Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, Family Drama, New Books, Noir, Scandinavian Crime, Suspense

Last One Alive Karin Nordin 4*#Review @KNordinAuthor @HQStories #Detective #ScandiCrime #Noir #Sweden #suspense #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #LastOneAlive #KjeldNygaard

They survived once. Can he save them this time?

When Detective Kjeld Nygaard is called to the discovery of a body in the burnt-out shell of a house, his heart sinks. He never wanted to see this house again. The house of a notorious serial killer. The house where he rescued Louisa Karlsson from being murdered.

But when they discover the body is in fact Louisa, the mystery deepens. It can’t be the old serial killer. He’s dead.

Then another body is found, again killed in the exact place where Kjeld saved them from another murderer. Another survivor dead.

With the clock ticking Kjeld and his partner Detective Esme Jansson are desperate to stop any more survivors from being murdered. But every clue they find leads to a dead end. Why is the killer picking off people Kjeld rescued? Could it be connected to another of his previous cases?

When Kjeld’s daughter is kidnapped – it’s a race against time to save her life. Can Kjeld stop the killer without paying the ultimate price or will he be the last one alive?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Chilling and claustrophobic, the second book in the Detective Kjeld Nygaard Scandi crime series draws the reader into a disturbing world of death. Attacks on survivors trouble Kjeld, as he struggles with guilt over his personal life and his connections to a serial killer. The dynamic between Kjedl and Esme, his partner, is believably written. We discover more about Esme’s personal life and find, she too, has secrets. The story intensifies as Kjeld tries to unravel the murders with their disturbing personal connection.

The story is rooted in Scandinavia, and this adds an engaging dimension, coupled with the complexly flawed protagonists, the menacing murders and the twisty plot.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Man on Hackpen Hill J.S. Monroe 5* #Review @HoZ_Books @JSThrillers #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #Detective #Noir #Suspense #psychsuspense #BlogTour #BookReview #TheManonHackpenHill #preorder #2September

It isn’t unusual for crop circles to appear overnight on Hackpen Hill. In this part of Wiltshire, where golden wheat fields stretch for miles, the locals have got used to discovering strange mathematical patterns stamped into the earth.

But this time, it’s different. Not only because this particular design of dramatic spiralling hexagons has never been seen before. But because of the dead body positioned precisely in the centre of the circle. DI Silas Hart, of Swindon Police, is at a loss.

Only Jim, a scientist at secretive government laboratory Porton Down, knows the chilling truth about the man on Hackpen Hill. And he wants Bella, a trainee journalist on her first ever story, to tell the world. But Silas has other ideas – and a boss intent on a cover up.

As Bella and Jim race against time, dark forces conspire against them, leading them to confront the reality of their own past and a world in which nothing is as it seems.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story has an intrinsic sense of authenticity, which is in itself chilling given the disturbing elements it explores. It features the detective team of Silas and Strover, a familiar combination if you’ve read the authors other psychological thrillers. It begins with a disquieting prologue that sets the scene for what follows. Bella leaves Oxford for a fledgling career in journalism. Her complex past unfolds as the story progresses. Silas and Strover are investigating a death in a crop circle which leads them into the fields of secret laboratories and mental health issues. Jim meets Bella in a Wiltshire pub, accidentally he believes at first.

The story is told from these points of view. The police investigation is absorbing and allows the reader to make their deductions. Bella and Jim are both unreliable protagonists, but they are easy to empathise with. The plot is fast-paced with its short chapters. The use of sensory imagery makes the events easy to imagine. The plot twists are impactful. The story changes perspective dramatically but realistically and is addictive reading. The climactic ending is satisfying, delivering action, poignancy and positivity for the main protagonists.

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Read my review of Forget My Name

Read my review of The Other You

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Folk Tales, Horror Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Dog Rose Dirt Jen Williams 4*#Review @sennydreadful @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK #BookReview #Fairytales #Folklore #horror #psychologicalsuspense #DogRoseDirt

A convicted murderer with a story to tell

Serial killer Michael Reave – known as The Red Wolf – has been locked in Belmarsh Prison for over 20 years for the brutal and ritualistic murders of countless women.

A grieving daughter with a secret to unearth

Ex-journalist Heather Evans returns to her childhood home after her mother’s inexplicable suicide and discovers something chilling – hundreds of letters between her mother and Reave, dating back decades.

A hunt for a killer ready to strike again

When the body of a woman is found decorated with flowers, just like his victims, Reave is the only person alive who could help. After years of silence, he will speak to Heather, and only Heather.

If she wants to unearth the truth and stop further bloodshed, she’ll have to confront a monster.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has many elements which make it absorbing and addictive reading.

Heather returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. She is not in a good place in her life and struggles to accept her mother’s apparent suicide. Heather, an unreliable protagonist, finds copious correspondence between her mother and a serial killer, ‘The Red Wolf’. Unsure what to make of it, and in the light of similar recent murders, she sends them to the police and begins an unorthodox investigation of the past and present crimes.

Atmospheric, and horrifically graphic in parts, it intertwines fantasy, folklore, horror and psychological suspense. The settings are cleverly crafted and provide a menacing ethos. It uses folklore and fairytales, drawing out their darkness, fusing them with psychological suspense and noir characters. It’s about good and evil, but the lines are blurred.

This story delivers the shocks of horror fiction, with the illusions and secrets of folklore, making this a creepy, disturbing and often grisly read.

Posted in Book Review, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Noir

Both of You Adele Parks 5*#Review @HQStories @adeleparks #BlogTour #noir #FamilyDrama #mystery #DomesticThriller #Marriage #Secrets #psychologicalsuspense

Leigh Fletcher: happily married stepmum to two gorgeous boys goes missing on Monday. Her husband Mark says he knows nothing of her whereabouts. She simply went to work and just never came home. Their family is shattered.

Kai Janssen: married to wealthy Dutch businessman, Daan, vanishes the same week. Kai left their luxurious penthouse and glamourous world without a backward glance. She seemingly evaporated into thin air. Daan is distraught.

DC Clements knows that people disappear all the time – far too frequently. Most run away from things, some run towards, others are taken but find their way back. A sad few never return. These two women are from very different worlds, their disappearances are unlikely to be connected. And yet, at a gut level, the DC believes they are.

How could these women walk away from their families, husbands and homes willingly? Clements is determined to unearth the truth, no matter how shocking and devastating it may be.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ Stories in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Compelling yet easy to read, this is addictive psychological suspense. There are elements of police procedural and a twisty mystery to solve. The character dynamics are relatable, and contemporary issues of raising teenagers, misogyny at work and missing persons are highlighted.

The story focuses on two missing persons, Leigh married to Mark with two sons, and Kai, who is married to Daan. Detailed characterisation and relationship dynamics in the early chapters make the shocks and twists impactful. The reader is invested in the characters even though not all are likeable.

The story is passionate, poignant, and often menacing, but it is always addictive reading. Whilst the ending may not be a total surprise if you follow the clues, it remains sinister, suspenseful, and ultimately shocking.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller

Carrion Graeme Cumming 4* #Review @GraemeCumming63 @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Carrion #Fantasy #Adventure #noir #BlogTour #BookReview

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY. WORDS HAVE POWER.

A sheet of black filled his vision as hundreds of birds dived at the cottage, pointed beaks thrust forward. From this angle, he couldn’t see many of them striking it, but the few he did see held nothing back as they hammered into the shutter. The scale of the attack was beyond anything he’d seen or heard of. And bloodied casualties littered the ground: skulls shattered, wings broken, innards spilling from them. The fact that so many of them continued with the onslaught in spite of this filled him with even more dread.

Salin has always wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity presents itself, he grabs it with both hands, taking his friends along for the ride – whether they want to or not.

With strange lands come strange creatures that stand between them and their goal. And that goal is the same for someone else, a man who believes the prize is worth every sacrifice – especially when the sacrifices are made by others.

The future is about to change. But who for?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This noir fantasy adventure takes the reader on a journey in an intricately built world. There is enough familiarity in the setting to make it relatable, but the story is vivid, filled with fantastical creatures and manifestations of good and evil.

The prologue entices the reader into the story and introduces the antagonist and the birds who are so important. The protagonists are diverse and believable because of their flawed characters. Salin, the leader of the quest, is courageous and tenacious, but for him, the end justifies the means even when it leads others into danger.

There are some graphic images in this story which reinforce the depravity of the antagonist, and backstory that illuminates why they are evil. Like all fantasy stories, you have to believe the world, and be invested in the quest. With carefully reading, this is easy with this story.

Graeme Cumming lives in Robin Hood country, and has spent most of his life immersed in fiction – books, TV, movies – turning to writing his own during his early teens.

With his interests in story-telling sparked by an excessive amount of time sitting in front of a black and white television, his tastes are varied. Influences ranged from the Irwin Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, etc.) to ITC series (The Saint, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and so many more), so the common theme was action and adventure, but crossed into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as crime and espionage.

This diverse interest in fiction continued with his reading and his discovery of the magical world of cinema. As a result, his stories don’t always fall into a specific genre, but will always maintain the style of a thriller.

Graeme’s first novel, Ravens Gathering, was published in 2012, gaining excellent reviews and a committed following. His second novel, Carrion, was published in 2020, and has been greeted with enthusiasm by readers waiting to find out what he’ll come up with next. He hopes not to keep them waiting so long next time.

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking. He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club. Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and loves the cinema.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Fantasy, Horror Fiction, Noir, Paranormal, Short stories

The Deal by Jonathan Whitelaw 4* #Review @urbanebooks @JDWhitelaw13 @HoneyandStag #TheDeal @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

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.

Amazon UK

I bought a copy of this book from Amazon UK for 99p.

My Thoughts…

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

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.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Noir, Political Thriller, Psychological Thriller

Lost Leona Deakin 5*#Review Dr Bloom @LeonaDeakin1 @TransworldBooks #Psychological #Suspense #Military #thriller #Conspiracy #Political #BookReview #Lost #weekendread #SaturdayThoughts

There is an explosion at a military ball. The casualties are rushed to hospital in eight ambulances, but only seven vehicles arrive. Captain Harry Peterson is missing.

His girlfriend calls upon her old friend Dr Augusta Bloom to support the investigation. But no one can work out if there is a connection between the bomb and the disappearance.

When Harry is eventually discovered three days later, they hope he holds the answers to their questions. But he can’t remember a single thing.

Without any clues, will Dr Bloom find herself lost in this puzzle too?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Random House UK – Transworld via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The second in the Dr Bloom series has a military theme but remains psychological suspense. Bloom’s help is requested by Karene when her partner a Captain in the Navy goes missing after an explosion at a military ball. The reader gains an omnipotent view of the story as it unfolds but who can be trusted and are all the players in plain sight?

The dynamic between Bloom and Marcus remains troubled after Seraphine, but can they still be an effective investigation team? There are noir elements in this fast-paced story and the insidious menace of Seraphine and her sinister game plan. Flawed, intelligent character gives his story its addictive quality. The plot has many players and twists that leave you gasping at times.

The best kind of psychological suspense with a strong conspiracy and political theme that one imagines will develop in the books to come.

Read my review of Gone book 1 in the Dr Bloom series

Posted in Blog Tour, Crime, Family Drama, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Scandinavian Crime, Suspense

One Fatal Night Helene Fermont 4*#Review @helenefermont @Lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #OneFatalNight #BlogTour #BookReview #PsychologicalThriller #secrets #lies #domestic #suspense #CrimeFiction #FridayReads #noircrime #revenge

One woman’s quest for revenge unearths a fatal secret from her past.

Astrid Jensen holds one man responsible for her mother’s suicide, and she’ll do whatever’s necessary to get close to Daniel Holst and destroy his life – even if it means sleeping with him to gain his trust. Astrid knows he’s not who he pretends to be. But before she can reveal his dark secret, people from her mother’s past start turning up dead, and it looks like she and Daniel are next. In order to survive, she might have to put her trust in the man she has hated for so long.

Daniel Holst has worked hard to climb into Norway’s most elite and glamorous circles, and he’s not about to let any woman bring him down. But when a psychopathic killer starts murdering people from his shadowy past, he discovers that the only person who might be able to save him is the woman who wants to destroy him.

As Astrid digs deeper into her past, she uncovers secrets long buried and realizes everything she once believed is based on lies. What began as a quest to avenge her mother’s death becomes a desperate struggle for survival and leads to the truth about what happened one fatal night ten years ago—and the surprising mastermind behind the most recent murders.

Amazon UK Kindle Amazon UK Paperback 

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

My Thoughts…

This is an intense revenge thriller with elements of psychological suspense and murder mystery. It focuses on Astrid’s quest to revenge her mother’ suicide. Something she will do anything to achieve.

The short chapters in this pacy novel add to the story’s intensity and momentum. The author captures the Scandi crime and nordic noir ethos succinctly. The characters are complex and surprisingly easy to empathise. There are many twists which take the reader in unexpected directions as murders occur and dark secrets emerge.

One Fatal Night is an intriguing fusion of family drama, murder mystery and noir crime in a short well-paced story.

Hélene is an Anglo-Swedish fiction author currently residing in her home town of Malmo, Sweden, after relocating back from London after 20 years.

Her thrilling character-driven psychological fiction novels are known for their explosive, pacy narrative and storylines.

Hélene is the proud author of four novels – One Fatal Night, Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, Noir

The Big Chill Doug Johnstone 4*#Review doug_johnstone @Orendabooks #TheSkelfs #BlogTour #TheBigChill #CrimeFiction #PI #noir #humour #BookReview #literaryfiction @RandomTTours

Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver ’s shadowy life.

While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s
ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly.

But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears, and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves immersed in an unbearable darkness – but could the real threat be to themselves?

Fast-paced, darkly funny, yet touching and tender, the Skelf family series is a welcome reboot to the classic PI novel, whilst also asking deeper questions about family, society and grief.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Stories centred around funeral directors always seem to combine darkness and humour with the possibility of crime and this, in essence, is what’s going on here. This is an atmospheric novel. It has vivid imagery and vibrant characters. It’s easy to imagine the events as they unfold, and this makes it addictive reading.

The second book in the series it reads well as a standalone but if you like to know the minutiae of the characters perhaps read book one first? Told from the three main characters’viewpoints it gives the reader an omnipotent view of the story. The plot is complex and detailed but seen through the characters’ eyes riveting reading.

Character-driven you get to know each of the women well and their familial relationship. This story explores love and loss with a poignant intensity relieved by insightful touches of humour. It’s an engaging fusion of family drama, and crime detection, which works well. The Edinburgh setting is evocative and gives the story a unique edge.

Doug Johnstone

Doug Johnstone is the author of more ten novels, most recently Breakers (2019), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and A Dark Matter (2020), which launched the Skelfs series. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home, which he drew on to write A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a
songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s alsoplayer-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, New Books, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Heatwave Katerina Diamond 4*#Review @AvonBooksUK @TheVenomousPen #PsychologicalThriller #suspense #noir #CrimeFiction #SurviveTheHeatwave #BookReview #TheHeatwave

One summer. One stranger. One killer…

It can’t happen here…’

But what if it does – twice?

In their sleepy seaside town, Jasmine and Felicity have only ever felt safe.

Until Jasmine’s parents invite a stranger to stay, and they sense something about him isn’t right.

Tim is watching them both.

And then their community is rocked by a disappearance…

Years later, a second girl goes missing in her hometown, and Felicity is forced to return to face the truth.

A predator is stalking the streets. And only she holds the answers.

The unmissable new standalone thriller from the bestselling author of The Teacher and Woman in the Water

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Intense and immersive, this psychological thriller is suspenseful and twisted. Told from dual points of view Felicity in the present and Jasmine in the past it reveals a shocking story of betrayal and horrific crime.

Felicity has anxiety and keeps secrets about her past from her husband and children. An incident in her hometown draws her into the past. Felicity is an unreliable protagonist. Jasmine is a young girl confused by her feelings. The dual stories twist as they gravitate together.

The pacing increases with the impact of the reveals. The similarities between the past and present increase the suspense and make the story claustrophobic in its intensity.

The final twists in the past and present unify the viewpoints in a climactic way.

Psychological suspense tinged with noir.