Book Review: Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane

I’m a fan of Christmas Carol and I’m always intrigued by Charles Dickens’ life so the blurb of Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane drew me in.

Scroll down to see if the novel lived up to my expectations

Book Review: Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane

Book cover for Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane. A dark brooding sky, abare tree and stark landscape with a woman in a red coat. She's looking away from the reader.
Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane

Title: Folly Ditch

Author: Anna Sayburn Lane

Genre: Crime history

Release Date: 23rd August 2022

Blurb

A Dickensian murder mystery. A brutal modern-day gang. Can Helen Oddfellow outwit an old enemy – or will she be his next victim?

When literary researcher Helen Oddfellow finds an old newspaper cutting in an antiquarian bookshop, she uncovers a mystery dating back 200 years. Her quest to find the real woman behind one of Charles Dickens’ best-loved characters takes an unexpected turn, when the bookshop owner goes missing.

Helen befriends his distraught teenage daughter as they try to find the missing man. But the marshes of north Kent are home to a criminal gang more brutal than anything Dickens imagined. Murky money, royal connections and desperate people link the past with the present. But it’s the unexpected return of an old enemy that puts Helen herself in mortal peril.

FOLLY DITCH is latest in the series of mysteries featuring literary sleuth and London tour guide Helen Oddfellow.

Long-listed for the Stockholm Writers’ Festival 2022 First 5 Pages prize.

My Thoughts

The tone of this novel was set at the start with the raw scenes depicting people trafficking. They made my heart stop despite not being over graphic, so I knew I was in for a tense look into organised crime and the vulnerability of illegal immigrants. Luckily for my nerves, this was well balanced with the mystery surrounding a book which was potentially the key to Charles Dickens’ inspiration for Oliver Twist.

Despite Folly Ditch being my first introduction to amateur sleuth, Helen Oddfellow, she was easy to connect to. As her research placed her and others in danger and the tension increased, I was heavily invested in the characters and kept turning the page.

Would I recommend?

This is a series for fans of crime with historical threads. Folly Ditch can easily be read as a standalone but like all crime series, reading them as a whole adds to the reading experience. Well paced, with an intriguing plot and determined characters made this an ideal read for these cooler evenings. Tapping into my love of crime mysteries, novels about books and my fascination with Charles Dickens’ life made me wish to go on Helen Oddfellows’ Charles Dickens literary tour visiting all his haunts and inspiration.

Author Biography

Photo of Anna Sayburn Lane. White woman, dark hair with a fringe,dark eyes and smiling with lipstick on.
Anna Sayburn Lane

Anna Sayburn Lane is a writer, editor and journalist. She lives on the Kent coast, at Deal.

Anna has published award-winning short stories and was picked as a Crime in the Spotlight new author at the 2019 Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival. Her 2018 debut novel Unlawful Things was shortlisted for the Virago New Crime Writer award.

Contact hello@annasayburnlane.com

Find out more at www.annasayburnlane.com

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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A list of other blogs on the tour

12th Sep Ramblingmads @Ramblingmads
13th Sep Penfold Layla (IG) @Penfoldlayla
14th Sep Random Things Through My Letterbox @AnneCater
15th Sep The Shelf of Unread Books @Shelfofunread
16th Sep Little Miss Book Lover 87 @LittleMissBooks6
19th Sep From under the duvet
@Duvetdwellers
20th Sep Dr Alice Violett @Alicetheunique
21 Sept What Janey Reads (IG) @whatjaneyreads
22 Sep Books by Bindu @Booksbybindu
23 Sep Chaos Happiness Book Mama (IG) @Chaoshappinessbookmama
Other Blogs on the tour

Promo post: Mirror Man by Lars Keplar

On the last day of May I’m excited to share info on the newest novel by Lars Keplar, Mirror Man.

Lars Keplar is a duo of writers specialising in crime thrillers with the protagonist, Joona Lina.

Mirror Man by Lars Keplar

The Mirror Man by Lars Keplar

Title: The Mirror Man

Author: Lars Keplar

Publisher: Zaffre

Genre: Crime, thriller

Release Date: 23rd June 2022

Blurb

IF YOU SEE HIS REFLECTION IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE . . .


Seventeen-year-old Jenny is abducted in broad daylight and taken to a dilapidated, isolated house where she is chained and caged along with several other girls. Their captor is unpredictable, and as wily as he is cruel: he foils every one of their desperate attempts to escape . . . and once caught they rarely survive their punishment.

Five years later, Jenny is found dead in a public park, and the police are scrambling to find a lead among the scant evidence. But Detective Joona Linna realizes that this murder has an eerie connection to a death that was declared a suicide years before. And now when Mia, a seventeen-year-old orphan, goes missing, it becomes clear to Joona that they are dealing with a serial killer-and the murderous rampage has just begun.

As the police close in on the killer, Mia and her fellow captives are plunged into ever greater danger, and Joona finds himself in a seemingly impossible race against time to save their young lives.

Author Biography

Photo of the writing duo behind Lars Keplar
Lars Keplar

Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril (b. 1966) and Alexander Ahndoril (b. 1967), authors of the No. 1 internationally bestselling Joona Linna series.

With seven instalments to date, the series has sold 15 million copies in 40 languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler, and have each published several acclaimed novels.

More information can be found in a past Q and A post The Minds behind Lars Keplar

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and giving me a sneaky look at this book

Love

Book Review: Date of Betrayal by Julia Chapman

I discovered this detective series thanks to a discussion on Miranda Dickinson’s Fab Night in Chatty Thing on Facebook. The buzz around it made me try the first book, Date with and I was hooked. They make ideal binge reading material. When the arc for arrived I was eager to read thanks to the cliff-hanger of book six. Scroll down, to see if it reached my high expectations.

Book Review: Date of Betrayal by Julia Chapman

Book cover for Date with Betrayal by Julia Chapman
Date of Betrayal by Julia Chapman

Title: Date with betrayal

Author: Julia Chapman

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Genre: Crime and mystery

Release Date: 31st March 2022

Blurb

The seventh novel in international bestseller Julia Chapman’s Dales Detective series, perfect for fans of Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club and M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series.

In the seventh novel in Julia Chapman’s Dales Detective series, Date with Betrayal, betrayal is rife in the idyllic Yorkshire Dales as Samson O’Brien, owner of the Dales Detective Agency, is targeted by a hitman. Can Bruncliffe save him?

A brilliantly engaging and witty mystery, perfect for fans of Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club and M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series.

 Death is coming to Bruncliffe: its target is Samson O’Brien.

Oblivious to his impending date with fate, Samson is busy juggling a number of cases at the Dales Detective Agency. Too busy, in fact, to notice his partner behaving oddly.

 Because Delilah Metcalfe knows what is coming. A hitman. Sent from London with one objective: to finally silence the troublesome O’Brien before his corruption case can make it to court. With Samson’s life in peril, and betrayal around every corner, Delilah has no choice but to call in favours from all of her Bruncliffe connections in order to counteract the menace threatening to engulf the Dales town.

The only trouble is the townsfolk have long memories and deep grievances when it comes to Samson O’Brien. Trust must be earned and they will take some convincing before they put themselves in danger in order to save him. And even then, it might not prove enough . . .

Full of charm, wit and characters that will capture your heart, the series begins with Date With Death. Have you read them all? ‘As village murder mysteries go, this clever, witty and realistic series is quite out of the ordinary and strongly recommended’ – Crime Review

My Thoughts

It’s been a while since I’ve followed a crime series and am always worried that they will lose their charm the longer they go on but not here. This is the best book yet.

Delilah was always a great and complex personality, but she comes into her own in this novel when she has to manipulate circumstance to protect Samson. When her plan is revealed and saw it in action, it provided chuckles alongside fearful moments which made this a perfect book to escape in.

Tolpuddle is my favourite literary canine and his antics continue to make me love him in this novel.

The Dale Detective series is a clever blend of crime and a hug in a book. Bruncliffe is full of quirky personalities you’d love to have as neighbours, and reading about them makes you feel like you’re coming home, but the crime element is well paced, twisty and as thrilling as more graphic and gory novels. Death with Betrayal steps the tension and thrill up a notch when the evil of London collides with the genius of Yorkshire folk. Seeped with humour, friendship and community secrets with the undercurrent of romance, it was a joy to read and I didn’t want it to end.

Throughout the series, I’ve connected to many of the side characters and this book showcases them all as threads laid in earlier books start to come together, for this reason I’d recommend you start with book one, Date with Death to get the full enjoyment. You won’t be disappointed. They tap into the love communities have for their own and the prejudices, the wealth of personalities and unique knowledge of their location.

The wait for the next instalment is going to be too long.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes, like the others in this series, it was an addictive book as I was sucked into the life of Bruncliffe and the plan to keep Samson alive. Full of Yorkshire humour and quirkiness, it was a gripping, tense and clever read.

If you are a fan of Richard Osman’s novels, you’ll love these and maybe you’ll even agree with me, that these are miles better, with more character depth in a wealth of endearing personalities, and fuller plot with a visual, atmospheric backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales.

Author Biography

Julia Chapman

Julia Chapman is the pseudonym of Julia Stagg, who has had five novels, the Fogas Chronicles set in the French Pyrenees, published by Hodder. She is also the author of the Dales Detective series which follows the adventures of Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe as they solve cases in the Yorkshire Dales. Born with a wanderlust that keeps her moving, Julia has followed her restless feet to Japan, Australia, the USA and France. She spent the majority of that time as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language but also dabbled in bookselling, pawnbroking, waitressing and was once ‘checkout chick of the month’ at a supermarket in South Australia. She also ran an auberge in the French Pyrenees for six years with her husband. Having spent many years wandering, she is now glad to call the Yorkshire Dales home. Its distinctive landscape and way of life provide the setting for her latest set of novels, the Dales Detective series.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Review: The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Welcome to my review for The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy. The tagline intrigued me and I was keen to find out more so jumped at the chance when invited on this blog tour.

Book Review: The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Book Cover The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy
The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Title: The Gosling Girl

Author: Jacqueline Roy

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: Crime Fiction

Release Date: 20th Jan 2022

Blurb

Monster. Murderer. Child. Victim.

Michelle Cameron’s name is associated with the most abhorrent of crimes. A child who lured a younger child away from her parents and to her death, she is known as the black girl who murdered a little white girl; evil incarnate according to the media. As the book opens, she has done her time, and has been released as a young woman with a new identity to start her life again. When another shocking death occurs, Michelle is the first in the frame. Brought into the police station to answer questions around a suspicious death, it is only a matter of time until the press find out who she is now and where she lives and set about destroying her all over again. Natalie Tyler is the officer brought in to investigate the murder. A black detective constable, she has been ostracised from her family and often feels she is in the wrong job. But when she meets Michelle, she feels a complicated need to protect her, whatever she might have done. The Gosling Girl is a moving, powerful account of systemic, institutional and internalised racism, and of how the marginalised fight back. It delves into the psychological after-effects of a crime committed in childhood, exploring intersections between race and class as Michelle’s story is coopted and controlled by those around her. Jacqueline writes with a cool restraint and The Gosling Girl is a raw and powerful novel that will stay with the reader long after they have turned the last page.

My Thoughts

The premise of this novel drew me in but the character, Michelle kept me captivated. Naïve, institutionalised, and surprisingly likeable she is understandably conflicted with the knowledge that she’d killed a child, and battles with guilt but as the story progressed it was clear nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

At times, my heart tugged when she is filled with hope of a new start with a new name despite a conviction looming over her while other times, I dreaded turning the page because I wondered where it would lead. Getting to grips with living outside prison and dealing with people with their own agendas is not a smooth path.

Child murder by children is a difficult topic to tackle but it is done sensitively, and is helped by keeping the reader at a distance from the action and having Michelle as an unreliable narrator. There isn’t a graphic description of her crime which allowed for it not to overshadow the emotional aspects of the book. It gives a snapshot into the consequences of actions and highlights the trauma on all sides of the crime including the perpetrator. It investigates the effects of race and in some respects, money and class, on a case and how easy it is for facts to be manipulated to fit different narratives.

Tyler, a police detective has her own battles with prejudices on the force which is topical and relevant in recent events in the Met.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this novel is gripping, thought provoking, and is one that refuses to let you go once you’ve read the last page. It evokes many emotions including initial guilt for connecting and liking a convicted murderer. I’m sure when I watch events unfold on the news the voices of Michelle and Tyler will sneak their way into my thoughts and influence my own judgements; they will remind me no one ever knows the full story and there are many things at play in how events came about and how things are seen. It is ideal for book clubs and initiating discussions.

Author Biography

Author Jacqueline Roy
Jacqueline Roy

Jacqueline was born and raised in London. Her father was Jamaican and her mother was English and she comes from a family of writers. She hated the pressure to conform at school and left early, so she did her degrees as a mature student and moved to Manchester to take up a full-time teaching post at Manchester Metropolitan University. She lectured in English for many years, specialising in postcolonial literatures. She also taught creative writing at MMU’s Writing School. She is particularly interested in exploring racial identities and the ways in which those who are marginalised find strategies for fighting back. She is now a full-time writer and has produced fiction for adults and children.

Twitter: @Jacquel27815478

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Review: The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

It has been a while since I have read a crime thriller, so the invite to this tour for The Quiet People by Paul Cleave  came at just the right moment and, with a blurb offering a writer-based mystery, I had high expectations for this book. Scroll down to see if these were met.

Book Review: The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

Title: The Quiet People

Author: Paul Cleave

Publisher: Orenda books

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Release Date: 25th Oct 2021

Purchase: Amazon UK

Blurb

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no
one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.
So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time… Are they trying
to show how they can commit the perfect crime?


Multi-award winning bestseller Paul Cleave returns with an electrifying and chilling thriller about family, public outrage and what a person might be capable of under pressure, that will keep
you guessing until the final page…

My Thoughts

When a group of writers get together, there is usually a conversation about what would happen if the police ever looked at their Google searches. Sometimes writer’s questions ask can lead to dark places and could be incriminating if seen under the wrong light. This is what happens here and it raises the question where does the author persona and stories they write end and reality start. A flippant comment said at a reading event is taken to heart by the police and media, forming the basis of a police investigation when Cameron and Lisa’s son, 7-year-old Zach is missing.

You’re thrown into the action from the start with a heart stopping moment which hooked me in and I was not released until the final page. This is a thrilling novel full of jeopardy, suspicion and action that led me to question everything and the motive of every character. It is told mainly in Cameron’s point of view but with many unexpected twists and turns, and glimpses into the investigation from DI Rebecca Kent’s perspective, there was always an edge of how reliable his narration really is. The suspicion and tension didn’t let up until the big reveal.

I loved it despite it being unrealistic and gung-ho in places. The New Zealand location made it a refreshing read. Maybe I’ve been watching too many UK based detective series recently where a family liaison officer is put in place at the family home as soon as a crime of this nature occurs, but I kept questioning where one was. It was a tiny niggle that soon passed when I became immersed into the plot. It is a good read for a long wintery evening.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you want a thrilling read with a fast turning, twisting plot to keep you up at night urging you to read just one more chapter.

Author Biography

Paul Cleave
Paul Cleave

Paul is an award-winning author who divides his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where most of his novels are set, and Europe. He has won the New Zealand Ngaio Marsh Award three times, the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year award in France, and has been shortlisted for the Edgar and the Barry in the US and the Ned Kelly in Australia. His books have been translated into over twenty languages. He’s thrown his frisbee in over forty countries, plays tennis
badly, golf even worse, and has two cats – which is often two too many.


Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulCleave, and his website: paulcleave.com.

Thank you Random Thing Tours and Orenda Books for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Review: The Woman in the Wood by M.K Hill

Autumn has arrived here in Yorkshire and the evenings are drawing in earlier now we are in September. This is the perfect time to turn to thrilling reads, and with the title The Woman in the Wood and intriguing blurb, M.K Hill’s latest novel promised to be just that. Scroll down to see if it fulfilled my expectations.

Book Review: The Woman in the Woods by M.K Hill

The Woman in the Wood by M.K Hill

Title: The Woman in the Wood

Author: M.K Hill

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Genre: Thriller

Release Date: 4th March 2021

Blurb

A reality TV star becomes a suspect in an Essex murder case in the sharp, funny and moving new thriller from M.K. Hill.


Three years ago, Danny ‘Abs’ Cruikshank, star of reality show Laid in Essex!, was living the dream. And then, on the night of the party, everything changed. It was supposed to be an intimate weekend gathering. Just a few close friends in a remote cottage in Wales. But after a night of heavy drinking in the village pub, a local girl was reported missing,
presumed dead. Abs and his friends had been the last to see her alive.


No-one was ever charged, but the controversy destroyed Abs’s career. So now, three years later, the celebrity who once captured the heart of millions is opening Southend’s new branch of Quidstore. And then one of Abs’s mates is murdered. Does someone know what really happened that night in Wales?


DI Sasha Dawson and her team must race against the clock to find the killer before they strike again –
but first she must discover what happened to Rhiannon Jenkins on the night she vanished. Will the
truth set Abs free? Or bury him?

My Thoughts

The premise of this novel surrounds an ex-reality T.V star Abs, who is famous for his appearance on Laid in Essex, which is similar to a series we all know with a similar name, and what someone will do to make sure the secrets of the night a woman disappeared are never revealed. A murder of his friend triggers an investigation led by Sasha Dawson. As a central protagonist, I found her character intriguing and wanted to know more which is always good in a crime series because it meant not only did I keep turning the page to follow this investigation, I’ve added the previous book to my TBR and intend to keep an eye out for the next to see how the dynamics of her team and family relations develop with time. Abs was not an easy character to warm to, but I found it fascinating to see how he coped with his downfall from being a star and at times felt pity for him with his constant belief he could return to stardom. It is through his eyes we discover what happened in the past with his friends in the woods; the deeper I got into the mystery, the more I needed to know who did it and what exactly they did. I didn’t get much sleep when the pace picked up, events turned darker and I headed to the conclusion which I would never have guessed.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a strong, dark crime novel with many twists, well-developed characters and personalities throughout using the desire for fame as a backdrop.  Sasha Dawson is a detective to follow and I could easily see this adapted to television.

Author Biography

M.K Hill

Mark Hill was a journalist and an award-winning music radio producer before becoming a full-time writer.
The first novel in the Sasha Dawson series, The Bad Place, was described as ‘everything a police procedural should be’ by The Times, who also named it as their Crime Book of the Month. He lives in London.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Other blogs on the tour

Book Review: Miniskirts are Murder by Des Burkinshaw

I’m pleased to share my review for Miniskirts are Murder by Des Burkinshaw. This is the second investigation with Porter and The Gliss who I discovered during the Dead and Talking blog tour a couple of years ago. It is an investigative series with a difference so I was thrilled to be asked to catch up with the characters again by Rachel’s Random Resources.

Miniskirts are Murder by Des Burkinshaw

Title: Miniskirts are Murder: A Porter & The Gliss investigation: Book 2

Author: Des Burkinshaw

Publisher: magnificent!

Genre: General fiction, paranormal

Release date: 14th March 2021

Blurb

Porter Norton, his friends and his sarcastic spirit guide, The Gliss, are on the trail of a young actress who went missing in Soho, London, in the Swinging Sixties. Still recovering from their last adventure in the battlefields of WW1, the gang are confronted by a transatlantic conspiracy.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miniskirts-are-Murder-investigation-Investigations-ebook/dp/B08THXTBGB  

US – https://www.amazon.com/Miniskirts-are-Murder-investigation-Investigations-ebook/dp/B08THXTBGB

My Thoughts

I fell in love with the Porter, The Gliss and others in Dead and Talking so it was a joy to catch up with them again. This book had a different feel to the previous one as it leapt from bringing justice for soldiers from the First World War to digging into a missing person’s case from the 1960s. The Gliss took a back seat as the talents of the other four characters stepped forward to solve the case and I missed him. He is there with his sarcastic humour but there is less supernatural this time for him to get his teeth into (if he had any). That said, this case allowed the friendships between the members of the unlikely team to grow and the reader to discover more about them. Each one has their own issues to contend with and by coincidence, these themes fit with the recent events trying to make streets safer for women, the #MeToo and the Black Lives Matter protests. The people who the team meet highlight the racism and misogyny rampant in the 60s and how it is still seen today.

There is humour throughout the narrative and banter between the character’s which breaks up the complex storyline that twists and turns. This global investigation deals with the era of spies, the Cold War, gangsters and the film industry, so there are many threads to keep the reader guessing.

This novel could be read as a standalone because there is a comprehensive recap at the beginning, but I would recommend you read the first one for the joy of it.

Would I recommend?

It is a highly enjoyable, topical read from a talented author with memorable characters. Like Dead and Talking, I can imagine it would translate well to the screen.

Author Biography

Des Burkinshaw

Des, 52, is a former Times journalist/BBC TV producer. Miniskirts are Murder is the second in the Porter and The Gliss Investigations series, following Dead & Talking in 2019.
Des likes to live out as much of the stories as possible and spent 3 months in the US researching this novel. He runs a film school in London and has just been commissioned to write a limited season TV series intended for Netflix. He is also a keen musician and through work has jammed with people like Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson and Jeff Lynne. He is married with 1 daughter.

Social Media Links

www.desburkinshaw.com  

twitter.com/DesBurkinshaw,

facebook as Des Burkinshaw 

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and take care!

Love

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Other blog’s on this tour

Book Review: Crossing the Line by Isabella Muir

I am pleased to share my review for Crossing the Line by Isabella Muir. This is my second book I have read by this author. The review for The Forgotten Children can be found here

Book Review: Crossing the Line by Isabella Muir

Crossing the Line

Crossing the Line by Isabella Muir

 

Title: Crossing the Line (A Giuseppe Bianchi mystery Book 1)

Author: Isabella Muir

Publisher: Outset Publishing for Sussex Crime and Mysteries

Genre: Crime

Release Date: 1st July 2020

Purchase: Amazon

 

Blurb:

 

Tragic accident or cold-blooded murder?

Retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, travels to England to escape one tragic death, when he comes face-to-face with another. When the body of a teenager is found on a Sussex beach, Giuseppe is drawn to the case – a case with no witnesses, and a case about which no one is prepared to talk.
 
National news reports of a missing twelve-year-old in Manchester spark fear across the nation. The phrase ‘stranger-danger’ filters into public consciousness. Local reporter, Christina Rossi, already has concerns about her local community. Families are not as close-knit as they first appear.
 
As the sea mist drifts in and darkness descends, can Giuseppe and Christina discover the truth and prevent another tragedy?
 

My Thoughts

There is something nice about curling up with a crime novel which is on the gentle side, they are compelling and urge you to solve the crime without providing the horror and grit which can leave you uneasy. This novel filled that expectation with an Agatha Christie/Heartbeat type crime and conclusion. 

 Based in the 1960s in Eastbourne, it was a joy to read the description of the era when life was at a slower pace. Isabella Muir captures the time perfectly, making it easy to slip into the story with the Beatles on the radio and the news of JFK’s assassination still fresh in people’s minds. It follows an intriguing Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, who I loved. He has a backstory I long to know more of and a calm, knowledgeable personality making him the ideal person to notice things others have missed. Together with his junior reporter, Christina Rossi, they set out to investigate the death of a young boy, George. The suspects all have secrets leading you to question who had done what as the story twisted and turned. I guessed some twists, but it did not stop me enjoying this adventure. 

The dynamics of Giuseppe Bianchi and his cousin’s family, the Rossi’s were complex and made me feel this is much to discover about them in the upcoming series. For these characters alone, I am putting the next books on my TBR list. The death of George was the thread holding the story together, but I felt it was not in the plot’s forefront as I expected but the novel is about the detective himself which made it a delightful read.  

 

Would I recommend?

If you are a fan of gentle crime novels in the vein of Agatha Christie, you are in for a treat. The seaside location makes it an ideal holiday read even if you are stuck at home. I am looking forward to the next ones in the series. 


Author Biography:

 

the forgotten isabella muir

Isabella Muir

 

Isabella Muir has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

As well as her newest title, The Forgotten Children, Isabella is the author of the Sussex Crime Mystery series.  These Agatha Christie style stories are set in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke, who has a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMuirAuthor/

https://twitter.com/SussexMysteries

https://isabellamuir.com/

 

Thank you The Fiction Cafe Book Club for giving me an advanced copy to review. 

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: A Cornish Affair by Jo Lambert

Book Review: A Cornish Affair by Jo Lambert

The children have broken up from school and people are heading off to their summer holidays which makes it a perfect time to read coastal books. I love the Cornish coast line so I could not resist reading this debut by Jo Lambert, A Cornish Affair. Thank you Rachel, Jo Lambert and Ruby Fiction for inviting me to this tour and an advanced copy so I could give my honest, unbiased review.

Book Review: A Cornish Affair by Jo Lambert

Cornish Affair - cover shot

A Cornish Affair by Jo Lambert

Title: A Cornish Affair

Author: Jo Lambert

Publisher: Ruby Fiction

Genre: Women’s fiction, crime

Release date: 18th June 2019

Blurb

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cornish-Affair-Jo-Lambert-ebook/dp/B07S4M3JNC

US – https://www.amazon.com/Cornish-Affair-Jo-Lambert-ebook/dp/B07S4M3JNC

My Thoughts

When you can’t go on holiday, books are an ideal way of having a break without leaving the duvet. I enjoyed my time at Carrenporth.  Jo Lambert’s description of the landscape and settings made it is easy to imagine being there walking along the beach or being a guest at the hotel watching the attraction between the main characters, Cat Trevelyan and Luke Carrick grow. At times the amount of detail slowed the pace but the dynamic between Cat and Luke kept the story moving forward. Once the secrets and rumours surfaced I needed to know more.

For someone as young as she is, Cat is a determined strong character who knows her own mind and not easily swayed by gossip and others which is crucial when faced with the gossip surrounding Luke. All the characters, even the minor ones are well-developed which allows the twists to be believable when revealed .

Predominantly a romance, this novel stands apart from the other summer reads with the thread of family secrets, discrimination and scandal to keep you turning the page.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a good holiday read for those who enjoy a romance with a difference.

Author Biography

A Cornish Affair Photo

Author Jo Lambert

Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.  She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in West Somerset, was followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain followed in 2017,

In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall, has just been published. Jo is currently working on another coastal romance, this time set in South Cornwall.

When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog.  Jo loves travel, red wine and rock music and she often takes the odd photograph or two.

Social Media Links –

Website: http://jolambertbooks.com

Blog: http://jolambertwriter.blog

Twitter: @jolambertwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolambert185

Linkedin: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jo-lambert-6 4644530

Instagram: jolambertwriter185

What books are on your holiday reading list? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love

 

Book Review: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

I am pleased to start this week with a review for The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas. As many of you know I love books about the supernatural so I was excited to be given the chance to be on this blog tour organised by @rararesources

Book Review: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

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The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

Title: The House of Secrets (The Sarah Bennett Mysteries, Book 2)

Author: Terry Lynn Thomas

Genre: paranormal crime

Publisher: HQ Digital

Release Date: 11th April 2019

Blurb

Sarah Bennett has two secrets: she sees ghosts, and she is in love with a spy.

When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her.

As Sarah struggles to cope with the ghostly presence, she runs into Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is recovering from injuries suffered in an alleged accident. But Zeke has secrets of his own, and when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead.

Unsure who she can trust, Sarah must solve the mystery of the soul determined to haunt her, and save Dr Geisler and herself from an unknown threat.

This book was previously published as WEEPING IN THE WINGS

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

Purchase News: The House of Secrets is 99p throughout June as part of the June Kindle Monthly deal. The Spirit of Grace, book 1 in the series is also 99p throughout June.

My Thoughts

The opening scene grabbed my attention but the verdict of Sarah’s father murder trial clinched it, I knew I would like this book . The House of Secrets is the second in the Sarah Bennett series but it can be read as a standalone. It does make you curious about Sarah Bennett’s and Zeke’s back story which is why the previous one The Spirit of Grace is on my TBR list . The premise of a psychic protagonist investigating crime is not unique but set in the 1940s  the threat of being admitted to an asylum is ever present adding to the overall tension. Sarah is haunted by the past but determined not to sucked under by the spirits she hears or the gossip that follows her.

The prose and imagery made it a relaxing read and reminded me of the Agatha Christie Mysteries but with ghosts which I think is a wonderful combination. I was immersed in the working of the Geisler household and its occupants. It has been converted into an institute for psychiatric patients but with Dr Geisler’s interest in the occult some are also believed to have psychic abilities. Minna is a classic damsel in distress from a Gothic novel and was fun to read but my favourite character was sophisticated Cynthia. I would love to read about her and hope she plays apart in any future books. All the characters including Dr Gleiser have an air of secrecy about them and I felt any of them could prove to be Sarah’s undoing. Like Sarah I was unsure who to trust and where the story would go.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this a refreshing, cosy read for lazy days on the beach, Sunday mornings or hiding under the duvet. I am looking forward to reading more of the series and other books by Terry Lynn Thomas.

Author Biography

The House of Secrets Headshot

Author Terry Lynn Thomas

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/TLThomasBooks

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources, and HQ Digital for allowing me to read this book for an honest review. For more information and reviews on The House Of Secret why not visit the other blogs on the tour.

I love ghostly reads so feel free to share your recommendations below and if you have read this series please let me know your thoughts.

Happy Reading !

Love

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Other blogs on this tour