I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.
The intensity of this twisty psychological suspense builds with every page turn. Then the secrets begin to unfold, and you can’t stop reading. You have to know, what next?
Told mainly from Beth and Tom’s viewpoints, this story gives the reader insight into the main players, but you’re never sure if they are truthful, and the mystery deepens. A well-written plot makes it easy to read. Beth is so shocked by the police investigation into her husband it’s hard not to empathise with her.
The suspense builds believably and relentlessly. With each revelation, another question is raised. The ending draws all the plot strands together with some notable twists that resonate.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.
This is a lovely heartwarming story set on the west coast of Ireland. It explores female relationships and the importance of living life to the full. The setting is an immense part of this story giving the women space to breathe and think. The relationship dynamics are relatable, and the author explores topical issues in an enlightened way.
Character-driven, it immerses the reader in the main protagonists’ lives, which is an emotional experience. Family drama, heartbreaking decisions and romance are interwoven into this literary puzzle, and despite the shocks and tears, it leaves you feeling uplifted.
Guest Post:The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club – Inspiration- Faith Hogan
It’s been a funny old year, I mean to quote those wonderful words, it’s been the best of times, it’s been the worst of times, certainly, it’s been an extraordinary fifteen months on this side of the pond and although I haven’t travelled to the UK since 2019 – that sounds much too long ago – this has been a year like no other in every part of the world.
Apart from the terrible tragedies that have moved each of us, even if they did not touch our lives directly, there has been such a complete upheaval of life as we’ve known it and sometimes, it feels as if we may never fully return to what went before as normal.
At the end of it all, I’ve found a much renewed love of the book that uplift my spirits. It’s been an essential part of my lockdown armoury. Losing myself in the words of favourite writers who can help me escape the worries that might otherwise have dragged me down further and let-s face it, the nightly news was as much as any of us needed to drift into the tragedies of life.
So, I’ve been reading lots of unashamedly uplifting, happy books. I think it’s helped me to see the positives of having been locked down in a way that has balanced out all the losses. And there have been many positives. While less air travel has meant travel is curbed, I’m also very aware that the environment has managed to get some much needed breathing space. It’s given us great family time – now we’re playing scrabble and regularly sitting down to watch TV programmes together that I’d never have watched otherwise. And it’s given us time to think; perhaps savouring the little things that we’d rushed about so much for before and missed out on the simple joy of them. Things like family meals, long phone calls with friends – when once a text flown off seemed to be as much as we could manage. And then, there have been so many who’ve had the opportunity to work from home and in some cases think of re-locating and maybe taking life off hold.
Yes, it’s been the best of times and the worst of times.
But the one thing I’m sure of, is that a good uplifting book is one of those things that has really come up trumps throughout, a little like scrabble and strangely, The Grand Tour – yep ,in the Hogan House we’re on a binge!
I wrote The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club the year before we’d even heard of Covid 19. I’d written it purely for the joy of telling a story that would uplift my own spirits and so far it seems to have had the same impact on readers who’ve picked it up.
It’s unashamedly feel good, gentle and ultimately heartening, you may cry at certain parts, but you will laugh much more and I hope, as you pick up the threads of Lucy, Jo and Elizabeth’s lives, you will feel you are on a journey with old friends – people you’ll root for, people you’ll be sad to say goodbye to at the end. Because, we all want a happy ending, don’t we and there’s nothing that we could want more than a happy ending for the people we love!
And, as we near the end of this extraordinary year, perhaps we’ve all learned something we hadn’t expected – happiness can be found in the most unexpected places and if we’re wise, we’ll grab it when we can. And happiness is the one thing that we can feel, no matter if we are living in the best of times or indeed, the worst of times…
So, go on, choose your own kind of happy today, jump in with the Ladies Midnight Swimming Club, I promise, you’ll feel better once you’ve dived in there….
Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of five contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
Thief-taker Simon Westow is drawn into a deadly puzzle when the melting snow reveals a dark secret in this gripping historical mystery, perfect for fans of Anne Perry and Charles Finch.
Leeds, 1822. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for thief-taker Simon Westow and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river at Flay Cross Mill.
A coded notebook found in Laurence’s room mentions Charlie Harker, the most notorious fence in Leeds who’s now running for his life, and the mysterious words: To the dark. What was Laurence hiding that caused his death? Simon’s hunt for the truth pits him against some dangerous, powerful enemies who’ll happily kill him in a heartbeat – if they can.
I received a copy of this book from Severn House Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This historical crime mystery is atmospheric, menacing and realistic. It brings the crime-filled streets of nineteenth-century Leeds vividly to life. The third book in the series it provides adequate character backstory and relationship dynamics to make it readable as a standalone. The characters are shady even the protagonists have pasts and secrets. The story has many twists.
Seamlessly woven historical details immerse the reader in the place and time of this enjoyable story.
Chris Nickson has published 28 novels, all historical crime, most of them set in Leeds, whose people and history are his passion. The Richard Nottingham series began things, taking place in the 1730s, followed by the Tom Harper novels, which begin in 1890 and have now moved to the 20th century. Between them, Lottie Armstrong, Urban Raven and Dan Markham cover Leeds from the 1920s to the 1950s.
The three books featuring thief-taker Simon Westow explore a changing Leeds, growing rapidly in the 1820s as industry – the factories and mills and belching chimneys – comes to dominate the town. The Hocus Girl, the second in the series, received starred reviews from Kirkus, which called it a “tour de force,” and Publishers Weekly, which declared “historical mysteries don’t get much better than this.’
Chris grew up in Leeds, but lived in the US for many years, making his living as a music journalist. He still reviews occasional releases, but his focus these days is fiction.
This series follows amateur sleuths Major Alasdair Charters and the Honourable Melissa Charters as they inadvertently muddle their way through many investigations but always arrive at the truth. Alasdair was blinded in the First World War and uses his special skills to gain ‘insight’ into the crimes. The Honourable Melissa, who likes to think she is a socialist, has a large family and set of friends who always seem to run into problems. The books are set both in England and abroad.
Having a husband who is blind, author Vicki Goldie likes to explore perceptions about this disability and push the boundaries.
In 1923 flushed with the success of their last sleuthing escapade Major Alasdair Charters, a blind WW1 veteran and former intelligence officer and his aristocrat wife The Honourable Melissa, accept an invitation to a country house party on Somerset Levels in Winter.
There they find a dysfunctional family all living in a huge old house on a hill. Overnight the storm brings with it the floodwaters and the house becomes surrounded and cut off from rescue just as a murderer begins to stalk the residents. An exciting murder mystery in the Golden Age tradition. Will our sleuths discover hidden secrets and unmask the murderer before anyone else is killed?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is such an atmospheric story full of historically authentic characters and period detail. The husband and wife amateur sleuth team is not a new concept, but as Alasdair cannot see at all, due to an incident during WW1, this gives the story a unique perspective. This is the second book in The Charters’Mysteries but reads perfectly as a standalone. There is sufficient backstory on the amateur sleuths to show why they make the perfect investigators.
Set at a house party in 1923 this is a Golden Age murder mystery which has a claustrophobic setting, lots of suspects and a murderer in their midst. This story is a sensory delight, as Alasdair perceives things often ignored by sighted people, and Melissa becomes his eyes. The plot is well-written and the investigation thorough and immersive. The reader feels part of the story, and this makes finding the antagonist both addictive and realistic. Believably crafted characters, many hard to like, all have secrets. The short chapters make this a fast-paced read, and allow easy to follow changes of character and scene.
Blind Pool is an engaging historical murder mystery with originally crafted amateur sleuths that make me want to read the first book in the series.
Vicki lives in Poole Dorset with her blind physiotherapist husband. She has a lifelong fascination with the Art Deco period and with books of the Golden Age of Crime. This led her to envision a series featuring a blind detective set in the 1920s.
Blind Pool is the second in the series.
She is a co-pioneer for a reading charity Read Easy Bournemouth and volunteers at The Russell Cotes Museum in Bournemouth.
She is currently writing book three in the series Blind Haven set in Bournemouth
Following the sinful shenanigans of Hellcorp and The Man in the Dark, the hellishly handsome Devil turns his attention to the most frightening of all holidays … Halloween.
Jonathan Whitelaw has written a unique, one-off special tale starring Ol’ Nick himself – and set in the wild Wild West. After lending a hand to a down-on-his-luck prospector, The Devil returns thirty years later to collect his debt – but as ever when The Devil is involved, nothing ever goes to plan.
A prequel to the bestselling HellCorp, this enthralling and very funny tale is the perfect read for Halloween and fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Christopher Fowler and Benedict Jacka.
All proceeds from every sale of The Deal will be donated to Samaritans.
I bought a copy of this book from Amazon UK for 99p.
Atmospheric with authentic historical detail this quirky short story takes the reader to 1850s California, where gold prospecting is a way of life. Abner is a young man hoping to make his fortune, everything about the place unnerves him, but the chance for riches keeps him there. Enter the devil who sees him as a soul ripe for the picking and the age-old battle of good versus evil commences.
The devil has an enticing manner with untold evil barely hidden beneath the surface. The writing style draws you into the story. It makes you suspend belief, and the ending shows how unpredictable humans and life can be.
An ideal Halloween read which makes you want to seek out the author’s other books.
Interview with Jonathan Whitelaw
Jonathan Whitelaw is an author, journalist and broadcaster.
After working on the frontline of Scottish politics, he moved into journalism. Subjects he has covered have varied from breaking news, the arts, culture and sport to fashion, music and even radioactive waste – with everything in between.
He’s also a regular reviewer and talking head on shows for the BBC and STV.
HellCorp, from Urbane Publications, is his second novel following his debut, Morbid Relations.