Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Travel

A Quiet Death In Italy Tom Benjamin 4*#Review @Tombenjaminsays @LittleBrownUK #Constable #CrimeFiction #Italy #PrivateDetective @rararesources #AQuietDeathInItaly #RachelsRandomResources #FridayThoughts #FridayFeeling

Bologna: city of secrets, suspicion . . . and murder

A dark and atmospheric crime thriller set in the beautiful Italian city of Bologna, perfect for fans of Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin and Philip Gwynne Jones.

When the body of a radical protestor is found floating in one of Bologna’s underground canals, it seems that most of the city is ready to blame the usual suspects: the police.

But when private investigator Daniel Leicester, son-in-law to a former chief of police, receives a call from the dead man’s lover, he follows a trail that begins in the 1970s and leads all the way to the rotten heart of the present-day political establishment.

Beneath the beauty of the city, Bologna has a dark underside, and English detective Daniel must unravel a web of secrets, deceit and corruption – before he is caught in it himself.

Tom Benjamin’s gripping debut transports you to the ancient and mysterious Italian city less travelled: Bologna.

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Little Brown Books – Constable and the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Private Investigator Daniel’s intuition and experience make him an insightful and tenacious detective. He explores Bolgona’s radical past in this politicised murder mystery, searching for past connections with the present murder. The investigation is complex and intriguing as authentic characters come to life in a vibrant setting rife with inefficient bureaucracy, corruption and evil.

Tom Benjamin started off as a reporter before moving to the press office at Scotland Yard and running drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He moved to Bologna where his work as doorman at a homeless canteen inspired him to create English detective Daniel Leicester in a series that serves up equal helpings of the local cuisine and ubiquitous graffiti; the city’s splendour, decay, and danger.

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

Murder On The Downs Julie Wassmer 5* #Review Whitstable Pearl Mystery @JulieWassmer @LittleBrownUK @RandomTTours #BlogTour #Book Review #MurderOnTheDowns #RandomThingsTours #TuesdayMorning #TuesdayBookBlog #TuesdayMotivation

A controversial new property development is planned in Whitstable which will encroach upon the green open space of the downs, to the dismay of Whitstable residents who view this as the thin end of the wedge with regard to local wildlife conservation.

A campaign springs into life, spearheaded by a friend of Pearl’s family, Martha Laker. A committed environmentalist, Martha is no stranger to controversy herself. She has also managed to divide opinion across town, with the locals viewing her as their fearless champion while establishment figures seeing only an interfering agitator.

Tensions escalate between the developers and Whitstable residents, straining Pearl’s close relationship with London-born police officer, DCI Mike McGuire, who harbours concerns that the local campaign will spiral out of control. Pearl’s loyalties are torn, but the protest duly goes ahead – and newspaper headlines claim a moral victory for the residents in this David and Goliath battle.

But the victory is short lived when Pearl discovers a dead body on the downs…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Constable in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

How have I missed this series? It has complex characters that bring the story to life and an authentic coastal setting. The murder mystery plot has many suspects and twists and a contemporary edge to it.

Pearl is a restauranter and private investigator who lives in Whitstable in Kent. Her relationship with McGuire, a Detective Chief Inspector, is challenging but rewarding. The family dynamics are believable, and there’s a host of supporting characters, who bring the story to life.

The author’s use of sensual imagery makes the characters, location and story easy to imagine and the story enjoyable.

This is another series that I will be seeking out.

Julie Wassmer

“Julie Wassmer was born in the East End of London, studied at Kingston University and had a variety of different jobs before she finally settled down to become a professional television drama writer.

She worked on several TV series, including ITV’s London’s Burning, C5’s Family Affairs and the popular BBC soap, EastEnders, which she wrote for almost 20 years.

In 2010, her autobiography More Than Just Coincidence was published by Harper Collins/True. The book entered the Sunday Times Best Selling Non Fiction Top Twenty and went on to become Mumsnet Book of the Year.

In 2015, Julie’s debut crime novel, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, was published by award-winning publisher, Little, Brown Book Group. Six other books have since followed in the series with more on the way, and the television rights to the series have been optioned by the TV production company, Buccaneer, the makers of Marcella, starring Anna Friel.

Julie moved to Whitstable twenty years ago where she shares a home with her husband, Kas, and three cats, Charlie, Lily and Maisie. She also spends a great deal of time campaigning on environmental issues.

Murder on the Downs is the seventh book in the Whitstable Pearl Mystery series.

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

Under the Guise of Death / An Exhibition of Murder – Vivian Conroy 5*#Reviews @VivWrites @canelo_co #AMurderWillFollow #cozymystery #MurderMystery #BookReview #MondayBlogs #MurderMonday

In the City of Masks, deadly secrets are about to be revealed…

While attending a lavish masked ball in Venice, retired Scotland Yard detective Jasper has a shock when, at the midnight demasqué, he spots a woman whose accidental death he investigated in England three years ago.

Even more stunned than Jasper is the woman’s husband, Lord Bantham, who has since remarried, not to mention his new wife who sees her acquired position and wealth slip away. Then there are her old friends who all seem to have known more about the ‘accident’ than they ever let on.

When the resurrected lady is found dead the next morning on one of Venice’s many bridges, the question is: who wanted Lady Bantham to die, again?

The third book in the Murder Will Follow series.

Amazon UK

Former Scotland Yard investigator Jasper is back on the case, this time in the glamorous and cultured city of Vienna.


The opening of an archaeological exhibition brings with it intrigue and evil as a fabled cursed golden death mask lives up to its dark past and death strikes at the exhibition. While digging up pieces of history, these archaeologists have also been burying secrets – deadly ones – and it’s up to Jasper to uncover the truth before the murderer strikes again.
 


With a nosy journalist desperate to breathe life into the rumour that the mask brings bad luck to anyone possessing it, and the police eager to blame a famous cat burglar who recently pulled off a string of daring robberies, Jasper is on his own in bringing the true culprit to light. 

The fourth book in the Murder Will Follow series.

I received copies of these books from Canelo via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.

My Thoughts…

Set in atmospheric and dramatic Venice Jasper finds himself embroiled in another murder investigation. The drama takes place at an iconic masked ball closely followed a death.

There are many people with a motive for murder and Jasper painstakingly investigates all of them, in his imitable style. The 1920’s setting is vibrant, and the cast of characters secretive and vividly portrayed. The plot is complex full of misinformation and twists that keep you guessing.

This Agatha Christie-style mystery has all the ingredients glamorous golden age setting, complex characters with realistic motivations for murder and an enigmatic detective who outwits them all.

The latest book, in the murder, will follow series, is set in Vienna at an archaeological exhibition. This is a complex noir mystery, involving a cursed mask and a deeply disturbed mind. There is a menacing feel to this story. Is the mask cursed? Or is this something the murder is perpetuating to cover their crimes?

Jasper is personally involved. He promised to protect the victim who dies this guilt spurs him on to solve the mystery. The vividly described historical setting gives the story an authentic ambience that makes it enjoyable.

A complex mystery eerie ethos and a well-orchestrated investigation make this another success for the enigmatic Jasper.

Read my reviews of A Honeymoon With Death and A Testament To Murder by clicking on the links.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime

Broken Silence Liz Mistry 5*#Review @LizMistryAuthor @HQStories D.S. Nikki Parekh #BrokenSilence #CrimeFiction @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Detective #weekendreads #RachelsRandomResources

When DS Felicity Springer is reported missing after a police training conference, the countdown to find her begins…

On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.

Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead.

Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.

With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.

But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…

Amazon UK Paperback Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a gritty, police procedural focusing on modern slavery. Bradford and its criminal fraternity are brought to life by an author that knows the city well. DS Nikita Parekh is a dedicated police officer who believes in getting the job done. She wants justice for victims. The police team’s dynamic and the partnership between Nikki and Saj is believable. It keeps the reader invested in the investigation.

Contemporary and sometimes violent, this is a challenging read. With a complex pacy plot and relatable characters, this is hard-hitting suspenseful crime fiction.

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp. 

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Political Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Blood Red City Rod Reynolds 5*#Review @Rod_WR @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours @AnneCater #Urban #Techno #SocialMedia #political #Thriller#BlogTour #BookReview

A witness with no victim. A crime with no crime scene…

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime.

Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit from the opening page, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an edgy, urban thriller with an action-driven, pacy plot.

Lydia tired of being sidelined investigates a video detailing a crime. She realises if genuine it has the potential, to mainstream her career. There’s relentless suspense. A sense of menace pervades every page.

Michael Stringer is an enigma. An information mercenary, he wants to know what Lydia knows. The London setting adds authenticity to the story. The story uses sensual imagery well making the events and locations easy to imagine.

The author creates an ethos of mistrust. It’s difficult to establish the truth, and who to believe. The ending answers all these questions with the possibility of a future investigation.

Rod Reynolds

Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books will publish his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City. Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters.

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Posted in Book Review, Book Spotlight, Crime, Psychological Thriller

The First Lie A J Park 4*#Review #BlogBlitz @orion_crime @orionbooks @AJParkauthor #psychologicalthriller #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours @AnneCater #BookReview #PublicationDay #TheFirstLie


We’ve all had sleepless nights thinking about it.
You’re home alone. Someone breaks in.
In defending yourself, you end up killing the intruder.
Now you’re the one the police want.

That is the situation that criminal barrister Paul Reeve arrives home to find.
His wife Alice stands in the bedroom, clutching a bloodied letter opener in her shaking hand.

“What have you done, Alice?”
“I didn’t have a choice…”

We would all believe the person we love most.
But would we all make the same choice Paul and Alice make next…?

UK – Amazon US – Amazon Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

No one knows how they would react after a shocking event, Alice and Paul make a questionable decision when Alice kills an intruder but is this their first lie? This is fast-paced psychological suspense. It is told mainly from Alice and Paul’s viewpoints with periodic insight into the police investigation. Alice and Paul are unreliable protagonists. This increases the suspense and makes it difficult to trust their perceptions of events.

Like all psychological suspense, it seems unrealistic at times, but it is addictive and edgy. Sometimes shocking it keeps you engaged, until the last page.

After studying literature, linguistics and Spanish at university, AJ Park trained as an English teacher and actor. He has edited magazines and taught English, Media Studies and Drama in secondary schools in England. He was also a competitive fencer for seven years.

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

A Village Murder Frances Evesham 5*#Review @BoldwoodBooks @FrancesEvesham #AHamHillMurderMystery @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #villagelife #BoldwoodBloggers #BlogTour #AVillageMurder #BookReview #Somerset #RachelsRandomResources #TuesdayBookBlog #TuesdayMotivation

An English village can be deadly, when your past catches up with you…


In the beautiful rural Somerset village of Lower Hembrow, crammed full with English eccentrics, something is amiss…

Landscape gardener Imogen Bishop has spent the last thirty years trying to forget one fateful school night but when her estranged husband Greg Bishop is found dead in the grounds of her fathers Georgian hotel, danger threatens to overwhelm her.

Retired police officer Adam Hennessey, hoping for a peaceful life running his traditional Somerset country pub, finds himself drawn into the unfolding drama in the hotel across the road.

Imogen, Adam and Harley the stray dog form an unlikely partnership as they try to untangle a knot of secrets, solve a murder mystery, and bring a killer to justice.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I have to admit that cosy and murder mystery is my ultimate escapist read. This first book in ‘A Ham Hill Murder Mystery has an engaging village ethos, authentic characters and an intriguing murder mystery plot.

The mystery plot is layered and full of twists. The main protagonists are relatable and easy to like. The dog is the star of the show for me. The dynamic between Adam and Imogen is believable and promises to be a gripping series.

The rural setting contains all the recognisable village nuances. The people are equal parts nosy and supportive.

Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. Boldwood plan to republish the complete series with the next new instalment due in Autumn 2020.  Frances is also starting a new cosy crime series set in rural Herefordshire with thefirst title being published in June 2020.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Gangland Crime, ganglit, Noir

Whatever It Takes Tadhg Coakley 4*#Review @MercierBooks #TadhgCoakley @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #BookTour #BlogTour #BookReview #CrimeFiction #IrishCrime #Cork #noir #DetectiveGardaCollins #Vendetta #WhateverItTakes #WeekendRead

Set in Cork city, Detective Garda Collins is at war with the leading local criminal, Dominic Molloy. Unwilling to accept the human degradation caused by Molloy’s drugs, violence and prostitution. He has made up his mind to bring Molloy down, but just how far is he willing to go to make that happen? What is he willing to do and what fall-out will ensue for himself and his garda colleagues? This tense crime novel (the first in a series featuring Collins) tells the story of two immovable forces colliding. Something has to give. Running out of time before the murder of two teenagers becomes inevitable, and with a traitor in the garda station feeding information back to Molloy, Collins takes his battle to new heights. He is determined to win, whatever the cost, whatever it takes.

Mercier Press Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and Mercier Press in return for an honest review

My Thoughts

Atmospheric and complex this gritty crime story set in Cork explores a noir crime world. Collins has a turbulent history with Cork’s crime lord Molloy and is determined to end his crime empire. The story told from a third-person multi-person perspective is often lawless and violent.

Past events and guilt make Collins pursue Molloy with a single-minded determination. The plot has many characters and complexities. It’s not an easy read, but the writing is full of visual imagery and has a good sense of place and time.

Authentic characters and police procedures make this story realistic and menacing. Collins is a driven, enigmatic detective haunted by past actions and present motivations. His empathy for the vulnerable and sense of justice make him likeable.

Tadhg Coakley

Tadhg Coakley is from Mallow and lives in Cork city. His debut novel The First Sunday in September was shortlisted for the Mercier Press fiction prize and was published in 2018 to much acclaim. His sports writing has appeared in The Irish Examiner and The Holly Bough. He has also been published in The Stinging Fly, The Honest Ulsterman, Silver Apples, Quarryman and the From the Well anthology. He is a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing course at University College Cork. www.tadhgcoakley.com

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Noir, Thriller

20/20 Carl Goodman #TwentyTwenty 5* #Review @Carl201010 @AudibleUK #Narrator Louise Brealey #CrimeFiction #Techno #Thriller #NoirCrime #Audiobook #Review @MidasPR @amberachoudhary #AudibleOriginal

A vicious killer and a traitor on the team – can DC Harris see the truth before it’s too late?

On the first day of her new job, rookie cop DI Eva Harris is called to a chilling crime scene – a body drained of blood, with the eyes removed. It’s only the first of several similar murders, reminiscent of a series of bloody killings several years ago. Is the same killer back, or is a new threat menacing the area? As the bodies mount up, Harris must uncover the truth. But, the threat doesn’t only come from outside. Within her own team, there is a traitor at work… A heart in the mouth crime-thriller that is perfect for fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from Audible UK via Midas PR in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

After an impactful opening, the threat level in this techno crime thriller intensifies with every chapter. DI Eva Harris, a fast-tracked officer is thrown in at the deep end, horrific murder, a new team and something in her personal life that haunts her.

Technology is an important theme and Eva is a gifted cybercrime officer. There is lots of detail in this complex thriller, which initially seems to slow the pace, but it’s necessary to understand Eva’s character and motivations. Subplots, including one from Eva’s past and one that illuminates the real reason Eva’s presence in Surrey, make this story authentic and multilayered. Eva’s humanity, sense of justice, and tenacity make her easy to empathise as the story progresses. The police team dynamic is realistic and gradually supportive of Eva.

The suspense, violent crime and Eva’s vulnerability make this thriller both addictive and immersive. As the different plot strands converge, there are some surprising outcomes and more than one antagonist.

An easy to listen to narrator so good you forget her presence, as you become immersed in the characters and plot.

Carl Goodman is a designer and media consultant who has worked with everything from hot-metal type to computer animation and virtual reality. His interactive projects have twice won BAFTA awards. He has worked with companies and universities across Europe and the US on government-funded R&D programmes, and with major international brands on new product development, but he absolutely draws the line at commuting. He loves writing, both crime and science fiction, and enjoys stories that have both a technological edge and a dark, visceral theme. He enjoys research, although sometimes the material he unearths worries the living daylights out of him. Carl lives in Surrey with his wife and has an adult son.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Historical Crime Fiction

A Fatal Truth Faith Martin 5* #Review @HQStories @FaithMartin_Nov #hisfic #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Retro #Oxford #1960s #BookReview #bookbloggers #BlogTour #RyderandLoveday #AFatalTruth

As the Hughes family celebrate bonfire night, a terrible accident leaves the garden shed in flames – and father and grandfather Thomas trapped inside.
 
Tragic though it is, Thomas’s death passes without suspicion – until a local journalist makes accusations of a police cover-up in the press. WPC Trudy Loveday is sent to investigate, and asks coroner Clement Ryder to help.
 
But the more questions the two ask the less clear the case seems. There’s no evidence of foul play, and yet the dead man’s family are obviously hiding something. Then there are Thomas’s dubious business practices – was someone out for revenge?
 
All Trudy and Clement know for sure is that everyone is lying – and that they must find the truth…
 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The fifth book in the ‘Ryder and Loveday Mystery’ series, ‘A Fatal Truth’ captures the 1960s perfectly. The mystery is a standalone but to appreciate the partnership between coroner Ryder and police officer Loveday read the previous books in the series.

Loveday’s confidence needs a boost, at the beginning of this story, and she’s apprehensive about working with Ryder again. The story portrays the misogyny prevalent in the 1960s’ police force showing that intelligence and solving crimes aren’t enough for women to succeed.

The story relies on observation and astute detection skills rather than forensics and technology. The clever plot has authentic characters and dialogue. The character development of Loveday is notable and contrasts with Ryder’s ailing health. There is a feeling of the end drawing near for this enigmatic partnership.