Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Travel

The Hunting Season Tom Benjamin 4*#Review @Tombenjaminsays @LittleBrownUK #Constable #CrimeFiction #Italy #Bologna #Mystery #PrivateDetective @RandomTTours #TheHuntingSeason

Death stalks the hills of Bologna…

It’s truffle season and in the hills around Bologna the hunt is on for the legendary Boscuri White, the golden nugget of Italian gastronomy. But when an American truffle ‘supertaster’ goes missing, English detective Daniel Leicester discovers not all truffles are created equal. Did the missing supertaster bite off more than he could chew?

As he goes on the hunt for Ryan Lee, Daniel discovers the secrets behind ‘Food City’, from the immigrant kitchen staff to the full scale of a multi-million Euro business. After a key witness is found dead at the foot of one of Bologna’s famous towers, the stakes could not be higher. Daniel teams up with a glamorous TV reporter, but the deeper he goes into the disappearance of the supertaster the darker things become. Murder is once again on the menu, but this time Daniel himself stands accused. And the only way he can clear his name is by finding Ryan Lee…

Discover Bologna through the eyes of English detective Daniel Leicester as he walks the shadowy porticoes in search of the truth and, perhaps, even gets a little nearer to solving the mystery of Italy itself.

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Little Brown Books – Constable and the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is best described as a literary mystery with its evocative settings and lyrical writing.

Private detective Daniel Leicester is hired to find a missing truffle taster by his parents. The story details the importance of the truffle economy to this area of Italy and explores the possibilities for crime with its unregulated nature. Investigations are hampered by the terrain and the lack of information about the missing man’s plans. An unexpected death intensifies the search and put Daniel in a precarious position.

The cast of characters are well-crafted, the detective team are diverse, and there is a believable team dynamic. Told from Daniel’s viewpoint, the reader gains insight into the Italian customs and settings and astute observations on possible suspects. Cultural and historical references and sensory imagery make this an inclusive reading experience.

The mystery is well-plotted with twists and satisfying conclusion, but it’s the atmospheric quality of this story that resonates.

Tom Benjamin

Tom Benjamin grew up in London and began his working life as a reporter before becoming a spokesman for Scotland Yard. He went on to work in international aid and public health, developing Britain’s first national programme against alcohol abuse and heading up drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He now lives in Bologna, Italy

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Read my review of A Quiet Death in Italy

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, New Books

Left You Dead Peter James 4*#Review @peterjamesuk @panmacmillan #CrimeFiction #Detective #RoyGrace #LeftYouDead #BookReview #FridayReads @itv

EVERY MARRIAGE HAS ITS  SECRETS.

NO BODY.
NO TRACE.
NO CRIME?


DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDENT ROY GRACE INVESTIGATES

Niall and Eden Paternoster start their Sunday the same way they always do – with a long drive, a visit to a country house and a quick stop at the local supermarket on the way home.

But this Sunday ends differently – because while Niall waits and waits in the car park for Eden to pick up supplies, Eden never returns. She’s not waiting for him at home, and none of their family or friends have heard from her.

Gone without a trace, Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder. When DS Roy Grace is called in to investigate, it doesn’t take long to realize that nothing is quite as it seems – and this might be his most mysterious case yet . . .

Sunday Times number one bestseller Peter James returns with the latest installment in his award-winning Roy Grace novels – now a major TV series.

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

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed my first Roy Grace novel even though I haven’t read the previous books in the series. Roy Grace is an experienced, intelligent detective who treats the people he encounters with refreshing humanity.

The story has a believable team dynamic and relatable characters. The balance of investigation and personal life detail allows insight into the lives of the main characters. A suspicious missing person case comes to Grace’s attention. A complex and detailed investigation follows. An element of repetition is inevitable, as points of the investigation are retold to different investigators. This makes the pacing realistic and the investigation process authentic.

The plot twists are varied with emotional personal moments to ensure reader engagement until the climactic conclusion.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books, Suspense

The Silent Suspect Nell Patterson 4*#Review @Writer_Nell @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #TheSilentSuspect #BritishSignLanguage #CrimeFiction #PaigeNorthwood

On a quiet street, one house is burning to the ground…

By the time sign language interpreter Paige Northwood arrives, flames have engulfed her client’s home. Though Lukas is safe, his wife is still inside. But she was dead before the fire started…

Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife. But then he goes silent – even when the police arrest him on suspicion of murder.

Is he guilty, or afraid? Only Paige can help him now…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Paige, the British Sign Language interpreter, has important decisions to make about personal relationships in this story, which are sidelined when she receives a video call asking her to call 999. This dramatic start is the beginning of a twisty story with multiple layers. Paige takes on the mantle of amateur sleuth, putting herself at risk. Social worker Sasha is pivotal in this story, but she is manipulative, and secretive making Paige vulnerable.

The gentle pacing reflects the complexities of the investigation and the limitations Paige experiences as an amateur detective. The diverse characters are relatable, and the story reflects the communication problems and lack of understanding faced by the deaf community in an enlightening way.

Although readable as a standalone, this is a good series, and this book is more enjoyable if you have read them all.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Suspense

Missing Pieces Tim Weaver 5*#Review @TimWeaverBooks @PenguinUKBooks @MichaelJBooks #BookReview #Mystery #suspense #CrimeFiction #MissingPieces


You don’t know your darkest secret.

But someone else does . . .

Rebekah Murphy knows too much. . .

She knows she’s alone on an abandoned island with a killer on her trail.
She knows that to get home to her children, she must survive long enough to understand why this is happening.
She knows someone tried to kill her for a secret.
What she doesn’t know is what that secret is . . .

Detective Frank Travis doesn’t know enough . . .

He doesn’t know where to find Louise Mason. He doesn’t know how and why she vanished into thin air three months ago. He doesn’t know the identity of the man last seen talking to her. Not yet.
But what he does know it that he’s a week away from retirement — and if he doesn’t find out where Louise went, no one will.

What neither Rebekah nor Detective Travis realise is that each holds a missing piece from the same puzzle — and it will cost them everything they love to finally solve it . . .

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is story plays out like a never-ending nightmare, tinged with fantasy, horror.

Rebekah is marooned on an inhospitable, remote island. Can she survive? Why is she there? The reader experiences her ordeal intimately as the storyline, past and present, immerses you in her claustrophobic and sinister world. Frank is a cop about to retire, but he needs to solve one last missing person’s case. These two seemingly unconnected stories are full of clues and misinformation as somewhere within are the missing pieces to both mysteries.

The dual timelines from Rebekah’s viewpoint are complex and initially confusing. This is intentional to let the reader experience Rebekah’s disorientation and sense of hopelessness. The plot keeps its secrets and uses spurious information to keep the reader guessing. Rebekah is a flawed and unreliable protagonist, but despite this, she evokes empathy from the reader.

The mystery is well-plotted and largely plausible, the characters are relatable, and the suspense building is addictive.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, International Thriller, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller

Vanished James Delargy 4* #Review @JDelargyAuthor @simonschusterUK #Vanished #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours #PschSuspense #Thriller #Detective #Australia

From the groundbreaking author of 55 comes an extraordinary new thriller…

The Kane family, Lorcan, Naiyana and their young son, relocate from Perth to Kallayee, an abandoned mining town in the Great Victoria Desert to start over again, free from their chequered past. 
 
The town seems like the perfect getaway: Peaceful. Quiet. Remote. Somewhere they won’t be found.  
 
But life in Kallayee isn’t quite as straightforward as they hope. There are noises in the earth, mysterious shadows and tracks in the dust as if the town is coming back to life. 
 
But the family can’t leave. No one can talk sense into them.
 
And now, no one can talk to them at all.
 
They’ve simply vanished. 
 
Now it’s up to Detective Emmaline Taylor to find them… before it’s too late. 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric, intriguing fusion of psychological thriller and police procedural. Written from multi viewpoints, it allows the reader an omnipotent insight into events both past and present from the unreliable protagonists’ viewpoint and that of the detective leading the investigation into their disappearance.

Based on betrayal, deceit and secrets, most of the characters are hard to like as they exhibit the worst side of humanity. The suspense-building uses sensory imagery to immerse the reader into the barren and unforgiving setting. This allows the reader insight into what the characters perceive and how it feels. Even ordinary occurrences are disturbing in the right circumstances.

The final twists are impactful and poignant.

James Delargy

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Literary Humour, Political Thriller

Facets of Death Michael Stanley 4*#Review The Detective Kubu series @detectivekubu @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #FacetsofDeath #DetectiveKubu #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

A dark and sophisticated thriller set in the heart of Botswana,
introducing Michael Stanley’s beloved Detective Kubu

Recruited straight from university to Botswana’s CID, David ‘Kubu’ Bengu has raised his colleagues’ suspicions with his meteoric rise within the department, and he has a lot to prove.

When the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats worth of gems, and the thieves are found, executed, Kubu leaps at the chance to prove himself.

First he must find the diamonds – and it seems that a witch doctor and his son have a part to play.

Does this young detective have the skill and integrity to engineer an international trap? Or could it cost him everything?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Botswana in the late 1990s, this story introduces the reader to Kubu as he embarks on his career as a police detective. The story is multi-viewpoint and written in a police procedural style with a keen insight into the culture and politics of the Botswanan setting.

This is an atmospheric noir story with multiple murders. Kubu proves to be worthy of his fast-track appointment, as he gradually wins around those opposed to his detective status. He is an intuitive, intelligent investigator. His relative youth makes him impulsive in following leads despite the personal risk, but this is also what makes him effective.

This is an absorbing story with a likeable detective.

Michael StanleyMichael Sears and Stanley Trollip

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialised in image processing and remote sensing and taught at the University of the Witwatersrand.

On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger.

The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was shortlisted for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award. They have also written a thriller, Dead of Night, following the investigative journalist, Crystal Nguyen, who gets caught up in the war against rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling.

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

The Wherryman David Blake 5*#Review @DavidDBlake #NorfolkBroads #MurderMystery #DetectiveTanner #noir #CrimeFiction @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #TuesdayThoughts #TheWherryman


Four missing children, three murdered men, and the helm of a boat with a blood-red sail, hiding a secret only he can tell.

Returning to the Broads after nearly two years at sea, Tanner moors up next to a boat to find the body of a man whose five-year-old daughter is nowhere to be seen. As a torrent of unwanted memories begins flooding through his mind, an attractive Broads Ranger arrives at the scene with a disturbing tale; one of children being taken by a ghostly figure, standing at the helm of an old wooden boat.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I read this immediately after reading Horsey mere, and I was interested to see how John Tanner would emerge from the dramatic events he experienced in the previous book. His two years sailing has changed him, but when he stumbles upon a crime scene, his detective intuition can’t be ignored, despite the pain revisiting his past may cause.

The prologue is chilling. Folklore defines this story, creating an almost claustrophobic atmosphere. DI Tanner embroiled in the investigation by his need to find the missing children. The setting adds to the sinister ethos as the suspense builds. The investigation team dynamics are in disarray with festering resentment and jealousy surrounding Tanner’s return.

Noir crime and clever plot twists make this a riveting read.

David Blake


Consistently ranked within the top 30 most read authors on Amazon.co.uk, David Blake is a full-time author living in North London. To date he has written eighteen books along with a collection of short stories. He’s currently working on his nineteenth, The Wherryman, which is the next in his series of crime fiction thrillers after Broadland, St. Benet’s, Moorings, Three Rivers and Horsey Mere. When not writing, David likes to spend his time mucking about in boats, often in the Norfolk Broads, where his crime fiction books are based.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Extract, Noir, Suspense

The Ex Diane Saxon 5*#Review @Diane_Saxon @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Extract #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #CrimeFiction #suspense #DSJennaMorgan #TheEx #psychological #Family

Sometimes your past just won’t let go…
As a heat wave grips the country, DS Jenna Morgan is called to a domestic incident at the home of a young family in Ironbridge.

Pregnant Imelda Cheetham-Epstein has been found unconscious by her husband, Zak with serious head injuries. 

When Jenna arrives on the scene, she discovers something even more disturbing – the couple’s eleven-month-old son, Joshua, is missing and the race against time begins to find him.

Is this an accident or something more sinister?

Are the two incidents linked?

Or has something in the Cheetham-Epstein’s past caught up with them?

Diane Saxon is back with a gripping new psychological crime novel.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I’ve read all the books in this series so far, and it’s an addictive mix of police procedural and psychological suspense. The multi-layered plot encompasses a police investigation into an injured woman and a missing child. The second perspective is the antagonist’s gaining insight into their state of mind, and motivation which is chilling and compelling.

The story’s pacing reflects the steadiness and unpredictability of the police investigation and the intensity of the antagonist’s actions and moods. The police team dynamic is authentic, and the believably written personal interactions balance the noir crime themes.

The suspense builds to an unexpected twist.

Diane Saxon

Diane Saxon previously wrote romantic fiction for the US market but has now turned to writing psychological crime. Find Her Alive was her first novel in this genre and introduced series character DS Jenna Morgan. She is married to a retired policeman and lives in Shropshire.

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Extract from The Ex – Diane Saxon

Emily Shenton punched open the door to the deserted ladies’ room with the heel of her hand and stormed inside before it rebounded off the wall and slammed shut behind her. 

The emptiness inside still failed to block out the rhythmic thud of music and only dimmed the laughter and conversation of over eighty people at the company’s summer ball. 

She hated them. Every single one of them. The gossipmongers who couldn’t wait to spread their vileness under the guise of good wishes and happy vibes. When they knew. They all knew. 

Temper spilled from her. A foetid pus spreading from the core of her in a boiling, seething mass. 

She tipped her head back and drank straight from the full bottle of rosé she’d swiped from a deserted table on her way past. No one would notice, no one would care. She’d no idea why the company insisted on paying for so much wine – red, white and rosé – when most of the men wanted beer, for God’s sake. The women preferred red or Prosecco and the rosé was left for the waiters to sweep away at the end of the night. Lucky bloody waiters. 

She stepped into the oversized disabled cubicle and balled up the skirt of her black gown with one hand as she slapped her back against the chill of the wall and slid down until her backside met the floor. Sweat slicked the back of her knees as she pressed them flat to the floor tiles to absorb every bit of coolness. Heat pulsed through her chest and up her neck as she tore into the fine organza material of the overskirt, ripping weak nails until they were jagged. Tears burnt the back of her eyes as she ground her teeth and took another slug of wine. 

She wished she’d never come. Wished she’d never overheard it. That’s why she avoided these functions like the plague. She hated the gossip, preferred to keep to herself and block out the voices. But she’d felt good. Strong. 

So strong, she’d decided not to take her medication. 

Again. 

Tears filled her eyes and washed over her vision. 

It wasn’t lack of medication that had her temper surging. It was the damned infernal gossip. 

Bastards! 

Why couldn’t they keep their mouths shut? 

They had to know she’d been stood on the edge of the circle when Chris Whittington raised his glass and hee-hawed like the ass he was as he brayed his drunken words. ‘Here’s to Zak Cheetham-Epstein and his new wife, Imelda.’ 

Nausea clawed the back of her throat. 

How was it so many of them knew Zak, had evidently kept in contact? 

Zak. The love of her life. The only man she’d truly loved. 

There’d been others before him, of course there had, but they’d faded into insignificance in the heat of her adoration for Zak. 

The bottle clinked as she placed it on the tiled floor at her side. She covered her face with her hands, a helpless moan slipped from her lips as the familiar hissing sound swirled around her head. ‘For God’s sake!’ She tried to push it back, but it was insistent. The sound of a seashell shushing, filling her mind so she could no longer concentrate. She rolled her head from side to side, her hot, florid face couched in the palms of her sweaty hands. 

She’d never forgive him for leaving. Leaving the company. 

Leaving her. 

But she knew. Knew he still loved her. He had to. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Thriller

Death at Rainbow Cottage Jo Allen 4*#Review #DCI Jude Satterthwaite @JoAllenAuthor #CrimeFiction #PoliceProcedural #Thriller #BlogTour #BookReview #Cumbria #EdenValley @rararesources #LakeDistrict

At the end of the rainbow, a man lies dead.

The apparently motiveless murder of a man outside the home of controversial equalities activist Claud Blackwell and his neurotic wife, Natalie, is shocking enough for a peaceful local community. When it’s followed by another apparently random killing immediately outside Claud’s office, DCI Jude Satterthwaite has his work cut out. Is Claud the killer, or the intended victim?

To add to Jude’s problems, the arrival of a hostile new boss causes complications at work, and when a threatening note arrives at the police headquarters, he has real cause to fear for the safety of his friends and colleagues…

A traditional British detective novel set in Cumbria.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This police procedural set in Cumbria has relatable characters, explores contemporary issues using clever plotting and features an immersive writing style. It’s worth reading the entire series.

This story has multiple murders with no discernible motive. The investigation team are diverse, and they have a believable team dynamic. The author creates a fictional world with a realistic balance of personal and professional relationships. The investigation process is relatable and allows the reader their interpretation of the evidence too.

This is classic detecting, with a twenty-first-century edge that makes it addictive and absorbing read.

Jo Allen

Jo Allen is the author of the successful DCI Satterthwaite series of detective novels set in and around the English Lake District, where she lives. After a career in economic consultancy she took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young in genres of short stories, romance and romantic suspense. In 2017 she took the plunge and began writing the genre she most likes to read – crime. In common with all her favourite characters, she loves football (she’s a season ticket holder with her beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery

The Jigsaw Man Nadine Matheson 4*#Review @NadineMatheson @HQStories #CrimeFiction #Detective #BlogTour #BookReview #TheJigsawMan #MondayBlogs

There’s a serial killer on the loose. When bodies start washing up along the banks of the River Thames, DI Henley fears it is the work of Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But it can’t be him; Olivier is already behind bars, and Henley was the one who put him there.  

The race is on before more bodies are found. She’d hoped she’d never have to see his face again, but Henley knows Olivier might be the best chance they have at stopping the copycat killer. But when Olivier learns of the new murders, helping Henley is the last thing on his mind… 

 Will it take a killer to catch the killer? Now all bets are off, and the race is on to catch the killer before the body count rises. But who will get there first – Henley, or the Jigsaw Killer? 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a compelling crime novel with a driven detective, and a menacing, unpredictable serial killer. The violent crimes are impactful, but there is more to this story. This is the first book featuring DI Henley, but she’s a woman with a violent past. Being assigned to this crime brings back shattering memories and puts her in the auspices of her nemesis, a convicted serial killer.

There is an enticing balance of action and introspection, which makes this addictive reading. The shock of violent crime and the methodical nature of police investigations are well portrayed. Detailed backstories slow the pace but are essential to understand the main characters’ motivations.

The detectives are likeable and relatable, the plot twisty and the crimes definitely noir.