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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Murrain's Truth by Alex Walters

Murrain's Truth

by Alex Walters

Ahead of the June release of Late Checkout my husband has released this trio of short stories introducing DCI Kenny Murrain. The e-book also contains a taster chapter of Late Checkout so it's definitely worth a look!

You can download Murrain's Truth for a mere 99p here. And you can pre-order Late Checkout here.

For further news and updates you can follow Alex Walters on Facebook here and on Twitter as @MikeWalters60.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Murder Ring by Leigh Russell

Murder Ring

This is another great outing for the compelling DI Geraldine Steel. When a dead body is discovered in a dark side street, Geraldine finds herself caught up in another murder investigation. When this is followed by another mysterious murder, the investigation becomes ever more complicated.

As with all the Geraldine Steel books we get a good mix of insights into Geraldine’s working life and interaction with her colleagues, the often messy lives of the perpetrators and victims of crime, and a glimpse into Geraldine’s personal life.

In this book, the working team is shaken up by a new arrival in the shape of DCI Adam Eastwood. Good looking and determined to get results, he certainly changes the dynamics of Geraldine’s working life.

We also have the familiar Sam – Geraldine’s sergeant and sometimes confidante. But this time there is an edge between the two women as they disagree about gun crime, and Geraldine finds her own personal problems too much to deal with.

One of the things that I think makes the Geraldine Steel crime series so successful is that as time has gone on Leigh Russell has made enough changes to Geraldine's circumstances and the people around her to keep it fresh and different, whilst keeping enough factors the same to give a sense of continuity and familiarity to the series.

This book sees some huge events in Geraldine’s private life, I won’t say too much as I don’t want to give anything away, but a storyline that has been running through the whole series has some major developments. These glimpses into Geraldine’s family life are one of the things that make this series special, in my view, and make Geraldine a very rounded and human character.

The plot is satisfying, with plenty going on, and the ‘murder ring’ at the centre gives it a sense of intrigue as we follow its progress.

To get the full Geraldine Steel experience I recommend you read all the books. You can find my reviews of earlier books in the series (and the accompanying Ian Peterson series) here and here.

But this is a great murder mystery in its own right and highly recommended if you want an introduction to Leigh Russell’s work.

 Overall, a very enjoyable and well written story.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.

This post is part of a blog tour for Murder Ring, and you can find the other stops on the tour here.

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Missing by CL Taylor

The Missing

‘The Missing’ takes the reader into scary territory from the start. A teenager, Billy, has gone missing and his mother is living every parent’s nightmare.

Claire has no idea what has happened to her son or whether she will ever find him alive. And then to make things worse her mind starts playing tricks on her and she is diagnosed as having experienced fugue states.

As the story goes on, we find out more about Claire and her family and discover that everyone is hiding something. If Claire can work out what is going on, will she be able to find Billy before it is too late?

Claire was a great character, and I found myself empathising with her more and more as the book went on, particularly as some of the things she finds out about the people around her – who are all deeply flawed - are so distressing. The claustrophobic feeling of sharing a house with people who are all distressed and suffering is also very well done.

CL Taylor has made some brave decisions in the writing of this book. I can’t say too much more than that without spoilers, but it is the way the story veers away from what you might expect that gives it an edge and makes it stand out.

I found this a real page-turner. There are so many questions that the reader wants to know the answer to that the story sucks you in and takes you along with it.

A recommended read for those who enjoy intrigue, suspense and mystery.

Don’t miss your chance to read this one!

You can find out more here.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Late Checkout by Alex Walters

Exciting news! My husband has a new book coming out soon and you can read the blurb here.

LATE CHECKOUT by Alex Walters             

DCI Kenny Murrain sees, hears and feels things that others do not.  It’s a gift but also a curse. 

            When he wakes to the phantom sound of screaming he knows a murder has been committed but not where or why. 

            Then a woman’s body is found in a Stockport hotel room.  It’s a murder that seems both frenzied and carefully planned, the scene expertly cleansed of any evidence.

            Over the following days, more bodies are discovered, first in an upmarket spa on the Pennine moors, then in a run-down budget hotel on the outskirts of Manchester.
The same frenzied attacks, the same meticulous planning.  The same killer.

            The victims all have links to one man, a police colleague with a dark past.  But Murrain discovers a more unexpected connection—with Marie Donovan, a former undercover officer now part of Murrain’s own team.  

            As the killer closes in on a fourth victim, Murrain knows that time is running out.  But the outcome will be more unexpected and more terrifying than even he can imagine…

Praise for Alex Walters

‘A talent to be reckoned with … A strong story line, muscular prose and a real sense of pace…a police procedural for a new age’  - Daily Mail

‘…Right up there with the best police procedural thrillers of the last few years.  Expect to hear much more of Walters in the future.’ – Mark Timlin

To find out more and hear news about the book as it's announced, you can like his Facebook page here, and follow him on Twitter at @MikeWalters60 

Saturday, 16 April 2016

The Finding Of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace

The Finding Of Martha Lost

‘The Finding Of Martha Lost’ takes the reader on a healing journey. With Martha we find out what it is like to be lost and what it might take to be found.

There are lots of fairy tale like elements to the story. A child abandoned in a suitcase, secret tunnels, a hidden library and the appearance of a roman soldier. They all mix together to make an enchanting and bewitching read.

I loved the setting in Liverpool, specifically in and around Lime Street station, and the lovely touches about The Beatles and their history, which draw poignant parallels with Martha’s own situation.

Martha is a fabulously quirky and well-drawn character and I found her, and the unexpectedness of her actions, to be one of the highlights of the book. I also loved William, another lost soul just needing to be found, who lives in the tunnels under Lime Street for heartbreaking reasons of his own.

This novel is a beautiful journey as we travel with Martha to find out the truth about herself, and the world and people around her. There are tears along the way, but also plenty of joy and laughter.

I highly recommend this delightful read which will have you believing in fairy tales again. Not to mention love, happiness and the importance of dancing to jukeboxes and eating cake.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

Look At Me

Sarah Duguid's debut novel is a compelling snapshot of a family under pressure.

It raises a number of interesting questions. What is the meaning of family? What is the meaning of home? What do you do when home doesn't feel like home any more and your family no longer seems like your family?

Lizzy lives with her father Julian and her brother Ig. The three of them are trying to come to terms with the death of her mother, Margaret. The house still feels full of her presence as they struggle to deal with her absence.

Into this mix comes Eunice. Eunice is Julian's daughter - born as a result of an extramarital affair. She has decided she wants to get to know her family and she isn't really taking anyone else’s feelings into consideration in the matter.

All the characters in this novel are really interesting. They are all flawed, but they all cry out for empathy in their different ways. Julian - unable to come to terms with the loss of his wife. Eunice - the cuckoo in the nest. Lizzy - resenting Eunice and the way she has imposed herself onto her family, and into her home.

It's a novel that appeals to all the senses. There is lots of luscious description of food and drink, not to mention the effects of smoking hash. I particularly loved the descriptions of the barbecue that Julian holds in the courtyard of the house for all his family and friends, where Eunice, dressed in silver, flits through the party, causing havoc in her wake.

‘Look At Me’ works really well as a study in human relationships; an examination of love, grief, jealousy and bereavement.

I loved its complexity and the beauty of the writing.

This is a great debut novel which leaves the reader with so much to think about.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.