Book reviews, Classic Fiction

Death Comes To Dartmoor by Vivian Conroy – Book Review


The mist-shrouded moors of Devon proffer a trove of delights for two vacationing zoologists–but also conceal a hoard of dark secrets reaching down to the fathomless depths of the ocean.

Miss Merula Merriweather barely saved her uncle from the gallows after he was wrongly accused of murder–and now, she’s left the bustle of Victorian London to recuperate in the fresh air of Dartmoor with her fellow zoologist, Lord Raven Royston. The trip offers a unique treat, as they’ll be staying with a friend of Raven’s, who owns a collection of rare zoological specimens–including a kraken, a sea monster of myth and legend.

But all is not right in the land of tors, heaths, and mist. Their host’s maid has vanished without a trace, and the townspeople hold him responsible, claiming that his specimens are alive and roam the moors at night, bringing death to anyone who crosses their path. Merula and Raven are skeptical–but the accusations become more ominous when they find several specimen jars empty.

As the two hunt for clues across a desolate and beautiful landscape, a stranger appears bearing a shadowy secret from Merula’s past. Could there be a connection between her family history, the missing girl, and a fearsome monster that could be on the loose? The race is on to find the truth.



Death Comes to Dartmoor is #2 in the Merriweather and Royston Mystery Series by Vivian Conroy.

The story tells of the murder of a girl, who is believed to have been killed by Oaks. Oaks is a bit of an eccentric, with his home full of taxidermy, so obviously suspicion falls on him.

So, as Merula and Raven are staying with Oaks, they decide to use their skills of deduction and find out who really is the murderer.

This is an in-depth story, with its many little side plots and lots of background into the main characters, which I really enjoyed as it builds the story into more than just the mystery at hand…..I also love the atmosphere, a glimpse into the past and a simpler time. An easy to read, thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery in a classic style.

Thank you to the publishers, the author and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.


Book reviews, Classic Fiction, Historical fiction

A Shot In The Dark by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello – Book Review



Sussex, England, 1929.

Mydworth is a sleepy English market town just 50 miles from London. But things are about to liven up there considerably, when young Sir Harry Mortimer returns home from his government posting in Cairo, with his unconventional American wife – Kat Reilly.

No sooner have the two arrived, when a jewel robbery occurs at Harry’s aunt’s home – Mydworth Manor – ending in one of the thieves being shot…and killed.

The local police are baffled by the case. But Harry and Kat have an edge in the hunt for the second thief: not only do they have certain useful “skills” they’ve both picked up in service of King, President and Country, they also have access to parts of English high society that your average bobby can’t reach.

Because this Shot in the Dark…could have come from anywhere.



#1 of the Mydworth Mysteries series

Lord Harry Mortimer and his new wife, Kat have just arrived in England, when Harry is called to Whitehall on urgent business. So Kat decides to drive herself to their new home, in his beloved Alvis….

Eventually, she arrives at Dower House, but it’s all locked up, so she walks to nearby Mydworth Manor, home to Harry aunt, Lady Lavinia. But, as she arrives she hears gunshots, a man falls from a window and more shots are fired in her direction…..What a welcome!

Harry arrives and they search the body and find jewellery in his pockets…..who is this man? And how did he know where to find these jewels?

Kat and Harry put their skills and knowledge to use to find out….

All set in 1920’s England amongst the upper classes, this is a marvellously fun crime thriller from a simpler time. It reminded me of the novels of Josephine Tey and is a must for readers of a classic style mystery. A quick read but packs a lot in. I loved it.

Thank you to Red Dog Press for the opportunity to read this for free and this is my honest and unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here




Co-authors Neil Richards (based in the UK) and Matthew Costello (based in the US), have been writing together since the mid-90s, creating innovative television, games and best-selling books. Together, they have worked on major projects for the BBC, PBS, Disney Channel, Sony, ABC, Eidos, and Nintendo to name but a few.

Their transatlantic collaboration led to the globally best-selling mystery series, Cherringham, which has also been a top-seller as audiobooks read by Neil Dudgeon.

Mydworth Mysteries is their brand new series, set in 1929 Sussex, England, which takes readers back to a world where solving crimes was more difficult — but also sometimes a lot more fun.

Book reviews, Police procedural

Cause And Effect by Pete Adams – Book Review



A self-labelled enigma, Detective Inspector Jack Austin is at once miserable and amusing, melancholy and motivated. Running the Community Police Unit from his deck chair, D.I. Austin is known for his ability to solve crimes out of the blue.

Trying to work cases while struggling with his mental issues, Austin deals with a variety of major crimes, including bicycle theft. But when the case of an executed police officer lands on his desk, he accidentally uncovers a malevolent scheme.

Can he discover who is behind it all – and keep what’s left of his sanity?



This is #1 in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series featuring DI Jack Austin.

The prologue has four seemingly unrelated events, a street battle, Chas in the bike shop, Osama’s son is missing and a woman is murdered, her hidden daughter has witnessed it.

Then we meet Jack and his team and for a little while I was unsure how this was going to read, with the constant nicknames and bizarre randomness, but it then starts to come together.

Jack’s constant juvenile humour really builds a sense of this melancholic man, he’s still grieving for his wife and hides this with his sense of fun. For all that Jack is an astute and almost uncanny detective, which his insights and ability to stay one step ahead.

The crimes he and the Community Police unit are investigating are violent and brutal and this humour helps them all deal with it and builds a rare camaraderie. Will they solve their investigation? Will Jack survive? Will he dance again?

A fast paced, violent and dark police procedural with a difference, a main character with a sense of humour that just will not stop….I’ll be looking out for the next in the series that’s for sure.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 


About Pete Adams:

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that. 

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.



Social Media:





Purchase Links:

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Book reviews, Thriller

Stasiland by Rolf Richardson – Book Review



After a messy divorce, Ed Blake is trying to forget the past by spending the summer driving around Europe in his silver Porsche. He gets no further than a small town on the river Elbe when he is arrested for a crime he did not commit. 

Although in what is now a united Germany, this is the former Communist East, once ruled by the feared secret police, the Stasi. This is Stasiland. The past has not gone away, Germany’s political tectonic plates are shifting, maybe heading for the sort of chaos last seen in the 1930s. Ed finds himself pulled into a whirlpool of violence as right-wing extremism starts to shake the foundations of Europe. 

This is a novel about the here and now. What happened to Ed Blake could happen to you.



Set mainly in East Germany, this is the tale of Ed Blake. He’s a businessman of a certain age, and looking for a bit of a break from the rat race and see some of the world…..

But then he discovers a body on a cruise ship and become involved in the investigation….as the suspect!!

What follows is a thriller which describes the politics and dangers of a world after the Berlin Wall came down. 

I found Ed to be a likeable character, with his humour and humble manner as he describes a time of political turmoil and how a foreigner is treated with suspicion!

While not an intense thriller, there is some danger and it has a lot of details of the political atmosphere of the time and the various journeys Ed makes.  An intriguing, interesting read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.




ROLF RICHARDSON is a mongrel English/Norwegian who loves to travel, starting with service in the RAF, flying Britain’s first jet fighter, the Meteor; thereafter 25 years as a British Airways pilot on Argonauts, Britannias, VC10s and 747s. 

He then became a roaming photographer, visiting around 110 countries, with over 15,000 photos now sold. He has worked his passage on cruise ships by giving lectures. Taken 3 months to drive round Australia. 

A few years ago he set out to put his experiences to further use by writing a series of ‘Easy Read’ books: thrillers with a dash of history, romance and humour.

Book reviews

Cover Reveal for Scorched Earth by Rachael Blok


This is a cover reveal for the fabulous sounding – The Scorched Earth – Rachael Blok, but first a little about the book and Rachael…..



Who really killed Leo Fenton?

Two years ago, Ben Fenton went camping with his brother Leo. It was the last time they ever saw each other. By the end of that fateful trip, Leo had disappeared, and Ben had been arrested for his murder.

Ben’s wife Ana has always protested his innocence. Now, on the hottest day of 2018’s sweltering heat wave, she receives a phone call from the police. Leo’s body has been found, in a freshly dug grave in her own local churchyard. How did it get there? Who really killed him?

St Albans police, led by DCI Jansen, are soon unpicking a web of lies that shimmers beneath the surface of Ana’s well-kept village. But as tensions mount, and the tight-knit community begins to unravel, Ana realises that if she wants to absolve her husband, she must unearth the truth alone.



About the author

Rachael Blok grew up in Durham and studied Literature at Warwick University. She taught English at a London Comprehensive and is now a full-time writer living in Hertfordshire with her husband and children.


Follow Rachael:

Twitter: @MsRachaelBlok




Pre-order links:




Google Play:



How stunning are these…….the left version is the eBook and the right is the Hardback…



Follow Head of Zeus:



Twitter: @HoZ_Books

Facebook: @headofzeus

Instagram: @headofzeus

Book reviews, Fantasy

Balance Of The 12 by Ania Bo – Book Review



The universe was created by 12 energies which turned into the 12 races on earth. Eleven of these races live in secret among mankind, coexisting in precarious harmony and dependent on the Balance between them to keep the universe alive. If one race falls, the universe falls.

With war at the door, a domino effect of events is about to begin that could bring about universal annihilation. Only Jane, a Reader, and Samuel, a human, have the power to save the threatened races and protect the Balance. Unsure of each other and what lies ahead, they have one chance to learn about the true nature of the 12 races. One chance to witness the last Great War of the 12 races. But what they uncover reveals more than they ever believed possible.

Brought together by the Balance, Jane and Samuel must choose to follow the legacy left to them, or watch as the 12 races erupt in a war that will destroy them all.



Balance of 12 by Ania is a thoughtful fantasy tale.

The premise is that the universe was created by 12 energies which became 12 races on Earth ( 6 year old Amy explains it much better than I can – string theory of 12 dimensions and not 4). These races live in hiding amongst humans, with everyone relying on the balance of the 12 to keep the universe safe.

But, a War is coming that could wipe out all existence. Can Jane, the visionary Reader and her Protector, Samuel, along with Shasta and Wade save the threatened races and so prevent annihilation…..? 

This is not your usual sword and sorcery fantasy, it seems to have a wisdom about a balance to humanity itself. It has many little sayings that bring a sense of hope to the story….’A storm always leads to a sunny day’ and ‘live today, fight tomorrow’.

Will the Balance be restored? Will the universe and Earth survive?

I found this to be an immersive read, with interesting and likeable characters. I love the font too, which gave this the feel of a manuscript. 

My only bugbear is the spine of the Book, on a bookshelf the 12 makes it look like it’s number 12 of a series and not part of the title…(a tiny flaw and my opinion only).

Thank you so much to Ben Cameron of Cameron Publicity and Marketing for a copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.


Book reviews, Police procedural

The Upper Hand by A.L. Fraine – Book Review



A murder with all the trappings of an occult sacrifice. It’s DC Kate O’Connell’s first case. 

Will it also be her last? 

Keen to prove herself to her superiors Kate fights to break through the lies that surround the victim’s life. But the ritualistic nature of the crime dredges up disturbing memories of a past tragedy.

While wrestling with the demons of her past, Kate learns that her partner has a few skeletons in his own closet. His reputation threatens to taint the investigation and ruin her career before it starts.

Kate must break the silence surrounding the victim to get to the truth before it’s too late, and the death toll rises.

Join Kate as she descends into a murky world of murder and conspiracy in the English Home Counties, in a Thriller that bestseller J D Kirk describes as: “An exciting new voice in British Crime fiction.”

Readers of J D Kirk, L J Ross, David Blake, and Daniel Cole, and fans of True Detective and Seven should enjoy The Upper Hand.



This is #1 in a new series and features DC Kate O’Connell on her first case on the Murder Investigation Team. She is partnered with DS Nathan Halliwell, a slightly disgraced former DCI….he sees conspiracies everywhere!

A body has been found by a dog walker in the woods, tortured, murdered and left bound to a tree…..with strange symbols left at the scene……is this a ritualistic killing?

What follows is a thorough and gripping investigation, with secrets and lies a plenty in this twisty, gruesome and creepy thriller. Is there a link between the victims? And who are the sinister group behind the scenes?

I love the characters of O’Connell and Halliwell and their growing working relationship and I really want to read more…..can’t wait to read Book 2….

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here



Author Bio:


A L Fraine lives in Surrey in the UK, just outside of London, with his wife, kids, cat and dog.

Having enjoyed reading thrillers and watching gripping drama for years, it was the influence of a couple of more recent shows that spurred him on to put pen to paper and write his first thriller, The Upper hand.

The Upper Hand was inspired by True Detective, and Se7en, and the creepy vibe that they had. 

The prequel to the Upper Hand, “First Hand”, is available for free for those who sign up to his mailing list, here;

The Sequel to The Upper Hand, titled “Idle Hands”, is available for Pre-Order now.

If you would like to know more about A L Fraine and his books, you can find him at

Or on Facebook at:

twitter @AndrewAuthor1



Monthly Stationery box



Just  got home to my monthly stationery box from Spotlight Stationery…..

It’s my treat to myself and as always it’s gorgeous..

Two notebooks (which I use frequently for notes while reading) – 1 by Rhodia and the other Paper-Oh…both A5

4 pens in red and black, by Pentel, Sarasa and even a Zebra fountain pen …always a favourite

lovely postcards

and a greetings card

such high quality too, the picture doesn’t really do it all justice….

Very pleased as always….



Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Hidden By Lisa Sell – Book Review



Jen Taylor has a secret.

In 1987 the body of fourteen-year-old Kelly was found on a railway track and Jen believes she was responsible for her death.

Now an adult, Jen is approached by Kelly’s mother, who asks her to help investigate her daughter’s murder.

But Jen is hiding more than anyone knows.

As the investigation is reopened by Jen, along with her former friend Claire, secrets from the past come to light and when another murder takes place, the case takes a sinister turn.

Did Jen really kill Kelly and can she ever right the wrongs of the past?



Jen is training to be a counsellor, but she has now own problems..all stemming from her childhood on the Rembrandt estate.

A young girl, Kelly, had died on the railway track…Jen believes it was her fault and the guilt has troubled her ever since.

Kelly’s mum, Doreen, now ill, is trying to find out the truth….how did Kelly die?

There’s Jen, made to befriend Kelly by her domineering mum. Claire, her friend who wants to be a reporter……Johnny, who she has a secret crush on and her brother, Liam, the golden boy…

Just who would want to hurt Kelly ? Who knows the truth and why would they keep it to themselves?

This is a disturbing read, from the treatment of children by their parents and guardians to the bullying by siblings and peers and it is heartbreaking at times. It has such a believability and a sense of reality, all due to the incredibly descriptive, emotion packed writing by Lisa Sell. I loved the 80’s references too….Twonk…I haven’t heard that in years…. Utterly compelling from start to finish.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review. 

You can buy a copy here



Lisa Sell is a thriller, crime, and mystery writer who also scribbles short stories. Throughout her writing career she’s blogged about the twists and turns on her   

To combat writer’s bum and keep mentally fit, Lisa is a runner. The consequence is that she’s now a running bore but is proud of her achievements.

When she’s reading, Lisa practically hoovers up books. The to-be-read pile has become a tower, threatening to topple on her when she’s sleeping. 

Music rocks Lisa’s world too, particularly a good eighties tune. If lost, you’ll find Lisa in a DeLorean, headed for her favourite decade.

Lisa’s cats, Feegle and Wullie, try to help her write but often fail. The furry pests demand attention and desk space. Lisa is currently applying for cat wrangling to be recognised as an Olympic sport. 

Lisa is a happy pup to be part of the Bloodhound Books team. Just don’t tell the cats.  

If you’d like to visit Lisa’s website/blog, click here: or find out more by following her on social media:



Twitter: @LisaLisax31


Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan by Cynthia Jefferies – Book Review



1660, England. War is at an end but for Christopher Morgan, his personal conflict rages on. Haunted by the tragic death of his wife, Christopher is desperate to escape the pain her memory brings, although looking into the eyes of his young son, Abel, he cannot help but be reminded of what he has lost. Over time, father and son develop a strong bond until they are callously torn apart when Abel is snatched by smugglers and sold overseas.

From the shores of Constantinople to the coast of Jamaica, time and tide keep them apart. Christopher will sail across oceans to find Abel, never losing faith that one day they will be reunited, and, as the years pass, Abel will learn that fortune favours the brave.



Set in the 1600’s, this starts with Christopher Morgan arriving at The Rumfustian Inn, his new home, with tiny baby Abel, who is frail and Christopher doesn’t think he will survive…

But, with the care of the Blacksmith’s wife, he begins to thrive….

A close bond begins between Abel and his father, but after an altercation with a local smuggler, Abel is taken and awakes aboard a boat where he is expected to work to eat…

Christopher is distraught…..and believes Abel to be dead…..

However, Abel nearly escapes and sees his father, handing him a package, only for him to be taken again…

Can this map be a clue to where Abel has been taken?

What follows is a ripping yarn of pirates, adventure, desperation and love. It doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of slavery, servants and abuse, but it also does not sensationalise them. 

Abel learns to be a surgeon, comes into money but his life isn’t all it could be with betrayal and tragedy. It is a story of Abel’s life, from weak baby to a grown man and all between. With little touches of his father’s search for him and his life at home.

Will Christopher and Abel ever be reunited ?

A totally unputdownable masterpiece of historical fiction with a difference …there will be tears.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here




Cynthia Jefferies is a long-established writer for children, whose work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. She was born in Gloucestershire and her love of history was encouraged by regular family outings to anything of interest, from great cathedrals to small museums. Having moved to Scotland and back to Stroud, she has always made time to write and her abiding interest in Restoration England has never left her. The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan is her first historical novel for adults.


A father. A son. A desperate search. New 17th century sweeping historical fiction – first adult novel by very successful children’s author (writing as Cindy Jefferies).


Taps into the market for historical epics by Philippa Gregory, Kate Mosse, Ken 

Follett, and Winston Graham’s Poldark series.


Takes the reader on an epic journey from the West Country to Jamaica and Constantinople.


Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

The Fault by Kitty Sewell – Book Review



Chilling thriller set on Gibraltar – at the heart of The Rock are secret tunnels, hard to navigate and even harder to escape. Sebastian is a civil engineering prodigy and his latest project is his most ambitious to date: to build a new city on the sheerest face of The Rock. 

His fiancee, Eva, a diver, is entranced by the peninsula’s hidden depths and concerned that her lover doesn’t push himself beyond human limits in his desire to see his dream realised. 

Mimi, still in her teens, is desperate to spread her wings and chafing at the limits placed on her movements by her overprotective older brother. When Mimi gets into a relationship with a neighbour intent on fighting the new development, Sebastian’s precarious mental health spirals out of control putting them all in danger. When Mimi is lost amidst their twists and turns the race is on to find her before the water rises.




The Fault is mainly set in Gibraltar and tells of Sebastian Luna, his younger sister, Mimi and his fiancé, Eva.

Sebastian is a little full of himself, a designer of land reclamation projects and is working on one in Gibraltar and has moved his family to an apartment so they can all be together. He gets a bit weird about Mimi’s friendship with a neighbour and feels she needs protecting.

Sebastian suffers from insomnia and migraine and this tells of his slow decline to his mental health and it really creates a sense of menace….

I have to admit to not really liking the characters much….but Kitty Sewell’s writing really brings them to life and her descriptions of Gibraltar’s tunnels was so claustrophobic, you can almost feel the chill and the pressing darkness…

I found this to be a twisty, compelling read and can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 


About Kitty Sewell:


Kitty Sewell was born in Sweden, and has had four successive nationalities, living in the Canary Islands, Central and South America, Canada, England, Wales and Spain where she now lives in the mountains of Andalucía. She is a successful sculptor, and bestselling author. Her books have been translated into 15 languages and she has been short-listed for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award, the Wales Book of the Year, Winner of the “People’s Choice” BBC Radio Wales Prize, and the Bertelsmann Book Clubs International Book of the Month. She also writes as Kitty Harri. With Honno she has published Ice Trap (2005, later bought by Simon & Schuster) and Hector’s Talent for Miracles (2007) as Kitty Harri.



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Purchase Links:

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Book reviews, Police procedural, Psychlogical thriller

Dead Guilty by Michelle Davies – Book Review



Dead Guilty by Michelle Davies is the gripping fourth novel in the critically acclaimed Maggie Neville series, following Gone Astray, Wrong Place and False Witness. Gripping crime fiction written from the perspective of a female FLO.  

Has the killer in DC Maggie Neville’s cold case returned after a decade of silence?

Katy Pope was seventeen when she was brutally murdered on a family holiday in Majorca. Despite her mother’s high rank in the Met and the joint major investigation between the British and Spanish police, Katy’s killer was never caught.

Ten years later, Katy’s family return to the Spanish island to launch a fresh appeal for information, taking with them the now skeletal team of investigating Met detectives, and newly seconded Maggie as the family liaison officer.

But Maggie’s first international investigation quickly goes from being more than just a press conference when another British girl there on holiday goes missing, and Katy’s killer announces that it’s time for an encore . . .



This is #4 in the Maggie Neville series, but I found it easy to read as a stand-alone, although you do miss out on some of the background, but at no detriment to this tale.

Maggie is now with the Met and she finds it difficult to adjust to this new regime….the lack of trust and respect. So when the opportunity arises to be a Family Liaison Officer (FLO) she jumps at it.

Dealing with the family, she starts to get emotionally involved, but the. Another woman goes missing and Maggie is now working to try and prevent another murder.

This is an impressive police procedural and I love the character of Maggie, she is committed and dogged in her determination to find the truth. A dark tale full of a creeping, underlying menace and the chapters from the unknown killers perspective are so creepy it will give you chills…utterly compelling.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.



Michelle spent the formative years as a reporter on a local newspaper in Buckinghamshire and interviewed many relatives of serious victims during that time.

Later, as a freelance journalist for women’s magazines, she secured an interview with Kerry Needham, whose son Ben Needham went missing in Kos in 1991 when he was a toddler. It was hearing her talk about it that gave Michelle the idea for making her central police character a FLO.

Praise for the DC Maggie Neville series so far:

“A full-bodied police procedural thriller from start to finish – with a whirlwind plot and sensational sub stories, it’s a real binge-read kind of book” –

Stylist, Book Wars


“[A] stunningly accomplished debut . . . deserves to shoot to the top of the best-seller lists. I read it in a single sitting” – Daily Mail


‘Cleverly plotted’ Daily Express


“Right on the money when it comes to creepy, twisted plots” – Fabulous Magazine


“I read it in one sitting” – Erin Kelly



Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Date Night by Samantha Hayes – Book Review



Returning early from a disastrous date night with my husband, I know something is wrong the moment the wheels crunch the gravel drive of our home. Inside, the TV is on and a half-eaten meal waits on the table. My heart stops when I find our little girl is alone in the house and our babysitter, Sasha, is missing…

Days later, when I’m arrested for Sasha’s murder and torn away from my perfect little family, I’ll wish I had told someone about the threatening note I received that morning.

I’ll hate myself for not finding out who the gift hidden inside my husband’s wardrobe was for.

I’ll scream from the rooftops that I’m innocent – but no one will listen.

I will realise I was completely wrong about everything that happened that night…

But will you believe me?

Twisted and absolutely unputdownable, Date Night exposes what goes on behind the closed doors of a happy home and the dangerous truths we ignore to protect the ones we love. Perfect reading for anyone totally gripped by The Wife Between Us, Friend Request or Gone Girl.



Libby is happily married to Sean and has a young daughter Alice. Then one morning, she finds a note on her car windscreen….”Sean is having an affair”…

This really starts to worry her, she trusts him, but then notices him acting a bit vague and asks him outright if he having an affair. He assures her he isn’t and they arrange a date night to put it all behind them. The babysitter Sasha arrives and off they go….but Sean is distracted by his phone and Libby loses her calm and they go home early…..but Sasha is not there….Alice is home alone!

They search but Sasha has disappeared! What has happened to her?

I can’t really say much more for fear of spoiling this marvellously twisted and dark thriller. Utterly engrossing, a real time thief and I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my in honest, unbiased review. 


Purchase links


Apple Books:




Author Bio:


Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.

Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003. Her novels are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on ‘real life fiction’. She focuses on current issues and sets out to make her readers ask, ‘What if this happened to me or my family?’ 

To find out more, visit her website

Or connect with Samantha on Facebook

And she’s on Twitter @samhayes

Book reviews, Womens fiction

The Romantic Prophecy by Tessa Andrews – Book Review



Karen Devitt is a young, beautiful and ambitious artist. She is also struggling to make ends meet. And to make matters worse her father has fallen ill. Through love and a sense of duty, she neglects her painting to be by his side while her brother, in the absence of their father, is forced to take over the family firm which is now collapsing under his stewardship, leaving the entire Devitt family in disarray and facing certain financial ruin.

Single, but not looking for love, Karen meets the dashing and ruggedly good looking Ralph Corbeck, a wealthy landowner of a prestigious game reserve in southern Africa. He is also a highly regarded businessman and a ruthless investor with a reputation as a womaniser. And he has identified and targeted the Devitt’s family business for an aggressive takeover.

From Karen and Ralph’s first encounter emotions run high, and unwittingly, Karen is lured to his game reserve where she stays at his extraordinary safari chalet, Vundu Lodge. Here, she begins to get an insight into the real Ralph Corbeck. Betrayal, deceit, jealousy and love all have their role to play, and the inferno and beauty of the African wilderness fuels this searing and beautiful romance.



Karen and Ralph’s first meeting is a little frosty to say the least…‘I’m not sure if anyone has ever told you but your opinion of yourself is excessively overinflated,’ and her brother warns her off him……but she is attracted to him anyway..

When Ralph invites her to his game reserve, she accepts….

This is where Tessa Andrews marvellously descriptive writing takes hold, you can feel the peace of this quiet and beautiful landscape, its magical simplicity.. but there is also danger, from the wildlife, poachers and even the dry landscape itself….

A romance begins between Karen and Ralph, but circumstances and misunderstandings cause this to change and they begin to drift apart…if only they would talk to each other properly……so frustrating!

Eventually, they do come to their senses……but will it all end well….?

A beautifully written, compelling romance with twists and surprises all set amid the African landscape. Stunning.


Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Perfect Stranger by Jake Cross – Book Review



You let her in. You’ll wish you hadn’t.

Following a whirlwind romance, Rose and Chris’s marriage has been unshakeable for twenty years. But when teenager Katie turns up on their doorstep, blonde, wide-eyed and beautiful, their perfect life threatens to crumble to pieces. Because Katie says she’s Chris’s long-lost daughter, the product of a forgotten summer fling.

The couple is still reeling from shock when Katie tells them she has nowhere to go. The couple is her only hope. Kind-hearted Rose invites Katie to stay, despite Chris’s protests. The poor girl has only just lost her mother – they can’t leave her out on the street.

But soon after Katie moves in, strange things start happening. Someone crashes into a neighbour’s fence. An unexplained fire starts in the couple’s kitchen. And a family friend coming to visit disappears on the way to the house. Chris insists Katie has to go. But it’s Chris who won’t explain where he was at the time their friend went missing… 

The couple’s dream life seems to be turning into a nightmare. With dark secrets about Chris’s history with Katie’s mother coming to light, Rose no longer knows who to trust. Soon, she isn’t sure whether she’s invited a dangerous stranger into her home, or whether she’s been living with one all along…

A chilling thriller that will make you question everything you think you know about your loved ones. Fans of The Woman in the Window, Then She Was Gone and The Perfect Child won’t be able to put this book down.



Chris and Rose have an 18 year old daughter Julia. Life is plodding away nicely, apart from Rose’ rheumatoid arthritis, all is as it should be.

But then a note is put through their door ‘I KNOW WHAT YOU DID TO EVE LEVINE’

Rose thinks it must be something to do with Chris’ work at the hospital….but Chris seems to remember something from his past.

Then, after a mugging, they meet Katie, she says she’s Eve’s daughter…..and Chris is her father! As there had been a fire at Katie’s flat, she comes to stay with them….while they wait for paternity test results to come back.

Strange and violent events start to happen, Julia’s friend is hurt and secrets start to be unearthed …..not everyone is as they initially seemed to be…

This is a compelling psychological thriller with many twists and revelations that keep the sense of menace building from start to the nail biting finish.

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my in honest, unbiased review. 

Buy Links:


Apple Books:





Jake lives in England and is the author of the standalone thrillers The Family Lie and The Choice, which hit the top 5 in Australia and was a bestseller in the UK and Canada.


Author Social Media Links





Book reviews, Children’s fiction

Meditation for Children: A Book Of Mindfullness by Shelley Wilson – Book Review



Author and meditation tutor Shelley Wilson takes you on a magical journey to a calm and happy place that you and your child will love.

Children of all ages can learn and enjoy the benefits of meditation.

Designed to help access creative abilities through relaxation and imagination, these stories help develop the necessary tools needed at a young age for lifelong healthy habits of managing stress and anxiety while also improving learning skills.

Meditation for Children is a simple way to introduce children to mindfulness through guided visualization. Includes a handy reference guide and instructions.


This is an absolutely charming book, with lovely illustrations by Phaedra Elson.

The beginning has some gentle pointers and a how to guide for parents….

  1. Stories – for anytime, day or night, but perfect for a bedtime routine too
  2. Drawing exercises for children to interpret the story in their own way
  3. Simple breathing exercises 

The stories themselves are all between 2.5 and 3.5 minutes long, and are gentle and magical to encourage the imagination. For bedtime, it’s the. Goodnight, sleep tight or daytime a drawing of the adventure…..

I’m sure this will be calming for both the parent and the child and as I have a granddaughter due in December and this will be one of her first books. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.


you can buy a copy here




Shelley Wilson is an English author of motivational self-help titles and young adult fantasy fiction. 

Her sensible side writes non-fiction books to inspire you to be the best you can be, and her cheeky and playful side writes young adult fiction to remind you to nurture that inner teen.

Shelley is a single mum of three, has a crazy black cat called Luna and is obsessed with vampires, Tudor history, and exploring castles. 

She’s tall (5ft 10inches) which seems to surprise people when they meet her. She often hears, “you’re much taller than your profile picture!” (Courtesy of Goodreads)


Find her on twitter

or Facebook

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

A Place To Lie by Rebecca Griffiths – Book Review



In a dark, dark wood

In Summer 1990, Caroline and Joanna are sent to stay with their great aunt, Dora, to spend their holidays in a sunlit village near the Forest of Dean. The countryside is a welcome change from the trauma they know back home in the city; a chance to make the world a joyful playground again. But in the shadowy woods at the edge of the forest hide secrets that will bring their innocence to a distressing end and make this a summer they will never forget.

There was a dark, dark house

Years later, a shocking act of violence sends Joanna back to Witchwood. In her great aunt’s lonely and dilapidating cottage, she will attempt to unearth the secrets of that terrifying summer and come to terms with the haunting effects it has left on her life. But in her quest to find answers, who can she trust? And will she be able to survive the impending danger from those trying to bury the truth?



This begins with Caroline feeling paranoid on a trip to a supermarket, that everyone is a danger to her….then she is confronted by someone she recognises and tragedy ensues…

The story is then told in the present day with skips back to the summer of 1990. Caroline and Jo had been sent to stay with their Great Aunt Dora, their mum isn’t well. 

They enjoy the freedom of the countryside, but Caroline is not really settled, she steals trinkets and is easily upset, saying things that may not be exactly true.

What did happen to their friend Ellie? Who is keeping secrets and who is telling the truth?

I loved the descriptive writing that builds the atmosphere of a summer in the countryside, the people and events and the general sense of something dark just under the surface. A compelling, rural mystery with some surprises!

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review

You can buy a copy here


Praise for Rebecca Griffiths


“Superbly evokes the brooding beauty of the countryside and the menace that can lurk behind its hedges… Twisty, atmospheric and elegantly written, it has echoes of Daphne du Maurier with its shivering paranoia, fear and dread, and introduces an exciting new name to “domestic noir” Daily Mail


“This is a chilling thriller . . . a brilliantly written book” The Sun

“I was hooked from page one and downed this book in one lip-smacking, thirst-quenching gulp!” Crime Squad


“Gripping” Hello


“A lusciously atmospheric rural mystery with a delicious backflip of an ending. There were moments that literally gave me shivers.”          Alex Marwood




Rebecca Griffiths grew up in rural mid-Wales and went on to gain a first class honours degree in English Literature. After a successful business career in London, Dublin and Scotland, she returned to mid-Wales where she now lives with her husband, a prolific artist, their three vampiric cats as black as night, and pet sheep the size of sofas.

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard – Book Review




Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges on-screen, kills her, and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?



Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t-not until she’s found what she’s looking for …



Psycho meets Fatal Attraction in this explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking



Natalie is an Instagram star, but then she disappears. Her husband has no idea where she’s gone…but someone is watching.

Told in the present with flashbacks to the past this is a psychological thriller with a difference. Play, Pause, Rewind.

Natalie believes her husband has been to Shanamore Cottages with someone else, she finds a poetry book in cottage Number 6….it’s hers. How did it get there?

When a video appears, it shows a brutal murder in the cottage, so many questions are raised….why were there cameras in the cottages?, where is the body? Was it Natalie?

There’s Andrew the cottage manager with a secret, Richard, a creepy, aggressive loner who wanders around the area, Audrey a journalist looking into the missing Natalie’s case and Jennifer a hotel,reception, how are these linked and just who is telling the truth? 

I found this incredibly tense and a real page turner, a proper whodunnit. Yes, the ending is very abrupt but it felt right…any more would have just been padding. Original and totally believable. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to The Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.



Catherine Ryan Howard was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1982. Prior to writing full-time, Catherine worked as a campsite courier in France and a front desk agent in Walt Disney World, Florida, and most recently was a social media marketer for a major publisher. She is currently studying for a BA in English at Trinity College Dublin.

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

The Regret by Dan Malakin – Book Review



Rachel Stone’s world was destroyed by a stalker, Alan Griffin. After he went to prison, she rebuilt her life. 

Now she has a three-year-old daughter and is in a new relationship. But someone is stalking her again. Her phone, her emails and her social media are hacked. 

Rachel believes it’s Griffin, out of prison and looking for revenge. She needs to find him and make him leave her alone. But as Rachel is drawn into a hunt, she realises that something even more horrific is happening – something that will make her confront the childhood that has lingered like a ghost, and will force her to face the truth about her new life.

Is Griffin the one ruining her life? Or is someone else, someone far more dangerous, responsible?



When Rachel was a teenager her life was ruined by a stalker, Alan Griffin. As a result her anorexia really took hold and she became very ill and hospitalised.

With the help of her friend, Mark, they turned the tables on him and Griffin was jailed. Rachel recovered and now has a daughter with her friend Mark, but recently, odd things have been happening in her life….an old photo was sent to her boyfriend, his and her friends, and messages have been sent from her phone, then her salary is taken for her account…..just who is doing this? 

When she find out Griffin has been released from Broadmoor, she believes it to be him……

With the help of her friend and colleague, fellow nurse, Spence…she hopes to put an end to it all……..but just who can she trust?

This is a scary read as it shows just how easy it is for someone to gather personal information from us in this digital age, with phishing and social engineering it really does show the danger of sharing too much. It also covers the difficult subject of eating disorders and mental health, but in a sensitive manner which helps a little to understand this insidious disease.

Will Rachel find out who is destroying her life?  Totally engrossing from start to finish.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review. 

You can buy a copy here (And only 99p for Kindle at the moment too)




Originally from Manchester, Dan managed to escape the rain and now lives in relative dryness in the beautiful village of Holloway, North London, pretty much next to the prison, with his patient wife, beautiful daughter, and ridiculously hairy dog.

By day he works as a data security consultant, demonstrating to corporations that should know better just how easy it is for hackers to access their most sensitive information. As a writer, his short stories have been widely published both in print and online, and he has twice been shortlisted for the Bridport prize. In 2013 he completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Brunel University.

His debut novel, a psychological thriller called The Regret, came from the idea that you can be attacked by anyone in the world, from anywhere, at any time; someone you’ve never met in person can reach into your life and mess things around. It’s chilling stuff, and through his work he knows how easy it is to do.

Come say hi on Twitter @danmalakin, or read some of his short stories on


Book reviews, Police procedural

A Cruel Deception by Kim Booth – Book Review



No one knows this horrifying true crime case better than the detective who cracked it. Kim Booth will take you on an unforgettable journey into lies, deceit, cunning and malice.’ Nick Louth

For Joan and Ted Warner, an innocent and trusting couple, a chance encounter with Barbara Hendry, a cunning con-woman who turned their settled lives into a living nightmare

The Warners were not victims of a remote scam, carried out over the internet by fraudsters from afar. For six years, faking a friendship face-to-face, this plausible woman carried off the impersonation of a member of the nobility fallen on hard times, manipulating the emotions of her victims, deceitfully draining them of every penny they had set aside for their retirement, and plunging them into debt.

Hendrys intention was to slip away, having sucked the Warners dry of all their hard-earned savings. But for some dogged investigative work by a determined detective she would have succeeded- and remained free to prey on other vulnerable victims.

Follow this journey of fraud and depravity in the company of the one man who knows the full story – the British detective who cracked the case and brought Barbara Hendry to justice.

A Cruel Deception is an insightful and gripping work of true crime, which illustrates the depth of wickedness and the possibility that we can all be deceived. 

The author retired from the Lincolnshire Police as Detective Inspector in charge of the Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit. He now provides anti-fraud advice and fraud investigation on a consultancy basis together with assisting authors with police procedural issues and story lines.



This is a true crime thriller, about the investigation into fraud, the victims were Ted and Joan Warner. They came into contact with a woman called Barbara Hendry, a con woman, who purported to be an estranged member of an aristocratic family and needed money to fight them for what she was ‘due’.

Slowly, she bled the Warner’s dry, taking all their savings….

The story is about how DC Booth tries to convince them Barbara is not who she says she is, and they need to press charges against her.

I enjoyed the police procedural aspect of the tale, and reading the statements of those involved….it just shows how easy it is to be taken in by these totally unscrupulous people, with no morals at all. An interesting and intriguing story, all the more so for being true.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 




Author Bio:

Prior to joining the police I had numerous jobs, Worked in a chicken factory for next to nothing, In a Bakery, Royal Mail as a Postman, With my dad who was a civil engineer construction roads and sewerage works and finally in a hotel.   Had dealings with the CID and thought “I can do that” and joined the police with the sole intention of being a CID man! Joined Lincolnshire Police in July 1975. 

Walked the streets in uniform for 18 months sorting yobbos out then given a car and latched onto drink drivers for a year then went into the CID at Louth in Lincolnshire for a year or so then Skegness for a summer season. Stayed in the CID for twelve years at various location including regional Crime Squad now National Crime Agency conducting static and mobile surveillance nationally dealing with murders extortions Kidnaps and the like then promoted to Uniform Sergeant for two years then back in the CID in the drug squad for four years as a Detective Sergeant, The next move was Detective Sergeant Special Branch dealing with all terrorist matter including surveillance, regional risk assessments on Economic Key points ie Oil and gas terminals, National Infrastructure Gas Electricity and Water and all Military establishments, threat assessments on high profile individuals such a Judges MP’s and witness protection subjects etc. Worked with the Security Services ie MI5 and MI6 and was a member of Home Office National Anti- Terrorism Exercise Programme setting up terrorist exercises both in the UK and abroad to test response of the local enforcement agencies. Promoted to Detective Inspector within Special Branch with 14 staff.  Stayed there for five years then moved to Uniform Inspector in charge of the Lincolnshire Police Control room 36 staff dealing and resourcing whatever came in authorised to deploy firearms officers to incidents. Two years in there (more than enough!) the moved to be in charge of the Economic and Hi Tech Crime Unit dealing with all frauds , Internet Crime together with the Paedophile Unit and Proceeds of Crime Unit 27 staff, Stayed there for four years, retired on the Friday and started work the following Monday being the Senior Investigating Officer in charge of a $300 million fraud investigation involving 3300 investors worldwide, worked with colleagues in New Zealand, Japan, America, Hong Kong, Bahamas and Canada, The case concluded in 2010 I retired again! Went fitting UPVC windows with a mate. Did that for 9 months, wrote a book on fraud, did some qualifications at Uni then came to work for TUI (Thomson and First Choice)as a Corporate Security Manager investigating fraud within the travel industry, Hobbies- Property restoration, DIY and motor cycling. That’s a quick snap shot!

Three children, eldest son is a Police Officer in Lincolnshire. Middle daughter is a first aid trainer and the MK 3 model daughter is a primary school teacher. Met the wife on the docks at Boston Lincolnshire (where she was working as Policewoman I should add!)

Somethings you didn’t know? 

(1)Whilst engaged in a terrorist incident and working in COBRA under Whitehall fell asleep on the Home Secretary’s bed! It was a 48 hour shift!

(2) Was engaged for two years putting MI5 and MI6 operatives through police interviews to test their legends (cover stories) under pressure, prior to deployment in foreign countries. 

(3) Investigated 23 murders including two serial murderers, nine extortions and Kidnaps involving Sainburys, Imperial Tobacco and Mars and investigated and detected the only murder by postal IED (improvised Explosive Device) in the UK to date and a drugs related “contract killing”    

4) As a Uniformed Inspector in the force control room covering Lincolnshire was authorised to deploy firearms officers to incidents but was considered not to be psychologically suitable to hold a Police Firearms permit to possess a firearm! Been a standing joke for years!!! 

After retirement for the third time decided to write a few book of my experiences including a crime fiction loosely based on previous events (W.I.P.)


And the rest as they say is history!