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 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 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 Spotlight, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Excerpt, Murder Mystery

The Long Shadow on the Stage Nichole Heydenburg @TheWriteWords16 #Excerpt #CrimeFiction #MurderMystery #Detective @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TheLongShadowOnTheStage

Jackson Birkman has the perfect life: the lead role on the popular detective show “Dispatching David,” millions of adoring fans, celebrity status, and a beautiful girlfriend. After five seasons, “Dispatching David” has just been cancelled. With the final episode quickly approaching, Jackson is worried about more than just his future acting career. His once massive fortune is dwindling and his girlfriend Clara is pressuring him to propose.

When Jackson unexpectedly dies on the set of the TV show during filming, everyone speculates whether it was suicide or murder. Why would Jackson commit suicide? If it was a setup, who would want Jackson to die? And most importantly, what was the motive of the murderer? As the investigation continues, Officer Wilson inches closer to the truth, uncovering Jackson’s secrets. She begins to think no one really knew Jackson at all, but is determined to solve the case, no matter the cost.

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Excerpt from The Long Shadow on the Stage Nichole Heydenburg

“Jackson, do you think you could help me with this box? I thought I could get it, but it’s heavier than I thought,” Clara said, exhaling loudly, her arms shaking while struggling to hold a particularly large box she was trying to carry into his apartment.

“Ah, sweetie! Why didn’t you wait for me?” Jackson ran over to her and grabbed the box from her arms. It wasn’t that heavy. He brought it into the apartment with Clara trailing after him emptyhanded. “How many do you have left?”

“A lot. Help me,” she pleaded, throwing herself onto his black leather couch and curling up her legs to lie down.

“Are you going to bring in anything else?” He asked, frustrated. He didn’t mind helping, but if she was going to lay around and not do anything, he at least wanted to know the truth and not have her pretend she was working hard.

“Yeah. Just give me a minute. I’m tired.” Clara yawned, pulling the blanket he always kept on the couch over her body and snuggling into the cool leather.

She didn’t look like she was budging an inch, so Jackson grumbled to himself and went back outside to her car, grabbing whatever he could carry to finish moving her stuff in as quickly as possible. He brought inside box after box after box. He stopped beside Clara’s car and leaned against it to rest his tired muscles. Jackson heard footsteps rapidly approaching and was about to turn around when suddenly everything went black.

Nichole Heydenburg earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English with an emphasis in writing and a minor in theatre from Adrian College in 2014. Her one-act play “The Hidden Story” won a playwriting contest and was performed at her alma mater in 2015. She also had several poems published in “The Oxcart” literary magazine. Nichole has been working full-time as the Content Manager for a start-up company for 3 years. When she isn’t writing, Nichole enjoys going on adventures with her husband, reading, playing board games, and the occasional mimosa. “The Long Shadow on the Stage” is her first novel. She currently resides near Asheville, NC with her husband, Zed.

To stay up to date on news about her second novel, as well as read writing and self-publishing tips, subscribe to her monthly newsletter on her website https://www.nicholeheydenburg.com/.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Noir, Travel

The Bellhop Only Stalks Once Cat Hickey 4*#Review @CatHickey4 @darkstrokedark @rararesources #CrimeFiction #noircrime #MurderMystery #BlogTour #Book Review #RachelsRandomResources

Lies, secrets, and a sinister plot hide in broad daylight at the heart of the Club Pacifica.

A beautiful tropical resort, exciting new friends, and a handsome guest liaison – it’s the perfect getaway for Chloe, a free-spirited Baltimore girl just getting to know herself. But the vacation of a lifetime quickly takes a dark turn when a young, overly flirty bellhop starts following her everywhere. It gets even worse when he disappears, and Chloe is the sole witness.

As bellhop after bellhop goes missing, she struggles to figure out what’s happening. When suspicion falls upon her, Chloe must not only try to rescue the kidnapped bellhops, but also to clear her name.

Complicating things further is the relationship she forms with Mateo, Club Pacifica’s guest liaison. Charming and easygoing, he is everything that her fiancé at home is not, and she finds herself fighting a growing attraction to him. But can he be trusted?

She soon discovers that she’s landed herself in a world of secrets, and, worse, that these are not just those of others, but also the secrets she keeps from herself.

Can she find her way through all the lies to finally discover the truth before it’s too late?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has intrinsic dark humour with vivid characters and lots of action. The plot is imaginative with good use of sensory imagery. The pacing is frenetic at times, as the bellhops disappear without a trace. Chloe, investigates the mystery, but who can she trust?

Chloe is a likeable character on an emotional journey. Despite the abductions and accusations that define her holiday, it lets her step back from her life. Finally discovering she wants something different.

Fun, danger, mystery and romance are all found in this engaging and unusual story.

Cat Hickey has a Master’s degree in Biology, and teaches Anatomy and Physiology at a university in Baltimore, MD, USA. She writes light-hearted mysteries and thrillers that are based, partly, on her extensive travels around the world. She is also an avid yogi who teaches aerial yoga and practices aerial circus arts, and spends the rest of her time with her four rescue animals, which consist of three cats and a horse.

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

Murder Ahoy! Fiona Leitch 5*#Review @fkleitch #Cozymystery #murdermystery #cruiseship #humour #crimefiction #MurderAhoy @rararesources #ABellaTysonMystery #BlogTour #BookReview

Famous crime writer Bella Tyson is hired to co-host a Murder Mystery cruise, on a luxury liner sailing from Southampton to New York. She’s expecting an easy ride; fun and games, surrounded by amateur sleuths and fans of her books, all the while staying in a deluxe cabin and enjoying the spa and the amazing restaurants on board, culminating in a visit to one of her favourite cities in the world – the Big Apple.

She’s NOT expecting to be stuck on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic with her two least favourite people in the world, her hot but unfaithful bastard ex-husband Joel Quigley and fellow crime writer, bitch goddess and Twitter frenemy, Louise Meyers. And when real live dead bodies start turning up – as well as fake not-really-dead bodies – Bella’s dreams of being pampered on the high seas turn sour.

Accused of a murder she would have liked to commit but didn’t, and helped (or hindered) by a gang of unlikely detectives, can Bella find out who the real murderer is before the ship reaches its destination and New York’s finest drag her off?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I always enjoy a good murder mystery, and this is one that captures my imagination. Bella Tyson is a successful crime writer hired to host a murder mystery event on a first-class cruise ship from England to New York. Things do not work out as envisaged, and she embroiled in a real murder mystery as the main suspect.

This story fits well into the cosy mystery genre with vibrant but believable characters, all of whom could be guilty of murder. There are clues along the way as Bella tries to identify the real murderer and clear her name before they reach New York.

Bella is a lovely character with a witty sense of humour that lightens the darkness of the plot and her current situation. Sensory imagery, engages the reader in the plot and setting, on a luxurious cruise ship. The ending ties everything up in a satisfying way.

I like the informal writing style in the first person letting the reader share Bella’s emotions and investigative thoughts. It allows the reader insight into the amateur sleuth’s mind, making it an immersive experience, and a great escapist read.

Fiona Leitch

Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. After living in London and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters. Her debut novel and first in the Bella Tyson series, ‘Dead in Venice’, was published by Audible as one of their Crime Grant finalists. Fiona is represented by Lina Langlee at the North Literary Agency.

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

Death Remembered K.E.Coburn 4*#Review #ASleuthingClubMystery @KeCoburn @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #1950s #VillageLife #historical #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview

Summer 1952.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but Charity Nicholls is bored of her quiet life in a tiny English village where nothing ever happens. Other than her nagging, marriage-obsessed mother, all she has to fill the time are her dreams of becoming a writer, and the Sleuthing Club – the mystery-reading book club she attends every week.

But everything changes the day her father receives a poison pen letter.

With the help of the Sleuthing Club, particularly handsome Henry Taylor, Charity is determined to find the culprit. But when people start dying and the police arrive, led by the infuriating Inspector James Lawrence, her little village becomes a hotbed of crime.

Can Charity find the murderer before anyone else dies?

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

My Thoughts…

This 1950s village is the perfect setting for a naive but intelligent amateur sleuth and a slew of nasty letters and murder. Charity, the vicar’s daughter is desperate to leave the quiet village where she lives, nothing ever happens. The highlight of her week is the sleuthing club where they discuss crime fiction. Then her lovely father received a poison pen letter, and she decides to find out who has sent them.

Murder makes the investigation a police matter. Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple Charity has a tense relationship with the police detective that you suspect may improve with acquaintance and results. Full of clues, false leads and suspects this engaging story reflects the characters, society and village life in the 1950s well.

This first book is an entertaining and promising start to the Sleuthing Club series.

K E Coburn lives by the seaside in Kent, England, and spends her time plotting murders and mayhem for her imaginary friends in the Sleuthing Club!

As well as having a master’s degree in history, she’s a huge fan of everything vintage, especially the 1950s, and loves researching this interesting period. Nothing makes her happier than looking at old photographs, drinking old-fashioned cocktails, and doing as little work as possible.

Her debut novel Death Remembered: A Sleuthing Club Mystery (Book 1) will be published in July 2020.

If you fancy keeping up to date with her murderous plots you can find her on social media

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Murder Mystery, Suspense

The House Party Mary Grand 4*#Review @authormaryg @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #psychological #suspense #MurderMystery #TheHouseParty #BlogTour #BookReview

Someone is about to die… Someone is about to lie…

At the intimate house-warming party for her glorious ‘grand design’, Kathleen confides in her best friend Beth that she is terrified of one of their close friends, but daren’t reveal which one. The guests are a tight-knit group, but Kathleen is convinced one of them is dangerous.

The next day Kathleen’s body is found at the foot of a cliff and Beth must face the sickening truth that she may have been killed by one of their trusted friends. With little help from the police, Beth’s decides to seek answers.

All the friends have secrets they are desperate to hide, but only one of them is ready to kill to keep theirs safe…The House Party is set on the Isle of Wight – insular,claustrophobic, and with nowhere to run. Mary Grand has written a heart-stopping novel of secrets, betrayal and desire.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story is more noir crime than the murder mystery I was expecting. In keeping with the murder mystery genre, there is a cast of characters with the motivation for murder and secrets. This story also has an element of psychological suspense increasing the level of menace.

The opening scenes at the house party flag up that Kathleen has secrets and that someone is using these against her. She’s troubled but anxious to talk them over with Beth her lapsed best friend. Patrick Kathleen’s partner interrupts their conversation. The next morning Kathleen is dead.

Beth feels she owes it to, Kathleen,to investigate her death, and this leads to deceit, danger and eventually the discovery of the murderer in their midst.The island setting makes this atmospheric. The suspects’ closeness makes this intense. No one is reliable, and the undercurrent of danger is strong in this story.

This story makes the most of its unusual setting with an intriguing plot and mysterious characters.

Mary Grand is the author of five novels and writes gripping, page-turning suspense, with a dark and often murderous underside. She grew up in Wales, was for many years a teacher of deaf children and now lives on the Isle of Wight where her new novel,

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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, 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,

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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.