Dead Memories by Angela Marsons #bookreview @WriteAngie @bookouture


She ruined their lives. Now they’re going to destroy hers.

‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the death of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?


I can’t believe I’ve fallen behind on one of my favourite crime series. I finally got round to reading the tenth novel in the Kim Stone series, Dead Memories a short while ago and I have to say, I think this is one of Angela Marsons best books in this series to date. It is also, perhaps, her darkest book and once again, Kim certainly isn’t given an easy ride. This case will definitely be one of the most chilling investigations of her career.

Opening the novel with the discovery of two bodies, chained to a radiator in the very same apartment block Kim grew up in, this case is eerily similar to a traumatic event in her childhood. Kim is sure it is coincidence only and is determined to see the case through without having to revisit her past. But as more information is revealed and more crimes take place, it appears that someone is desperate to make Kim pay. But who could hate her so much to want to go to such extreme lengths to punish her? And it’s fair to say that Kim has ruffled a few feathers in recent years, so she certainly isn’t short of enemies.

After the last few books in this series, Kim and her team have certainly experienced a lot of pain and change. Angela Marsons takes the emotional level up another notch in this book. I could see why Kim wanted to keep her past a secret from the rest of her team, and I could understand why she didn’t want to draw on the similarities early on in the book. The tension is there right from the start. I wanted to know who was so desperate to recreate these events from Kim’s childhood and why they were so keen to do this. As the investigation continues, it becomes clear to the team that only Kim knows where the killer may strike next. It did make me wonder how Kim was going to cope with this as these past experiences in her life were extremely traumatic and still have an effect on her.

The people Kim speaks to concerning the crimes that are taking place, really made my skin crawl. You can see the level of hatred they have for Kim, and it is quite scary. With Kim visiting these people, in an attempt to get to the bottom of the crimes that were taking place, it did make me connect with Kim even more, and her plight to see justice prevail.

As it becomes clearer to Kim and the team who is behind the killings, Angela Marsons turns the level of tension up a further notch. I couldn’t stop turning the pages as I couldn’t wait to see how everything would come together. There were even some points where I couldn’t bear to read on, as I could understand what the consequences for Kim and her team were going to be if they didn’t catch the individual responsible in time. The ending of the book did make for a nail-biting finale.

If you are new to this series, I think it would be better for you to go back and start from the beginning with Silent Scream. Especially as this book looks back at the previous cases, Kim and her team have worked on. There is certainly a lot that happens in the last three books, which has had a great effect on Kim and her team, which you will be missing out on.

I think I say that this is the best book, every time I read a new novel in this series. But it is true that Angela Marsons certainly remains on top form with her plots and especially her characters. Her books are always totally gripping. I already have the next book ready and waiting on my kindle, and I can’t wait to get to it.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 22nd February 2019

Print length: 400 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Dare by Carol Wyer #bookreview blog tour @carolewyer @bookouture

A very happy publication day to Carol Wyer, who’s brilliant new thriller in the DI Natalie Ward series is released today. I’m delighted to be sharing my review as part of the blog tour.

The Dare: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 3) by [Wyer, Carol]


Jane’s daughter is a good girl. What is she hiding?

When thirteen-year-old Savannah Hopkins doesn’t come straight home from school, as she always does, her mother Jane immediately raises the alarm.

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward whose daughter Leigh is the same age as Savannah. Soon Natalie’s worst fears are confirmed when the teenager’s broken body is found in nearby shrubland.

Evidence points towards a local recluse, but just as the net is closing around him, one of Savannah’s friends, Harriet, is reported missing.

As Natalie delves into the lives of both girls, she soon discovers a sinister video on their phones, daring the girls to disappear from their families for 48 hours.

But Natalie isn’t quick enough for this killer, and she is devastated to find Harriet’s body on a fly tip a day later.

Caught up in the case, she takes her eye off her own daughter and when Leigh goes missing after school she knows she must be in terrible danger. The clock is ticking for Natalie. Can she catch this killer before her little girl becomes the next victim?


I get very excited now when I get the chance to read a new novel by Carol Wyer as I always enjoy her police procedurals.

I think The Dare is Carol Wyer’s most chilling crime novel to date and I was kept gripped right from the start. In her latest Natalie Ward thriller, she delves into the dark side of the Internet and explores a terrifying scenario. It does open your eyes even more to what is potentially out there online. Following on from the craze of the ice bucket challenge a few years earlier which took the online world by storm – which I have to say I never took part in, but I know people who did – Carol explores a much more chilling challenge that is encapsulating young people.  But as this new craze takes hold, something goes disastrously wrong leaving Natalie and her team desperately hunting a terrifying serial killer who is exploiting young people.

There’s a real sense of urgency right throughout this book which Carol keeps turning up a notch as the case takes each new turn and as people continued to keep disappearing. This is proving a difficult case for Natalie and her team to crack, especially as she has her own problems going on in her home life as well, particularly with her husband. You know that the killer is going to keep killing until they are brought to justice. Carol cleverly keeps their identity under wraps until the final reveals, there are plenty of characters who will keep you thinking and wondering if it could possibly be them.

The plot is well thought out, and it kept me guessing as I tried to work out who could potentially be responsible for the crimes that were happening and this kept the pace flying forward.  There were moments when the tension was so high that I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Natalie is a character who is fast becoming one of my favourite detectives. She is a brilliant protagonist who has kept me intrigued over the past three books in this series, and after the final chapters, it’ll be interesting to see how her character develops further from here. And I don’t think she’s going to be given an easy ride any time soon.

This is another excellent addition to this series that just keeps getting better and better. I can’t wait to read the next instalment. If you’re looking for a crime series that will keep you guessing and keep you on the edge of the seat, then look no further than these books.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 25th April 2019

Print length: 378 pages

If you would like to purchase The Dare, you can do so by clicking on the following links below.

Amazon UK


The Dare - Blog Tour

A Body in the Lakes by Graham Smith #bookreview blog tour @GrahamSmith1972 @bookouture

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on Graham Smith’s gripping new thriller, A Body in the Lakes, the second book in the DC Beth Young series.

A Body in the Lakes: A gripping crime thriller with a heart-stopping twist by [Smith, Graham]


The woman’s limbs were so thin; the skin on her arms as translucent as tracing paper. Around her neck lay a faint string of purple bruises. In one so frail, darker, angrier marks might be expected but Beth knew the bruising would have stopped the moment her heart stopped beating.

When a hiker finds the body of a woman by the shores of Lake Ullswater, the police are put on high alert. Felicia Evans was known to be a tough character, but who would have strangled her?

Detective Beth Young quickly spots the links to three cold cases. Three women strangled and discarded in the stunning, wild hills of the Lake District.

As Beth begins tracking down witnesses, the team receives an anonymous letter claiming the charming mayor of Carlisle is behind the murders. There’s pressure from the top to clear his name. But Beth is determined to find the truth no matter whose feathers she ruffles in the process.

Beth knows the clock is ticking. The killer is hunting again. And it’s down to her to find who’s responsible before another woman becomes his prey…


A Body in the Lakes is another gripping crime thriller by Graham Smith set within the surrounding area of the Lake District. DC Beth Young returns in his latest novel, and she is investigating the shocking murder of an elderly woman who has been given weeks to live due to her cancer diagnosis. What is even more shocking to Beth is the lengths the killer has gone to, and she realises that this is the work of a dangerous and callous individual. But as Beth and the rest of her team begin to investigate, they realise that it could be linked to other murders that have taken place, which no one has ever thought of connecting before.

This is developing into an exciting crime series that I am certainly keen to follow, and it is interesting to see Beth grow. Beth is a character who stands out among her team, she has caught the attention of the press in this latest book, and she seems like a breath of fresh air to the media and the public. She is sharp, intelligent and tenacious. She certainly catches the eye of the mayor who becomes involved in the case when his name crops up as a possible suspect.

We do get to learn a lot more about Beth in this latest instalment and about the events which have scarred her in the past. She does come across as the strongest character in the book, and you can really sense the connection that she feels towards the victims, and she is desperate to make sure that this killer doesn’t strike again. She certainly isn’t afraid of putting herself in danger as she fights for justice, and she isn’t a character who will sit quietly, she wants to make her voice heard in the loudest way possible.

I really liked the way how Graham cleverly mislead me as I thought I could see who the murderer was, but the final chapters took me by surprise. Again I felt nervous for Beth as she grew closer and closer to unravelling what was going on and who was behind the attacks. But I’m not going to go into any more detail here; you’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out what happens. You don’t need to have read the first book in the series to enjoy this one, but once you’ve read it, you’ll definitely want to catch up.

If you’re looking for a gripping police procedural, look no further than Graham Smith’s books. A Body in the Lakes is a crime novel that will keep you hooked and on the edge of your seat.

Thank you to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, and for providing me with an advance review copy.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 15th March 2019

Print length: 372 pages

If you would like to purchase A Body in the Lakes you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK


Blog Tour - A Body in the Lakes

Only Daughter by Sarah Denzil #bookreview blog tour @sarahdenzil @bookouture

Happy publication to Sarah Denzil, her latest novel Only Daughter is published today. I’m thrilled to be sharing my thoughts on my blog as part of the blog tour.

Only Daughter: An absolutely gripping psychological thriller with a nail-biting twist by [Denzil, Sarah A.]


In one moment, Kat Cavanagh’s perfect world is shattered into tiny fragments. The flash of her daughter’s torn yellow dress, the beautiful blonde hair hanging across her precious face. Her own heart-broken sob…

Kat experiences every mother’s worst nightmare when her little girl is found dead. And then the police add the word ‘suicide’. But Kat refuses to believe them. 

Even when they show her the familiar looping handwriting and smudged ink on the note Grace left behind. She knows her bubbly, bright daughter would never take her own life.

But as she searches Grace’s perfume-scented room, filled with smiling photos, she uncovers secrets her daughter had been hiding. Secrets that make her wonder how well she really knew the woman her only child was becoming.

Kat’s determined to find out what really happened to Grace on the night she died, even if it means confronting her own troubled past. But as she gets closer to the terrible truth, Kat is faced with an unthinkable question: there was no way she could have protected Grace – or was there?


Only Daughter is a totally gripping novel from Sarah Denzil. I haven’t read anything by Sarah before, but I’m definitely intrigued to read her previous work.

There’s a very dark tone which runs right throughout this novel, right from the beginning when we see, Grace, a young girl about to commit suicide, right through to the heart-stopping conclusion when we finally find out the reasons why she did what she did.

Grace’s mother, Kat refuses to accept that her daughter killed herself and begins to search for answers by speaking to Grace’s friends and by trying to gain access to her social media channels. Her husband Charles and the police are not supportive of Kat’s quest to get to the truth, to them it is an open and shut case, but Kat is determined not to give up. But as Kat delves into her daughter’s world, she discovers that she knew very little about what she was really getting up to.

When we were first introduced to Kat I didn’t find her particularly likeable, to begin with, but as the story developed I became more and more engaged in her quest to avenge her daughter, and I became more and more interested in her as a character. Kat isn’t a person who has had it easy; she grew up on a council estate but has since married a wealthy man and lives with him in their seven-bedroom mansion. Kat is often labelled a gold digger by her social peers, and even her own mother disapproves of her for marrying Charles; this made me feel very sorry for her as she didn’t appear to have many people who she could turn to.

There were so many intriguing twists and turns that made me want to get to the bottom of who Grace really was and why she did what she did. What could have prompted a young girl to kill herself?

I was shocked by the final conclusions which Sarah Denzil brought together in a rapid and cleverly thought out way. It really wrapped everything up well, although some parts did put me in mind of a book I read a couple of years ago, I still found it really enjoyable and heartbreaking as well.

This is a really well written and an engrossing read that will have you desperate to find out what happens, not to be missed by psychological thriller fans.

Thank you to Bookouture for providing me with an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 13th March 2019

Print length: 330 pages

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

Amazon UK   Kobo


Only Daughter - Blog Tour

Last Lullaby by Carol Wyer #bookreview @carolewyer @bookouture

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping second novel in the DI Natalie Ward series by Carol Wyer, Last Lullaby. I read this while I was away for a few days the week before last and I finished it in just two days.

Last Lullaby: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 2) by [Wyer, Carol]


Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?

When the body of young mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband in their immaculate, silver bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: the word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood.

Determined to find justice, Natalie quickly discovers the husband is hiding a troubled past, and she’s sure the teenage babysitter’s alibi doesn’t quite add up.

But before Natalie can dig deeper, another mother is murdered, her young son left distraught, staring at a fresh ‘who’ scrawled beside her.

Natalie knows it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again, but all the key suspects have alibis. It’s her toughest case yet, and with her marriage hanging by a thread, the cracks are beginning to show.

Just when Natalie finds an unsettling clue she thinks could solve the case, another young woman and her baby disappear, and a member of Natalie’s team is put in terrible danger.

Can Natalie stop this twisted killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever?


I finally got round to reading the second book in the DI Natalie Ward series by Carol Wyer, Last Lullaby, and I absolutely loved it. I knew I was in for a treat as I really enjoyed the first book The Birthday and it only took me three days to finish it. If you’re not yet reading Carol’s gripping new police procedural series, then you really need to get your skates on as the third book is out very soon.

DI Natalie Ward is a character who is really starting to grow on me. She is passionate about her job, although this does cause some tension in her home life, as in her mind, her career and commitment to the victims of the crimes she is investigating comes first. And it is her commitment to her job that is causing some frictions.

Straight away Carol starts building the tension as a young couple making their way home are being tailgated by another car causing them some alarm. A short while later, Charlotte Brennan is discovered murdered, although her baby son, Alfie, who was close to her at the time of the attack remains unharmed. When Natalie and her team start to investigate, they believe that someone close to Charlotte and her husband, Adam may have murdered her. But soon another murder takes place, and a chilling sequence of events follow.

Carol throws in plenty of twists and turns in her latest book which kept me asking questions about the characters. There are plenty of suspects for the team to investigate, and you get a real sense of how difficult this case is going to be for the police as there are many people here who don’t want to tell the truth. Also falling under suspicions is Charlotte’s own husband Adam and I could never quite be sure how I felt about him, especially as he has quite a murky past himself.

This is another excellent novel from Carol that will keep you hooked all the way through. I really liked how everything came together in the end. Last Lullaby is totally engaging with a gripping mystery to follow. As I said earlier, if you’re not yet following this series, you really need to be. Roll on book three.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 7th December 2018

Print length: 338 pages

If you would like to purchase Last Lullaby, you can do so by clicking on the following links below.

Amazon UK 

The Couple by Sarah Mitchell blog tour #bookreview @SarahM_writer @bookouture

The Couple: An unputdownable psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist by [Mitchell, Sarah]


Whatever you think you know… you’re wrong.

Following a whirlwind four-month romance, lawyer Claire and hotel entrepreneur Angus are engaged to be married. Happy and successful, and ready to start their new life together, Claire and Angus find what they believe to be the perfect home.

But when Claire meets Mark, the man selling them the house, he looks eerily familiar. He looks exactly like the man she loved five years ago, the man she couldn’t bear to lose.

As Claire finds herself irresistibly drawn to Mark and crosses lines she never thought she’d cross, Angus’ behaviour becomes increasingly suspicious. Soon Claire doesn’t know whether she can trust Mark, Angus… or even herself.


The Couple is such a fast-paced read. I tore through it; you know a book is good when you read more than 60% in a day; it literally ate up my weekend. There is a lot going on in this book, but it makes for such a gripping read, and the tension simmers from the first page to the last.

Claire works as an immigration lawyer for the Home Office, and her job is to defend their cases. At the beginning of the book, she and her fiancé, Angus are celebrating their engagement; everything should be perfect and happy, but something doesn’t appear right in their relationship. Claire already feels on tenterhooks, even before her stepfather mistakes Angus for her previous partner, Daniel in his speech. From this point on I knew that this was going to be a novel I was going to enjoy as Sarah Mitchell was starting to create a real sense of unease and I had to know how everything was going to unfold.

Claire’s job as an immigration lawyer was fascinating, and you get to see what must go on behind the scenes in some of these cases, and I felt that this was an area which had researched well; I could sense the tension there was in the courtroom as we waited for the verdict to be given to the judge. Claire is such a perplexing character. You can see that something has happened in her past with her previous boyfriend, Daniel and I wanted to find out what had gone on between them. We do visit back to this time as Sarah takes us back five years earlier.

Sarah ratchets up the tension as we get to understand more disturbing truths and what is really going on behind the scenes in Claire and Angus’s relationship. There was a final twist that left my head in a spin. I had to think about it for a while, I must admit, but once I did, I thought it was done very well, and there was a very satisfactory ending.

This is the first book by Sarah Mitchell which I’ve read, and I’m very eager to read her next one. The Couple is an utterly captivating page-turner, it’s probably best to read when you haven’t got any plans for the day as you’ll want to continue reading on.

Thank you to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour tour and for providing me with an advance review copy.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 5th February 2019

Print length: 322 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo


The Couple Blog Tour Poster

A Promise to the Dead by Victoria Jenkins blog tour #bookreview @vicwritescrime @bookouture

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the fourth book in the Detectives King and Lane series by Victoria Jenkins on my blog today. I’ve found each of Victoria’s books completely unputdownable, and I couldn’t wait to get round to reading this one, and it didn’t disappoint.

A Promise to the Dead: A gripping crime thriller with a brilliant twist (Detectives King and Lane Book 4) by [Jenkins, Victoria]


The blur of shapes began to sharpen, forming a clear picture that stood out against the darkened background. For a moment he couldn’t move, his fear rendering him immobile. He needed help. He turned to run.

On a dark night, on a mountain road, a young couple, Matthew and Stacey, are on their way home from a night out. Their car breaks down and Matthew leaves to look for help. By the next morning, Stacey is found murdered in the car and Matthew is missing, presumed guilty of her murder.

Called to the scene, Detective Alex King and her team soon see some terrifying links – to another local young man who is missing, and to the discovery of a body from 30 years ago.

Alex knows that the missing and the dead have a story to tell her. But will she hear it in time to uncover the killer before they strike again?


I’ve become a huge fan of Victoria Jenkins books over the last couple of years and the latest novel in the King and Lane series, A Promise to the Dead, is another fantastic addition that once again had me hooked from the first page. This is a series that just keeps getting better and better.

The latest case that Chloe and Alex are investigating begins to make Alex think what she really wants, and she begins to start thinking about some important decisions which will have a huge impact on her life and her career. The case is another perplexing mystery for them to solve and it takes them back many years as they try to uncover the truth.

This was a book that I could not put down. Victoria’s writing has that utterly addictive quality to it that you could very happily lose a few hours too. She opens the book with a very intriguing opening. The scene we are faced with is when a young man, Matthew, appears to have stumbled across something he shouldn’t have, and it seems that someone else is determined to silence him. The next day, his girlfriend’s body is found in their car, still in the same location where he left her, which is when Alex and Chloe arrive on the scene.

As the investigation gets underway, I really wanted to find out what happened on the night which the first chapter so brilliantly opens up with. It definitely lets you know that you are in for a treat. Victoria keeps the details hazy, so you are never quite sure how the rest of the book is going to pan out and what has really happened to Matthew.

The ending of this book has left me wondering how the series is going to progress from here. There was one scene in particular that left me shell-shocked, and there are some revelations that do make for a harrowing read, but I’m not going to go into any detail as to what happened here. You’ll need to read the book to find out.

A Promise to the Dead is another stonking read from Victoria Jenkins if you haven’t yet read her books, and if you’re a fan of police procedurals, then you really should be reading them.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 21st January 2019

Print length: 278 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo


a promnise to the dead - blog tour

Death In The Lakes by Graham Smith #bookreview @GrahamSmith1972 @bookouture

death in the lakes


Detective Beth Young has just joined the Cumbrian major crimes team when a body is found posed in a ritualistic manner – arms spread and graceful wings attached – at a crumbling castle in the hills of the Lake District.

The entire police force is on red alert. But Beth begins to feel she’s the only one who can follow the disturbing clues left by the twisted killer. Because she doesn’t think like everyone else. To Beth, crimes are puzzles she can solve. Even if real life is a little harder.

As more bodies are discovered in derelict stately homes across the Lake District, Beth knows she’s in a race against time.

But the killer is looking for another victim to add to his collection… Will Beth be able to save her? Or will he get there first?


Death In The Lakes is the first book in a new series by Graham Smith and the first to feature DC Beth Young. I haven’t read any previous work by Graham before, and I was very impressed with his latest. This is a great introduction to Beth, she is a detective who still has a lot of room to grow, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about her as the series progresses. If you enjoy a good serial killer thriller, then you should definitely pick it up.

Imagine on your wedding day, you discover a body in the grounds of a hotel where you are hosting your big day. This is what happens to Emily Welton when she discovers the body of Angus Keane in the opening chapters, and DC Beth Young is one of the first police officers on the scene after the gruesome discovery. But what sets this murder apart, and really worries the police, is the lengths the killer has gone to make their victim suffer a torturous death, and it soon becomes clear, that Angus isn’t the first victim of this deranged killer and he won’t be the last to die.

Beth is a character who I got on with straight away. You can see she is ambitious; however she does struggle to get on with some of her colleagues at the start of the book. Her boss, DI O’Dowd is a character who I did take time to warm to, but by the second half, I thought that she and Beth were working really well together and O’Dowd became a much more likeable character.

There are some really gruesome details in this book, where we learn about how the killer chooses to murder their victims and these were quite inventive and made this book stand out amongst recent police procedural books I have read. They made me want to find out more about the killer and why they were choosing this particular method to dispose of their victims.

I certainly have no hesitation in recommending this book as a gripping read to crime fiction fans, and I will definitely be buying the next book in the series. Death In The Lakes is a top police procedural novel, and I can’t wait to find out more about the characters.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 30th November 2018

Print length: 346 pages

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

Amazon UK Amazon US Kobo

The Birthday by Carol Wyer #bookreview @carolewyer @bookouture

The Birthday: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 1) by [Wyer, Carol]


One hot summer’s afternoon, five-year-old Ava Sawyer went to a party. She never came home… 

Two years later, Ava’s body is found and another little girl, Audrey Briggs, goes missing. Audrey also attended that party …

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward. A mother of two teenagers, this case chills her to the bone, and is a disturbing reminder of the last job she worked on. One that still keeps her awake at night…

Natalie soon discovers that Ava’s mother has some worrying gaps in her alibi and as she digs deeper, she’s sure Ava’s father is not telling the full story. And what did the owner of the garden centre Elsa see that day? Something that she’s not telling Natalie …

Just as Natalie is facing up to the grim possibility that Ava and Audrey were killed by someone close to home, another little girl from the party doesn’t come home from her ballet lesson. Can Natalie find a way to stop this killer before more innocent lives are taken?


The Birthday is the start to a gripping new police procedural series from Carol Wyer introducing DI Natalie Ward, and it is such a chilling read. I think every parent is plunged into fear whenever their child runs off, either in a strop, or just simply being mischievous. I did it to my own parents a couple of times when I was small, in a huge shopping centre, and I can still remember, twenty odd years later, the fear I felt when I realised my mum was no longer nearby. And Carol captures this same fear so well in this book.

The book opens in 2015 when we are thrown into a child’s birthday party at a petting zoo, attached to a crafts centre. Ava Sawyer is at the centre here as she simply vanishes after the people responsible for the children take their eyes off her for just a few seconds. Now two years later her remains have been discovered a short distance away, and DI Natalie Ward leads a new team in the hunt for her killer, but as the investigation progresses more children are kidnapped, children who had some connection to Ava. Will Natalie be able to find the killer in time before they strike again?

Carol Wyer has created an absolutely gripping plot in The Birthday. I really felt as though the police were racing against the clock to find the killer in time to stop them from taking another child. This is what made this book such an intense read heightened by the killer’s thoughts which we hear from throughout the book, and we get to see just what a disturbed individual this person is. I really wanted Natalie and her team to catch them in time before they made their next move, and there was always that impending sense of doom that they were one step ahead of the police.

Natalie is a detective who is haunted by her past failures, and you can see that she is determined to find the girls in time and to bring the perpetrator to justice. She is a character who I really cared about, and I wanted her to stop blaming herself as I could see how this was affecting her. But it is what has made her the detective she is today, and she is another fine addition to the crime fiction world. I got the sense that her team all worked really well together and I particularly liked Natalie and Lucy Carmichael’s working relationship; I can’t wait to see how they will both progress in future books.

For me, the pace did drop a little bit in the middle, but it really picked up again in the end as everything started to come together for the detectives. I was rooting for them to get to the answers all the way through.

I will certainly be reading the next book in the series very soon, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for Natalie and her team next. With brilliant, engaging writing and memorable characters, I think this is another series that will become a firm favourite of mine.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 27th September 2018

Print length: 304 pages

If you would like to purchase The Birthday you can do so by clicking on the following link below.

Amazon UK

Keep Her Close by Erik Therme blog tour #bookreview @bookouture @ErikTherme



Three-year-old Ally was found alone in a parking lot.
She was barefoot and dressed only in a yellow sundress. In the middle of winter.
What kind of person would abandon their daughter?

Fifteen years later and Ally has a new family.
But her real father has sent her a letter.
And now Ally is missing. 


This was a rollercoaster of a book. I was pulled into the story straight away when in the opening pages, couple Dan and Holly find a young child abandoned in a car park and the body of a young woman a short distance away lying in a pool of blood. Who was the child? Why had she been left there and who was the woman who had been found dead? Finding out the answers to these questions is what compelled me to read on, and I had so many more questions about the plot and the characters along the way.

Fifteen years later and the young girl, now named Ally, is Dan and Holly’s daughter having been adopted by them in 2000, a short while after she was found. Ally is desperate to know the truth about her past, and she wants to find out who her biological parents were; although, Dan isn’t quite so keen on her searching for this information. As Ally sets out to find out the truth about her former life, she disappears.

As the plot of this book progressed, I did get a real sense that things were only going to get worse for Dan, Holly and Ally and there was an impending sense of danger circling around them. Like Ally, I was interested to find out where she had come from and why she had been left in that car park all those years ago. I kept thinking of the possible reasons why someone may have chosen to do this.

Keep Her Close moves along at a very quick pace, and it heats up as Dan and Holly try and track their daughter down. Erik Therme did a great job of keeping up the tension, and his writing style made it a very easy book to get into, you know when you just think, I’ll just read on for one more chapter, then another, and then another; this is that type of book. And I think here this is all down to the characters and the events they become mixed up in. I think what also made this a gripping read is that I could never be sure what the outcome was going to be for the characters, and I could never really be sure what had happened to Ally, and if whether or not she had chosen to disappear of her own accord. That was one idea that was going around inside my head.

There is a very devious character in this book who kept me on the edge of my seat as I wondered what card they were going to play next. But I’m not going to say much more about that here, but once you read the book, you will know exactly who I mean.

If you’re looking for a quick, suspense filled read, then you should definitely read Keep Her Close. I think it’s also the perfect book to read just when you want to have a break from the mad Christmas festivities, and have a few quiet hours to yourself, with a glass of wine perhaps. Thank you to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing me with a copy of the book to read via Netgalley.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 5th December 2018

Print length: 247 pages