She stumbled on a bloodied body buried in a snowbank. Will a cold case in Kansas lead her to the killer?
Against a canvas of crime and murder, artist and detective Leila Goodfriend investigates two brutal murders that happened a thousand miles—and decades apart.
As she unravels the truth about these two violent killings, she tracks a trail of blood and revenge, littered with smoke screens and stone relics of a perilous past. From Cape Cod to a casino in Kansas, Leila has to trust her instincts. And her developing relationship with Detective John Grace is put to a new, dangerous test.
Despite the detective’s warnings, Leila puts her life at risk, obsessed with proving her friend’s innocence, at least of murder.
She exposes new suspects and clues, and in the end, reveals a dark, deadly secret from her own past.
Death In Smoke, the new psychological thriller from acclaimed author Barbara Elle, takes readers on an inner and physical journey across time, challenging your assumptions about what is truth—what remains a mystery.
In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?
Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?
Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers publishers and as a freelance journalist.
Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories.
Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often travelling the world with her touring musician husband, bass player and musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Beth Chamberlain is a likeable, realistic character. Dedicated to her career, despite the problems in her personal life. As a family liaison officer, she needs great people skills and well-disguised investigative talent. She is uniquely placed to discover family tensions, and gain the trust of the victims’ relatives and find out the true story.
A historical suicide, a deliberate hit and run, which results in a man’s death. Emotions and suspense build, as the investigation proceeds. Further crimes, throw up more questions, than answers. The relentless investigation, finally finds the answers, leading to a devastating conclusion.
The story explores the concept of trial by social media, and the consequences, both personal and establishment, of this contemporary trend. The wife of the murdered man, who has stood by him, shows her strength of character in the face of public antagonism, against her late husband and her family.
The connection between the various crimes is cleverly interwoven. The police investigation is authentically portrayed. The domestic noir and suspense build gradually, giving the plot added depth and adding the ending’s impact.
Dark crime, complex characters and relatable police investigation team, make this addictive reading. Looking forward to the next one.
Author Interview – Jane Issacs – ‘For Better For Worst’ Blog Tour
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog, Jane. I’m thrilled to be here!
Is there a particular event or person who inspired ‘For Better, For Worse’?
Ooh, I can’t say there was a particular event or person that inspired this story, more a combination of things I’ve read and watched in crime news and documentaries over the years. I was particularly struck with someone wrongly accused – or were they? Also, the challenge of being married to someone who holds a dark secret and when that secret is uncovered, the fallout of how they deal with it and ultimately how it affects the family unit.
The idea of a wife standing by her husband and the whole debate of did he/didn’t he seemed such an enticing project to work with.
What comes first in your story creation process, character, plot or setting? Why do think this is?
I think it’s a combination of things that come in stages, like building blocks, and form the foundation of the story. Often one element influences another. For Better, For Worse is the second title in the DC Beth Chamberlain, Family Liaison Officer, series. Beth’s detective character and the setting of Northamptonshire were already established for the series, although I did have to research particular locations and site the new family. As the plot unravelled in my mind, I realised we needed another point of view in Gina Ingram (the councillor’s wife) and built her character into the story.
Do you find dialogue easy to write? How do you create authentic-sounding dialogue in your novels?
I think dialogue can be very tricky to get right. I often imagine speaking it as I write and draft it without speech marks initially to avoid slowing myself down, then tidy it up later.
How do make you protagonists’ responses to a traumatic event believable?
Ooh, good question! Lots of research, talking to people who have been in the situation and reading in and around a similar event in the news or in books. Plus, I like to imagine myself in their shoes, if possible and see how I would react. Even after I’ve drafted a scene, I’ll come back to it and rewrite it several times before I’m completely happy.
Do you enjoy, or have time to read? What are your favourite genres?
Yes, I love to read and do so as much as I can. Crime fiction will always be my first love – I revel in the twists and turns of a good mystery, and love a page-turning psychological thriller. I recently read The Lying Room by Nicci French and couldn’t put it down!
That said, I do like to intersect my thrillers with other books. I’m currently reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd which is a beautifully written and uplifting literary novel.
Are there any other genres you would like to write in? If so, what are they, and why do they interest you?
I think the idea of creating your own fantasy world would be really interesting. I loved the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, though I’ve no plans to move at present!
Jane Isaac is married to a serving detective and they live in rural Northamptonshire UK with their daughter, and dog, Bollo. Jane loves to hear from readers and writers.
Sign up to her book club at http://eepurl.com/1a2uT for book recommendations and details of new releases, events and giveaways.
The year is 1900, responding to a desperate plea from an old friend, Elliott, Giselle, and Thorne, accompanied by Veronique the Labrador, travel from England to New Zealand to unravel a new and complex mystery.
For his daughter’s twenty first birthday, Millionaire philanthropist Octavius Damant orchestrates a weekend party aboard the Taniwha, a luxurious paddle steamer moored in the primordial and isolated landscape of Milford Sound.
Several high society guests are invited to their remote home for the celebrations; Sir Wesley Eade, society lawyer and his beautiful but icy mistress Lady Leonora Carlton-Cayce, Dona Carla Riva, a flamboyant Brazilian dancer, and Carolyn Nolloth, O.D’s estranged sister-in-law who has a great love of other people’s money.
But O.D is the subject of persecution; a series of anonymous letters accuse him of past crimes and threaten the life of his daughter unless he gives in to their creator’s poisonous demands.
Elliott, Giselle, and Thorne discover the odds stacked against them when an unforeseen murder is committed, and they find themselves trapped aboard the Taniwha with a killer who will seemingly stop at nothing to achieve their ends.
As the body count rises, they must unravel the clues and piece together a devilish jigsaw that includes blackmail, extortion, desire, and the reappearance of the fabulous Larkspur Diamond, a gemstone with a past as murky and blood soaked as that of the relentless killer on board.
Set in the late Victorian era, with a touch of the odd, and a twist of the macabre, “Death in the Sound” continues the crime solving, paranormal escapades of Elliott Caine, Giselle Du’Lac, and Abernathy Thorne.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Book two, of the Versipellis Mysteries series, set predominantly in New Zealand is a late-Victorian murder mystery, with a supernatural twist. There are two prologues, one detailing a gruesome murder, the second, introducing a dark, evil supernatural element.
With a plan of the boat, at the beginning of the book, it reminds me of a Cluedo board. This murder mystery is a dark interpretation of the popular game with a paranormal twist.
The diverse investigating team, is well described, so it can be read as a standalone, but it’s so good, you’ll want to read them both.
Engaging action and lots of characters produce an absorbing, addictive story, with lots of false clues and plot twists. The writing is clear, using vivid imagery to describe the characters and setting.
Vibrant characters and dark deeds combine to produce a creepy, cleverly plotted murder mystery with exciting originality.
Rhen Garland lives in Somerset, England with her folk-singing, book-illustrating husband, approximately 4000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large flock of stuffed sheep.
She enjoys the countryside, peace, and Prosecco and the works of Ngaio Marsh, Glady Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Agatha Christie, and Terry Pratchett.
“I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy.”
“A Portrait of Death” is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the first book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series. “A Portrait of Death” was released in 2018.
“Death in the Sound” is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the second book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series.
If someone was in your house, you’d know. Wouldn’t you? But the Hunter family are deaf and don’t hear a thing when a shocking crime takes place in the middle of the night. Instead, they wake up to their worst nightmare.
The police call Paige Northwood to the scene to interpret for the witnesses. They’re in shock, but Paige senses the Hunters are hiding something.
One by one, people Paige knows from the Deaf community start to fall under suspicion. But who would kill a little girl?
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.
It’s always interesting to read a crime novel from a new perspective. The death of a child takes place in a household where the adults are deaf. They didn’t hear the intruder. A sign language interpreter knows the family but sacrifices professional detachment determined to find justice for the victim.
The beginning is harrowing and sets the scene for an emotional domestic suspense story. The police procedural aspect is well-written, giving the plot authenticity. It’s the unofficial, personally motivated investigation that Paige undertakes that makes this story absorbing and suspenseful. The characters are complex and believable. I did realise early on who committed the crime, but the plot has many twists and suspects, and a good final twist. It is immersive and poignant, with an adrenaline-inducing conclusion.
Twenty-year-oldRachel McDermott was your typical girl-next-door. She loved her job as a nurse, was close to her family in the small Irish town of Corbally and seemed to have no enemies. So when she is brutally murdered, the local community reels in horror and Detective Iris Locke is put on the case.
The main suspect is her close friend, sixteen-year-old Eleanor Marshall, a tearaway teenager with addiction problems whose parents have long since turned their backs on her. Eleanor was last seen fleeing the scene where Rachel’s body was found and is now missing in the woods near the Comeragh mountains.
Eleanor’s sister Karena insists Eleanor wouldn’t have hurt her best friend, but a day later, when Karena is found dead in the area Eleanor is hiding, Iris knows things don’t look good for the runaway teen. She doesn’t want to believe that Eleanor is her sister’s killer, but all the evidence seems to point that way.
But Iris can’t let go of the elements of the case she doesn’t have answers for. The fact that Rachel’s father died in suspicious circumstances. The strange company that Rachel was keeping the night before she died. Was it guilt or fear that made Eleanor run? And can Iris find her before it is too late?
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
More than a police procedural, the Detective Iris Locke series, gives the reader an insight into a darker side of Ireland. The rural landscape, the importance of community and family, are often portrayed as defining themes of Ireland. This series explores them from a different perspective, which is thought-provoking.
‘Why She Ran’, is a self-contained mystery and crime story, but Detective Iris Locke, the main protagonist, is recovering from a tragedy that makes her question everything about her life before it. There is enough detail is in this second book, for the reader to form an opinion of Iris, and understand her motivations, but reading the first book in this series is the preferred option.
Irish is tasked with solving a particularly brutal murder. The prime suspect is on the run, but as Locke and her partner Slatterley investigate, they wonder if the obvious answer, is really what happened.
The plot is gently paced, there are twists and a surprising final twist. The clues are there for this solution but it is cleverly written. Character-driven, this story has complex authentic characters, who are relatable and in keeping with the setting. The story has a definite voice, which makes it unique in a popular genre. I look forward to the next book in this engagingly, dark crime series.
Tuesday Mooney loves a puzzle. So when an eccentric billionaire drops dead, leaving behind a fiendish treasure hunt – open to anyone – to his fortune, Tuesday can’t resist.
Although she works best alone, she soon finds herself partnering up with best friend Dex (money manager by day, karaoke-zealot by night) and the mysterious Nathaniel Arches, eldest son of a wealthy family who held a long-running feud with the dead man.
As the clues are solved, excitement across the city reaches fever pitch – but nothing is as it seems, and the puzzle-within-a-puzzle holds something much darker than a vast fortune at its heart…
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK- Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you were about to read a Gothic horror story when reading the opening chapter of this story. ‘A dying house’, ‘a strange man’, and a ‘dark, menacing ethos’ that grips you as open the door to the house. This story is more than that. Whilst, it is noir, there are ghosts, both spiritual, and those which inhabit your psyche, there is also a strange puzzle to solve, and a quirky heroine whose keen intelligence is the match for any ghost.
Tuesday Mooney is a loner, yet she resonates with those she comes into contact with, whether they be work colleagues, or her few friends. As a lover of the eccentric, she is a hit with me, and I enjoyed the magical, mystery adventure she undertakes with her self-appointed best friend, Dex and Nathaniel, the heir to a vast fortune.
The plot is full of vivid imagery, that brings the mystery hunt to life. The pacing is perfect and the characters authentic and richly described. Boston, the arts and various literary figures feature spectacularly, as you are treated to a spectacle of mystery, horror and dark humour.
Perfect for those who love quirky, surprising, satirical literature.
When a young boy falls from a balcony in a block of flats, DS Grace Allendale witnesses the shocking aftermath of the tragic event. But strangely, no one will admit to seeing anything – and the parents will only tell the police that it was an accident.
Determined to sort the truth from the lies, Grace is thrown into a case that takes her to the darkest corners of the criminal world – and strikes closer to home than she could have ever imagined…
A gripping and pacey thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from the moment you turn the first page.
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A dynamic fusion of a variety of crime fiction sub-genres; Ganglit, police procedural and psychological suspense, give the third book in the DS Grace Allendale series, a gritty edge that resonates.
Something terrible has happened, on a small rundown estate, in Stoke on Trent, but even though there are witnesses, no one is talking, except to lie. Close by when the tragedy occurs, Grace is shocked, it feels personal and she determined to find out what happened.
The story focuses on the residents of the estate, in the present, giving their viewpoints and illuminating their motivations for lying. Ruby’s horrific story, is revealed in flashback chapters and even though you may not agree with her lies, you do empathise. There is an ethos of menace in this story and evil antagonists. The plot has enough twists to blur the truth, until the final chapters, and an adrenaline-inducing conclusion.
This book has less emphasis on the police procedural elements and more on the motivations and fears of the victims and antagonists. Which, gives the story an original angle and make for an easy to absorb fastpaced read. The setting in Stoke, an iconic city in The Potteries, adds authenticity and makes you realise gang crime is not only prevalent in the larger urban cities.
I haven’t read the previous two books in the series, and this one reads as a standalone, I am, however, intrigued about Grace’s past, and her associations with the Steel family alluded to in this book.