Time’s running out for DCI Hunter.
His wife and child are missing, perhaps even dead. Unable to pursue those
responsible he’s transferred to the wild landscape of Cornwall where another
child has disappeared.
Alice Trevelyan’s father has his
own agenda and wants retribution for the loss of his little girl and metes out
his own violent justice.
Will Trevelyan help or hinder?
Hunter has to make his move if he
wants to save Starlight.
But can anyone in this remote location be trusted?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This story begins with a dead child on the beach, as many police procedurals do, but this story is dark, focusing on organised child abuse. There are two main protagonists, one is a war veteran, whose daughter is missing, he seeks and achieves a level of vigilante justice, which is graphically described. Hunter the Detective Chief Inspector, is a mysterious man. Who he is working for in not clear until the conclusion.
The story portrays the depravity and scope of organised child abuse well, and the ending reflects this. It is not an easy book to read. The graphic descriptions make this story slip into the horror fiction genre. The ethos of conspiracy and evil is clear from the outset.
The plot is good, but the frenetic pacing and execution make the characters hard to identify and keep track of. Clearly, this is purposeful, the author wants you to be confused, who is guilty? Who can you trust? Is the protection and safety of the children the primary aim of the protagonists?
The ending is well thought out and realistic.
A dramatic interpretation of contemporary evil, which leaves you with little hope for a society that doesn’t protect the innocent and vulnerable.
David Pipe was born in 1949 in a small Essex village. He attended a local grammar school, then the University of Hull where he took a B.Sc in chemistry. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry in England and South Africa before studying for a PhD in organic chemistry at Imperial College. After spells at universities in Geneva and Mulhouse he joined the oil industry in Germany where, aged 53, he gratefully took a redundancy package. Following a period of self-employment he wound down his business, eventually giving it up to scratch the writing itch which has produced Sacrificing Starlight, a timely reminder of the risks our children face and Henry’s Tale, where ghostwriting for his furry friend he describes the emotional growth of a puppy on the rollercoaster of life, compressed into a few weeks because puppies learn faster than their staff.
When he’s not writing David spends his time travelling, reading, swimming and jogging. He is married and lives in Hamburg with his wife and their Border terrier Henry. TwitterFacebook
In the sleepy town of Lost Maidens Loch, people sometimes disappear…
Down a quiet lane in town sits a little shop full of oddities you’d probably miss if you weren’t looking for it. This is Love’s Curiosities Inc., and its owner, Temerity Love, is sought by experts all over the world for her rare and magical gift: the ability to find lost things and learn their stories.
When Lost Maidens’ pretty local school teacher is found murdered by a poisoned cup of tea, a strange antique hand mirror is discovered nearby. Temerity – with the help of witchy sister Tilda, their cats Scylla and Charybdis and the lovingly eccentric local townspeople – is determined to divine the story behind the mirror and its part in Miss Molly Bayliss’ untimely death.
If only grumpy out-of-towner Angus Harley of Lost Maidens Police wasn’t on the scene. Temerity can’t solve the crime without him, but he’s distracting, and in more ways than one. Can this unconventional duo solve the most mysterious murder ever to blight Lost Maidens Loch before the killer strikes again?
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story has all the ingredients for a perfect escape. Cozy mystery, with a touch of magic, and vividly created characters and setting. Set in a small town in the Scottish Highlands, the loch has a mystical significance, well understood by psychic Temerity, and her herbalist sister Tilda. Temerity’s gift manifested when her first love died tragically at the Loch, something she feels inherently guilty for. Both women feel tied to the small town and they are intrinsic to its wellbeing.
The villagers accept the women, although gossip has it that they are witches, with their two seemingly lazy cats and an opinionated parrot. Temerity’s give for psychometry, has proved useful to the police in the past, but the new officer in the town isn’t convinced. Maybe he’s worried about his secrets?
There is so much in this first book to absorb the reader and capture their interest. The setting is authentic and described so well that you can visualise it. The mystical ethos, and legend that surrounds it add to its appeal. The protagonists are complex characters full of flaws and hidden layers. Some of which, are revealed in this book. Some are hinted at, to be revealed later in the series? The small-town dynamic works, the sense of community and gossip is evident. The cast of characters colourful and mostly easy to like.
The magical, witchy element is the icing on the cake, not too far-fetched, but outer-worldly enough to appeal. The cozy mystery is cleverly plotted, with lots of suspects, a dastardly murder, and plenty of clues and misinformation, to engage those who enjoy this.
A brilliant start to what promises to be an enchanting series, with wide appeal because we all need a little magic in our lives.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story begins so quietly, but the subtle suspense builds very quickly. A dramatic twist leaves the reader reeling. Totally addicted, you have to find out what happens next.
There is a psychological element to this story, but not in the traditionalsense., as there is no clear, unreliable protagonist. Rather, this is a fast-paced crime thriller, with a well-thought-out police procedural, and a disturbing, menacing ethos. Thecrimes are not graphically depicted, but are harrowing and resonate.
Jenna Morgan is a likeable detective, who engages with the reader. This crime is personal, you see her flaws and vulnerability seeping through her professional exterior. She’s easy to empathise you want her to have the outcome she seeks.
With an interesting team of detectives, that all have their own stories, this promises to be an absorbing series. The detective team is male-dominated, which may be authentic, but it would be good to see more women on the team in future stories.
The clues to finding the killer are hidden in plain sight, but knowing who increases the intensity. The ending is a pure adrenaline rush.
Diane Saxon previously wrote romantic fiction for the US market but has now turned to write psychological crime. The Keeper is her first novel in this genre and introduces series character DS Jemma Morgan. It will be published by Boldwood in October 2019. She is married to a retired policeman and lives in Shropshire.
extract from The Keeper – Diane saxon
Friday 26 October, 15:45 hrs
Felicity Morgan jammed her car into third gear and took the tight bend
down the hill to Coalbrookdale with fierce relish. ‘It’s not right! It’s just
not right. I’m twenty-four years old, for God’s sake, and still being told what
to do!’ She pounded the palm of her hand on the steering wheel and whipped
around another curve. ‘
‘Not even told.’ She glanced in the mirror, her gaze clashing with
Domino’s. ‘Nope, she didn’t even have the decency to speak to me.’ She floored
the accelerator and snapped out a feral grin as the car skimmed over the humps
in the narrow road.
‘She texted me. A freakin’ text!’ She shot Domino another quick glance
and took her foot from the accelerator as the car flew under the disused
railway bridge, past the entrance to Enginuity, one of the Ironbridge Gorge
Guilt nudged at her. ‘I know. I know, Domino. We’ve barely seen each
other since I moved in because of her shifts and my workday, but for God’s
sake. A text? Really? She must have been so peed off to send me a text. It’s her
version of not talking to me. She’s done it all our lives.’ Fliss blew out a
disgusted snort. ‘What the hell did you eat this time? Her bloody precious
steak? One of her fluffy pink slippers? Hah!’
She appealed in the mirror to her silent companion. ‘She said, “Don’t
forget to walk the dog.”’ She pressed her foot on the brake and came to a halt,
sliding the gears into neutral as the traffic lights halfway down the hill
changed to red. They always did for her. Every bloody time. With a rebellious
kick on the accelerator, Fliss revved the engine.
‘She called you a dog, Domino. She couldn’t even be bothered to write
your name.’ She stared at the big, gorgeous and demanding Dalmatian in her rear
view mirror. Her lips kicked up as a smile softened her voice. ‘How could I
possibly forget to walk you?’
An ancient Austin Allegro puttered through the narrow track towards her
just as the traffic lights turned to green on her side. ‘Bloody typical.’
Domino raised his head to stare with aloof disdain at the passing Allegro
and Fliss sighed as the driver’s wrinkled face, as ancient as the car, barely
emerged above the steering wheel. ‘There was only once, a few weeks ago, I
forgot to walk you. You’d have thought Jenna would have understood. I was
hung-over from my break-up drinking bout. You, my darling, were suffering the
consequences of a broken home.’ She let out a derisive snort as she put the car
into first gear and glided through the lights, back in control of both her
temper and her vehicle.
‘Not that you ever really liked Ed. You were just being empathetic. You
sensed my…’ she drew in a long breath through her nose, ‘… devastation. You
sympathised with me. How was I to know you’d eat your Aunty Jenna’s kitchen
cupboard doors off while I was sleeping?’ They still bore the deep gouged teeth
marks. ‘We didn’t have any choice but to move in with Jenna. We couldn’t stay
with him. He was too mean. He wanted me to get rid of you. Said it was him or
She flopped her head back on the headrest. Ed. The perfect gentleman,
tender, gentle, an absolute charmer. To the outside world. Insidious,
controlling arse to her. It had taken so long to realise his subtle intention
to separate her from her mother, her sister, eventually Domino. The slick
manoeuvres to keep her to himself. Unnoticed until her mother fell ill, when,
in a flash, it all became clear.
‘Poor Domino.’ She glanced in her mirror to share
the sympathy between herself and her dog as she slowed down to pass the
stunning Edwardian building she worked in on her right. Coalbrookdale and
Ironbridge School dated back more than two hundred years and had firmly
entrenched roots at the centre of the Industrial Revolution. With the imposing
cooling towers of the Ironbridge power station behind, they shared domination
of the skyline from that angle.
Parr doesn’t believe her ability to see auras is a gift. It hasn’t exactly done
her any favours. Quite the opposite, in fact. Having become something of a
loner, she tries to avoid people and the glow surrounding them, preferring to
view life through the lens of a camera, where she can’t see those telltale
when a rare visit to a theatre ends in death and bloodshed, Olivia’s life is
about to become considerably more complicated.
the mayhem, one man stands out, and not just because he seems oblivious to the
terrible carnage. The reason? He has no aura.
everyone has an aura, right?
for the dead.
Not only is she fascinated and intrigued by this strange, compelling man, in the aftermath of the tragedy she gains a protector; a man whose aura is deep, dark red – the colour of blood.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
A lovely mix of paranormal, mystery, suspense and passion, with a historical connection that gives the story authenticity and depth. The use of a well known infamous historical character as the antagonist is clever, his documented personality traits fit well with this story, and give it a believable menace.
The action scenes are well-written. and vividly described, they convey the sense of danger and mayhem perfectly and make the paranormal world the author has created within normality believable.
Olivia is a fighter, she’s had to be. suffering appalling bullying since childhood, and lack of family support since they discovered her gift or curse, as she believes it to be. She is likeable, and you want her to succeed, and find happiness.
Olivia apparent unawareness of the paranormal, is ironic, considering her paranormal skill. This may in part, be due to being told by her family, and the numerous medics she has seen that she has a neurological condition.
The interaction with Crow is intriguing, he is on a mission, but finds the time to offer his protection to Olivia, even though she doesn’t want it. Their relationship is a slow burn, barely friends, but there is something there, that may grow.
This is a dark story and the menace increases with the story’s progression. There is an element of noir humour, which people often use to make sense of something that is not quantifiable in human terms, this works well.
Paranormal stories have dipped in popularity, but this is not a lighthearted story of vampires, but one grounded in history and legend, and it paves the way for an exciting series.
Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…
When builder Terry Johnson spots what he thinks is a bargain he
can’t resist but to succumb to temptation. The large, detached house stands on
the side of a railway track and would be perfect for his needs … and it’s
But Billington Manor has a very tainted history, and the grounds upon which it stands were part of an unsolved murder back in the 1850s. Terry is about to discover that the road to hell is not always paved with good intentions.
Based upon a true incident, Ryder On The Storm is a stand-alone supernatural crime novella from the author of the IMP series, featuring desk sergeant Maurice Cragg.
His head was all over the place, not to mention his stomach. If he’d eaten anything at all he was sure it would have reappeared. Pins and needles raced up and down both his arms.
What the fuck had he walked into? Was George a ghost? Was he being haunted? Is that what the Billingtons had been on about when they said “he’d” take care of the place. And who exactly were the Billingtons? What part did they play in it all?
Excerpt from Ryder OnThe Storm – Ray Clark.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The blurb for the first story in this book intrigued me. I like stories with a supernatural element. This story starts in the past with the discovery of a body. Then in the present day, a builder is viewing an old house with a view to redevelopment. The elderly couple are strange and the logistics of the sale is similarly odd, but the builder’s eyes are focused on profit.
What follows is suspenseful and dark. I read it through twice, and the second time it resonated. The twist of the story is a popular one, but it is effectively used here. The more you think about it, the darker it becomes.
The other three short stories feature the author’s characters from the IMP series, which I haven’t read. The first two are Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries. Each is prefaced with an author’s note detailing how the story came about. This has intrinsic interest and puts each short story in context.The stories are well-plotted with complex characters and decent twists. All have engaging settings. Each delivers a good murder-mystery, and police procedural genre story.
I enjoyed reading all of these stories, perhaps the last three short stories are my favourite, and make me want to read the IMP series.
The British Fantasy Society published Ray Clark’s first work in 1995 – Manitou Man: The World of Graham Masterton, was nominated for both the World and British Fantasy Awards. In 2009, Ray’s short story, Promises To Keep, made the final shortlist for the best short story award from The Tom Howard Foundation. Ray is based in Goole and has set his Gardener and Reilly crime series in nearby Leeds.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The rape scene in this story is brutal, the violation and loss of control implicit in every word. This description is harrowing. Given the inspiration for this story, the attack is realistic and sets the scene for what follows. This an adult story. One that will upset most people, but it doesn’t detract from it, or the message it is sending.
Eve’s attack and subsequent action is the main storyline, but running alongside her need for retribution is the need for closure to heal, and the need to stop this happening to anyone else. Eve is complex, but she is easy to empathise. You want her to have justice.
Including the friend and lodger characters, may seem incidental to the story, but they are important. Eve’s reaction to them shows how emotionally scarred and traumatised she is, and why she does what she does. They are an important focus for her mental state.
The plot is chilling and suspenseful, and whether or not you agree with the outcome, or what happens before, the ending is well thought out and believable. A fusion of the psychological thriller and crime genres, with authentic emotion and a menacing antagonist, and an ending that leaves you with a moral dilemma. Perfect.
Author Interview – Gemma Rogers – Stalker
What are the inspirations behind your book – Stalker? Is it a standalone or part of a series?
The inspiration for Stalker came from an indecent assault that happened to me back in 2001. I found writing about it extremely cathartic. In terms of the story, I wanted to explore the feelings that can be left behind as a result of such a traumatic event. How far someone would go for justice? It’s a standalone novel that follows Eve from the incident to her resolution.
How did you create your main protagonist Eve? Is she based on someone you know, an imaginative creation, or a little of both?
Eve isn’t based on anyone I know, she’s a creation, although very much a part of me. How she feels after her attack, mirrors how I felt almost twenty years ago. She’s a complex character, struggling to understand the emotions she’s forced to deal with; the anger, self-loathing and guilt.
How do you make your characters believable?
I people watch and try to absorb as much as I can when I’m out and about. It’s great to watch and see how people react in certain situations. I also draw from my own experiences too, use those to try and flesh my characters out, make them three dimensional. I hope I’ve managed that with Stalker.
When you write, what comes first, the characters, the plot or the setting? Why do you think this is?
For me, generally, it’s the plot. I’ll come up with an idea first and it will grow from there. I’m not sure why the idea will plant itself and get bigger until I can’t think of anything else. That’s when I know it’s a good one. However, with Stalker, the setting was equally as important. Where the assault takes place in the novel, is where I grew up. Close to where it actually happened.
What made you decide to become a writer, and why does this genre appeal to you?
I’ve always written, from a very young age. I’d create stories with my brother, and turn them into little illustrated books, the pages tied together with string. I wrote some fan fiction in my teens but it’s only the past five years I’ve pushed myself to write a book, and actually finish it! I like this genre very much, I’m a lover of horror films and books, dark thrillers seemed right for me. I think the genre chose me rather than the other way around.
What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?
I mostly read thrillers; psychological, gritty thrillers, the darker the better. I fell in love with The Birdman by Mo Hayder and was hooked from there. My favourite authors are Alex Marwood, John Marrs, Mark Edwards, and CJ Tudor. However, when I fancy something a bit lighter I always head to Jane Fallon. I’m a massive fan of her writing.
What are you currently writing?
I’m currently in the process of writing Book 3 which I believe will be out at some point in 2020, so that is keeping me busy. Book 2 is due for release in January, so not long to wait.
Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Stalker is her debut novel which Boldwood will publish in September 2019 and marks the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters and bulldog Buster.
Chapter One Saturday 27 January 2018 I’ve never been in trouble before. Not the sort of trouble that brought me here. Freshly painted, stark white walls surround me; their toxic scent lingers in the air. A fluorescent glow from strip lights so dazzling they must be there to desensitise the occupants. Everything is white or chrome-like I’m on the set of a futuristic movie. I swing my legs, which dangle over the edge of the bed, not quite reaching the floor. I do this for a minute to keep warm. Despite the blanket around my shoulders, I can’t help but shiver. It’s late and they didn’t bring my jacket. I guess it’s been taken away as evidence. The woman in front of me is standing too close, hot breath on my arm. It makes me squirm and I fight the urge to yank my hand away from her grip. She’s holding it like I’m a china doll, fragile and easily broken. I dislike the invasion of my personal space. It’s something I’ve learnt to tolerate over the years. I was never a big fan of being touched, shrinking away if someone brushed past me or stood too close on public transport. I’m not a hugger either – no one was in the house where I grew up. After tonight, I can’t imagine I’ll let anyone touch me again. Her name is Doctor Joyce Hargreaves, she told me as we entered the victim examination room. Her job, she said, was to collect evidence from me, which is why she was wearing a paper suit, so there wouldn’t be any cross-contamination. She hasn’t picked up on my anxiety, the tremor in my fingers; she’s too busy. Brows furrowed, eyes focused as she peels the plastic bag away from my bloodied hand to collect scrapings from my skin and beneath my fingernails. The tool she uses makes me nervous. ‘Is that a scalpel?’ my voice barely a whisper. ‘No, it’s a scraper. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt. This is just so I can make sure we collect any skin cells that may be buried underneath the tips of your nails. I’m afraid I’ll have to give them a trim in a minute too.’ She wields the scraper with care and it’s true, it doesn’t hurt. Physically I’m okay, except my throat is on fire and the ringing in my ears is deafening, timed perfectly with the throbbing of my face. I have a feeling I might feel worse once the adrenaline leaves my system. When she finishes with my hands, she pulls the fallen blanket back over my shoulders and offers a kind smile as she pushes her glasses up her nose. I can see strands of greying hair trying to escape by her ear, exposed beneath the coverall hat. She wears no jewellery and her face is free of make-up. Was she on duty or has she been called out of her bed to attend to me? Would we recognise each other in different circumstances? Probably not, I must be one of many people that pass through this room every day. Joyce delicately inserts each of the specimens into small tubes before labelling them to be sent for analysis. I don’t know why? I’ve told them what happened. Soon she’ll want to examine me thoroughly. Internally. Until there are no more swabs left to be taken. She glances at me, knowing what is coming, what she must ask me to do. Her eyes are full of pity. I must look a mess. Dried blood on my face and chest is beginning to flake away, like charred skin falling into my lap. My cheek is puffy and the vision poor on my left side. I wish I could stop shivering. They said it’s shock and provided me with a mug of hot, sweet tea after the ambulance checked me over. They wanted to make sure the blood I am doused in isn’t mine. It isn’t.
Workaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine.
As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antique dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other.
But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters?
I received a copy of this book from Choc Lit in return for an honest review.
Original, magical and mysterious. This romantic suspense set in contemporary Paris has a complex, fast-paced plot, believably flawed characters, a mystery to solve, and an engaging romance between two unlikely lovers.
Aurora recovers from a childhood tragedy, with emotional and physical scars. Instead of being treasured by her grandparents, they provide material necessities but not emotional succour. Only her innate courage and intelligence saves her from obscurity. She studies hard, and now with a doctorate, is an authority on ancient manuscripts and an Art Historian. Lost in her famous grandfather’s shadow, she receives a prestigious commission. Determined to show she is worthy of the role. Even in this, it appears Aurora is being manipulated.
Investigative journalist Cédric’s barren childhood has left its scars, but a good education, streetwise intelligence, and the love and guidance of an elderly couple foil his criminal inclinations. Now he works for those who cannot protect themselves, his latest investigation draws Aurora’s boss into his sights, but is she involved or an innocent?
The chemistry between the two protagonists is realistic and the verbal sparring amusing. As the mystery deepens and the ethos of menace increases, they are drawn together, unlikely allies, full of mistrust and unwanted sexual attraction. The dynamic between Aurora and Cédric is the basis of a fairy tale style romance played out in the streets of Paris and France.
The plot is complex with good twists, and underscored with danger. It is full of vivid images, which hold the readers’ interest. The cast of characters are well-drawn and complement the plot and protagonists beautifully.
The ending is believable and magical, as every fairy tale should be.
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time, she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes. She writes both historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global Ebook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance), and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!