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

Death at the Dance Verity Bright 4* #Review A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book @BrightVerity @bookouture #Historical #1920s #cozymystery #MurderMystery #ALadyEleanorSwiftMystery #BookReview

A masked ball, a dead body, a missing diamond necklace and a suspicious silver candlestick? Sounds like a case for Lady Eleanor Swift!

England, 1920. Lady Eleanor Swift, adventurer extraordinaire and reluctant amateur detective, is taking a break from sleuthing. She’s got much bigger problems: Eleanor has two left feet, nothing to wear and she’s expected at the masked ball at the local manor. Her new beau Lance Langham is the host, so she needs to dazzle.

Surrounded by partygoers with painted faces, pirates, priests and enough feathers to drown an ostrich, Eleanor searches for a familiar face. As she follows a familiar pair of long legs up a grand staircase, she’s sure she’s on Lance’s trail. But she opens the door on a dreadful scene: Lance standing over a dead Colonel Puddifoot, brandishing a silver candlestick, the family safe wide open and empty.

Moments later, the police burst in and arrest Lance for murder, diamond theft and a spate of similar burglaries. But Eleanor is convinced her love didn’t do it, and with him locked up in prison, she knows she needs to clear his name.

Something Lance lets slip about his pals convinces Eleanor the answer lies close to home. Accompanied by her faithful sidekick Gladstone the bulldog, she begins with Lance’s friends – a set of fast driving, even faster drinking, high-society types with a taste for mischief. But after they start getting picked off in circumstances that look a lot like murder, Eleanor is in a race against time to clear Lance’s name and avoid another brush with death…

A tremendously fun cozy whodunnit, full of mystery, murder and intrigue!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This cosy mystery is full of vivid imagery it’s characters, conversation and setting all draw the reader into the 1920s, from the first page. Historically authentic characters and an engaging mystery plot make this an enjoyable read.

Events and people, in the wrong place, may seem insignificant, but they might not be. So if you are trying to solve the murder mystery be observant. The story is well-paced and not hampered by the impressive amount of character and historical detail.

This story is the second in the series but reads well as a standalone. Eleanor is a likeable amateur sleuth, and there is a diverse cast of characters that make reading the first book in the series a good idea too.

Despite the murders, this story captures the frivolity of the 1920s. It largely ignores the aftermath of the great war in keeping with the attitude of the bright young things that epitomised the period.

This mystery interlude is irreverent and irresistible a fun way to escape for a few hours.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Noir, Suspense

Somebody’s Daughter Carol Wyer 5*#Review #DetectiveNatalieWard @carolewyer @bookouture #CrimeFiction #Detective #SomebodysDaugther #BookReview

One by one the girls disappeared…

When the frail body of a teenage girl is discovered strangled in a parking lot, shards of ice form in Detective Natalie Ward’s veins. As Natalie looks at the freckles scattered on her cheeks and the pale pink lips tinged with blue, she remembers that this innocent girl is somebody’s daughter…

The girl is identified as missing teenager Amelia Saunders, who has run away from home and her controlling father. Natalie’s heart sinks further when it becomes clear that Amelia has been working on the streets, manipulated by her violent new boyfriend Tommy.

A day later, another vulnerable girl is found strangled on a park bench. Like Amelia, Katie Bray was a runaway with connections to Tommy, and Natalie is determined to find him and track down the monster attacking these scared and lonely girls.

But when a wealthy young woman is found murdered the next morning, the word ‘guilty’ scrawled on her forehead, Natalie realises that the case is more complex than she first thought. Determined to establish a connection between her three victims, Natalie wastes no time in chasing down the evidence, tracing everyone who crossed their paths. Then, a key suspect’s body turns up in the canal, a mole in Natalie’s department leaks vital information and everything seems to be against her. Can Natalie stop this clever and manipulative killer before they strike again?

An unputdownable crime thriller from an Amazon bestselling author that will have you sleeping with the light on.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Natalie’s life is more settled, living with Mike, and in a new role. Still not sure if she can take a step away from the investigative arena, she finds herself at the sharp end again, overseeing her colleagues investigation. The murder of young, vulnerable women resonates with Natalie. She’s committed and determined to find the killer, but things are not as they first seem and someone is out to make trouble for the new team.

The balance of character development, team dynamic and police procedural is, as always perfect. The personal focus is more on DI Lucy Carmichael as she gets to grips with her new job. The investigation is meticulous, and the noir crime element ensures the edge of the seat suspense.

The Detective Natalie Ward series is addictive crime detection with a human touch.

Posted in Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Saga

The Orphan’s Gift Renita D’Silva 5*#Review @RenitaDSilva @bookouture #saga #India #historicalfiction #histfic #LiteraryFiction #BookReview #TheOrphansGift

She allows herself to kiss her perfect child just once. She wraps the baby in her last gift: a hand-knitted cardigan, embroidered with a water lily pattern. ‘You’re better off without me,’ she whispers and although every step breaks her heart, she walks away.

1910, India. Young and curious Alice, with her spun-gold hair, grows up in her family’s sprawling compound with parents as remote as England, the cold country she has never seen. It is Raju, son of a servant, with whom she shares her secrets. Together, their love grows like roses – but leaves deep thorns. Because when they get too close, Alice’s father drags them apart, sending Raju far away and banishing Alice to England…

1944. Intelligent and kind Janaki is raised in an orphanage in India. The nuns love to tell the story: Janaki’s arrival stopped the independence riots outside the gates, as the men on both sides gazed at the starry-eyed little girl left in a beautiful hand-knitted cardigan. Janaki longs for her real mother, the woman who was forced to abandon her, wrapped in a precious gift…

Now old enough to be a grandmother and living alone in India, Alice watches children play under the tamarind trees, haunted by the terrible mistake she made fifty years ago. It’s just an ordinary afternoon, until a young girl with familiar eyes appears with a photograph and Alice must make a choice. Will she spend the rest of her life consumed by dreams of the past, or can she admit her mistakes and choose love and light at last?

A stunning and heartbreaking novel about how a forbidden love can echo through the generations. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This author always delivers an emotional story. The lyrical writing style is pleasurable to read. The vivid characters and imagery are evocative of the setting. Told from Alice and Janaki’s viewpoints the story set in India and England encompasses a turbulent time in the two country’s histories. Loss, love, manipulation and prejudice form the intricate embroidery of this story. The characters draw you into their worlds the ripple of effect resonates from carelessly made decisions.

If you are looking for a book that is vibrant yet poignant and full of sensory imagery, this is for you.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Noir, Suspense

The Secret Admirer Carol Wyer 5*#Review #DetectiveNatalieWard @carolewyer @bookouture #CrimeFiction #Detective #TheSecretAdmirer #BookReview

‘I tried to talk to you today but you snubbed me and walked away. It wasn’t wise to give me the brush-off, Gemma. I can be a truly good friend but I also make the perfect enemy.’

Sasha’s eighteen-year-old daughter Gemma was all she had in the world. Sasha fell pregnant with Gemma when she was still at school, and the two are as close as sisters. So when Gemma’s burned and broken body is found, Sasha’s world ends. What kind of person would want her beautiful daughter dead?

Leading the case is Detective Natalie Ward, scarred by her own recent tragedy. When she finds a note in Gemma’s diary from a ‘secret admirer’, she moves quickly, determined to un-mask them. But interviews with Gemma’s devastated ex-boyfriend, and her charismatic teacher, who has been seen embracing his student far away from the classroom, don’t give Natalie the answers she’d hoped for…

And then the case takes a devastating, personal twist. CCTV footage reveals Natalie’s estranged husband David followed Gemma home every evening the week before she died.

Natalie is forced to put personal feelings aside and follow procedure, even though she can’t believe David could be guilty. But when Gemma’s housemate is found murdered, Natalie thinks the killer could still be at large. Is she right to trust her instincts about David and can she discover the truth before another precious life is taken?

Grippingly fast and nail-bitingly tense, The Secret Admirer will have you flying through the pages long into the night.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

No spoilers but after what happened at the end of the previous book, The Blossom Twins it’s surprising Natalie can carry on.

Another horrific crime draws Natalie back to work. The investigation is complex and full of suspects a personal connection further threatens Natalie’s objectivity, but her professionalism shines through.

This book achieves the right balance of investigative and character detail. Natalie’s courage and tenacity make her easy to empathise. She’s flawed and human and relatable.

The plot keeps its secrets, engaging with clues but not revealing all until the end, making it realistic.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Family Drama, Murder Mystery

Murder At Enderley Hall Helena Dixon 5*#Review #AMissUnderhayMystery @NellDixon @bookouture #cozymystery #MurderMystery #1930s

An escape to the country… ends in death.

Summer 1933. Fresh from the discovery that she has family living nearby, Kitty Underhay has packed her carpet bag, commandeered a chambermaid and set off on a visit to stately Enderley Hall. She’s looking forward to getting to know her relatives, as well as the assembled group of house guests. But when elderly Nanny Thoms is found dead at the bottom of the stairs after papers of national importance are stolen, Kitty quickly learns that Muffy the dog’s muddy paws on her hemline are the least of her problems.

Calling on ex-army captain Matthew Bryant for assistance, Kitty begins to puzzle out the mystery. And when more shocking murders follow, the stakes are raised for the daring duo as never before. Which of the guests stand to gain from the theft of the documents? And which, as the week progresses, stand to lose their lives?

A charming cozy historical murder mystery that fans of Agatha Christie,

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The second book in the Miss Underhay mysteries lives up to the promise of Murder At The Dolphin Hotel. Kitty accepts an invitation to stay with her newly discovered family not sure if she’ll fit into their upper-class society.

The upstairs-downstairs ethos adds ambience to the historical setting with the sharp class divide evident to Kitty. Theft leads to a suspicious death, and Kitty calls her partner Matthew to help the police investigate. Kitty’s overt role in the investigation is subservient in keeping with the era, but her intelligence and perception make her the star player.

Kitty stumbles upon further clues to her mother’s disapperance with dangerous consequences. Courageous and a little foolhardy, she takes risks to solve the case.

Kitty is an engaging amateur sleuth in a historically authentic murder mystery.

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

The Lilac House Barbara Josselsohn 4*#Review @barbarajoss @bookouture #LakeSummers #SecondChances #SmallTown #Romance #Secrets #BookReview #uplit #TheLilacHouse

Can one summer house bring two broken hearts together?Summer escapes to Lilac House have always been a source of comfort for Anna Harris. Though things will never be the same since her husband’s death, she knows that it is there, nestled in Lake Summers in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, that she and her children Zac and Evie can begin to build a new life.

The house is just as beautiful as Anna remembers, and caught up in the rhythm of small town life, helping her Aunt Hope run the little shop on Main Street, Anna begins to feel a sense of herself she hasn’t felt in years. Then she meets Aidan. Handsome, strong and quiet, he also knows what’s it’s like to lose someone. In each other they recognise something they’ve both been missing and they feel a spark.

But Aidan’s past holds a different set of complications. He’s hiding a secret about why he came to Lake Summers. And just as the Lilac House finally starts to feel like home, Anna learns something devastating about Greg’s death that makes her question everything…

The summer might have brought Anna and Aidan together, but can Anna finally let go of the past now she really has the chance for a new beginning?A beautiful story about moving on and finding yourself, The Lilac House will restore your faith in love and teach you that it’s never too late the find the person who will change your life.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The return to The Lilac House brings mixed feelings for Anna and her two children. Grieving from the loss of Greg, husband and father they approach the summer at Lake Summer with trepidation. Hope awaits Anna’s return with joy and guilt she has a secret and hopes Anna will understand. Aidan has secrets too but meeting Anna makes him realise there is more to his life than he thought.

This story is an emotional journey for the three main characters in the small mountain town. The characters are easy to empathise. Their stories are poignant, but their interactions give them the chance of a positive future.

The exploration of grief is insightful, and the absorbing story is an uplifting read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Suspense

Knock Knock Chris Merritt (Detectives Lockhart and Green Book 1) 4*#Review @DrCJMerritt @Bookouture #KnockKnock #CrimeFiction #Psychologist #London #Suspense #BookReview

Natasha Mayston wasn’t expecting anyone to knock on her door so late at night. And she has no idea that the face staring back at her is the last one she’ll ever see…

As Detective Dan Lockhart is called to a wealthy London street to investigate Natasha’s death, he’s startled by the similarity to a previous case. Noticing the cable-tie restraints and the tiny scratches on Natasha’s wedding finger, Dan already knows what he will find if he looks in her mouth – the metal ball which choked her to death. He knows Natasha isn’t the killer’s first victim and is certain that he will strike again.

Months earlier, Kim Hardy was found in the same position in a run-down hotel across the city – an identical silver ball in her throat. But Kim’s murderer was caught and sent to prison – did they arrest the wrong man? And what connects the two victims? Fearing that he’s dealing with a psychopathic serial killer, Dan calls in psychologist Dr Lexi Green to help him to get into the perpetrator’s mind. Tough and smart, Lexi will stop at nothing to hunt down the man responsible for the deaths.

Then, another body is discovered, just as Lexi finds a clue online leading to the killer. Dan’s team aren’t convinced, but in pushing Lexi away from the investigation, they force her to dig further into the case on her own. Convinced that she’s on to something, she puts herself in unthinkable danger… but can Dan piece together the clues and identify the killer before it’s too late?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A powerful fusion of police procedural and psychological suspense underpins this story to good effect. The beginning draws the reader into an unknown killer’s world. The killer’s on a crusade against women determined to impress their protector. The sense of menace felt from the start builds with the suspense, as the investigation continues and the deaths escalate.

Lockhart is a complex protagonist with emotional and mental health issues which he tries to address through therapy where he meets psychologist Lexi Green. The two characters make a connection that draws them together, on a professional level, and given the right circumstances, personally too.

Calculated grisly crimes make detection difficult. The impactful ending resonates.

Posted in Cover Reveal

Silent Night -Geraldine Hogan #CoverReveal @bookouture #GerHogan #Crime #Thriller #DetectiveIrisLocke1 #SilentNight

A baby is snatched from her pram in the garden. She’s never found. Thirty years later her sister, now a mother herself, is brutally killed.

When Anna Crowe is killed in her sleep alongside her children, the quiet local community of Corbally is shocked. It’s also a chilling reminder of when her sister, Janey, disappeared as a baby, twenty-nine years ago, never to be seen again.

Detective Iris Locke is assigned to the case and, after a year undercover which ended in failure when her cover got blown, she’s desperate to make her mark – and to live up to the reputation of her ex-cop father, the former head of the Limerick Murder Squad.

Jack Locke ran the investigation into the disappearance of baby Janey. But by reopening the old case, Iris is also reopening old wounds for the team. Can she untangle the dark secrets that lead to one sister vanishing and the other’s death – even if it means digging into the past of someone very close to her?

Fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons and L.J. Ross won’t want to miss this – the first book in a gripping and unputdownable new crime series.

Amazon UK

August 23rd 2019