Posted in Blog Tours, Thriller

#ShedNoTears

Four victims.
Killer caught.
Case closed . . . Or is it?

Christopher Masters, known as ‘The Roommate Killer’, strangled three women over a two-week period in a London house in November 2012. Holly Kemp, his fourth victim, was never found.

Until now.

Her remains have been unearthed in a field in Cambridgeshire and DC Cat Kinsella and the major investigation team are called in, but immediately there are questions surrounding the manner of her death. And with Masters now dead, no one to answer them.

DCI Tessa Dyer, the lead on the 2012 case, lends the team a hand, as does DCI Steele’s old boss and mentor, the now retired Detective Chief Superintendent Oliver Cairns.

With Masters dead, Cat and the team have to investigate every lead again.

BUT IF YOU’D GOT AWAY WITH MURDER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WHEN THE CASE IS RE-OPENED?

‘The Roommate’ case:

2012 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Contents [hide] 1 Christopher Masters: early and personal life

2 Modus operandi

3 Police Investigation

4 The Victims

4.1 Bryony Trent 4.2 Stephanie König. 4.3 Ling Chen 4.4 The disappearance of Holly Kemp.

5 Arrest, trial and conviction

6 References

7 Further reading.

When the first blow lands, it’s almost a relief. A karmic debt paid. A manoeuvre, at least. She battles at first, of course; kicking and clawing and begging and bargaining all the way from the cold kitchen floor, where they first bounce her skull, through the hall, across the driveway, and into the boot of the waiting car. A car she knows well. A car she’s sat in maybe ten, fifteen times – always the passenger, but always firmly in the driving seat. Queen of the world. Top of her game. Tonight, the gun glinting in the midnight light signals that, for her, the game’s now up. She had this coming. She accepts this. She knows she created this whole sordid mess herself. And yet she’d prayed that they’d stop at a beating – because a beating she could take; bruises fade, fractures heal, even the worst scars can be covered with make-up. And God knows she’d taken enough beatings in her life and still lived to tell the sorry tale. She won’t live to tell this one. She doesn’t deserve to. Even by her standards, this one was cruel. And she is sorry. She knows they don’t believe her, but maybe if there’s a God upstairs, He will. Maybe next time around, she’ll come back as a better person. Th is time around, there was only ever one way this mess was going to end.

1
We’d prayed for rain for weeks. Or maybe it was months? It’s hard to remember a time when griping about the heat wasn’t a national fetish. When days weren’t spent sighing and swearing and spraying yourself with Magicool, and nights weren’t spent tossing and turning, wondering if sleep was now a pleasure of the past. And then there were the arguments. Christ, there were the arguments. Civil war over air-con settings. Men carping at women, jealous at the sight of us drifting around in lightweight dresses while they sweated buckets in the same suits that saw them through winter. Old versus young: Steele and Parnell crowing that this was no way near as brutal as the summer of ’76, when the rivers ran dry and the tarmac melted, and using your hosepipe was a crime routinely punishable by social death. Of course, we – Th e Young – stated long and loud that, as we weren’t even twinkles in our parents’ eyes in 1976, The Olds’ point was entirely moot and, frankly, not helping. You can only play the hand you’re dealt, we’d endlessly argue, and we’d been dealt this cursed summer. Th e paralysing heatwave of 2018. We were living through it, sweltering through it, surviving it – just – with the aid of desk fans and ice-packs, and the constant yet sagging hope that it might one day rain again on England’s green and pleasant lands. And now here, on a grassy dirt track, running alongside a remote field in the molten heart of Cambridgeshire, our prayers are finally answered. ‘Fucking rain,’ I say, scowling at the sky. All our sweaty, parched misery forgotten in an instant. ‘You don’t get rain in London, no?’ DC Ed Navarro – our crime scene guide, and boy, does he resent it – is smirking in a way that makes me want to flick his pale, waxy face, like a boiled potato with a goatee. ‘Because seriously, you’re looking a little frazzled there. Do you want to go and sit in the car for a bit?’ ‘Why, is it acid rain?’ I bite back. He rummages in his pocket, retrieves an opened packet of Polo mints. ‘Not that I’m aware.’ ‘Well then, I reckon I’ll survive.’ ‘Ah, come on, Kinsella, this is bliss,’ DS Luigi Parnell raises his hands, letting the rain patter off his palms: pennies from heaven. ‘It’s not even that heavy. And remember what the boss says, “It’s good for the garden.” ’ ‘I don’t have a garden.’ I lift my plastic fi le of crime scene photos above my head, a macabre makeshift umbrella. ‘I do have frizzy hair, though.’ Immediately, I regret saying it. Holly Kemp doesn’t have to worry about frizzy hair anymore. Or the fact that her cheap cotton work shirt is getting more see-through by the minute.

Holly Kemp hasn’t worried about anything in a long time. ‘So, yeah, this is where we found her.’ Navarro nods towards the deep ditch at the side of the track, then leads us to a gap in the covering hedgerow, presumably cut away to give Forensics easier access. Just yesterday, a crime scene tent would have stood here, preserving evidence and privacy for the army of white suits going about their crucial black art, but we’re quick to get them down these days. It’s not ‘resource efficient’ – to use the term à la mode – to keep them under guard for a second longer than necessary. Money. Budgets. PR. Stats. The four horsemen of modern policing. ‘Well, of course, we didn’t find her. Lady Persephone III did – that’s a dog, before you ask.’ Navarro pops two mints in his mouth, not bothering to off er them round. ‘Honestly, I don’t know what planet some people are on. What’s wrong with Patch or Rex or Rover all of a sudden? Proper dog names.’ ‘I like it,’ I say, just to agitate him. In my defence, we’re under strict instructions from DCI Kate Steele to play the agitators today. Th e standard ‘up from London’ arseholes who think the rest of the force are an el cheapo version of the mighty Metropolitan Police. Steele’s hoping a blast of belligerence might put a rocket up their backsides. ‘So, any danger of a post-mortem?’ asks Parnell, casualness spliced with scorn. ‘It’s been over forty-eight hours – well over forty-eight hours.’
Navarro widens his stance. ‘Hey, hang on a minute. It’s been over forty-eight hours since we contacted you about the locket, but we only got her back to the morgue last night. You can’t rush forensic archaeology – it’s a fiddly business.’ Parnell pulls an unimpressed face. I opt for majorly unimpressed. ‘And, look, we’ve got a backlog, OK? Our pathologist’s run off her feet.’ I fold my arms, giving up on my file-cum-umbrella. ‘Whereas ours just sits around sharpening her rib-cutters, waiting for a body to roll in.’ ‘Bodies, actually.’ Navarro looks more sad than defensive. ‘Th ere was a pile-up on the M11 a few hours before this. Two cars, five teens, four dead – two from the same family.’ He raps a knuckle on his forehead, knocking out the thought. ‘I knew one of them – not well, mind. I used to coach him at Soccertots. But I’d see him in the pub sometimes, acting the big guy, getting the pints in. They grow up so quickly and then bang . . . gone.’ And then bang, the ‘up from London’ arseholes feel like bona fi de lousy arseholes. We off er quick but sincere condolences, Parnell catching my eye to convey that Operation Arsehole is being immediately stood down. I bring the conversation back to safer ground – the dog with the dumb name. ‘You know, we really should be shaking Lady Persephone III by the paw. She did what we failed to do. She found Holly Kemp. Poor soul’s been missing for years.’

Nearly six years, to be precise. Six birthdays. Six Christmases. Six anniversaries spent wondering if this is the year you get ‘closure’ – that storybook notion they talk about on TV. ‘Er, we? What your lot failed to do, you mean?’ Navarro can’t stop himself – the pissing contest between forces is as predictable as it is puerile. I let the dig pass, mainly because I feel heartsick about Navarro’s ex-Soccertot, but partly because it’s fair enough. Th is is on the mighty Metropolitan Police, no question. ‘So, how in God’s name did she lie here for so long, unnoticed?’ I ask of no one in particular. ‘All this,’ says Navarro, drawing a semi-circle on the drizzly horizon, ‘belonged to an old farmer, Johnny Heath. He died a while back, but he’d let the field lie fallow for years; more to do with bad health than good crop rotation, I think.’ Th e reference is lost on me but I nod sagely. ‘His son lived in America. Didn’t even bother coming home for the funeral, so they say. And he never got round to selling the place when the old man passed because he was making a king’s ransom on Wall Street and didn’t need the money. So aft er Johnny died in 2015, the whole estate just sat here. Th e son paid a local to cut the grass a few times a year, but that’s about it.’ ‘And the tractor wouldn’t go anywhere near the ditch,’ says Parnell.

I pull a photo from my file. ‘And even if it did, she was well hidden.’ Twigs and branches and bracken and logs. It was the logs that were the chilling detail; the logs that proved this wasn’t some tramp looking for shelter who’d died of hypothermia in the night, or a binge-drinking casualty, staggering home across the field. Th e logs were placed on top of the body, no doubt about it. They’d covered it, cocooned it, made sure that a grieving family didn’t get closure any time soon. ‘So, to finish the story . . .’ Another mint in his mouth. ‘Th e son’s luck ran out in the US of A a few months back – redundancy, he says – and lo and behold, suddenly he’s Old MacDonald. Over here like a shot, talking about organic farming, setting up a shop for fools with deep pockets.’ ‘So is the dog his?’ I ask, giving up on Lady P’s full title. Navarro nods. ‘She’d been scrabbling around the same spot for days. He didn’t think much of it until a few days ago when she wouldn’t come when he called. And then when she wouldn’t respond to the whistle either, he knew something was up. Th e whistle always works, apparently.’ ‘A whistle? So she’s a puppy. He’s training her.’ Parnell fancies himself as a bit of an expert, having walked his kids’ dog twice in the last year. ‘Got it in one.’ Navarro wipes the rain from his face with his shirt-cuff . I’m past the point of caring about my halo of fuzz. ‘He thought he’d mastered it, too. But, you know, give a dog a bone . . .’


Not a bone, it turned out. Bones. One hundred and eighty-nine of them which, according to my GCSE B in biology, means seventeen are missing. Lost to foxes or scattered by starlings, we’ll assume. An almost entire female skeleton left to decompose in a ditch, miles from where she was last seen. 6 Valentine Street, Clapham, South-West London. Six years ago, the press dubbed it the ultimate ‘House of Horrors’. More recently, an estate agent called it a stunning, characterful mid-terrace home, with a newly extended kitchen and a real oasis of a garden. Seldom do properties such as this make it onto the market. Which is true, if a little sugar-coated. ‘So why here?’ I ask in place of Why do we do this job when it’s all dead Soccertots and bones and standing in fields in the bloody rain? ‘And I don’t mean, why not Valentine Street? I mean, why here – Caxton? Why this spot, specifically?’ I do a slow 360, taking in our surroundings, which to be frank aren’t much. Apart from the three of us standing here like peasants in a Constable painting and a rusted tractor in the next field, there isn’t a single point of interest as far as the eye can see. Just a vista of bleached land and a temporarily sullen sky. ‘OK, sure, you’re off the beaten track a bit, but you aren’t exactly sheltered. Even at night, you’d have to feel slightly exposed.’ Navarro shrugs, as though the methods of a killer aren’t his to judge.

‘Ah, come on, Ed, help us out,’ says Parnell, all chummy now. ‘You know the area. If you were going to bury a body, would you really do it here?’ ‘Maybe. We aren’t exactly spoiled for choice around these parts. Th ere aren’t too many wooded areas, and Th e Fens, just north of here, is a completely fl at landscape.’ Th e smirk is back. ‘Do you know what my guv’nor says? He says FENS stands for Fucking Enormous Nothing.’ I smile. Parnell laughs generously. ‘Fucking Enormous Nothing, that’s a good one.’ He’s back to business quickly. ‘But seriously though, there must be somewhere safer than this? Somewhere more secluded?’ He considers it this time, rubbing at his goatee. ‘Me, personally, if I’d killed my sister-in-law – which would be an honour and a privilege, I tell you – I wouldn’t bury her at all. I’d weigh her down and throw her in the Ramsey Forty Foot – it’s a big drainage dyke about twenty miles north of here.’ Dragging him from his daydream, I say, ‘You know, you both keep using the word “buried”, but she wasn’t buried, not really.’ ‘Well, she wasn’t under the ground, no,’ Navarro concedes. ‘But he did a thorough job of hiding her.’ I step closer to the ditch, peering at the space left , the nothingness. ‘Hiding is different to burying, though. Hiding’s quicker. Th is person was in a rush.’ ‘Hold on, “this person”?’ Navarro’s eyes narrow, piqued and suspicious. ‘Look, I know we’re skirting around this until we get dental records back, but this is Holly Kemp. The locket, it’s engraved “HOLLY”. It’s got photos of her parents inside. It’s hers. And she’s one of his, isn’t she?’ We say nothing. ‘Well, my guv’nor spoke to the DCI who headed things up back then and they’re still convinced. He admitted it, right?’ He, Christopher Dean Masters, did indeed admit it. And then he denied it, then admitted it, denied it, then admitted it, and so on and so on, until the original investigators stopped giving him the airtime and the warped satisfaction. ‘Believe me, I wish she was one of ours. Our clear-up stats aren’t great at the moment.’ Th is should rattle my cage but depressingly, I hear him. Too many cases and a major drop in the number of murder detectives makes you clinical – brain-fried and clinical. ‘I thought she was one of ours, actually. Th e minute the call came through, I said, Th at’s Ania Duvac, that is. I had a £10 bet with Jonesy, our exhibits officer.’ He clocks my expression and his face flushes – boiled potato to raw beetroot with one misjudged admission. ‘Look, it wasn’t my idea. Jonesy’d bet on two flies crawling up a wall. He’s got a real problem, that one. Anyway, I knew I’d lost my tenner the second I got here. Ania only went missing last September, see. You’d expect to see a bit of muscle tissue still attached.’ He smiles to himself. ‘Th e lads think it’s weird, but I’ve got a real interest in this type of stuff . I know a thing or two about decay.’

Fair play to him. It’s more than I do. You see, policing is generally a conveyor belt of firsts. You walk your first beat, make your first arrest. You brace yourself for the first time you shatter a heart with the words, ‘I’m so sorry to have to tell you . . .’ And despite what the old guard say – the know-it-alls, the thirty-year-service brigade, the retired peacocks propping up the bar at so-and-so’s leaving do, regaling anyone naïve enough to listen about the time they met the Kray twins – you never ever stop learning. Th ere’s no finite number of head-fucks this job can serve up. Today, for example, despite it being four years since I first joined Murder, since I crouched over my very first corpse at my very first crime scene, this – Holly Kemp – is my first set of bones. No blood. No wounds. No gag reflex smell. No small but poignant detail to connect you to your victim. I admit it. I’m finding it hard to connect with just bones. With a skeleton laid out like a science project, or a cheap thrill on the ghost train. Holly Kemp’s photo is all I’ve got to gauge the essence of who she was. Th e ‘famous’ photo. Th e classic news feed fodder. Th e one of the bottle-job blonde with the duck-pout lips. Tan straight out of a bottle. Teeth straight out of a Colgate advert. And ‘tits straight out of a catalogue’, according to Navarro. They found implants among the bones. Silicone’s a hardy bugger to break down. As are rubber soles.

‘Did I see something about footwear?’ I rifle through my file, looking for the relevant print-out. ‘You did,’ confirms Navarro. ‘Th ere was a trainer – pretty distinctive, actually. Possibly custom-made. A photo’s been sent to her mates – they should be able to ID it, hopefully.’ Th ere’s a spark in his eyes; morbid curiosity. ‘Odd though, isn’t it? Th e trainer.’ ‘Yeah. No. Maybe.’ I let him read what he wants into my airy non-answer. ‘Thing is,’ he goes on, the mints click-clacking against his teeth, ‘there were a few scraps of fabric too, sticky patches melded with the bone. Jeans, probably, as they found copper rivets – you know, the tiny bits of metal you get on the pockets?’ I shoot a fidgety glance towards Parnell, who quickly looks away. Navarro spots it. ‘Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking the same as me. I mean, it’s hard not to think it.’ He pauses, and for a moment there’s only the dripping-tap trickle of the weakening summer rain and the soft , tidal rush of motorway, God knows how far away. ‘The others . . . they were naked.’ The others. Strangers in life, bound together in death. Names on a Wikipedia page.

The Victims.

Buy Now

Thank you to @Zaffrebooks for the extract of this exciting new book by @CazziF

Posted in Blog Tours, Thriller

#Neon

A detective desperate for revenge. A hitwoman with one last job. A killer with both on his list.

Detective Matt Jackson has reached the end. His beloved wife, Polly, is the latest victim of ‘NEON’ – a serial killer who displays his victims in snaking neon lights – and he can’t go on without her. Unable to take his life, Jackson hires a hitwoman to finish the job. But on the night of his own murder, he makes a breakthrough in the case, and at the last minute his hitwoman, Iris, is offered an irresistible alternative: help Jackson find and kill NEON in return for the detective’s entire estate.

What follows is a game of cat and mouse between detective, hitwoman and serial killer. And when Jackson discovers it’s not a coincidence that all their paths have crossed, he begins to question who the real target has been all along…Neon is not just a rip-roaring serial killer thriller, but one that is properly character-led and contemporary.

Thanks to @orionbooks for my #gifted copy

 Extract from Chapter 1

He stared down at the solitary cup of coffee he’d ordered over an hour ago, still full to the brim. 

A firm hand clasped his shoulder and the leather of his jacket creaked. ‘You want another hot one?’ 

Glancing up, he met Roberto’s gaze, and winced. 

‘Sure,’ he said. ‘Sorry.’ 

One of many things Matt Jackson had discovered since Polly’s death was that he hated being an object of pity. At the funeral, only days ago, he swore police colleagues viewed him with a mixture of compassion and something akin to loathing. Especially that prick, Marcus Browne. The Detective Chief Inspector in charge of Polly’s case and newly appointed SIO on the ‘Neon’ investigation – his investigation – Browne had had a hard-on for him from the get-go. Spouses shot to the top of the murder suspect list in all homicides, but the suggestion that he’d off ed his own wife in a sophisticated form of copycat killing had tempted him to lure Browne down a dark alley and punch the living shit out of him. 

‘Double espresso, Andrea,’ Roberto called over his shoulder, ‘On the house.’

The pressure on his shoulder intensified. ‘You doing OK, Matt?’ 

It wasn’t a question that required a truthful answer. He played along, mumbled something neutral, his reply buried in a blast of beans grinding, milk frothing and flashing chrome. Particularly sensitive to light at the minute, he blinked. 

‘Early days, my friend,’ Roberto said, ‘You need rest. You need sleep.’ 

If only. On the rare occasions when his mind wasn’t hooked on replay and he’d slept, he’d prayed Fate would step in and ensure he never woke up. 

The door opened, letting in a blast of cold, wet November air, along with more customers. Clatter and bang; Are you all rights? and Mornings. Glad of the distraction, he twitched a dry smile, his way of saying, I’m OK. Go, meet and greet. 

With a fresh coffee back on the table, he retreated once again into the shadowlands of loss and loneliness. How long could he endure? A day, maybe two – three at a stretch? Fuck it. Better get this over and done with. 

Reaching into the back pocket of his jeans, he slipped out a Post-it note, on which Kenny Flavell, one of his long-time informers, had scrawled a number in smudged Biro. 

Taking a breath, he punched the keys on his phone. Two rings. 

‘John speaking.’ The voice-enhancer created the impression of a bad guy making ransom demands in a terrible nineties action movie. 

Spooked, Jackson hung up, sending his phone skidding across the Formica table. The espresso slopped over the side and into the saucer. Uncool. He glanced around, flashed a sorry to anyone interested enough to witness his less-than collected performance – which meant nobody. 

Calm, he thought, breathe. It’s what Polly would say and, for a moment, he pictured her sweet smile, charged with quiet confidence and steadfast belief. She had tamed him where others had failed – apart from the last six months when he’d buckled under the weight of an investigation that robbed him of sleep and reduced him to the mania of an obsessive. Days and nights he’d spent in front of a computer screen, clicking through crime-scene photos, looking for common denominators, searching for the smallest of clues. To his profound shame, he’d been unreachable and hostile to anyone who’d got in his way, and that had included his wife. Jesus Christ, that was bad enough. But what happened next haunted his every waking breath and, worse, he hadn’t seen it coming. 

Taking expert advice, he’d believed that serial killers adhered to certain patterns of behaviour, lived by some invented sick-and-twisted code, and selected a particular type of prey, usually vulnerable women, although not exclusively females. They favoured familiar terrain, which, in this instance, was the streets of Birmingham. The piece of shit he’d hunted got his kicks from powerful career types; the more confident, the more appealing. This guy had a genuine taste for the dramatic, the sensational, the eye-blinding; he loved the artistry, if that’s what you could call it. Like some perverse Banksy, he came, he did his thing and he left. And nobody noticed. Which was almost as shocking as the manner in which he displayed his tableaux of terror. Reckless, a hybrid of planner and opportunist, ‘Neon’, as the Press had dubbed him, got off on very public displays of his work. 

With a dry mouth and churning gut, Jackson considered Vicky Wainright, Neon’s first victim. A newly-qualified solicitor from Durham, she found herself separated from friends on a hen weekend. On a night when the clocks went back, she was lured to an apartment near Mailbox, an obscenely large square edifice and shopping centre in-corporating retail, office and residential, and adjacent to the BBC building. There, and despite the area being security-patrolled, Vicky was strangled.

Posted in Blog Tours, Thriller

#TheDevilYouKnow

Rosa Fisher is the smart girl, the good girl. At twenty-five and mid-way through a PhD in the psychology of fraud, she thinks she has herself all figured out. Until that night, when the house is dark and she is all alone, and she hears an intruder on the stairs. But the intruder isn’t looking for Rosa Fisher. He’s after someone else. And everything Rosa has ever known about her world is about to be turned upside down.

Published by Orion on May 2020, Pages

This is the story of Rosa and of how one night an intruder broke into her family home and changed her life as she knew it forever.

It is billed as a fast paced Thriller but I found the first part a bit slow going and a bit far fetched but it did have me intrigued and I thought I knew exactly where it was going until the second half threw in a murder!!! (no spoilers).

I didn’t warm to the main character at first and I just wanted to shake her as everything she was told not to do she did but she grew on me and I was intrigued to know what had happened to her and her family. The author is very descriptive, and you do feel like you can see exactly what Rosa sees.

I did guess the major twist but then I do pride myself on doing that.

Whilst I enjoyed the book it is not one of the best thrillers I have read and I did spot a few inconsistencies and was left with questions but there are three books in this series featuring one of the characters and I will read the other two out of interest (you don’t have to have read them to read this book as each story stands alone).

Review written by @FionaJaneFreer and our copy was kindly #gifted by @AlainnaGeorgiou at @orionbooks

Posted in Blog Tours, Thriller

#IAmDust

A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?
Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

Published on 16th April 2020 by Orenda Books, 300 Pages

After reading ‘Call me Star Girl’ by this author I knew I wanted to read more of her work and after meeting Louise at the Orenda Road Show and hearing her read an extract of this I knew I HAD to read this book!!

This is the story of Chloe Dee, a theatre usher who longs to be on stage but feels she is not good enough, that she is one of those blend into a crowd kind of girls and not a leading lady. She is working in a theatre where she first saw the musical ‘Dust’, a musical which she knew all the words for and sparked her love for the stage but also the production where the star of the show was murdered on the fourth night! Now, 20 years later, the show is coming back but is history going to repeat itself?

Let me start off by telling you that this author knows how to hook you in so if you hoping to just read a few pages before bed then just be prepared to be up all night! The chapters are short and sharp and feed you just enough information to make you NEED to read the next chapter and then just the one after that…

This book was brilliant and utterly bewitching! The characters were well though out and perfectly placed, I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense of not knowing if there was an actual magical/haunted element or if Chloe was just imagining things and I also love that Louise also really gets social media, the importance of it in today’s world and yet how toxic it can be.

This author does not shy away from real life issues either, a trait that I noticed in Call me Star Girl and again in this book. I really appreciate that the character’s flaws and and mental illness are not glossed over or romanticised for the reader.

This is a fantastic book and the second one of Louise Beeches books to blow me away (is it too cheesy to say like dust?!), I have not read a bad book from this publisher either and I am adding them both to my auto buy list! (Full disclosure: Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost) I honestly do not feel like my review can do this justice so please check out Jo’s review over at My Chestnut Reading Tree (she is the Queen of reviews!!)

Also please don’t miss Louise virtual launch party on April 16th 2020 at 5.30pm over on facebook, She is amazing so I have no doubt it will be full of laughs and also there will be giveaways!!

Thanks to @annecater at #RandomThingsTours @OrendaBooks and @LouiseWriter for letting me be part of this tour.

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

She also signs all her books with boobs and my copy of dust has speckles of dust inside too!

Posted in Blog Tours, Thriller

#AConspiracyofBones

23rd March 2020

Number One New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her nineteenth riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, who must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and the reason the dead man had her phone number.

*** 
It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.

 
An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.
 
To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue. With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.
 
But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes …

Publishing Date/By: 17th March 2020 by Simon & Schuster, 352 Pages

This is the 19th book in the series, it can be read as a standalone as I have not read some of the preceding books as I was to upset by the T.V series (Bones) ending! But the Temperance Brennan hole in my life was just too great and so I decided to dive back in and I am so glad I did.

Overall, the plot was absorbing and exciting. I thought it was well written and love the characters direct nature which means interactions with others are amusing and also helped the plot to move quicker.

This novel felt a lot more like a private detective working the case alongside the police that the way the books used to read but I don’t feel that this takes away anything it just maybe felt a little slower paced in the first few chapters.

It was also fascinating to read the authors note at the end where we find out that the author has gone through similar experiences recently, a fact that really shines through in the detail writing.

Thanks to @annecater at Random Things Tours and @simonschusterUK for my copy in exchange for review.

Want to win you own copy? Head over to my Instagram page…

Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead was a number one bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. A Conspiracy of Bones is Kathy’s nineteenth entry in her series featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Kathy was also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.


Dr. Reichs is one of very few forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and as a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. She divides her time between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montreal, Québec.
Twitter: @KathyReichs

Posted in Blog Tours, Thriller

Watching from the Dark – Gytha Lodge

14th February 2020

Aidan Poole logs on to his laptop late at night to Skype his girlfriend, Zoe. To his horror, he realizes that there is someone else in her flat, and Aidan can only listen to the sounds of a violent struggle – and then the chilling sound of silence. Aidan is desperate to find out if Zoe is OK. So why doesn’t he call the police?

When his messages finally reach them, DCI Jonah Sheens and his team take the case – and discover the body. They soon find that no one has a bad word to say about Zoe, a big-hearted young woman at the centre of a curious web of waifs and strays, everyone relying on her for support.

Each of these so-called friends is hiding dark secrets and buried resentments: has one of them been driven to do something unspeakable? 

Or might Aidan have the biggest secret of them all?

Review:

The whole idea of this book fascinated me especially in this digital age where anyone can watch you in the comfort of your own home! I was intrigued to find out why her boyfriend didn’t just call and report it as a normal crime, I knew there was obviously something else going on but I could not figure out what.

The dual timeline also worked really well for me as you got a real sense of the victim and her character and what had lead up to the event.

I did figure out the twist early out but there were so many well thought out plot twists that I was doubting myself up to the very end and so none of the enjoyment was lost for me.

This is the second book by Gytha Lodge with these detectives but can 100% read as a stand alone (but once you read this you will want to read more of her work!). I really enjoy Gytha’s work and look forward to the next instalment in this brilliant police procedural.

Thanks to Penguin Random House/ Michael Joseph

About the Author:

Gytha Lodge is a writer and multi-award-winning playwright who lives in Cambridge. After studying creative writing at UEA, she was shortlisted for the Yeovil Literary Prize and the Arts’ Council England fiction awards, and developed a large online following for her young adult and children’s writing, with over five million reads accrued on platform Wattpad. She Lies in Wait is her debut novel.

Posted in Blog Tours, Thriller

A Deadly Divide – Ausma Zehanat Khan

10th February 2020

IN A TOWN FULL OF SECRETS, WHO CAN YOU TRUST?In the aftermath of a mass shooting in a mosque, small town tensions run high. Clashes between the Muslim community and a local faction of radical white nationalists are escalating, but who would have motive and opportunity to commit such a devastating act of violence?

Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty from Canada’s Community Policing Unit are assigned to this high-profile case and tasked to ensure the extremely volatile situation doesn’t worsen.

But when leaked CCTV footage exposes a shocking piece of evidence, both sides of the divide are enraged.As Khattak and Getty work through a mounting list of suspects, they realise there’s far more going on in this small town than anyone first thought…

A Deadly Divide is a piercingly observed, highly topical thriller by former human rights law professor and award-winning author Ausma Zehanat Khan.

Review:

This book covers a multiple shooting in a mosque in Canada. The detectives, (Muslim) Esa Khattak and (Jewish) Rachel Getty. Their respective faiths are critical in this story and they find racism and white supremacy infiltrating the police force, hampering the investigation.

The story is clever and complex and very sad because it so believable and you really are torn with who to believe.*

For me I didn’t like the way it was wrapped up, the killings had been meticulously planned but I felt the end it was messy. There is an underlying theme running through the book that is left open into the next book.

What I didn’t realise when I picked this us was that it was part of an ongoing series, you definitely didn’t need to read the others in the series to follow the plot or know what was going on but it does reference them a lot.

It was an interesting and uncomfortable read because of the subject and I would read other books by Ausma Zehanat Khan (I will probably buy the rest in this series!) in the future. 

About the Author

Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a specialisation in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. She has practised immigration law and taught human rights law at Northwestern University and York University. Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine to reflect the lives of young Muslim women. Her debut novel, The Unquiet Dead, won the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. She is a longtime community activist and writer. Born in Britain, Ausma lived in Canada for many years before recently becoming an American citizen. She lives in Colorado with her husband.  more about Ausma Zehanat Khan

Posted in Blog Tours, Thriller

The Sinner by Martyn Waites

9th February 2020

In prison not everyone is guilty . . .

Tom Killgannon, ex-undercover police officer and now in witness protection, is recalled to active service by a local police task force, headed by DS Sheridan.
His mission is to befriend notorious child killer Noel Cunningham and find out where he buried the bodies of his final two victims.

The catch? Tom has to obtain that information from within Blackmoor prison itself. Undercover and with no back-up, Tom soon runs into danger. In the prison is convicted gangster Dean Foley. He used to run Manchester’s biggest gang, until Tom’s testimony put him away for life. He recognises Tom, and so begins a cat-and-mouse game as Tom fights for survival before Foley can get his revenge.


But why can’t Tom reach DS Sheridan and what is the real reason he has been sent to Blackmoor prison?

Review:

I don’t know why but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book (I cant apologise enough to the author) but I was totally surprised by it. I flew through it and thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that I have ordered book 1!

This is the second book in the series but can definitely be read as a stand alone novel as the connections that had been developed between the characters in the first were clearly demonstrated and nothing that happened in this one seemed dependant on anything that happened in the other book.

This was a fast paced and well written story that I would definitely recommend.

Upon finishing the book I read the authors notes and was amazed to find that the author had been an author in residence inside prisons, it was a fascinating piece of information that explained how he was able to write the mind set of the prisoners so well.

About the author:

Martyn wrote under the name of Tania Carver for almost a decade, writing eight internationally best-selling thrillers featuring police detective Phil Brennan and profiler Marina Esposito. Find about more about this great author on his website here.

Posted in Blog Tours, Thriller

The Wives – Tarryn Fisher

3rd Febraury 2020

AudioBook

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, you see your husband only one day a week. Thursday. But you don’t care, you love him that much. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself…

And then, one day it all changes.

You thought you were fine with this, with only having a fraction of a husband. But you can’t help yourself, you start to dig. Begin tracking them down, the other days… Who is Monday and why does she have bruises on her arms? Is she being abused? By who? Her husband? Your husband?

What else is he keeping from you?

And who is he, really?

Review

Three wives. One man. You know can work out where this is going… oh no you can’t!

I am not sure if I just listened to an audiobook or had some weird trippy high! Seriously what a ride, this book drew me in and then threw me every which way. I like to think I am quite good at working out where a story is going but at no point during this book could I tell you, with any degree of certainly, where this was going.

This definitely could have been an episode of desperate house wives (you like one of the last seasons when everyone was bonkers) and the narrators voice even reminded me of a character from the show.

Speaking of the narrator, she was good but for me I found her to be too slow and drawn out so needed to speed up to 2.0 speed but the actual content was good and flowed really well, letting you get comfy with an idea of where it was going before pulling the rug from under your feet.

This is going up there as one of my top psychological thrillers of all time, it’s just absolutely mental!

About the Author

Tarryn Fisher is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authorof ten novels. Born a sun hater, she currently makes her home in Seattle, Washington with her children, husband, and psychotic husky. Tarryn writes about villains.
Posted in Blog Tours, Thriller

The Mothers – Sarah J Naughton

14th January 2020

Five women meet at their local antenatal group. The only thing they really have in common is that they are all pregnant and live within the Chelsea area. Beyond that they all lead very different lives.
Five secrets. Three years later, they are all good friends and often meet up as a group, nick named ‘The Mothers Club’. They get along well enough. Don’t they?
One missing husband. When Bella’s husband goes missing the same night as one of their mothers club get togethers, the police come knocking. Each of the women clearly have secrets they’d like to hide. But the trouble with secrets is that someone always tells…

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Being a new mother myself and having established a tight knit group of ‘mum’ friends solely based on having children at the same time I was very eager to read this and it didn’t disappoint.


It was a fast paced read that I devoured in one sitting. I loved all the twists and turns and the revealing of the characters more sinister sides. I found that although this was a relatively short book the characters were well developed and interesting each with such wildly different lifestyles. There is just the right blend of the women falling apart and building themselves and each other back up to make you really get behind them even though they are all complicit in deception.

I found this a real page turner but my only niggle, and it is a small one, is that throughout the whole book was they kept calling Bella fat and frumpy even though we are told that she is only a size 12!!!!!


Thanks to Netgalley, Orion Publishing Group, Tracey at Compulsive reads and the author for a free ARC in return for an honest review.