Posted in Crime, Press Release

Vote for your favourite title from the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 shortlist #TheakstonAward @HarrogateFest @Theakston1827 @midaspr #pressrelease

Elly Griffiths | Joseph Knox | Laura Shepherd Robinson
Mick Herron | Vaseem Khan| Will Dean

Vote Here

The shortlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022, presented by Harrogate International Festivals, has been announced today, with six bestselling authors competing to win the UK’s most prestigious crime writing prize.

The coveted award, now in its eighteenth year, celebrates crime fiction at its very best, with this year’s shortlist taking readers from newly independent India to the tension of a remote Fenlands cottage, from a nail-biting missing persons’ investigation in Manchester to the wilds of North Norfolk, and from the hedonism of Georgian London to the murky world of international espionage. Selected by the public from a longlist of eighteen novels, with a record number of votes being placed this year, the list of six novels features newcomers to the shortlist, two New Blood panellists, a previous Festival Programming Chair, and a five-time shortlistee. None of this year’s shortlistees has ever taken home the prize before, making the competition even tenser.

Elly Griffiths, who was the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Chair in 2017, is shortlisted for the fifth time for The Night Hawks, the thirteenth instalment in her popular Ruth Galloway series. The Night Hawks sees Norfolk’s favourite forensic archaeologist Galloway called when a group of metal detectorists discover a body buried on a beach with Bronze Age treasure, a find which will lead to a series of murders seemingly linked to the local legend of a spectral dog whose appearance heralds death.

Sunday Times bestseller True Crime Story, the first standalone novel from Joseph Knox, blends fact and fiction to tell the gripping story of a 19-year-old university student who leaves a party in her student halls and is never seen again. Knox, who was selected by Val McDermid as a New Blood panellist in 2017, was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2018 for his thriller Sirens the following year, but has never previously reached the shortlist stage. 

Historical crime writer Laura Shepherd Robinson continues her incredible streak as her second novel Daughters of Night is shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, two years after her debut Blood & Sugar was longlisted for the award in 2020. Robinson’s evocative novel transports readers to the seedy underworld of Georgian London, as Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham tries to solve the murder of a prostitute in the infamous Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, an investigation which will delve into the darkest corners of high society.

Bestselling author Mick Herron is longlisted for Slough House, the tenth instalment in his series of the same name, which was recently adapted by Apple TV as spy drama Slow Horses, starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas. Herron will be hoping to take home the prize this year, with 2022 marking the fifth time in the past six years he has secured a place on the shortlist.

Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan, the first in a new series chronicling the investigations of India’s first female police detective, marks Khan’s first time reaching the shortlist. The novel introduces readers to Inspector Persis Wadia as she is plucked from obscurity in a basement office and tasked with solving the murder of an English diplomat as the country prepares to become the world’s biggest republic.

Finally, The Last Thing to Burn sees bestselling author and New Blood 2018 panellist Will Dean move away from the Nordic setting of his acclaimed Tuva Moodyson series in favour of a claustrophobic thriller set on the British fenlands. The Last Thing to Burn, which has secured Dean his first ever placement on the shortlist, sees a woman held captive in a remote cottage by a man who calls her Jane and insists she is his wife. She has long abandoned hopes of escape, until she finds a reason to live and finds herself watching and planning, waiting for the right moment to act. 

The six novels shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 are:

·       The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths (Quercus Fiction)

·       True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Doubleday)

·       Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd Robinson (Mantle/Pan)

·       Slough House by Mick Herron (Baskerville)

·       Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)

·       The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean (Hodder & Stoughton)

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of Theakston, added“What a fantastic shortlist, six thrilling tales which deliver shocking twists and unforgettable characters! We raise a glass of Theakston Old Peculier to all of the shortlistees and look forward to revealing the winner in July as we kick off the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.”

Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, commented: “We are delighted to announce this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year shortlist, featuring six novels by some of the most exciting crime writers working today. Whisking readers around the world and through time, this shortlist is a fantastic demonstration of the variety to be found in crime fiction. The public has a tough task ahead of choosing just one winner and we can’t wait to see who they vote for!”

The public is now invited to vote for a winner at www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com. Voting closes on Friday 8th July, with the winner to be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 21st July. The winner will receive a £3,000 prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston Ltd.

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with Waterstones and the Express, and is open to full-length crime novels published in paperback from 1 May 2021 to 30 April 2022 by UK and Irish authors.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, New Books

Sharpe’s Skirmish Bernard Cornwell @BernardCornwell @booksonthehill  @lovebookstours  @igbooktours #SharpesSkirmish #dyslexiafriendlyfiction

Books on the Hill

It is the summer of 1812, and Richard Sharpe, newly recovered from the wound he received in the fighting at Salamanca, is given an easy duty; to guard a Commissary Officer posted to an obscure Spanish fort where there are some captured French muskets to repair. 

But unknown to the British, the French are planning a lightning raid across the River Tormes, and they reckon the obscure Spanish fort, which guards an ancient bridge across the river, will be lightly guarded. Sharpe is in for a fight.

Bernard Cornwell OBE is a global bestselling historical fiction author of more than 50 novels. His Napoleonic Wars series following Richard Sharpe was made into much-loved TV series starring Sean Bean. More recently, the BBC adapted his Last Kingdom series, set in King Alfred’s Anglo-Saxon kingdom.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

This format of the ever-popular Sharpe adventures is dyslexia-friendly adult historical fiction. The background, font, spacing and length of this book make it accessible. The story captures the essence of the enigmatic Sharpe and his adventures in the Napoleonic wars. I like this series, but if you are a new reader, this provides an enticing introduction to the characters and their stories.

Dyslexic-friendly fiction for adults by BOTH Press

Following their successful “Open Dyslexia” Kickstarter in 2021, which led to publishing eight dyslexia-friendly fiction titles, BOTH Press is launching on June 7th 2022, their second Kickstarter “Open Dyslexia: the sequel” with more high-profile authors than ever before, lasting 30 days and finishing on the July 4th 2022

The Kickstarter aims to publish eight more titles of high-quality fiction from bestselling authors: including household names such as Bernard Cornwell and Peter James. 

The line-up includes many front-list authors such as Gareth Powell, J.M Alvey(aka Juliet Mckenna), Scott Oden, Snorri Krisjanason, and James Bennett.

Peter James will also be doing an introduction for the 2022 collection.  

There are very few initiatives for reading for pleasure for adults. The eight titles BOTH Press has already published are the only readily available dyslexia-friendly fiction for adults in the UK and can be found in libraries and any bookshop. The scale of accessibility is not nearly enough, as around 10% of the UK population deal with some form of dyslexia.

Despite Jay Blades’s (the Presenter of ‘Repair Shop’) unique telling of his learning to read in the documentary ‘Learning To Read At 51’, which the BBC recently aired, there are still few or no resources for adult dyslexia. A glance at Adult dyslexics charity websites and reading charity websites indicates there are few resources on reading fiction for pleasure for adults with dyslexia.

“It is frustrating that we now have children’s books in dyslexia-friendly formats. As adults, we apparently do not require books in the same form.”

Dyslexic blogger Suzy Taylor who writes for Dyslexia Scotland

There needs to be a choice for people to read for pleasure, where there are books designed to be friendly to them and are not dumbed down, are high quality and enjoyable fiction, which people can chat and socialise about with friends and family.

 “This book shop is doing incredible things and helping people to fall in love with reading again” [and] “I love the fact and the thought that has gone through on these [titles] with the spacing, the font, with the colour of the paper and the way that the book just flows.”

Darren Clarke, the director of Succeed with Dyslexia.

BOTH Press has had many heart-warming responses about how the books have impacted their lives. 

“Many individuals who have told us their stories do not want to be mentioned due to fear of stigma about their struggle to read. For example, a man in his 50s in Scotland had not read a book since he was a child. His partner found us and bought him one of our titles. He read it. Then called us up to order another. He was so happy to actually read. In fact, the partner wrote us a letter explaining how much of a difference it is making and then ordered the four more for a Christmas present.” 

Dr Alistair Sims

BOTH aim to raise £16,000 to publish eight titles. Though looking to the future, they will need more than £20,000 a year to keep publishing eight titles regularly. All funds go toward the book production/ life cycle to make them readily available. The bookshop Books on the Hill and their manager Alistair Sims, who created BOTH Press, receive no profits from the project.  

Further information

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Gothic Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Paranormal, Romance, Romantic Comedy

The Forgotten House on the Moor Jane Lovering 5*#Review @janelovering @BoldwoodBooks #friendship #romance #relationships #secrets #selfbelief #psychology #NorthYorkshireMoors #gothic #mystery #ghosts #supernatural @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #TheForgottenHouseOnTheMoor

Mystery, mayhem, a manor house and a generous serving of romance… 

When the police knock on Alice Donaldson’s door at 4am, she knows the news won’t be good. There’s been an accident involving her ex-husband Grant, and as his existing next of kin, they need her help.

Grant is missing up on the North York moors, but the Grant Alice knew could barely be persuaded out on a walk around the block. What on earth possessed him to go on a hike in the middle of the night?

Alice soon finds herself working with Grant’s girlfriend Jenna and Jenna’s gorgeous ‘Lord of the family Manor’ brother Max, to find out what has happened, and what caused Grant’s accident at The Fortune House – the spooky house out on the moors.

The locals tell all manner of ghoulish stories about The Fortune House, which Alice is not minded to listen to. But before long, things take a turn for the strange and Max and Alice have a new mystery to solve. While all the while Alice can’t help hoping she might meet the requirements to be Max’s ‘Lady of the Manor’ at his country pile, Hatherleigh Hall.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The Forgotten House on the Moor delivers the mystery and gothic elements it promises. The original plot also has gentle romance, self-realisation for the main characters and lots of humorous moments that this author writes so well. Alice is not unhappy but unfulfilled when she receives an unexpected visit from the police with some surprising news it provokes her into action. The story that follows is full of humour, mystery and romance.

Complex characters that develop as the story progresses make this an engaging read. The well-written ghostly element adds depth to the story, and I liked the final twist.

Jane Lovering is the bestselling and award-winning romantic comedy writer who won the RNA Novel of the Year Award in 2012 with Please Don’t Stop the Music. She lives in Yorkshire and has a cat and a bonkers terrier, as well as five children who have now left home. 

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Political Thriller, Romance

These Streets Luan Golding 5*#Review @HQStories @LuanGoldie #FamilyDrama #LiteraryFiction #Friendship #Relationships #Romance #Homelessness #Love #Hope #BookReview #TheseStreets

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Powerfully insightful, this contemporary story explores life in twenty-first century Britain through authentically created characters and their relationships. It is poignantly raw as it documents how easy it is for familial relationships to fail with the threat of homelessness. Hope, humour and humanity lighten the darkness and deliver a believable story that resonates.

Read my review of Nightingale Point

Read My Review of Home Coming

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Note to Self Anna Bell 5*Review @AnnaBell_writes @HQStories #romcom #contemporaryfiction #life #love #friendship #relationships #romance #humour #secondchance #blogtour #bookreview

It’s never too late to follow your heart.

One summer’s day seventeen years ago Edie and Joel meet.
Their connection is instant and a friendship is born, although Edie can’t help but wish for more. But just as she builds up the courage to lay her heart on the line, one night changes everything…

Edie’s moved on from the heartbreak of years ago. So the last thing she expects to receive on her thirty-fifth birthday is an email… from her eighteen-year-old self. As more emails arrive, she starts to remember what – or rather who – she left behind.

Following her own advice, Edie heads back to the place where it all began and finds her path unexpectedly crossing with Joel’s once more. Could this finally be their chance at love? Or are some things better left in the past?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Edie runs a successful family business, owns her flat and has a boyfriend who suits her lifestyle, a perfect life looking in, but when she receives an email from her teenage self, it forces her to question her choices and find the life she wants.

I enjoyed this poignant mix of coming of age, romantic comedy and self-realisation that draws the reader in and keeps them engaged. The believable characters are easy to visualise, and Edie’s emotional journey is full of heartbreak and heartwarming moments. The ending is breathtakingly romantic and the perfect conclusion to this lovely story.

Posted in Book Spotlight, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller

The Guilty Couple C.L. Taylor #BookPromo @callytaylor @AvonBooksUK #TheGuiltyCouple #publicationday

What would you do if your husband framed you for murder?

Five years ago, Olivia Sutherland was convicted of plotting to murder her husband. Now she’s finally free, Olivia has three goals. Repair her relationship with her daughter. Clear her name. And bring down her husband – the man who framed her. Just how far is she willing to go to get what she wants? And how far will her husband go to stop her? Because his lies run deeper than Olivia could ever have imagined – and this time it’s not her freedom that’s in jeopardy, but her life…

OUT TODAY in hardback, ebook and audiobook.

🚨 50% off RRP in hardback now!

Amazon UK

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Romance, Travel

Rome for the Summer Lynne Shelby 5*#Review @LynneB1 @AccentPress #Romance #writers #artists #histfic #arthistory #Italy #Rome #SummerRead #RomefortheSummer #love #secrets #lies #trust #Relationships #travel #Friendships @rararesources #BookReview #BlogTour

Kate Harper has always loved the painting that has hung in her parents’ dining room for years, never suspecting that it is worth a fortune. When her art dealer boyfriend cheats her family out of the proceeds of the painting’s sale, she is left devastated and alone.

Kate discovers that two hundred years ago, the girl in the painting, Charlotte Browne, ran off to Rome with the artist who painted her portrait, but her eventual fate is unknown.

Hoping to uncover the mystery of what happened to Charlotte, Kate seizes the chance of a summer job in Rome, where she strikes up a friendship with artist Jamie Taylor.

As they explore the city and start to piece together the surprising secrets of Charlotte’s life, Kate finds herself wondering if summer in Rome can mend a broken heart…

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy your romance with an art historical twist, this lovely story set mainly in Rome provides the perfect escape. Kate decides to take a summer job in Rome when her boyfriend proves untrustworthy. Working at a historical house previously home to nineteenth-century English artists and writers is an excellent way to heal and try to solve a mystery.

I enjoyed the gentle romance between Kate and Jamie and the incredible sense of place this story has. The historical mystery revealed through journal entries adds authenticity and interest to the contemporary novel. The author brings Rome in the summer to vibrant life, and the art history and historical detail make this an engaging read.

I loved the romantic conclusion too.

Lynne Shelby

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing (re-released in e-book as Meet Me In Paris), won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and her fifth novel, Love On Location, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novelists’Association Award – the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy.

When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city with her writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband and has three adult children who live nearby.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Family Drama, Murder Mystery, New Books

A Harvest Murder Frances Evesham 5*#Review @BoldwoodBooks @FrancesEvesham #AHamHillMurderMystery @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #revenge #BoldwoodBloggers #BlogTour #love #family #AHarvestMurder #BookReview #Somerset

One unexplained disappearance is strange, but two are sinister.

In Lower Hembrow, an idyllic village nestled beneath Ham Hill in Somerset, the villagers are preparing to enjoy the autumn traditions of the rural English countryside until Joe Trevillion, acurmudgeonly local farmer and the father of six children vanishes.

When Adam Hennessy, the ex-detective proprietor of The Plough, the village’s popular Inn, investigates, he finds ominous undercurrents beneath apparently harmless rumour and gossip.

Meanwhile, a vicious campaign of vindictiveness forces Adam and his three amateur sleuth friendsto dig deep into the secret lives of their neighbours to expose the source of a cruel vendetta and prevent another death.

As they uncover the disturbing truth, the friends learn they must also lay their own past lives to rest before they can hope to make their dreams for the future come true.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

It takes a few chapters to get back into the Ham Hill Village vibe, but once you do, this is an entertaining cosy crime novel with a vibrant village setting, great characters and a twisty plot. Adam, the retired police detective .and Steph’s relationship is working well, but Imogen feels her tentative love affair with Dan, the artist, is floundering. Dan is the story’s focus, and the reader learns about his past life. The village’s community spirit draws the amateur sleuths’ attention to a missing farmer, and the story soon escalates into something sinister.

I like the dynamic between the amateur sleuths and how they support each other, the village location and the twisty plot that builds into a suspenseful story.

Frances Evesham

Frances Evesham is the bestselling author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea murder mysteries set in her home county of Somerset, and the Ham-Hill cosy crime series set in South Somerset.

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Read my reviews of The Ham Hill Murder Mysteries

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance

A Golden Cornish Summer Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #Cornwall #Romance #friendship #coastal #summer #UpLit #secondchance #secrets #family #AGoldenCornishSummer

Under the golden Cornish sun, buried treasure and family secrets will change Emma’s life forever…

Emma loved her life in the seaside village of Silver Cove. But when the discovery of the sunken treasure ignited a feud between her family and that of Luke, her first love, everything fell apart. Heartbroken and betrayed, she fled.

Now, as she wades into the sparkling surf for the first time in fifteen years, she remembers everything she loved about this beautiful place. Then a huge wave knocks her off her feet. Wet and dripping, Emma is rescued by none other than Luke – who is, to her dismay, even more, handsome than ever.

Emma starts to wonder if returning home was a huge mistake. Or could the real treasure have been waiting here for her all along?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Emma returns to the cornish coastal village where she grew up with trepidation. It’s work that draws her home, but when she meets her first love, she wonders if she has made a mistake coming home. The rekindling of Emma and Lukes’s friendship is emotional and a bit of a rollercoaster. Both have trust issues and find it hard to let go of the past.

I enjoyed the Cornish setting and the beachcombing theme. There is a good mix of drama, romance and self-realisation in this story Complex characters draw the reader into their lives with longheld secrets.

It’s an ideal beach read full of emotion, friendship and a happy conclusion.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Detective, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

A Fatal End Faith Martin 5* #Review @HQStories @FaithMartin_Nov #hisfic #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Retro #Oxford #1963 #1960s #BookReview #bookbloggers #RyderandLoveday #AFatalEnd

Oxford, 1963
In a backstreet club, people dance the night away to their favourite band. But behind the scenes, there is trouble afoot. An argument is brewing between bandmembers, two possessive girlfriends have plans for their partners, the club manager is creaming off profits – and a tragic accident leaves the lead singer dead.

But was it an accident at all? Coroner Clement Ryder is suspicious, and WPC Trudy Loveday knows there’s only one thing for it. She’s going undercover, deep into the seedy underbelly of Oxford nightlife.

Meanwhile, Clement’s own secret is becoming increasingly difficult to keep hidden, and discovering the singer’s murderer might not be the only shock in store for Trudy…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

There is a sense of finality about this eighth book in the Ryder and Loveday series. Clement Ryder’s Parkinson’s disease is progressing, meaning retiring from his role as the coroner is inevitable. However, WPC Trudy Loveday still doesn’t know, and he hopes they can have the last case together before she does. A suspicious accident at a notorious nightclub raises Clement’s suspicions and manages to convince the local police that further investigation is merited.

The dynamic between Trudy and Clement remains strong and is one of the best things about this series. Vincent, Clement’s son, is also featured, adding an extra frisson to the story, especially for Trudy. The case is complex, and the cast of believably flawed suspects keep the reader guessing. The vibrantly portrayed sense of place and time adds authenticity, and the ending is dramatic and satisfying.