#BookReview: The Murder House (DCI Matilda Darke #5) by Michael Wood @0neMoreChapter_ #TheMurderHouse #DCIMatildaDarke #damppebbles

the murder house“They were the perfect family. It was the perfect crime.

It’s the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen…

The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride’s entire family are stabbed to death – in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined.

Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda’s team, someone is playing games with the evidence – and the killer might be closer to home than they thought…”

Hello and a very warm welcome to the blog today. I am delighted to be sharing my review of the latest book in one of my must-read crime series, The Murder House by Michael Wood. The Murder House is the fifth book in Wood’s DCI Matilda Darke series and was published in digital format by One More Chapter on 31st January. The paperback will be available to purchase in the Spring on 19th March. I received a free eARC copy of The Murder House which has in no way influenced my review.

There is nothing I love more than a bloody good police procedural. And The Murder House was exactly that. Bloody and good! I have been eagerly waiting for Darke’s return as I have enjoyed all of her previous investigations (although I must confess I am still to read For Reasons Unknown – the first book in the series – which sits patiently on my Kindle waiting for me). If you’re a fan of detective fiction then I highly recommend you check out the whole series as every book Wood writes tops the last. AND you’ll need to read them quickly as book six in the series – Stolen Children – will be published later this year!

The Murder House is a brilliant addition to the series and one that, on those occasions when I did have to put the book down and do ‘life’, I was really keen to return to. I’ll tell you a little secret but you have to keep it to yourself. When I started reading The Murder House I was really struggling with a bit of a reading slump. By the end, my love, passion and enthusiasm for reading and for books had returned. So thank you Michael Wood and Matilda for reminding me how utterly engrossing a book can be.

This is Matilda and the team’s most disturbing crime scene to date which I know will raise a flag for some readers. I am aware many people don’t enjoy blood, guts and gore in their fiction (not me, I should add). If you are a little squeamish then please don’t worry. There are a couple of references to the scene and the damage done but it’s not over the top. If anything, I actually expected there to be more blood spilt and more gore after reading the blurb!

This book can be read as a standalone despite being the fifth book in the series. The author expertly fills in many of the gaps for new readers and explains the significance of sub-plots along the way. However, there are mentions of past characters which will pique your curiosity so it may be better to start at the beginning of the series, rather than with book five. The team have been through an AWFUL LOT together (five books worth now!) and not everything can be recapped along the way. If you want to see the whole picture then start at the beginning. If you’re happy to be left wondering on a couple of teeny tiny points then dive straight in with The Murder House.

Sometimes when you read a book the characters are great but the plot isn’t so much. Or vice versa, the plot is brilliant but the characters… Wood has produced a series where both character and plot are outstanding. I adore the characters in this series and have a bit of a girl crush on DCI Matilda Darke. The other supporting characters are all well written, particularly Sian and Christian. The sub-plots involving Scott’s inner struggle to be accepted and the continuation of the Carl Meagan storyline added to the primary investigation.

Would I recommend this book? I would, absolutely. I would recommend the entire series. If you’re a fan of crime fiction and you haven’t met DCI Darke and her team yet then that needs to change. You can thank me later! The ending of this book was hold-your-breath tense and I loved it. The twists and turns keep coming right up to the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed The Murder House and I’m counting down the days until the next book in the series is released.

I received a free eARC of The Murder House. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

My reviews of the other books in the series: | Outside Looking InA Room Full of KillersThe Hangman’s Hold |

The Murder House by Michael Wood was published in the UK by One More Chapter on 31st January 2020 and is available in digital format with the paperback to follow in March (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depository |

about-the-author3

71KOZKetCmL._UX250_Michael Wood is a freelance journalist and proofreader living in Sheffield. As a journalist he has covered many crime stories throughout Sheffield, gaining first-hand knowledge of police procedure. He also reviews books for CrimeSquad, a website dedicated to crime fiction.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Never Look Back by A.L. Gaylin (@orionbooks) @Tr4cyF3nt0n #NeverLookBack #damppebbles

never look backShe was the most brutal killer of our time. And she may have been my mother…

When website columnist Robin Diamond is contacted by true crime podcast producer Quentin Garrison, she assumes it’s a business matter. It’s not. Quentin’s podcast, Closure, focuses on a series of murders in the 1970s, committed by teen couple April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy. It seems that Quentin has reason to believe Robin’s own mother may be intimately connected with the killings.

Robin thinks Quentin’s claim is absurd. But is it? The more she researches the Cooper/LeRoy murders herself, the more disturbed she becomes by what she finds. Living just a few blocks from her, Robin’s beloved parents are the one absolute she’s always been able to rely upon, especially now amid rising doubts about her husband and frequent threats from internet trolls. Robin knows her mother better than anyone.

But then her parents are brutally attacked, and Robin realises she doesn’t know the truth at all…”

Welcome to damppebbles and to my stop on the Never Look Back blog tour. Never Look Back is the latest release from the brilliant A.L. Gaylin and it will be available to purchase in paperback later this week (on the 6th February – mark it in your diaries!). If you can’t wait that long – and who could blame you, because it’s brilliant – then it’s currently available in all other formats.

It won’t surprise you to hear that I am a huge fan of A.L. Gaylin’s books. If Alison has written it, then I’ve probably purchased a copy without even reading the blurb. Yup – her books are THAT good. I’m not sure there are many other authors I could say that about. Never Look Back is a stellar addition to Gaylin’s catalogue and I savoured each and every moment of it.

Podcast creator Quentin Garrison is investigating a cold case. A mass killing spree carried out by two teenage lovers known as the Inland Empire Killers, in the late 70s. The terrifying spree finally halted by the death of killers April Cooper and her boyfriend, Gabriel LeRoy, in a fire. But Quentin has his own connection to the tragic events of all those years ago and he needs closure. When a brand new lead is handed to the podcast team, Quentin contacts website columnist Robin Diamond and puts a startling suggestion to her. Robin dismisses the claim as preposterous, but what follows will change their lives forever. How well do we really know those closest to us…?

This is another brilliant character-driven thriller from Gaylin. I was totally immersed in the story from the first page and I struggled to put the book down for any length of time. The first half to two-thirds of the book, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Then the story beds itself in and the pace slows a little but it was just as captivating, just as chilling and just as mesmerising as the beginning.

Told in dual timelines, we see how the accusations affect those involved in the present day. I often found myself asking, ‘how well do we really know the people we’re closest to?’. We also get to see life thorough April’s eyes via letters to her future daughter, Aurora Grace. After all, all April wants from life is to be a mother. Young April Cooper is by far the most fascinating character and despite reading this book a couple of weeks ago, I still think about her often. I really liked her (I am strange and it’s quite normal for me to like the villain in a book) but I also felt sorry for her.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, yes and yes again. I LOVED this book. A.L. Gaylin can do no wrong in my eyes. This is another stunning character-driven thriller which I flew through and have been recommending to everyone since. If you’re looking for a family-focussed suspense novel with secrets and lies galore then you should definitely give Never Look Back a go. After all, how can you resist that tagline…

Never Look Back MMP Blog Tour

about-the-author3

AL Gaylin

USA Today and International Best-selling author Alison Gaylin has been nominated for the Edgar four times. Most recently, her thriller IF I DIE TONIGHT, won the award in the category Best Paperback Original.

Her critically acclaimed suspense novels have been published in such countries as the U.K., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Japan and Romania.

She has won the Shamus and RT Reviewers Choice Awards for her books, and has been nominated for the ITW Thriller, Anthony and Strand Book Awards. Her books have been on the bestseller lists in the US, Germany and Belgium.  NEVER LOOK BACK (March, 2018 from William Morrow) is her eleventh book.

NORMANDY GOLD, the graphic novel she wrote with Megan Abbott, is out from Titan/Hard Case Crime in April, 2018.

Author Links: | Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: San Diego Dead (Jake Wolfe #4) by Mark Nolan (@marknolan) @cobaltdinosaur #SanDiegoDead #JakeWolfe #damppebbles

San-Diego-Dead-Kindle.jpg“Danger awaits Marine-turned-lawyer Jake Wolfe on his vacation to sunny San Diego and Cabo San Lucas. There he finds sugary white sand beaches, warm turquoise water, boat trips among gray whales, and … cold blooded murder.

It was meant to be a relaxing holiday for Jake and his adopted war dog, Cody, but violence erupts when he crosses paths with a criminal cartel urgently seeking to reclaim a deadly package.

Jake learns the missing item is a threat to US citizens and vows to stop the cartel from possessing it, no matter what vigilante justice actions he might have to take.

Time is running out and thousands of innocent lives are at risk. Will the two combat veterans be able to retrieve the dangerous item before the killers do? The clock is ticking, but Jake hopes that if anybody can help find the package, it has to be his highly-trained and ultra-intelligent dog, Cody.

Find out what happens next. Start reading the latest Jake and Cody thriller right now and enjoy another fast-paced stand-alone story by author Mark Nolan.”

Happy Monday bookish friends. I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to Ryan’s guest review of San Diego Dead by Mark Nolan. I think I need to pull my reviewer socks up because Ryan has featured his thoughts on damppebbles more than I have so far this year. 😂

Let’s find out what Ryan thought of book four in the Jake Wolfe series…

San Diego Dead is the fourth book in the Jake Wolfe series, but can easily be read as a standalone.  The author has done a good job of hinting at previous adventures without making the reader feel that they are missing a lot of important information.  The reader is very aware early in the story that Jake is capable of taking care of himself and turning bad guys into cadavers at an alarming rate. That Cody, his loyal war dog, is something different from your run-of-the-mill pooch and Jake’s relationship with Sarah isn’t going as well as it should.

What I loved about this book was that the characters are well formed and easy to get to know. We have a set of ‘good guys and gals’ and set of ‘bad guys and gals’ the lines are clear and you know where you stand with everyone pretty darn quickly. But….the action and the story line, WOW! It comes thick and fast with suspense, action, and twists galore.

Now reader, I must confess….I made a mistake with this book and I am still kicking myself.  In one scene the action came thick and fast, and I could see the twist coming so clearly.  It was too obvious that something heinous was about to happen and being able to see it coming from so far away frustrated me.  Mark Nolan’s clever writing had me convinced and I was frustrated because up until that scene I was really enjoying the book. But this was too obvious and too predictable so I put the Kindle down in a huff.  I didn’t pick it up again for 3 hours as I was so disheartened! But I just had to know if I was right, whether my mystic reader powers had forseen the future. Guess what? I was wrong. Very, very wrong!  With deft like skill and a subtle twist the author managed to totally flumox me (I quietly cursed the author for writing so well and for misleading me, sorry Mark!) and I got back on with reading this excellent book.

If you like action books then this is a series to definitely look in to.  Jake Wolfe is an all-action hero with a side kick in Cody worthy of being up there with Robin (Batman), Luigi (Mario) and the Brain (Pinky)!  Jake and Cody’s relationship is never in question and the theme of loyalty runs throughout the book in multiple story lines.  Whether Jake is after a friend, comforter, weapon or tracker then Cody is his answer.

I would happily recommend this San Diego Dead to anyone craving an action fix and I look forward to having time to dive into the previous books.  Mark Nolan’s writing carries enough twists, turns and action to keep everyone happy.

Ryan chose to read a free digital copy of San Diego Dead. The above review is his own unbiased opinion.

San Diego Dead by Mark Nolan was published in the UK on 28th August 2019 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, some of the following links* are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk* | amazon.com |

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about-the-author3

Mark NolanMark Nolan has spent much of his life near the seashore. He loves dogs and has often been called a “dog whisperer.” These interests are reflected in his novels where the main character lives on a boat with his highly intelligent former war dog.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | GoodreadsWebsite |

#R3COMM3ND3D2019 The After Show Party #BookBlogger #Author #Publishedin2019 #MustReadBooks #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #amreading #amreviewing

Slightly later than planned but here it is….

The #R3COMM3ND3D2019 After Show Party

If you’re new to the blog you may be wondering what #R3COMM3ND3D is, so allow me to explain. It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors and book bloggers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2019.

#R3COMM3ND3D2019 started with a bang on 1st November and 56 posts later, finished on 30th December. And I loved every minute of it. A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who took part, shared the #R3COMM3ND3D2019 book love, commented on the posts, retweeted or liked all things #R3COMM3ND3D2019 over on Facebook or Twitter. The 2019 edition was bigger than ever with more individual picks than in 2018 where SIX books came top with four votes each. This year there was one clear winner which received four votes making it the #R3COMM3ND3D2019 book of the year! But I won’t reveal which book that is just yet…

First, let’s gaze upon the beautiful #R3COMM3ND3D2019 covers in all their splendiferous glory. Aren’t they beautiful?! 😍🥰

A thing of beauty, I’m sure you will agree. If you took part in #R3COMM3ND3D2019 and the book(s) you chose aren’t here then please get in touch.

But let’s talk winners. There were NINE books with two votes each. They were…

There were two books with three votes each…

I am delighted to reveal the most recommended #R3COMM3ND3D2019 book with four votes is….

my lovely wife

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Congratulations to Samantha and the team at Penguin Books!

Have YOU read My Lovely Wife? What about the other top books of the year? How many do you have on your TBR?

We shouldn’t be wishing the year away but I cannot wait for #R3COMM3ND3D2020 to start on 1st November! The sign-up form will be available from June onwards so start making a note of those 2020 releases now 😉.

Once again. the biggest of thanks to all of the book bloggers and authors who took part in #R3COMM3ND3D2019 and whittled their favourite reads down to three (an impossible task, I know!). You make #R3COMM3ND3D such a fun feature to run ❤️.

#BookReview: The Other People by C.J. Tudor @MichaelJBooks #TheOtherPeople #damppebbles

the other people

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’

It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.

Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice . . .”

As far as most anticipated books go, The Other People is right up there teetering at the top of a fairly exclusive list. Newsflash people, I LOVE CJ TUDOR’S BOOKS. If you’re a regular reader of the blog then this may come as no surprise. Her first two releases – the blisteringly superb The Chalk Man, and the deliciously sublime The Taking of Annie Thorne both made my top books on the year list. No one writes like Caz Tudor – she’s in a league of her own. And if I haven’t convinced you to purchase The Other People (plus her back catalogue) in one short paragraph then I’m doing something wrong here. I might as well quit now 😂 (I’m not going to do that – just so you know.)

As soon as you start reading The Other People you know you’re in for one hell of a ride – quite literally! Up and down the M1 motorway. Gabe is a character that you can’t help but like. Tudor manages to make him thoroughly likeable despite his mounting flaws – something she has managed to achieve with all three of the male lead characters across her novels. Driving home one evening he spots a face he recognises in the car in front. It’s his young daughter, Izzy. He doesn’t recognise the car and Izzy should be at home with her mum. When the child mouthes the word ‘daddy’ Gabe is 100% sure it’s his daughter in the strange car. After that short fleeting glance, Gabe never sees his daughter again…

It’s not often you find a creepy, totally engrossing psychological suspense thriller set partly in a motorway service station. Necessary as they are, they’re not the most glamorous of locations but that was part of the appeal of this book for me. The setting and the set-up of the story was quite different to everything else I’ve read (please see previous comment about Caz Tudor being in a league of her own!). Tudor draws you into the story and makes you care about her characters with seemingly little effort. You also end up feeling that you don’t know half of what’s gone before, what’s happening behind the scenes, nor where you’ll end up heading as Gabe continues his search for Izzy. Other fascinating characters are brought into the mix; Fran and Alice who are running from something, Katie – the exhausted single mum of two who works every shift she can get at the service station. There’s the mysterious ‘Samaritan’ who ratches up the spooky factor ten-fold. Not forgetting the pale girl in the white room – what’s her role in all of this?

I spent a lot of time, whilst reading The Other People, trying to figure out how the different threads were connected. I was miles off. There was one aspect of the book I was able to guess in advance but I don’t think Ms Tudor will mind too much. Everything else came as a complete shock and left me reeling. And I loved it!

Would I recommend this book? One hundred per cent, yes! I can see it making an appearance on my top books of the year list (which will be the third year running for this author). If you haven’t experienced a CJ Tudor novel then that needs to change. The Other People is a stunning addition to this author’s body of work and I really can’t say it often enough, you need to read this book! Nerve-janglingly good, I was completely immersed in the story from start to finish. You’ll be reading through the night with this one.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Other People. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Other People by CJ Tudor was published in the UK by Michael Joseph Books on 23rd January 2020 and is available in hardcover, ebook and audio formats (with the paperback to follow in Summer 2020): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Goodreads |

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cj tudor

C. J. Tudor lives in Sussex, England with her partner and daughter.

Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voiceover and dog-walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much.

Five Reasons Why on A.I. with Heather Child | Author of Everything About You @Orbitbooks @Heatherika1 @Gambit589 #EverythingAboutYou #damppebbles

EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUTHINK TWICE BEFORE YOU SHARE YOUR LIFE ONLINE.

Freya has a new virtual assistant. It knows what she likes, knows what she wants and knows whose voice she most needs to hear: her missing sister’s. It adopts her sister’s personality, recreating her through a life lived online. But this virtual version of her sister knows things it shouldn’t be possible to know. It’s almost as if the missing girl is still out there somewhere, feeding fresh updates into the cloud. But that’s impossible. Isn’t it?”

Hello and happy Sunday! Welcome to damppebbles and to a brilliant promo post for Everything About You by Heather Child. I am delighted to be sharing the fifth and final reason why you will hand control over to AI. Just the idea of that sends shivers down my spine.

Let’s find out what the fifth and final reason is from Heather…

5 Reasons Why You’ll Hand Over Control to an AI – Reason Five

They can talk to the machines

As AIs get smarter and the advent of 5G makes our world even more ‘connected’, we’ll increasingly find our needs taken care of, but we’ll notice it less.

Nearly twenty years ago, internet founder Tim Berners-Lee predicted that “the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines.”

Imagine walking along the high street a few years from now. The virtual assistant living in your phone will prime your coffee shop to have the latte ready as you approach, then call an Uber, knowing a meeting is in your diary.

Fast forward to the future, and you might find your AI synchronising with your self-driving car, personalising the in-car entertainment, or interacting with stock market bots to make you rich.

In Everything About You, Freya’s virtual assistant synchronises with her fridge. Smart jewellery in contact with her skin tells the AI that she is stressed, so when she arrives home, the fridge is filled with little valium jellies.

Machines talk to machines, so that the world flexes around Freya, removing the need to think and plan.

Like so much in the book, it’s barely sci-fi. Google is already refining its Duplex technology, a natural voice AI that can make phone calls for you, arrange bookings at hairdressers and restaurants.

In the future, it will be bots answering these calls too, so there will be two big, separate conversations going on in the world: one between humans, and one between machines.

Thanks so much, Heather. The future of AI is both fascinating (the possibilities!) and also ever so slightly terrifying too! Or is that just me?!

Everything About You by Heather Child was published in the UK by Orbit on 21st February 2019 and is available in hardcover, paperback, ebook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.comWaterstonesFoyles | Goodreads |

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: The Lyme Regis Murders by Andrew Segal @HappyLDNpress @cobaltdinosaur #Giveaway #TheLymeRegisMurders #damppebbles

New FC Lyme RegisThree children found murdered on Lyme Regis beach.

A local reporter announces the horrific story, throwing the quiet town into turmoil at this shocking discovery.

Unused to dealing with murder on his peaceful seaside beat, the local Detective Chief Inspector has taken the easy option, pointing a finger at the step-father, Eric Goldcrest, as the only suspect directly linked to the children. 

But wealthy Goldcrest, now forced to leave the marital home by his hysterical wife and the constabulary’s suspicions, has gone to ground. The only person he can trust to prove his innocence is unconventional, Private Investigator, Tammy Pierre. But as the case gets more complicated, Tammy, uncovering new evidence becomes a target herself, when first subjected to a brutal knife attack, and then chased by three big SUVs aiming to force her off the road. She now realises the seriousness of the case as her life is at risk, but by whom? 

Possible suspects, Goldcrest’s business partners admit they hate the man for the past criminal gains he’s made at their expense. Could Tammy now be within their sights.

Fresh information has the town’s folk alarmed by news of the return, after twenty years in jail, of a convicted child rapist and murderer. Someone answering his description has been seen lurking in the back gardens of the Goldcrest children’s home late at night.

But the children’s murder is just the start, as killing follows killing and Tammy, still seeking to prove Goldcrest’s innocence, finds  herself groping for solutions in a nightmare of senseless slaughter. 

Might revenge be the motive? Or is there something far more sinister happening? The Lyme Regis Murders will keep you riveted to the end.

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Once again, I am handing the keys (and perhaps the title deeds too seeing as I haven’t written a review in the last two months) over to my guest reviewer, Ryan, who is sharing his thoughts on Andrew Segal’s The Lyme Regis Murders for the blog tour.

Over to you, Ryan…

I am not sure anyone reads crime books unless they want to play at being a secret sleuth.  You may not announce to the rest of the bus that you think it was Eric Goldcrest, or tell the office that you think the recently released prisoner is the chief suspect.  But I think we all do it.  And if you do it with this book you are going to name a lot of potential suspects!  Andrew Segal does a good job of swinging suspects into view and teasing a little bit of motive or evidence right in front of you, before taking the story off in another direction.

Now I can tell you, honestly that my guess was correct (one of my 8 guesses that is!) so I was pretty pleased with myself.  Not for my skills in detection but for my career choice of not becoming a policeman!  Based on this evidence there would be a lot of innocent people locked up if I were in the constabulary!

There are multiple storylines running through this book; predominantly the murders of three innocent children and the growing body count on the Jurassic coastline, but also the protection job Tammy Pierre has been recruited for and the turmoil that is Tammy’s private life.  Tammy has a lot going on. From a case with many suspects but few leads, through to death threats about the protection job she has been contracted to take. Tammy is a strong female lead; clever, persuasive, undecided on all of life’s big decisions and about to have a massive period of self-doubt.  Can she really solve the murder before the police do and protect her client?  Can she save herself and her overseas client who needs to be protected? And can she really do all this whilst having a stable home life?

I enjoyed Tammy as a character. The constant activity felt draining and as the book progresses, you see Tammy start to feel the pace and become irritable and less rational in her actions and responses.  I felt this characterisation was done well and it was easy to like Tammy even if you didn’t agree with her choices.

Eric Goldcrest is a character that is easy to hate. Brash, arrogant and generally loathsome with a penchant for double crossing his friends and colleagues.  But would he go low enough to kill the children? Why’s he running and what is he hiding from?

Whether you want good or evil, trained or incompetent, suspicious or apparently law abiding there is a character here that you will love or loathe.  The ending of the book is clever with an unexpected twist. The murders keep coming throughout the book and the constant turmoil and exhaustion will surely take their toll on something, but who will still be there come the final pages?

I enjoyed this book by Andrew Segal and would recommend it to anyone looking for a character driven and suspicion filled read!

Ryan chose to read and review a free digital copy of The Lyme Regis Murders. The above review is his own unbiased opinion.

Giveaway:
One of three signed hardback copies of THE LYME REGIS MURDERS with a personal letter from the author

To Win:
Click the link, answer the questions and include the code DP2271 with your final answer: https://www.happylondonpress.com/blogtourprizes

Terms and Conditions:
Entry to the competitions is restricted to one entry per person please.
Multiple entries will be disqualified.
Automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries will be disqualified!
Competitions are open to Blog Tour readers only – so your book will arrive quickly and safely.
Prizes can only be sent via a valid email address – for the 3 books we will notify you by email to arrange a suitable postal address to send your prize.
Winners will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
Winners will be contacted via email.
The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to.
The competition will run from January 1st until 14th February 2020.
Winners will be notified after 14th February by email.
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Our policy is such that we will not pass on your details to any third party without your prior consent.

The Lyme Regis Murders by Andrew Segal was published in the UK by Happy London Press on 1st September 2019 and is available in hardcover and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.com | Kobo |

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about-the-author3

andrew12Andrew Segal is a prolific author with books ranging from rhyming kids’ stories through ‘The Hamilton Conspiracy’ to this series of fascinating thrilling short stories. His ‘day job’ provides the basis for many entertaining tales, and his imagination conjures characters and situations that will leave you eager to read more.

An idea for the first short story came out of the blue, (don’t they often?), and witnessed the production of the somewhat surreal, ‘Cat and Mouse,’ duly presented to wife and daughter, his sternest critics, for approval, which having thus been gained, resulted in Andrew joining a writer’s group.  The success of that first foray into the world of writing encouraged Andrew to write further, with the group clamouring for more each week.

Andrew finds inspiration for many of his stories in real life events. His story, ‘The Leopard,’ relates to an appalling event involving a family member when they were just 6 years old, and already showing signs of leadership skills.

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Operation Large Scotch: O.L.S. by Bill Flockhart #OperationLargeScotch #OLS @cobaltdinosaur #damppebbles #bookreview

OLS“Fearing the Good Friday Agreement will effectively end the lifestyle his IRA terrorist cell has enjoyed for years, Michael Caldwell the leader of the 1972 Club (named after the Bloody Sunday Massacre) decides to turn his attention to targeting the UK Government economically. He launches an attack threatening to bomb the Scotch whisky industry unless the British Government pay the terrorists a £20m ransom.

Armitage Brown, Assistant Controller of MI5 is given the task of stopping the terrorist attack but is unable to get any information on the assailants as to how, where and when they are going to deploy their explosives if their demands are not met. He co-ordinates a strategy, using all the emergency services, to thwart the terrorists under the code name ‘Operation Large Scotch.’

Both the military and the intelligence services have been guilty of murderous acts going back over the previous eighteen years. John Johnston, a young Ulsterman, living thousands of miles away in South Africa, is determined to get revenge for the killing of his father in Belfast. With the assistance of Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service he releases information that will haunt both the British Military establishment and the terrorists.

Will MI5 succeed in preventing mayhem in various towns around Scotland?”

Hello! Long time, no see. Officially I’m not here. If you saw my end of year post which featured my top 10-ish books of 2019 you may remember me mentioning the fourteen reviews I had yet to write. I have good news – those fourteen reviews are now SIXTEEN reviews (which means I’ve read another two books since that post was published – good news, right?!). Yes, despite my best-laid plans I have failed. But the good news is Ryan, my guest reviewer (and husband), is keeping the damppebbles ship afloat and today he’s reviewing Operation Large Scotch: O.L.S. by Bill Flockhart for the blog tour. Let’s find out what he thought…

Let’s start with the big news, Operation Large Scotch: O.L.S. is an easy to read thriller that pulls you in from the early chapters and flies along at a great pace. The author has been very clever in limiting the number of characters to avoid confusing side plots and making it very clear from the start who the bad guys are. I love the books where the reader gets to see what both sides are doing and how far away the police/MI5 are from solving the mystery.

You follow the story wondering how anyone on the MI5 side is going to move from being in the dark to figuring out how to progress, and you watch the dissident IRA cell plot atrocities in cunning ways. Set in Antrim, Scotland and South Africa the story moves across multiple years and locations and manages to carry real peril throughout the story.  I can do it no higher praise than say that it would not have surprised me to see “elements of this book were based on real events” in the epilogue.

Michael Caldwell, the leader of the dissident IRA cell is a main character in the book and is clearly drawn by the author. Bill Flockhart has a knack of drawing characters in just the right level of detail. He shows the human side of characters on both sides of the story, combined with a strong storyline which has led to a great book with action, emotion and suspense.

If you are looking for a book to fly through with strong characters then this is a must-consider.  I can’t wait to see if Bill Flockhart writes a second.

Ryan received a free digital copy of Operation Large Scotch: O.L.S. The above review is his own unbiased opinion.

Operation Large Scotch: O.L.S. by Bill Flockhart was published in paperback and ebook formats on 11th December 2017 (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.com |

about-the-author3

bill-flockhart‘Operation Large Scotch’ is my first book and at my age (71) possibly my last. it reflects on my life in many respects having worked in a distillery in my early working life before digressing into financial services.

My interests are sport (especially golf, swimming and basketball, (the latter through my two sons who played at international level) and current affairs in our ever changing world.

I have always enjoyed a challenge, which producing a book has certainly proved to be, but I would recommend writing to the retired population as it certainly keeps your brain active.

Two years after publishing ‘operation large scotch’ I am delighted to release my second novel ‘She’s Not a Lovely Girl’ which is a sequel to my first book. I only hope it gives everyone the pleasure ‘O.L.S.’ did judging by the favourable reviews it received.

The #damppebbles Top Ten (sort of!) of 2019 #amreading #amreviewing #amblogging #Bestof2019 #TopReadsof2019 #BookRecommendations #bookblogger

Hello dear book friends and welcome to one of my very favourite posts of the year! As it’s the last day of 2019 I wanted to share my top reads of the year with you before we welcome the New Year with open arms and raised glasses. It’s also a very good opportunity to thank you for your support this year. When I first started damppebbles nearly FOUR years ago I had no idea the impact it would have on my life. Reading has always been my passion but I’ve never really discussed books with other people (mainly because I didn’t know anyone who was as keen on reading and books as I was!). The book community welcomed me with open arms and I am truly grateful for that every day. Thank you for following my blog and being interested in my bookish thoughts. I expected maybe ten or so people to follow damppebbles (and I would have been incredibly happy with that) but to have over 120 x that many followers is just mind-blowing. Thank you, thank you and thank you again.

I will be taking a step back from blogging next year. I have been suffering from a small reading slump recently and it’s taking me a couple of weeks to read one book. That wouldn’t be so bad if I were then finding the time to review the book immediately afterwards. But I’m not. Currently, I have fourteen reviews to write and I can’t seem to find the time, the words or the drive to write them. So I’m removing the pressure and not giving myself any deadlines for the foreseeable future. I hope you understand. I do plan on returning but not for a few months.

If you’re a book blogger and part of the damppebbles blog tours family then fear not! I will be in touch with more glorious books for you soon. My blogging break will not affect DBT in the slightest and I plan to continue being your Fairy BookMother long into the future. If you’re a book blogger and you’re NOT part of damppebbles blog tours then here’s your chance to sign up! Plus if you sign up, follow me on Twitter and retweet this tweet then your name will be entered into the draw to win a small book haul worth £20 from Book Depository (giveaway is international but Book Depository must ship to you – ends 00:00 GMT 31st January 2020). If you tag four book blogger friends as well you’ll get a bonus entry. And don’t forget to have a peek at the damppebbles blog tours page over on the blog and see if anything takes your fancy.

Anyway, I digress. We’re here for my top books of the year post and not my Oscars acceptance speech, lol!

My top ten books of 2019 list is actually eleven books long but I’m hoping no one notices. Previously I’ve made it a strange rule to not include a book that’s due to be published in the following year. But I realise now that that’s just pure CRAZY. After all, I’m unlikely to go back two years to compile my ‘end of the year’ books list. So that stops right here, right now. What makes it even more iffy is that I haven’t written a review for the 2020 release I’m going to feature in this list yet. Yup – it’s one of the fourteen….

So in no particular order unless otherwise stated, here are my favourite reads of 2019…

the hunting party

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely.  Without a moment’s hesitation.  It’s creepy and claustrophobic with a brilliant ending.  It’s a perfect example of the books I love to read.  A great page-turner of a book with intriguing characters, a fabulous remote setting and shedloads of suspicion and suspense.  More please! Highly recommended.
My Review of The Hunting Party

the good daughter

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
This book really is something quite special.  I was completely emotionally involved with it from start to finish and savoured every single word of The Good Daughter.  I didn’t want it to end and could have happily read another 500 pages or so.  There are so many brilliant moments within the story; young Charlotte’s palpable fear and indecision when the moment to escape comes – leaving her older sister to certain death, the wonderful twist fairly early on in the book that you just don’t see coming, the relationship between Charlotte and her father, when Lenore, Rusty’s secretary’s, story is revealed to the reader.  So many fantastic little touches that when added together make something truly magnificent.  It’s also very dark with a number of terrifying and upsetting scenes.
My Review of The Good Daughter

Wilderness_25

Wilderness by B.E. Jones
I loved this book.  It’s the first book I’ve read by B.E. Jones but I can safely say that it won’t be the last.  Boy, can this author write a dark and dangerous character!  If you’re a regular visitor to the blog then you will know that I am a sucker for characters.  The plot and the setting (which are both brilliant in this novel, by the way)  can be ‘okay’ providing the characters stand tall and leap from the page.  I want living breathing people who make me feel something – that’s not asking too much, is it?  Wilderness is a cracking example of exactly how to write incredible, believable characters and also tick the all-important plot and setting boxes with confidence and flair!  I absolutely loved Liv.  I’m still not entirely sure I was supposed to love her as she’s very much a character on the edge.  But hey, I do like a dark undertone and it’s often the more complex creations who appeal to me more!
My Review of Wilderness

the whisper man

The Whisper Man by Alex North
You need this book in your life.  It’s brilliantly creepy, edgy and chock full of surprises.  I was totally smitten from the moment I read the first page.  The characters are outstanding, the plot hooks you in in a matter of minutes and the writing is just sublime.  Not forgetting the seemingly-quaint yet overwhelmingly sinister setting of Featherbank.  This book has definitely left its mark on me.  I loved it and it’s going to take something extra special to knock it off the top spot.
My Review of The Whisper Man

the taking of annie thorne

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor
Would I recommend this book? Most definitely and I suggest if you haven’t read The Chalk Man you download that too.  I’m a huge fan of horror/crime crossover novels and this one is another to add to the favourites list.  Tudor’s writing is sublime and before you know it hours have passed and you’ve forgotten to pick the kids up from school (that didn’t happen…honest!).  Deliciously creepy, totally addictive and the type of book I want to read over and over again.  Don’t miss out on this exceptional book!
My Review of The Taking of Annie Thorne

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Bird Box by Josh Malerman
I devoured this book in a few short hours. I very occasionally say it doesn’t take me long to read a book (more often than not it takes me AGES as I’m a slow reader for a book blogger) but this is by far my quickest read in a long time. I could not put this book down and I flew through the pages like my life depended on it. I was mesmerised by Malorie’s incredible story and wanted to see what was going to happen but also savour my time with this courageous woman struggling through an unimaginable scenario. The publishers say this book will haunt you long after reading and they are so right. I’m traumatised by Bird Box and I love it! If you haven’t watched the film but you have a vague idea of the concept then you must read this book. I don’t think you truly ‘get it’ until you’re living it with Malorie and the children. Oh my gosh, it’s buried deep down in my soul. Absolutely superb!
My Review of Bird Box

blood song

Blood Song (Roy & Castells #3) by Johana Gustawsson
I can’t quite put into words how special these books are and how talented Johana Gustawsson, and the translators (in this case David Warriner), are. Some writers tell you a story, while others take you on a journey and that’s exactly what Gustawsson does in her novels. There is always a historical element to her stories and it’s always something that will make you stop and think. In Blood Song the story jumps from Franco’s Spain in the 1930s to the present day with spine chilling effect. At times, I was wondering what the connection would be. How the past and the present would collide. Then all the perfectly placed pieces fall into place and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
My Review of Blood Song

soon

Soon by Lois Murphy
This is a truly captivating novel which drew me in from start to finish. The unease and the uncertainty the author creates is a joy to read and I savoured every single second of this book. I was right there at the heart of Nebulah with the characters as they realised the sun would set soon and they were rapidly running out of time… It’s a beautifully written piece of fiction where everything works perfectly; the place, the characters, the gripping plot and of course, the terrifying mist. I wanted to return to this book again and again to get my next Nebulah fix.
My Review of Soon

the last widow

The Last Widow (Will Trent #9) by Karin Slaughter
When you first start this book you have no idea what sort of ride you’re going to be taken on or even what to expect.  All I’ll say is get comfy and buckle your seatbelt as it’s gonna get bumpy! Sara and Will are thrown head first into the darkest reaches of humanity, layer upon layer of the worst humankind has to offer, which can make for uncomfortable reading at times.  The author builds the story in the most marvellous way and I was completely entranced by Slaughter’s writing and her characters, as well as frequently appalled too.
My Review of The Last Widow

the guest list.jpg

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
I haven’t actually written my review of The Guest List yet but after reading the brilliant The Hunting Party I was keen to get stuck into this one. Oh.My.Gosh! If you enjoyed The Hunting Party you are going to love The Guest List. Quite possibly the biggest book hangover I have ever had. Get it pre-ordered as it will be released in February 2020!

And my book of 2019 is…

black summer

Black Summer (Washington Poe #2) by M.W. Craven
Oh.My.Goodness.  I have been waiting some time (…a year, maybe?) for this second Washington Poe novel and it was absolutely outstanding!  I would even go as far as saying it’s better than the brilliant The Puppet Show, which is no mean feat!  I couldn’t put it down, nor did I want to.  Every spare moment, no matter how small, was dedicated to reading this utterly marvellous book.  I am addicted to Tilly and Poe.  You’d be crazy to not get yourself a copy of this book, which can be read as a standalone, but why would you buy just one when you can also immerse yourself in the superb The Puppet Show as well!
My Review of Black Summer

So many absolutely outstanding books. If you’re a crime or horror fan then I heartily recommend you add all of these cracking titles to your TBR. I’ve had an incredible bookish year and I cannot thank the brilliant authors and publishers enough. I’ve read so many standout novels this year that it’s been tough to whittle it down. I cannot wait to see what 2020 brings.

I couldn’t sign off without sharing my favourite bookish photo of 2019 which was taken at Harrogate and features my #blogbestie, Jo of My Chestnut Reading Tree along with superstar authors Peter Swanson and M.W. Craven. I love this photo and it always makes me smile.

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Have an incredible New Year, bookish lovelies, and I will see you on the other side. I’ll be sharing my #R3COMM3ND3D2019 After-Show Party post in the next week or so, so keep an eye out for that. I’m really looking forward to revealing the most recommended book of 2019 as chosen by 57 book bloggers and authors. Wishing you a New Year filled with everything you could hope for. Lots of love, Emma @damppebbles x

 

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2019 with #BookBlogger Eva (@noveldeelights) #NovelDeelights #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #Publishedin2019

Happy Monday! I think it’s Monday anyway. I’m going to run with it until told otherwise, lol! In truth, it could be ANY day of the week post-Christmas. I hope you had a good weekend and that you have exciting plans in store for the week ahead. Today is a little special for me. Today is the last #R3COMM3ND3D post of 2019. It’s been an absolute joy to share the top book picks of 56 book bloggers and authors with you every day since 1st November. A joy and utterly exhausting. But worth it. Well worth it. Today’s #R3COMM3ND3D2019 is the fifty-seventh post and I’ve saved one of the best until last…

I’ve also saved her until last because a) she told me back in November that it was too early to be thinking about top reads of the year and b) because once this blogger submits her #R3COMM3ND3D three to me she has been known to change her mind. More than once…. Joining me on the final #R3COMM3ND3D is the fabulous Eva of Novel Deelights. Eva is a brilliant blogger and if you don’t already follow her blog then that must change. You won’t regret it!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2019? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors and book bloggers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2019. To make things interesting I have added a couple of teeny, tiny rules this year which are; 1) the book must have first been published in 2019 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes. 😉

Here are the three books Eva recommends…

the whisper man

The Whisper Man by Alex North
The Whisper Man is the kind of book any crime thriller fan dreams of. It made my skin crawl, it’s sometimes heartbreaking, it’s dark and twisty and just mind-blowingly fabulous!
Eva’s Review of The Whisper Man

the taking of annie thorne

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor
Whatever “it” is, C.J. Tudor has it in abundance and then some. There’s something about the way she writes that has me captivated from the very first word. It almost feels like being under a spell and I’ll gladly let her guide me wherever it is she wants to take me. I’m a fan, what more can I say?
Eva’s Review of The Taking of Annie Thorne

the sleepwalker.jpg

The Sleepwalker (Aiden Watts #3) by Joseph Knox
This series is one I’ve been with from the beginning. In fact, Sirens was the book that first made me start thinking about blogging because I needed a place to shout about its awesomeness. Since then, Joseph Knox has been raising the bar, with each book being even stronger than the previous one. Like its predecessors, The Sleepwalker is masterfully plotted, immensely dark, extremely gritty and completely engrossing from start to finish. This series quite frankly NEEDS to be on any crime fiction fan’s bookshelf.
Eva’s Review of The Sleepwalker

Thanks so much, Eva. Brilliant choices and two of my favourite books published this year. The other one, I am ashamed to admit, I haven’t gotten around to reading yet *hangs head in shame*.

If Eva has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends, please see the following links:

The Whisper Man by Alex North
The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor
The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox

About Eva:
My name is Eva and I’m a bookaholic. I also really like white wine and boots. Not necessarily in that order.

Eva’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Novel Deelights | Twitter @noveldeelights | Facebook | Instagram @noveldeelights |

So that’s it for another year! Thank you so much for either taking part or for your support in a myriad of other ways. Thanks for the comments, the shares, the likes and the retweets. YOU make #R3COMM3ND3D special ❤️. I hope you’ve found a book (or five!) to add to your TBR.

#R3COMM3ND3D will return next year in the form of #R3COMM3ND3D2020 so start making a note of any cracking 2020 releases now and keep an eye out for the sign-up form from June onwards.

I’m off for a loooooooooong lie down now but I’ll be back tomorrow with my top ten(ish) books of the year. I’ll also be posting a #R3COMM3ND3D2019 After-Show Party post in early January where I will reveal the one (SINGLE, UNO, SOLITARY, SOLE) winner. If you were around for 2018s reveal you may remember that we had SIX winners but only one book has taken the crown this year! What will it be….? I can’t wait to share the result with you (along with all of those beautiful covers!).