It was brilliant to see Capital Crime return to London this past weekend, this time at a new location in Battersea Park. I traveled on the Thursday and was lucky enough to spend the whole weekend there, listening to a variety of panels and very interesting speakers. If you haven’t been to this event before, you need to check it out next year. It’ll be returning on the same dates, 28th to the 30th September at the same location. Going to festivals and other book events, always inspires me further when it comes to my own writing, and it always makes me more determined to achieve my goal of hopefully one day getting published. All the photos published below are my own and I own the copyright to them.

The event officially began at 1pm on Thursday, 29th October. Battersea Park is a short walk from the nearest tube station, Battersea Park Station and I found the venue very easy to find. I attended the first afternoon takeover panel, You’re Killing Me: Ask the Industry Expert with David Headley (literary agent) Camilla Bolton (literary agent) Victoria Haslem (publisher) and Emad Akhtar (publisher) the event was moderated by Craig Sisterson. It was a fascinating insight into the publishing industry and what goes on behind the scenes after you submit a manuscript, gain representation and a publishing deal. What I found particularly interesting from this conversation, was what you have to do to make your work stand out in the submissions pile.

The next panel I went to was From London with Love with Anthony Horowitz, Kim Sherwood and Charlie Higson. I didn’t manage to take any photographs of this event but it was really engaging listening to the authors talk about their connections to Ian Fleming and James Bond, especially as I loved Anthony Horowitz’s and Charlie Higson’s books growing up. Kim Sherwood has also taken up the mantel of writing a new James Bond novel, Double or Nothing, which I am definitely interested in reading.

Afterwards it was good to catch up with friends at the bar for a few drinks.

On the Friday, I headed back to Battersea for the first panel of the day which, for me, was Hubble, Bubble Ghosts and Trouble featuring, Johana Gustawsson, Zoe Sommerville & W C Ryan, with the event being moderated by Anita Frank. The panel talked about the influence of the supernatural in their writing and the supernatural which, even though I’m more of a skeptic, if whether or not ghosts exist, I find really fascinating.

Next up was the Brits in the USA panel with authors, Will Dean, Mark Edwards, Erin Young and Chris Whitaker, who have all set their books in North America. I thought this panel was really engaging as well as being hilarious with Chris Whitaker and Mark Edwards telling some rib aching stories and Erin Young telling us about her time in America, when she went to research her book. I don’t think I’ll ever forget Mark Edwards’ tale about a squirrel.

Next up was the Brighton Rocks Panel featuring authors, Elly Griffiths, Araminta Hall, Jack Jordan & Kate Helm with the panel being moderated by William Shaw. The authors talked about their hometown of Brighton and about how it seems to be full of crime writers and especially what draws so many writers to the area.

The final panel of the day, for me, was Drama, Tension & Murder Throughout History featuring Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Abir Mukherjee, Anna Mazzola & Jessica Fellowes, the panel was moderated by Suzie Edge. The panel had a historical theme to it and there were some brilliant and hilarious stories told.

For the final day (the train strikes weren’t going to stop me from attending) I started first with Harriet Tyce interviewing Baroness Lady Hale, former President of the UK supreme court. This was a fascinating insight into the criminal justice system in the UK and the role of women in the judicial system.

Next up was the Contemporary Crime Fiction panel with authors, T.M. Logan, Heidi Perks & Claire Douglas, the panel was moderated by Ayo Onatade. I’m a huge fan of their novels, so it was fascinating to hear about their writing process.

After a quick break to get something to eat, I attended the Titans of the Terrifying Panel where authors David Fennell, Lars Kepler & Nadine Matheson were interviewed by Rod Reynolds about the killers in their novels. Particularly interesting to learn from this panel, was how Lars Kepler (a husband and wife writing team) write their books, particularly when they said that they act out the fight scenes in their books before they write them.

I next went to The Bestseller List panel where Barry Forshaw was interviewing international bestsellers, Clare Mackintosh, Lucy Foley and Jeffrey Archer about their rise to the top. Jeffrey Archer shocked the audience, as well as the other guests on the panel, when he told us he was paid $3.2 million for his first novel, Kane & Abel when he sold the rights to America.

The final event I went to of the day was to hear Ragnar Jonasson and the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir being interviewed by Joe Haddow. They both talked about their friendship and love of crime fiction, and especially, that they have a book being published in the UK next year which they have written together.

After spending some time at the bar with friends, for a couple of drinks, it was then time to, sadly, head home. I will definitely be returning next year.

Capital Crime launches the Fingerprint Awards

On Friday, 26th August Capital Crime launched the inaugural Fingerprint Awards, designed to champion the very best in crime writing from across the globe published in 2021, as voted for by readers.

Authors both new and established are represented across the categories, which are Crime Novel of the Year, Thriller Novel of the Year, Historical Crime Novel of the Year, Debut Novel of the Year, Audiobook of the Year, and Genre-Busting Book of the Year.

On the Crime Book of the Year shortlist, heavyweights Val McDermid and Mick Herron are up against debut novelists Janice Hallett, author of The Appeal and Sarah Pearse, author of The Sanatorium; and the critically acclaimed Icelandic novelist Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, for her second novel Girls Who lie, which won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger.

Bestsellers Lisa Jewell and Paula Hawkins lead the Thriller Novel of the Year shortlist, with the critically acclaimed authors S. A. Cosby and Will Dean also in contention. Gold Dagger-winning M. W. Craven rounds up the shortlist with his latest Washington Poe thriller.

Multi-award winning Abir Mukherjee is shortlisted for the Historical Crime Novel of the Year for The Shadows of Men, his latest Wyndham & Banerjee novel, alongside the critically acclaimed Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson. Also shortlisted are The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell, A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago and A Comedy of Terrors by Lindsay Davis.

CWA John Creasey Dagger shortlisted-Welcome to Cooper by Tariq Ashkanani and How to Kidnap the Rich by Rahul Raina are both shortlisted for the Debut Crime Novel of the Year, alongside Girl A by Abigail Dean, Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison and Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner.

The Genre-Busting Novel of the Year shortlist, set up to recognise a book that defies the traditional genres and boundaries of crime fiction, features How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie, The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris, Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi, The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor and What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaronvitch.

Leading the Audiobook of the Year shortlist is global bestselling sensation Anthony Horowitz, for his new Hawthorne & Horowitz thriller A Line to Kill. Also shortlisted are the critical successes True Crime Story by Joseph Knox, I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood, The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jónasson and People Like Her by Ellory Lloyd.

The advisory board, consisting of authors, bloggers, journalists and leading industry figures have chosen a shortlist of five nominees for each category. Crime and thriller fans will now be given the power to decide who should be recognised for their work via the Capital Crime website.

In addition, two further categories will be selected solely by the Capital Crime Advisory Board; the Industry Award of the Year – recognising the best marketing campaign, editorial work, or publishing strategy; and the Thalia Proctor Lifetime Achievement Award- marking an outstanding contribution to the crime writing industry.

Capital Crime co-founder and Goldsboro Books managing director, David Headley, said:

‘My vision for Capital Crime was always to make it a festival for readers, and what better way to celebrate the readers who make it all worthwhile, than to give them the power to decide the winners of the Fingerprint Awards. Narrowing down the incredible body of work published last year to 6 categories of 5 books was no mean feat, but with the brilliant, well-informed advisory board we’ve gathered together, I’m confident that these shortlists represent the very best of crime and thriller writing from around the world.’

Readers can vote for their preferred winners here by 19th September 2022. The winners will be then announced from 7.30pm on Thursday 29th September, at a special ceremony as part of Capital Crime 2022, at the festival’s fantastic new home in the shadow of the iconic Battersea Power Station.

In addition, during the day on Thursday 29th September, Capital Crime will be hosting pitch an agent sessions with celebrated agents David Headley (DHH), Emily Glenister (DHH), Camilla Bolton (Darley Anderson) or Phillip Patterson (Marjaq). The slots are open to all unrepresented ticket holders working on their crime novel, completed novels or full synopsis preferred, to Capital Crime, as part of the Next Generation of Voices afternoon takeover at the festival this autumn. To apply for a slot please contact the team at info@capitalcrime.org for more information.

Across three days, Capital Crime 2022 promises a weekend full of fun, innovation and celebration of crime fiction, bringing together readers, authors, industry figures and the local community for the first major literary festival held on the site. Over 164 authors and journalists will be taking part in a range of panel events for attendees, including Richard Osman, Bella Mackie, Paula Hawkins, Rev Richard Coles, Dorothy Koomson, Kate Mosse, Anthony Horowitz and Robert Harris. Goldsboro Books will be setting up a pop-up bookshop in the iconic Pump House Gallery, alongside an array of London’s tastiest local street food vendors and bar area.

The full programme can be found here.

About Goldsboro Books

Goldsboro Books is an independent bookshop, based in central London, specialising in signed first edition books. Providing an expert, knowledgeable team and a carefully curated range is at the heart of the business, delivering the best book-buying experience for every customer. Goldsboro Books aims to interest and inspire book lovers, readers and collectors and provide the finest quality signed books in the world. Goldsboro Books was founded in 1999 by two friends and book collectors, David Headley and Daniel Gedeon. Their reputation for spotting quality books early on, an expert eye on the future collectibles, along with enthusiasm and passion for bookselling excellence has grown with the business and Goldsboro Books has become a world-famous and much admired bookshop. Their global reputation grew in 2013 when they were the only bookshop in the world to have signed copies of The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, who of course turned out to be none other than J.K. Rowling.

A Brew To A Kill #TheLastParty #TheLastPartyEvent

I’m excited to let you know of a brilliant event taking place on Zoom on the 7th July at 7pm. If you love a murder mystery and if you’re a fan of crime fiction you do not want to miss it.

Detectives Clare Mackintosh, Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware. Clare, Lucy and Ruth will act as lead detectives who are in a race against time to discover who murdered Artie Bean, owner of the No Filter Coffee Shack, on the shores of Llyn Drych, set in the universe of The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh. However, these seasoned writers need help to solve the mystery. Audience members will be included in group chats with the authors to review the evidence and decide upon their theories. Once the murderer has been revealed, the three authors will be in conversation with host, Lauren North, to discuss their latest books.

Each ticket includes a hardback copy of The Last Party which publishes on the 4th August 2022. When you book your ticket, you will receive an e-ticket via email with the event details so you can access the online event taking place on the 7th July. You will then receive your copy of The Last Party in the post when it publishes in August. Tickets are £26.15.

Everyone who purchases a book + ticket will be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets to Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. The festival runs from the 21st to the 23rd of July and tickets will include access to Little Brown’s Crime Vault Pop-up Event where you will be able to meet Clare Mackintosh in person! The prize also includes 3 nights of accommodation at the Crown hotel. A winner will be spot picked and announced during the event.

What does every detective need whilst on the case? A good cup of coffee. We are therefore super thrilled to announce that Missing Bean Coffee Roasters have joined us to sponsor the event. With Missing Bean on board, we will be sending out coffee samples to the first 100 people to purchase their tickets!

Keep reading for some further insight into our Detectives and Host for the evening…

Clare Mackintosh
 is the multi-award-winning author of five Sunday Times bestselling novels. Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide, have been New York Times and international bestsellers and have spent a combined total of 64 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. Clare’s next book, The Last Party, will publish on the 4th August

Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities. She then worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry – during which time she wrote The Book of Lost and Found, which was a bestselling debut of 2015. Lucy now writes full-time, with her crime novels The Hunting Party and The Guest List being published in 2018 and 2020 respectively to critical acclaim.Her newest novel, The Paris Apartment, published in March 2022, instantly took the number one spot on The New York Times bestseller list. It has sold in over 40 territories and the movie rights have been acquired by Sony.

Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, The Death of Mrs Westaway, The Turn of the Key and One by One have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times. Her books have been optioned for both film and TV, and she is published in more than 40 languages. Ruth’s next book, The It Girl, will publish on the 4th August

Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. Her most recent novels are Safe at Home and All The Wicked Games (Out summer 2022). Lauren also writes high-concept book club thrillers as L.C. North. Her first L.C. North book – The Ugly Truth – is out in March 2023. Lauren lives on the Suffolk borders with her family and dog, Rodney. When she’s not writing, she co-hosts the popular crime thriller podcast, In Suspense.

Click here to purchase tickets

Truly Darkly Deeply by Victoria Selman #bookreview @VictoriaSelman @1stMondayCrime @QuercusBooks

On my blog today, I have all the details about June’s First Monday Crime panel. I also have a review of Truly, Darkly, Deeply by Victoria Selman, who’ll be appearing on tonight’s panel. I’ll have all the details about who else will be appearing and how you can access the event at the end of this post, but first, let’s find out more about Truly, Darkly, Deeply.

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Twelve-year-old Sophie and her mother, Amelia-Rose, move to London from Massachusetts where they meet the charismatic Matty Melgren, who quickly becomes an intrinsic part of their lives. But as the relationship between the two adults fractures, a serial killer begins targeting young women with a striking resemblance to Amelia-Rose.

When Matty is eventually sent down for multiple murder, questions remain as to his guilt — questions which ultimately destroy both women. Nearly twenty years later, Sophie receives a letter from Battlemouth Prison informing her Matty is dying and wants to meet. It looks like Sophie might finally get the answers she craves. But will the truth set her free — or bury her deeper?

MY THOUGHTS

I love Victoria Selman’s writing, having recently read her gripping Ziba Mackenzie series. So I jumped at the chance to read an early copy of her new novel, Truly, Darkly, Deeply. Her new book explores a fascinating topic when it comes to true crime as well as crime fiction. Whenever a person is convicted of a heinous crime, we often look at the perpetrator’s families and friends, and wonder, how could they not know what this person in their lives was doing. It seems impossible to us.

Victoria Selman tells her novel from the point of view of Sophie, who is living with her mother and occasionally her mother’s boyfriend, Matty. Sophie and her mother recently moved to London from America and Sophie is struggling to adapt at school. Victoria Selman explores the relationship Sophie has with Matty, and it is clear to see that he does have a deep affection for her, and she for him, even though there are definitely some chilling moments as Victoria explores this. Matty comes under suspicion for being involved in a series of shocking murders across London and this shatters Sophie’s world.

I loved the tension Victoria Selman created as she takes us back to the years when Sophie is a child and living with her mum. Throughout the novel, some people doubt the claims that Matty is the person responsible for the murders. Victoria did keep me thinking about this, even though we know that Matty has already been charged for the murders. It made me wonder just what went on during Sophie’s childhood that she might not have seen, or understood, at the time. For me this was what made this book so gripping, as I wanted to know what really happened.

There are some chilling reveals as Victoria reveals to us just what went on during Sophie’s childhood and everything does make so much sense.

I raced through Truly, Darkly, Deeply. Victoria Selman’s writing has such an addictive quality to it that this is a book that you could quite easily finish in one sitting. Although this is fiction, I believe this will also appeal to fans of true crime. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it. I’m sure it’ll be one of my favourites of the year.

Publisher: Quercus

Publication date: 7th July 2022

Print length: 319 pages

Truly, Darkly, Deeply is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

First Monday Crime is back live on their Facebook page at 19.30 p.m. on Monday, 6th June 2022. Alongside Victoria Selman, appearing on the panel are authors, Will Carver author of The Daves Next Door, Sarah Vaughan author of Reputation and Sinead Crowley author of The Belladonna Maze.

If you would like to watch the panel, you can do so by clicking the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook Page.

First Monday Crime

The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola #bookreview @1stMondayCrime @Anna_Mazz

On my blog today, I have all the details about this month’s First Monday Crime which is taking place tonight live on their Facebook Page at 19.30 p.m. UK time. But before I reveal more about tonight’s event, I have reviewed The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola who’ll be appearing on tonight’s panel.

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Paris, 1750.

In the midst of an icy winter, as birds fall frozen from the sky, chambermaid Madeleine Chastel arrives at the home of the city’s celebrated clockmaker and his clever, unworldly daughter.

Madeleine is hiding a dark past, and a dangerous purpose: to discover the truth of the clockmaker’s experiments and record his every move, in exchange for her own chance of freedom.

For as children quietly vanish from the Parisian streets, rumours are swirling that the clockmaker’s intricate mechanical creations, bejewelled birds and silver spiders, are more than they seem.

And soon Madeleine fears that she has stumbled upon an even greater conspiracy. One which might reach to the very heart of Versailles…

A intoxicating story of obsession, illusion and the price of freedom.

MY THOUGHTS

The Clockwork Girl is a stunning novel by Anna Mazzola. I was transported to the streets of eighteenth century Paris. This is actually the first novel I’ve read by Anna Mazzola, but the blurb, and, I have to say, the brilliant cover drew me in, and I’m so pleased I’ve read it. Anna creates such a rich sense of place and atmosphere in her writing, which really made the setting come to life as it is viewed through the eyes of her characters. It’s what makes this book a novel to savour.

There is a haunting quality to this story and Anna Mazzola’s writing draws you effortlessly into the world she has created. Of course this is historical fiction, but there is a real sense of mystery to Anna’s plot, and Anna keeps the suspense ticking up a notch. We meet Madeleine, a young woman who has taken up a position in the household of a famous clockmaker in Paris. But Madeleine is there for an altogether different reason. There have been strange events happening all over Paris, and Madeleine is there to investigate the clockmaker, and see if there is any connection between him and what has been happening.

There are so many fascinating characters in Anna’s novel, and she really delves deep into their personalities, bringing them to life. Madeleine and the clockmaker intrigued me the most. As Madeleine becomes acquainted with her new position, Anna draws on the sense of mystery about the clockmaker, and it certainly feels as though he is hiding something. You can see clearly her determination to get to the bottom of what is going on behind the scenes, and this did make me wonder how much danger she was putting herself in, in her quest to get to the truth.

As the plot progresses, Anna whisks us away to the court of King Louis XV of France. It is here where the tension in the story is really turned up a notch, as Madeleine seeks to uncover what is happening. I really liked how Anna Mazzola used real life historical figures in her novel, and this includes, along with the King, his famous mistress, Madame De Pompadour and they both have significant roles in the story. It does make you feel as though you are reading about real events, even though this is fiction, and that is the brilliance of Anna Mazzola’s plot. It makes you even more invested in the characters and I wanted to see what the outcome was going to be for them at the end of the novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Clockwork Girl and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for whatever Anna Mazzola writes next. It is an utterly immersive read.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 3rd March 2022

Print length: 362 pages

The Clockwork Girl is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

First Monday Crime is taking place tonight live on their Facebook at 19.30 p.m. Alongside Anna Mazzola we have Simone Buckholz author of, River Clyde, Lizzie Barber author of Out of Her Depth and Gytha Lodge author of Little Sister. If you would like to watch 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

April @1stMondayCrime Bad For Good by Graham Bartlett #bookreview @gbpoliceadvisor @AllisonandBusby

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping crime debut by Graham Bartlett, Bad For Good. Graham will be appearing on this month’s First Monday Crime Panel and I’ll have all the details about how you can access the event at the end of this post.

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How far would you go?

The murder of a promising footballer and, crucially, the son of the Brighton’s Chief Superintendent, means Detective Superintendent Jo Howe has a complicated and sensitive case on her hands. The situation becomes yet more desperate following devastating blackmail threats.

Howe can trust no one as she tracks the brutal killer in a city balanced on a knife edge of vigilante action and a police force riven with corruption.

MY THOUGHTS

Bad for Good is an intriguing start to a new crime series by Graham Bartlett. I’ve come across Graham’s name before, especially as he is the advisor to crime writer Peter James, so I was very eager to read Graham’s debut. Graham is a former police officer; I wanted to see how he would draw on his own experiences in this book, and it does feel really authentic.

Graham Bartlett has created a cast of fascinating characters. I really liked Detective Superintendent Jo Howe. She is faced with a complex and high profile case, following the murder of a rising football star, who is the son of the Chief Superintendent, Phil Cooke, which means there is intense media coverage and a lot of pressure. But as Jo tackles with the investigation, corruption is brewing behind the scenes.

Graham Bartlett did a great job of fleshing out his characters. Jo comes across as a person who has worked hard to get to where she is today. I thought Graham did a great job of building her character and I enjoyed finding out more about her. I really felt for Phil. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, as I don’t want to spoil it for you, but even though he is already going through the worst time of his life, following the murder of his son, it is about to become even harder for him. This is where Graham really ups the tension, and I had no idea just what Phil was going to do to try and get out of the problems he was in. It makes for really tense reading and you can see just how much stress this puts him under.

I really wanted to know the reason behind the murder of Phil’s son. I was rooting for Jo to get the truth, especially when Graham raises the stakes for Phil. I felt as though Phil had been pushed into a corner which he couldn’t escape from. Graham delves into some very dark themes and there were some shocking and surprising reveals as the truth behind the murder was revealed. I was utterly gripped as I raced through the final chapters.

The character’s Graham Bartlett has created are ones I am keen to return to and I’m looking forward to seeing where he progresses next with this series. I’ll definitely be looking out for the next book.

Publisher: Allison and Busby

Publication date: 23rd June 2022

Print length: 320 pages

Bad for Good is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

First Monday Crime is back live on their Facebook page on Monday, 4th April 2022 at 19.30 p.m. Alongside Graham we have four more brilliant authors appearing. We have, Tony Kent author of No Way To Die, Imran Mahmood author of I Know What I Saw, Neil Lancaster author of The Blood Tide and Joy Kluver author of Left for Dead.

If you would like to access the event, you can do so by clicking the link below which will take you to the First Monday Crime Facebook Page.

First Monday Crime

April @1stMondayCrime Left For Dead by Joy Kluver #bookreview @JoyKluver

On my blog today, I’m sharing the details for next month’s First Monday Crime which is taking place live on their Facebook Page at 19:30 p.m. on Monday, 4th April. Today I’m re sharing my review of the latest novel by Joy Kluver, Left for Dead. Joy is one of the authors who’ll be appearing on the panel, and I’ll have another review to share with you tomorrow for a book by another author who’ll be on the panel as well.

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The detective stared at the young woman lying on the bed. She almost looked peaceful, her face like porcelain. Despite everything she had been through, she was still beautiful.

When DI Bernie Noel hurries to Keira Howard’s hospital bedside, she knows that Keira has been lucky. Barely conscious and badly injured, at least she is alive. Convinced that Keira’s attack is the latest in a string of increasingly violent assaults on young women in the area, the next victim might not be so fortunate. So she vows to find the man who did this, and to stop him before anyone else gets hurt.

Spurring her team into action, she quickly hones in on a prime suspect. But then he suddenly dies while on police watch, and Bernie’s investigation goes into freefall. When Bernie’s superiors won’t let her take the case any further, her gut instinct tells her there’s much more to his death than meets the eye. If it was murder, who would want him dead, and why? So she determines to set out on her own to find out what happened.

But the closer Bernie comes to discovering the truth, the more she is putting her own life in danger. And with Keira finally strong enough to talk her about her attack, Bernie worries she may be at risk yet again. There’s someone out there who has killed to stay safe in the shadows; can Bernie stop another senseless death, and save Keira, before it’s too late?

MY THOUGHTS

I am really enjoying this series. Left for Dead is the latest book in the DI Bernadette Noel series by Joy Kluver and I really enjoyed getting back together with Bernie and her team. This time around, as well as having a complex case to investigate, Bernie is also pregnant. This has left her with a lot of complex issues in her relationship with her boyfriend, Dougie. Left for Dead makes for a really intriguing addition to the series.

Bernie and her team face another complex investigation when a young woman has been found after being brutally attacked. It sparks fear that there is a serial predator at work here following a spate of similar attacks on women. It becomes a race against time to track down the woman’s attacker.

What I really liked about this book was how Joy Kluver explored Bernie’s relationship with her boyfriend, Dougie. I thought this development in her character was done really well and I was wondering throughout the book how things were going to pan out for them. This made for an intriguing sub plot and now that I’ve read it’s left me wondering what’s to come in the future.

Another character who Joy Kluver introduces us to is Leigh, who is a new member of the team. Leigh has autism and I thought that Joy Kluver explored this well and sensitively in her writing. I think Leigh makes an excellent addition to the books and I’m looking forward to seeing how her character develops further.

I didn’t expect the twist which came at the end and it really drove the tension up a notch as Bernie and her team raced to bring the case to a conclusion. I thought Joy Kluver wrapped the plot up very well.

I’m really hoping that there are more books to come in this series. It really is becoming one of my favourites.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 10th January 2022

Print length: 395 pages

Left for Dead is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Appearing alongside Joy at First Monday Crime, we have Graham Bartlett, author of Bad for Good, (I’ll be sharing a review of his book tomorrow), Tony Kent author of No Way To Die, Imran Mahmood author of I Know What I Saw and Neil Lancaster author of The Blood Tide. If you would like to watch the panel which will be lived streamed on Facebook at 19:30 p.m. on Monday, 4th April, you can do so by clicking the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook page.

First Monday Crime

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard #bookreview @1stMondayCrime

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new novel by Catherine Ryan Howard, 56 Days. Catherine will be appearing on Monday’s 1st Monday Crime panel and I’ll have all the details about how you can access the event at the end of this post.

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56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin and start dating the same week COVID-19 reaches Irish shores.

35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests they move in together. Ciara sees a unique opportunity for a relationship to flourish without the scrutiny of family and friends. Oliver sees a chance to hide who – and what – he really is.

TODAY
Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Can they determine what really happened, or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime?

MY THOUGHTS

56 Days is the first book by Catherine Ryan Howard which I’ve read. I’ve been meaning to get round to reading her books for some time now, and I’m so pleased I finally have. It’s only the second book I’ve read which has featured the pandemic, which is something I wasn’t too keen on reading about in fiction so soon, but it really works in this book, and it adds to the tension. This is such a clever read, and it gripped me right from the first few pages. I’ve seen a lot of praise for this book on social media, and I can certainly see why now that I’ve read it.

I love a dual timeline novel. In 56 Days, we know in the present, that a body has been discovered, but we don’t know much more detail than that. 56 Days previously, a new couple are just about to move in together.

The idea of spending lockdown with a new partner could either be a horrific idea, which could go badly wrong, or it could be the best thing that ever happens to you. It is the ultimate test to see if your relationship can survive. This is the situation which faces Ciara and Oliver when they meet, shortly before Ireland is plunged into lockdown, along with the rest of the world, and they agree to move in together, otherwise lockdown could have spelled the end of their relationship. You can see that their relationship is just beginning to blossom, and it feels, for them, that this is the next positive step.

The novel is told from both Ciara and Oliver’s perspectives, and what I thought was interesting, was how Catherine Ryan Howard explored both their perspectives on the same scenes. You can see what they are both thinking at the same time the event is happening, and I found it really eye opening. It’s not something that I’ve seen much of before in fiction, and I really liked how Catherine did it. I thought this was an ingenious way to misdirect the reader. I thought I could see the novel going in one particular way, which is why the direction it took, was so surprising.

The tension continues to build as the plot progresses, and I was more and more desperate to know what had led to the discovery of the body in the present day. I thought the chapters told from Oliver’s perspective were particularly tense. You can see that he hides a dark secret in his past and he is terrified of anyone discovering it. He even begins to wonder if Ciara is too good to be true.

Catherine also tells part of the book through the eyes of the detectives, who have been called out in the present day, following the discovery of the body. Catherine keeps these scenes ambiguous and gradually reveals more information as the plot develops.

I flew through this book, desperate to find out what would happen to Ciara and Oliver, and to see whose body was going to be found by the detectives. I will definitely be catching up on Catherine Ryan Howard’s previous novels. The plot of 56 Days is ingenious and so well thought through. I highly, highly recommend 56 Days.

Publisher: Corvus

Publication date: 19th August 2021

Print length: 363 pages

56 Days is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

First Monday Crime is taking place live on their Facebook page from 19.30 p.m. on Monday, 7th March 2022. Appearing alongside Catherine to talk about their recent novels will be, Janice Hallett author of The Twyford Code, Robert Gold author of Twelve Secrets and Stuart Neville author of The House of Ashes. The panel is being moderated by crime writer, Joy Kluver. If you’d like to watch the event, you can do so by clicking on the link below which will take you through to their Facebook page.

First Monday Crime

First Monday Crime February @1stMondayCrime

On my blog today, I have all the details for you for this month’s First Monday Crime and the authors who will be appearing on the panel. First Monday Crime is taking place live on their Facebook page at 19.30 p.m. I’ll have all the details about how you can access the event at the end of this post. But first let’s take a look at the authors who’ll be apppearing.

Liz Nugent author of Our Little Cruelties

Our Little Cruelties: A new psychological suspense from the No.1 bestseller by [Liz Nugent]

BLURB

Three brothers are at the funeral. One lies in the coffin.

Will, Brian and Luke grow up competing for their mother’s unequal love. As men, the competition continues – for status, money, fame, women …

They each betray each other, over and over, until one of them is dead.

But which brother killed him?

Jane Casey author of The Killing Kind

The Killing Kind: The incredible new 2022 break-out crime thriller suspense book from a Top 10 Sunday Times bestselling author by [Jane Casey]

BLURB

Ingrid will never forget what John did.
The people he hurt. The way he lied about it so easily. The way she defended him.

Now he’s back.
He says a murderer is after her. He says only he can protect her.

Would you trust him?
The clock is ticking for Ingrid to decide. Because the killer is ready to strike…

Sam Blake author of Remember My Name

Remember My Name: A gripping, unforgettable crime thriller from the bestselling author of The Dark Room by [Sam Blake]

BLURB

If she’d turned off her phone, instead of listening in, perhaps no one would have died…

When Cressida Howard catches her entrepreneur husband playing away from home, she hires security expert Brioni O’Brien to get the evidence she needs for a speedy and financially rewarding divorce.

But what Brioni uncovers goes beyond simple infidelity. Because Laurence Howard is also in bed with some very dangerous people. Bribery and blackmail are the least of his worries as someone comes after the women in his life – someone who is out to destroy Laurence and his empire, whatever the cost.

And Cressida and her teenage daughter could soon be collateral damage, if she and Brioni don’t act fast.

W.C. Ryan author of The Winter Guest

The Winter Guest: A haunting, atmospheric mystery from the author of A House of Ghosts by [W. C. Ryan]

BLURB

The drive leads past the gate house and through the trees towards the big house, visible through the winter-bared branches. Its windows stare down at Harkin and the sea beyond . . .

January 1921. Though the Great War is over, in Ireland a new, civil war is raging. The once-grand Kilcolgan House, a crumbling bastion shrouded in sea-mist, lies half empty and filled with ghosts – both real and imagined – the Prendevilles, the noble family within, co-existing only as the balance of their secrets is kept.

Then, when an IRA ambush goes terribly wrong, Maud Prendeville, eldest daughter of Lord Kilcolgan, is killed, leaving the family reeling. Yet the IRA column insist they left her alive, that someone else must have been responsible for her terrible fate. Captain Tom Harkin, an IRA intelligence officer and Maud’s former fiancé, is sent to investigate, becoming an unwelcome guest in this strange, gloomy household.

Working undercover, Harkin must delve into the house’s secrets – and discover where, in this fractured, embattled town, each family member’s allegiances truly lie. But Harkin too is haunted by the ghosts of the past and by his terrible experiences on the battlefields. Can he find out the truth about Maud’s death before the past – and his strange, unnerving surroundings – overwhelm him?

A haunting, atmospheric mystery set against the raw Irish landscape in a country divided, The Winter Guest is the perfect chilling read.

If you would like to watch the panel. All you have to do is click on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook Page. The event starts at 19.30 p.m. on Monday, 7th February 2022. The panel is being moderated by publisher, Katherine Armstrong.

First Monday Crime

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