Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Murder Mystery

Killing The Story Joan Livingston 4*#Review @joanlivingston @darkstrokedark The Isabel Long Mystery Series @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #coldcase #BookReview #BlogTour #KillingTheStory

An accidental death that was no accident…

For the record, Estelle Crane, the gutsy editor of The Observer newspaper, died after a hard fall on ice. But years later, her son discovers a cryptic note hinting her death might not have been an accident after all.

Was Estelle pursuing a big story that put her life in danger?

That’s what Isabel Long — along with her 93-year-old mother, Maria, her ‘Watson’ — agrees to investigate in Dillard, a town whose best days are in the past.

A former journalist, Isabel follows leads and interviews sources, new and familiar. She quickly finds a formidable threat in Police Chief James Hawthorne, who makes it clear Isabel is not welcome in his town — and who warns her against poking her nose into Estelle’s death.

Of course, that’s after Isabel has discovered the chief’s questionable policing and a troubled history with Estelle that goes way back.

Killing the story means dropping it because there aren’t enough facts to back it up. But Isabel won’t make that mistake. She’ll see this one through to the very end.

Can she uncover the plot that led to Estelle’s murder?

Killing the Story is the fourth in the popular Isabel Long Mystery Series. 

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I received a copy of this book from Darkstroke Books and the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Even though this is the fourth book, in the Isabel Long Mystery series it’s the first I’ve read, and there’s sufficient backstory for this to read as a standalone. Isabel, a former journalist, specialises in solving cold cases, in the area of North Massachusetts where she lives. Her fourth case concerns a former Editor of a small-town paper.

The characters are quirky, and the small-town dynamic is believable. The plot has twists and false leads. The investigative team comprises Isabel and her mother, and these two give the story a unique perspective.

If you enjoy cosy and murder mystery this unusual, and original series should appeal to you.

Jaon Livingstone

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Killing the Story, published by Darkstroke Books, is the fourth in her Isabel Long Mystery Series, featuring a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. solving cold cases in rural New England.

She draws upon her own experience as a longtime journalist in Massachusetts and New Mexico to create Isabel Long, a sassy, savvy widow who uses the skills she acquired in the business to solve what appears to be impossible cases. She also relies on her deep knowledge of rural Western Massachusetts, where she lives, to create realistic characters and settings — from country bars (where Isabel works part-time) to a general store’s backroom where gossipy old men meet.

She credits her mother, Algerina — the inspiration for Maria, Isabel Long’s ‘Watson’ — for instilling in her a love of reading and the power of the written word.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Crime, Paranormal

Familiar by T.J. Blake @TJBlake93 @freshly_press @lovebooksgroup #Familiar @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Bookblitz

For the living, it’s closure. For the departed, it’s the last chance to expose the truth.

For as long as she can remember, Arabella has communicated with those who exist only in memory.

Being the centre of attention growing up was uncomfortable, and now, as a renowned psychic medium, it is becoming more of a struggle. Arabella’s ability and reputation always made it impossible to hold onto lasting relationships, but with those who no longer walk this earth, that’s not the case.

Arabella returns to where it all began fifteen-years before – on the very same stage. After an evening reconnecting loved ones and exposing untold stories, Arabella can’t help but wonder about the one unclaimed ‘friend’, and their cryptic message.

In an unexpected turn of events, Arabella finds herself the subject of morning headlines and at the centre of Detective Barnes’ investigation.

Can Arabella use her ability to prove her innocence and uncover the truth about the past?

Amazon UK

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Friendship, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Do Her No Harm Naomi Joy 5*#Review @naomijoyauthor @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #Secrets #Lies #DomesticSuspense #Friendship #DoHerNoHarm

One unsolved murder. A best friend determined to right the wrongs of the past.

On the 21st August Tabitha Rice disappeared without a trace. All the signs point to murder, but no signs point to a murderer. The easiest answer is her husband, Rick. But he protests his innocence and there is little proof he is the murderer.

Annabella knows there is more to the story than what the police are telling. Tabitha was her best friend and she vows to uncover the truth.

As Annabella delves further into the past, she uncovers sides to Tabitha that she never saw coming, and she finds herself asking the question… Was this murder? Or is there more to Tabitha Rice’s story than meets the eye?

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I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an intense domestic suspense story. It explores how ordinary people become dark and dangerous.

The story begins with an intriguing situation, full of dramatic irony, the reader knows something is wrong, but the protagonist doesn’t. The story is multi-viewpoint both past, and present. The characters are unreliable protagonists, but they are relatable, and you sympathise with their situations at times. The historic viewpoint illuminates the characters’ motivations, but not all of them until the end.

The author cleverly reveals enough information to make the reader believe they know the twist, but they don’t as there is more than one, which makes this absorbing to the last page.

Naomi Joy

Naomi Joy is a pen name of a young PR professional who was formerly an account director at a prestigious PR firm in London. Writing from experience, she draws the reader in to the darker side of the uptown and glamorous, presenting realism that is life or death, unreliable and thrilling to page-turn.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Murder Mystery

Innocent Erin Kinsley 4*#Review @KinsleyErin @headlinepg @RandomTTours #CrimeFiction #MurderMystery #SmallTown #England #BlogTour #BookReview

The pretty market town of Sterndale is a close-knit community where everyone thinks they know everyone else. But at a lavish summer wedding a local celebrity is discovered slumped in the gardens, the victim of a violent assault that leads to a murder investigation.

As the police search for answers, suspicion and paranoia build – and the lives of the locals are turned upside down. Secrets that lurk beneath the pristine façade of Sterndale come to light as detectives close in on the truth…


A gripping and moving thriller with the emotional drama

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Headline Publishing Group via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Murder in a small English town with numerous suspects a celebrity angle, and so many secrets drew me to this story, and it fulfils its potential. A senseless crime rocks the small town of Sterndale, but someone isn’t surprised. This is atmospheric murder mystery focuses on the characters revealing deep secrets hidden away from the public eye. Multi viewpoints inform the story and give the reader an omnipotent view of events, but not everyone is truthful.

The pacing is slow mirroring reality as the detectives sift through the suspects. The characters are relatable, and the plot hides its secrets well. The small town ethos facilitates the story’s immersive quality and makes the characters and events believable.

This is an engaging story for readers who enjoy a murder mystery set in a small town.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Murder Mystery

Who Killed Patrick? Syl Water 4*#Review @waters_syl @rararesources #cozymystery #CrimeFiction #MondayBlogs #WhoKilledPatrick

Sun, sea and… murder in Fuerteventura!

Boring. Going nowhere. That was Tarah’s life in the UK, before she moved to Fuerteventura to start a new adventure. But things came unstuck quicker than she’d planned. A dead guest on the holiday complex she manages threatens to pull apart her hoped-for dream life.

If she wants to keep her job and save the reputation of the business, she’s got to find out what happened to Patrick. Did he die of natural causes – or was he murdered?

Tarah’s pet guinea pig, Mr Bob, has a knack for sniffing out trouble and he suspects foul play. The mission is on: Who Killed Patrick?

With the assistance of Mr Bob and Diego, a local plumber, Tarah turns amateur sleuth to find out the truth.

Can Tarah and Mr Bob find the murderer before it’s too late? Will they be able to save the business and protect their blissful new life?

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I received copy of this book from the author in return for a honest review.

My Thoughts…

An engaging amateur sleuth, lovely holiday setting and a cute but intelligent sidekick make this a great cosy mystery. It’s quirky, especially the investigation team but with a well-thought mystery.

There’s a good dynamic with her friends in Fuerteventura, especially Diego the local plumber and fellow sleuth. I always enjoyed the ‘Cat Who Mysteries’, and the uncanny sense Koko and Yum Yum had for crime detection. Mr Bob has similar intuitiveness, and this promises to be an intriguing series.

Most people know crazy cat ladies are a ‘thing’, but I’m a proud crazy guinea pig lady! I love fun in the sun and plenty of cocktails. My happy place is flip flops. I write stories to keep me company – my characters ensure I’m never lonely and always smiling (when I’m not tearing my hair out!)

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, International Thriller, Noir, Political Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

I Am The Night Ethan Cross 4*#Review The Ackerman Thrillers, 1 @EthanCrossBooks @AriesFiction @HoZ_Books #CrimeFiction #Thriller #BlogTour #BookReview #Suspense #conspiracy #IAmTheNight

The night is dark. My soul is darker.

Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. are both killers. But while Williams is tortured by the deaths he has caused, Ackerman takes pleasure in his murders.

Williams is a former New York City homicide detective.

Ackerman is a serial killer.

And both men are about to become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of US government. They will be plunged deep into a hellish underworld of murderers and killers. They will find that there is more that connects them than divides them… and that their lives depend on it.

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I received a copy of this book from Aries Fiction – Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Violence is integral to this thriller, vividly depicted throughout, so be warned. This is more than a thriller about a serial killer and the ex-cop chasing him, both antagonist and protagonist are pawns in an immoral political game.

Flawed and relatable characters and a suspenseful and twisty plot make this an addictive read. The sense of menace pervades this story on many levels. The serial killer is evil, but the darkness, extends much wider, even the good characters have noir traits.

This is a grisly and gripping thriller that will satisfy the requirements of most thriller readers.

Ethan Cross

Ethan Cross’s Shepherd thrillers are international bestsellers. Before becoming a full time writer, he was a computer programmer, a Chief Technology Officer and a Marketing Director for a New York publisher. He lives in Illinois with his wife, three kids, and two Shih Tzus.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery

Eight Detectives Alex Pavesi 5*#Review @pavesi_alex @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks #CrimeFiction #MurderMystery #GoldenAge #BookReview #PublicationDay #EightDetectives #ThursdayThoughts

All murder mysteries follow a simple set of rules. Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out.

But that was thirty years ago. Now he’s living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island – until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories: an author, hiding from his past, and an editor, keen to understand it.

But as she reads, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are things in the stories that don’t make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder, one that’s remained unsolved for thirty years.

If Julia wants answers, she must triumph in a battle of wits with a dangerously clever adversary. But she must tread carefully: she knows there’s a mystery, but she doesn’t yet realise there’s already been a murder . . .

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I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Eight Detectives has stories within a story, a mathematical rather than emotional interpretation of murder mystery and an increasingly menacing atmosphere between the reclusive author and the inquiring editor. Rather like a treasure map, the short stories provide snippets of information for another as yet untold one.

Classically written, relatable murder mysteries engage the reader. The plot twists unexpectedly into a surprisingly contemporary murder mystery with psychological suspense. This is a book for the observant, are the protagonists reliable?

Eight Detectives is an absorbing and addictive read. It would make a great party game.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Short stories

Vintage Crime: from the Crime Writers’ Association (Fiction Without Frontiers) Editor Martin Edwards @medwardsbooks #VintageCrime @flametreepress @The_CWA @RandomTTours #CrimeFiction #Vintage #ShortStories

Vintage Crimes will be a CWA anthology with a difference, celebrating members work over the years. The book will gather stories from the mid-1950s until the twenty-first century by great names of the past, great names of the present together with a few hidden treasures by less familiar writers. The first CWA anthology, Butcher s Dozen, appeared in 1956, and was co-edited by Julian Symons, Michael Gilbert, and Josephine Bell. The anthology has been edited by Martin Edwards since 1996, and has yielded many award-winning and nominated stories in the UK and overseas.

This new edition includes an array of incredible and award-winning authors: Robert Barnard, Simon Brett, Liza Cody, Mat Coward, John Dickson Carr, Marjorie Eccles, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Anthea Fraser, Celia Fremlin, Frances Fyfield, Michael Gilbert, Paula Gosling, Lesley Grant-Adamson, HRF Keating, Bill Knox, Peter Lovesey, Mick Herron, Michael Z. Lewin, Susan Moody, Julian Symons and Andrew Taylor.

I received a copy of this book from Flame Tree Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Crime Fiction is a genre where short stories work well, and this anthology of classic vintage style stories is proof. The book features a range of crime stories, some genuinely vintage others written by contemporary writers. It’s a book you can dip in and out of which is lovely.

Setting and characters are important in short stories, and there are some great examples of both in these stories. Some stories are atmospheric with a hint of menace, whilst others have strange endings.

The varied plots mean this book will appeal to many readers who enjoy classic crime and mystery fiction. The one’s I enjoyed most used sensory imagery well and made imagining the events easy.

Martin Edwards (editor) is the author of eighteen novels,
including the Lake District Mysteries,and the Harry Devlin
series. His ground-breaking genre study The Golden
Age of Murder has won the Edgar, Agatha,and H.R.F.
Keating awards. He has edited twenty eightcrime
anthologies, has won the CWA Short Story Dagger and
the CWA Margery Allingham Prize,and is series consultant for the BritishLibrary’s Crime Classics.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Last To Know by Jo Furniss 4*#Review @Jo_Furniss @AmazonPub @RandomTTours #LakeUnionPublishing #Suspense #detective ##FamilyDrama #PsychologicalThriller #secrets #BookReview #BlogTour #MondayBlogs

A family’s past pursues them like a shadow in this riveting and emotional novel of psychological suspense by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of All the Little Children.

American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, and the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore and present dangers.

Then there are the unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House twenty years ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumors about his past.

When an archaeological dig unearths human remains on the hill, local police sergeant Ellie Trevelyan vows to solve a cold case that has cast a chill over Hurtwood for decades.

As Ellie works to separate rumor from fact, Rose must fight to clear the name of the man she loves. But how can Rose keep her family safe if she is the last to know the truth?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the Lake Union Publishing in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Dylan, American Rose and their son return to his childhood home in Shropshire. The weather is terrible, the house run down and no one makes them welcome. Rose discovers the family is mired in scandal and is determined to find the truth.

Police Sergeant Ellie Trevelyan faces upheaval in her career and family life. The story told from the two women’s viewpoint explores an unsolved cold case and finds it’s not the only crime.

The sense of mistrust and menace is portrayed well in this story. The plot is well-paced, and reveals its secrets gradually, allowing the reader to learn things at pace with Ellie and Rose. This is an emotional and poignant tale of abuse, lies and loss. The characters are flawed and relatable. The is ending is both climactic and informative.

Jo Furniss

After spending a decade as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, Jo Furniss gave up the glamour of night shifts to become a freelance writer and serial expatriate. Originally from the United Kingdom, she spent seven years in Singapore and also lived in Switzerland and Cameroon.

As a journalist, Jo worked for numerous online outlets and magazines, including Monocle and the Economist. She has edited books for a Nobel laureate and the palace of the Sultan of Brunei. She has a Distinction in MA Professional Writing from Falmouth University.

Jo’s debut novel, All the Little Children, was an Amazon Charts bestseller.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Extract, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Guilty Wife Nina Manning 5*#Review @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks #PsychologicalThriller #Domestic #Suspense #Family #Guilt #boldwoodbloggers #TheGuiltyWife @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #SundayReads #SundayMorning

One woman’s past could cost her everything…

Frankie Keegan is struggling.
While she tries to make strides in her career, life at home is slowly unravelling as she is haunted by the secrets of her past.


Someone else remembers…
As the dark nights draw in, the anniversary of the loss of her brother looms and Frankie is drawn back to the memories of that fateful night 20 years previously. As she descends into a guilt-ridden state, she begins to suspect that someone else is also remembering that night and they are determined to terrify her…

Can she confront her past before it’s too late?

From the international bestselling author of The Daughter In Law, a gripping psychological thriller about family, secrecy and grief – with a twist you won’t see coming.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The suspense grips you in this story from the first words and keeps its hold until the dramatic conclusion.

Frankie’s never recovered from the accident twenty years ago that took her brother. She’s moved on with life, but the grief and guilt remain festering. A functioning alcoholic with her marriage in trouble, she’s a flawed, and unreliable protagonist but you want her to find peace.

Plot-driven this is a detailed story told from Frankie’s viewpoints both past and present. Everyone in her life has their agenda. As the story progresses, it’s hard to know who to trust. The story’s addictive quality keeps you reading, thinking you know what’s going to happen next.

The compelling characters all have a purpose often to confuse the reader. I did realise what was happening late on in the story, but the dramatic ending still resonated.

This is a poignant tale about the payback of youthful indiscretions and damaged minds.

TheGuilty Wife – Nina Manning – Extract

Prologue

I stood at the top of the stairs and held my breath as my anxiety spiked and my heart pounded in my throat. But I could no longer hear the noise that had drawn me there. As I stood, my foot perched ready to take the first step, I wondered if perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me. Maybe the events of the last few days had finally caught up with me. But faces were hovering in front of me. Those people I had trusted. And those who I had hurt.

All those years ago I was trying so hard to make a difference in any way I could. But I was young. And I was foolish. I knew the past would never be able to bury itself, and I had not been able to rest for twenty years because the horrors of that day would stay with me until I took my final breath.

But now it was time to face the past head on. I tightened my grip on my weapon and began the descent to the kitchen. I knew I was now in grave danger. I knew that I had to protect my children and face the person who had found their way into my home.

Nina Manning

Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast. Her debut psychological thriller, The Daughter in Law, was a bestseller in the UK, US, Australia and Canada. She lives in Dorset.

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Read my review of The Daughter in Law

First published as Her Darkest Fear 26 March 20