#CoverReveal: Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell (@Caroline_writes) @bookouture

I am beyond thrilled to welcome you to damppebbles this evening as I have something incredibly exciting to share.  Earlier today the fabulous folk at Bookouture (one of everyone’s favourite publishers) revealed the cover of the second Ruby Preston novel written by the extremely talented Caroline Mitchell.  Now I absolutely ADORED the first book in the series.  So much so that it made it onto my ‘books of the year’ post in 2016.  To read my review of Love You to Death click here.

So imagine how excited I am that book two in the series is to be published on 20th April. I’m half way through reading it at the moment and it is SO good.  I adore Ruby Preston.

Whilst I ponder on my new #girlcrush, here’ s the blurb for book two in the Ruby Preston series, Sleep Tight.

SLEEP TIGHT by Caroline Mitchell 

Close your eyes … Just pray you don’t wake up.

A killer stalks the streets of East London. All over the area, murdered young women are discovered, their bodies posed into a sickening recreation of fairytale princesses.

Detective Ruby Preston is determined to hunt down a disturbed individual who is using the women to realise their twisted fantasies. But when body parts are found at the home of her lover, Nathan Crosby, Ruby is torn between her job and her heart.

Convinced that he is being framed, Ruby must catch the killer before Nathan becomes the number one suspect. But as more victims are found, it becomes harder to prove his innocence.

Ruby is in too deep, knowing that the cruel individual is getting ever closer, looking for his next beautiful victim. But can she stop a killer hell-bent on fulfilling their horrific desires – before it’s too late? And how well does she really know the man she loves?

A terrifying, addictive serial killer thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, for readers of Angela Marsons, Peter James and Rachel Abbott.

And here’s what my fellow bloggers and reviewers are saying about Ruby:

Oh my friggin God! Thisssss booooook! Su-bloody-perb! …a quadruple #HellYeah recommendation from me! Tantalisingly terrifying, twisted, and dark’ CrimeBookJunkie

Just superb!! I can tell you, you will NOT know the ending until you get there!! It’s a shocker!’ Next Book Review

‘OMG what a corker of a book. I absolutely love Ruby.  I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough … Loved it, loved it, loved it.’ By The Letter Book Reviews

Compelling, absorbing, chilling, gruesome and freakishly brilliant.  Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop.’  Jen Med’s Book Reviews (5*)

‘Ruby is an excellent character. Real, raw and utterly relatable’ Bibliophile Book Club (4*)

‘Caroline Mitchell creates some seriously dark and scary stuff ‘ StefLoz Book Reviews

‘Fast paced, great lead character and twists and turns, what more could you ask for?’ Worcester Source (4*)

‘It will certainly have you holding your breath on more than one occasion… I really can’t wait for more from this series.’ Victoria Wilkinson – I Love Reading

Oh my God…this book blew me away! Kept me hooked right till the last page’ The Book Guzzler (5*)

‘Ruby, well she’s just in a league of her own. She shows so much strength yet I love the vulnerable side to her’ By The Letter Book Reviews (5*)

‘I think I pretty much held my breath through the last few chapters! There are twists and turns aplenty and it’s packed full of action and suspense’  Chat About Books (5*)

‘It’s a compelling and dark read; it gives you thrills, it gives you the fear and it gives you all the twists and turns you are looking for’ Chapterinmylife (5*)

‘A thrilling ride that blurs the boundary of what is right and what is wrong. The plot is terrifying yet somehow heartbreaking’ Kitty Catalyst – Bibliophile (5*)

I think I’ve kept you waiting long enough.  Here’s the stunning cover:

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I absolutely love it and I can’t wait for you to read this book and enjoy it as much as I am doing at present.  So get clicking and pre-order Sleep Tight now!

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caroline mitchell.jpgA former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences.

Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex.  She now writes full time.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

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#BookReview: Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett (@RachelAmphlett)

scared to death.jpg“If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

‘When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.

With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

For the killer, the game has only just begun…’

I have a terrible habit.  It’s not a secret, I’ve mentioned it on the blog before.  But it’s something that I’m determined to break as it causes undue stress and adds to my heightened levels of confusion.  I’m rubbish at starting a series with the first book.  Yup, you read that right, I’m one of THOSE people.  I always end up starting part-way through, normally somewhere between book 2 or 7!  I haven’t always been this way.  I blame the blog.  It used to be a strict rule of mine that if I hadn’t read the beginning of the series there was no way I was going to read later books.  Like I say, I blame the blog.

In a couple of weeks time I am hosting a stop on the Will to Live blog tour.  Will to Live is the second book in the DS Kay Hunter series written by author, Rachel Amphlett.  The first book is called Scared to Death and ladies and gentleman, I am delighted to confirm that I have managed to squeeze it into my reading schedule.  Yes dear reader, I have started a series with the first book!  Yay, go me!

And what a first book!  I featured on the Scared to Death blog tour towards the end of 2016.  If you click here you can read Rachel’s brilliant guest post about the editing process.  At the time I felt I was really missing out as the reviews from fellow bloggers were fantastic.  And in all honesty, I was.  This is a fantastic start to what promises to be an outstanding series.  The book starts with a bang and I was immediately drawn into the story.  Seventeen year old Melanie is missing and her frantic parents, Tony and Yvonne are racing to find her after having dropped the £20k ransom off elsewhere.  They find her…but it’s too late.  What no one realises is what appears to be a kidnapping gone wrong, is a whole lot darker.  And so the hunt for a psychopath begins….

DS Kay Hunter is an appealing character.  She’s not the usual fusty, grumpy, addiction riddled detective I tend to like in my crime novels but that didn’t matter on this occasion.  There is mention of an incident in the past which was thoroughly investigated, and feelings are still running high amongst Kay’s senior management.  You’re given the impression that Kay is totally innocent of any wrongdoing and I hope this will be covered in more detail in future books.  I’m curious about her.  As I said, she isn’t my usual type of detective but I really liked her!

You find out who the killer is quite early on in the story but you’re left wondering who their accomplice is; who is the guy/gal at the top of the tree pulling the strings?  I was drawn in from that fantastic opening until the very end.  A wonderfully intriguing story which is skillfully told.

However, there was one point which caused an issue for me.  One of the investigating team has a strong link to one of the kidnap victims but it is not mentioned until much later in the story.  I found this, for me, upset the flow of the plot somewhat.  Just as the adrenaline is starting to pump, just as the action is picking up, this ‘connection’ is thrown into the mix and it just felt wrong.  I’ve pondered on this since finishing the book but I’m afraid I still can’t fathom the reason for this.  This is a small moan though in what is a fabulous book written by a talented author.

Would I recommend this book?  Oh yes, I would.  I can’t wait to make a start on Will to Live ready for my stop on Sunday 9th April so make sure you join me then.  Rachel Amphlett has created a gutsy female detective who I really like and I can’t wait to read more!

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Scared to Death.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett was published in the UK by Saxon Publishing on 3rd December 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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rachel-2016-2141Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag in 2017.

An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

 

#BookReview: The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore (@JonMooreFiction) @orionbooks

poison artist.jpg“Dr Caleb Maddox is an expert on pain. A leading San Francisco toxicologist, he is mapping the chemical traces that show how much agony a human body can endure. But now a different kind of pain is distracting him from his life’s work – the violent break-up of his relationship with his artist girlfriend, Bridget.

Seeking solace in a secluded bar, he meets a beautiful woman who shares an absinthe with him, then disappears into the night. Instantly obsessed, he starts trawling the hidden byways of the city to try and find her. And when he does, she insists on a bizarre set of rules before he can meet her alone.

But even as he tries to lose himself in Emmeline’s darkly erotic world, Caleb finds himself inexorably drawn back to the study of pain and death. For weeks the police have been fishing corpses out of the bay, with no clue as to how they died, and Caleb’s old friend, medical examiner Henry Newcomb, asks him to decipher the chemical puzzles left in the bloated remains. Soon Caleb discovers evidence of an unspeakable horror connecting all the victims, suggesting that the city is prey to a deranged killer.

And then he discovers that one of the dead men was last seen at the same bar the night he met Emmeline. Suddenly Caleb is plunged into a nightmare where love, madness and murder are clasped in a lethal embrace – and untangling the truth could be the last thing he wants to do.”

Regular visitors to the blog may be familiar with my husband’s Christmas present to me for the past two years.  One book, of his choosing, a month for the rest of the year.  If you would like to see the list (until the start of this year, that is) then please click here.  I’ve managed to read a few of them, but I want to read more!  Which is why I’ve made it one of my #CaseClosed goals for the month – to read at least one of the books my husband has given me.  This month I chose The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore.

The first thing I should say is that when I first started reading this book I couldn’t, for the life of me, work out when it was set.  It has a historical feel to it and I only realised it was set in more modern times when ‘cell phones’ were mentioned (I expect there are several very obvious other indicators before this, but I completely missed them!).  Despite knowing that this is a novel of modern times, you can’t help but question that knowledge at regular intervals throughout the story.  The author has managed to bring the past and the present together in a somewhat beguiling tale.

Caleb Maddox, our lead protagonist, did little for me I’m afraid.  I found his field of study extremely interesting but that was it.  I wanted him to take control of his obsession with the bewitching Emmeline rather than waiting on her beck and call.  His blatant neediness irritated me.  But then, this is a love story as well as being a psychological thriller and regular readers will know by know how I feel about love stories in my books (thanks but no thanks!).  Saying that, the relationship between the two characters was such a big part of the story that I was able to read and enjoy their odd relationship, to a degree.

The majority of the story is the love affair between Caleb and Emmeline.  For me, the book didn’t really start until about three quarters of the way through, and then…WOW!  What a totally unexpected ending.  Brilliantly written, you finally get to the nitty gritty of these characters and they lay themselves bare.  It’s fabulous reading, edgy, dark and full of the shock factor.  Exactly what I want from a psychological thriller.

Would I recommend this book?  I would but be prepared for a slow build.  You watch Caleb Maddox and Emmeline intricately tango around each other for the first three quarters of the novel but then BAM!  The ending hits and it all makes perfect sense.  I wouldn’t hesitate to read another book by this author, they certainly know how to write an intoxicating tale.

Four out of five stars.

The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore was published in the UK by Orion Books on 10th March 2016 and is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Jonathan Moore is a Bram Stoker Award nominated author of five novels. His third novel, THE POISON ARTIST, was a selection of the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. His novels have been translated into seven languages.

Before graduating from law school in New Orleans, he lived in Taiwan for three years, guided whitewater raft trips on the Rio Grande, and worked as an investigator for a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. He has also been an English teacher, a bar owner, a counselor at a wilderness camp for juvenile delinquents, and a textbook writer.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website |

#GuestReview: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by @hannahtinti | @TinderPress | @baattyabtbooks

samuel hawley.jpg“After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter Loo to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife’s hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother’s mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past – a past that eventually spills over into his daughter’s present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come.

Both a coming of age novel and a literary thriller, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY explores what it means to be a hero, and the price we pay to protect the people we love most.”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today as I get to share another of my fabulous guest reviews.  And it’s publication day which makes it even more special.  Congratulations to Hannah Tinti and Tinder Press.

In order to try and reduce my #terrifyingTBR I decided to ask for help from the amazing booky community.  And they came in their droves…..OK, slight over exaggeration!  A small but very talented bunch of folks offered to help by reading  a couple of the TBR.  One of my willing helpers was the gorgeous Helen Claire who blogs over at baattyaboutbooks.  Check out her blog when you have a moment because it’s fabulous.

Here’s a little more about Helen:

Me.jpgAn avid reader, reviewer and blogger and a keen supporter of the written word since her childhood days, the joy Helen gets from reading and talking about books has never diminished (in fact it has only increased).

And as a book publicist Helen gets paid to talk about books all the time! Helen is employed by Bloodhound on a freelance basis and plays a key role in ensuring our authors get as much publicity as possible, through arranging blog tours, book launch events and press coverage.

And here are Helen’s thoughts on The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley:

This is a very different kind of book. It is well written and keeps you hooked from start to finish and it certainly did me.

It is True Grit meets the trials of Hercules. It is extremely descriptive. Some of the scenes were so vivid, I really felt that I was there in the midst of it all. The characterisation is good, one character in particular. Read the book and you will guess which one I mean!

***

Thanks a million for taking the time to read and review this book for damppebbles, Helen.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti was published in the UK by Tinder Press on 28th March 2017 and is available in eBook format (hardcover is scheduled for release in April with the paperback following in 2018) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Hannah Tinti grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, and is co-founder and editor-in-chief of One Story magazine. Her short story collection, ANIMAL CRACKERS, has sold in sixteen countries and was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award. Her first novel, THE GOOD THIEF, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Award, and winner of the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Hannah’s new novel, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY will be published in March 2017.

Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

 

#BookReview: Dark Houses by Helen H. Durrant (@hhdurrant) @JoffeBooks

dark houses.jpg“A young woman is found brutally murdered in an empty house.  Detective Stephen Greco and his team must piece together her life as quickly as possible. Within twenty-four hours there is another horrific murder using the same method. The detectives realise that the victims are random but the locations are not. The killer is more concerned with finding the right house – somewhere he won’t be disturbed as he pursues his evil plan.

When a man walks into the station and confesses, it looks like the case is closed. But Greco’s not convinced and soon he’ll be fighting to save the woman who’s most important to him in a stunningly tense and emotional conclusion.

Can Greco keep himself and his team under control as the criminal gets personal?”

Way back at the beginning of the month I published my #CaseClosed post for February 2017.  In that post I set myself some (slightly un)realistic goals.  The first was to read at least nine books a month.  The next was to read the book which has been sat languishing on my NetGalley shelf the longest.  The third goal was to read at least one of the books my husband has given me as part of my Christmas present.  The fourth, well, we won’t mention the fourth!  You may wonder why I’m telling you this.  The reason being, I have read the book that has been sat on my NetGalley shelf the longest and that book my booky friends, is Dark Houses by Helen H Durrant.

In all honesty I am absolutely kicking myself.  The reason for my self flagellation is that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’m disappointed that I haven’t read it sooner.  This is a good, solid police procedural which drew me in from start to finish.  I haven’t read a novel by Helen H Durrant before but I can guarantee I will be more from this author in the future.

I loved Detective Stephen Greco.  He’s my sort of protagonist.  He suffers from OCD and although this didn’t play a particularly big part in the story-line, it did make me like him even more (I like my detectives to be grumpy and damaged, in other words I like them to be human).  I also enjoyed the relationship between Greco and DC Grace Harper.  DC Harper is rather taken with our hero but he only has eyes for his very recent ex-wife.  The other characters in the novel were all interesting, particularly DS Jed Quickenden known to friends and colleagues as ‘Speedy’.  His growing despair towards the job really pulled me into the story.

Now I like my murder scenes to be a little on the gory side and Helen H Durrant has done me proud in Dark Houses.  This is the first book in a while where I’ve winced at the description of the scene.  And as there are several victims, there are several gory descriptions which, of course, I loved.

The plot really pulls you in and before long you’ve read half of the book without realising it.  There is one particularly big twist which I didn’t see coming and had to re-read several times to make sure it had sunk in.  I loved the way it completely changed how I felt about the characters.  Brilliant, suspenseful writing.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  I think it can be read as a standalone but I would have preferred to read the first in the series (this is book two) before Dark Houses.  That’s how I always feel though, always best to start at the beginning.  I loved the characters in this book and I hope to catch up with them again soon.  A great police procedural which kept me coming back for more.

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Dark Houses.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Dark Houses by Helen H Durrant was published in the UK by Joffe Books on 8th April 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled.

I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else!

I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website |

 

#GuestReview: The One by @johnmarrs1 | @EburyPublishing @cluesandreviews

the one.jpg“How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.

Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…”

A very warm welcome to another of my fabulous guest review posts.  Today I am thrilled to welcome the lovely Sam to damppebbles who blogs over at Clues and Reviews.  Sam’s blog is fantastic so if you’re not already following her, I certainly recommend checking her blog out.  Sam has very kindly read and reviewed The One by John Marrs for me but before we find out what Sam thought of this incredibly popular book, here’s a little more information about her:

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 5.45.36 PMResiding in Ontario, Canada, with my book buddy, Ellie, I Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 5.43.21 PMteach by day and blog by night.  Although I would never discriminate, mystery, thriller and suspense novels fill my TBR list; dabbling in some books in the horror genre and occasionally some romance, come check me out at Clues and Reviews for my thoughts, reviews and general bookish ramblings. Twitter: @cluesandreviews  Instagram: cluesandreviews

Here are Sam’s thoughts on The One by John Marrs:

The One by John Marrs , was a book that I had seen people raving about for months on various blog tours and floating around in various Facebook groups; I was curious, but hesitant.  How often does a book really live up to the hype?

Well let me tell you, this book does.

Set in, what seems to be the very near, future, a gene is detected that allows people (with one quick DNA test) to identify their perfect partner.  The one they are genetically made for.   The narrative follows five different matches as they navigate their paths with their newly found soul mates.

This novel bent whatever I know about genre norms; this one was equal parts mystery, suspense, science fiction,, fantasy and romance all molded into one fast-paced, unputdownable read.  I was on the edge of my seat.

The characters in this novel were what got me.  Each character was intricately thought out and developed.   As each of their stories unfolded, I couldn’t help but in awe of Marrs and his ability to make the reader completely engrossed in their plights.   I was especially drawn into Christopher’s narrative as he hides a dark secret from his match and by the story of Amanda, who is desperate to find love.

I love my novels with considerable twists and turns and The One did not disappoint.  As soon as I felt like I understood where Marrs was going, he would deviate from the course and send me into a tailspin.

This rating was an absolute no brainer for me, 5/5 stars.  In fact, this one is a front runner for my favourite novel I have read this year.

***

Brilliant review, thank you Sam.  You can tell how much you loved this book and I’m glad I was able to help you ‘maybe’ find your book of the year!

The One by John Marrs was published in the UK by Ebury Publishing on 26th January 2017 and is available in eBook format (with the paperback to follow in May 2017) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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 John Marrs is a freelance journalist based in London, England, who has spent the last 20 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.

He has written for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook |

 

 

 

#BlogTour | #BookReview: After She’s Gone by Maggie James (@mjamesfiction) @TAsTPublicity

After She's Gone BLOG.jpg“Lori Golden’s family have had more than their fair share of troubles. But through it all, Lori and her sister, Jessie, have always supported each other. Then Jessie is killed. And Lori’s world turns upside down.

Devastated, Lori struggles to cope with her loss, and to learn to live in a world without her bright, bubbly sister by her side. Around her, her already fractured family start to fall apart. And, as Lori and her mother try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, secrets long thought buried are coming painfully to light.

Faced with the unthinkable, Lori is forced to ask herself how well she really knows those who are left behind…”

I am thrilled to welcome you to damppebbles today as it’s my turn on the After She’s Gone blog tour.  I have been wanting to read a Maggie James novel for quite some time now, so I was over the moon when I was asked to feature on the After She’s Gone blog tour.

So I guess the most important question is, did I enjoy my first experience of a Maggie James novel?  I most certainly did.  I found Maggie’s writing style very easy to read which meant that I breezed through After She’s Gone in two short days (that’s quick for me).  I found her characters interesting, particularly Lori Golden who I instantly warmed to.  Saying that, at times I did find Lori a little too naive which was frustrating, but then I’m a die-hard crime fan and tend to read the very worst of people which makes me overly suspicious of everyone!  I went through different emotions when it came to Dana Golden, Lori’s mother.  At times I really liked her, felt for her with her ongoing treatment for kidney failure.  At other times I’m afraid I despised the woman.

I found the sections about becoming a living donor very interesting and found this particular sub-plot really held my attention.  So much so that I was able to have a conversation with a lady at my son’s preschool who is considering becoming a living donor for her sister.  The investigation into Jessie’s death was also very compelling reading, but I’m afraid I worked out who the killer was quite early on. This tends to happen to me sometimes but it rarely spoils the story.  It just proves what an ace detective I’m becoming after all this time (ha!).  It certainly didn’t spoil the story for me on this occasion.  The author does a stellar job of trying to wrong foot you and made me question my decision at several turns along the way.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  I found After She’s Gone a compelling read and I wouldn’t hesitate to read another book by Maggie James.  In fact, I have added Blackwater Lake to my #terrifyingTBR and I’m looking forward to it.  Interesting plot, strong characters and tons of suspense.

Three and a half out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of After She’s Gone. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

After She’s Gone by Maggie James was published in the UK by Lake Union Publishing on 16th March 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Maggie James is a British author who lives in Bristol. She writes psychological suspense novels.

 

Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. Accountancy does not, but then it never did. The urge to pack a bag and go off travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!

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

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Boundary by Andrée A Michaud @noexitpress #BoundaryBook

boundary.jpg“It’s the Summer of 1967.

The sun shines brightly over Boundary lake, a holiday haven on the US-Canadian border. Families relax in the heat, happy and carefree. Hours tick away to the sound of radios playing ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ and ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’.  Children run along the beach as the heady smell of barbecues fills the air.

Zaza Mulligan and Sissy Morgan, with their long, tanned legs and silky hair, relish their growing reputation as the red and blond Lolitas. Life seems idyllic.

But then Zaza disappears, and the skies begin to cloud over..”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Boundary blog tour.  And it’s UK publication day for author Andrée A. Michaud and the lovely folk at No Exit Press.  You lucky people can purchase a copy of Boundary in either hardcover or eBook format today!

To celebrate Boundary’s release in the UK I have a fantastic guest post from Andrée A. Michaud to share with you.  So without further ado, I’ll hand to Andrée…

What’s Boundary about

 People often ask me, ‘what’s Boundary about?’. It’s never easy to answer what a fictional book is about without betraying its secrets. Novels are complete by themselves and if you try to summarise them, to rend their color in just a few words, you run the risk of missing the essential; that is to say, the atmosphere.

Having said which, I will play the part and try my best to do just that, and maybe, just maybe, I will pick up some new readers along the way:

Boundary, as its title suggests, is first and foremost a book about barriers, all kinds of barriers, between men and women, childhood and adulthood, countries, cultures, languages and, finally, between good and evil.

Boundary is also a book about the loss of paradise, of all paradises in fact, when men, who stupidly want to make those paradises better, slowly transform them into hell. It’s what happens in Boundary. The place is an Eden from which men are finally and inevitably expelled, because men are not able to survive in such a wild place, the violence of which mirrors their own, and because Nature always, in the end, chases away those who are spoiling or destroying her very essence.

In this sense, Boundary is a book about wilderness – its strength, its beauty, its self-reliance – and about wildness – of men, of war, of men when war destroy them and drives them mad. But I want to be clear here: there is no war in Boundary, except the war raging between a man and himself and his memories.

Boundary is also book about the Sixties, about the culture of those years, about the wind of liberty which was then blowing, about the evolution of mentalities, the timid apparition of feminism in the daily life of the middle class, etc. In a way this novel is, for me, full of nostalgia, because the Sixties were the years of my childhood, the most beautiful years of my life, before the death of my father, when I was ten. Andrée, one of the narrators, witnesses this period, and for her the summer of ‘67 is a time of transition, the moment at which she will have to say goodbye to her innocence. In a way, you could say that Boundary is a coming-of-age novel, in which the little Andrée learns the meaning of the words death, absence, forever.

Finally, Boundary is a book about solidarity, and about the frailty of solidarity when drama touches a little community in which everyone knows everyone, and when the person at the origin of that drama could be anyone: your father, your brother, your son or your neighbour.

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I am so excited to read Boundary.  Even more so after reading this fabulous guest post from the author.  There are so many interesting themes running through the story that make it sound just my sort of read.  I’m excited, are you?

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(c) Marianne Deschenes

 

Andrée A Michaud is a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction (Le Ravissement in 2001 and Bondrée in 2014) and the recipient of the Arthur Ellis Award and the Prix Saint-Pacôme for best crime novel for Bondrée, as well as the 2006 Prix Ringuet for Mirror Lake (adapted for the big screen in 2013). As she has done since her very first novel, Michaud fashions an eminently personal work that never ceases to garner praise from critics and avid mystery readers alike. In 2010, her thriller Lazy Bird, set to the rhythms of jazz, was published by Les Éditions du Seuil in France, as part of the Point Noir Collection.

#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney (@trisha460) @bookouture

the missing ones cover.jpg“The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror. 

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how? 

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal. 

As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger? 

Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice. 

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.”

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the The Missing Ones blog tour.  The Missing Ones is the debut novel from Patricia Gibney and features kick-ass Detective Inspector Lottie Parker.  The lovely Susan over at Books From Dusk till Dawn is also featuring on the blog tour today, so make sure you pop over and give her a follow (if you don’t already that is!).

DI Lottie Parker is thrown into the middle of an investigation and begins to flounder from the very start.  Her two victims are very obviously connected somehow, but what that connection is is beyond Lottie and her team.  Lottie is struggling with her own life having recently lost her husband and being the sole carer to her three teenage children.  Regular disagreements with her interfering, overbearing mother don’t help the situation.  But Lottie knows she needs to find justice for the victims and throws herself head first into the investigation.  Before long her attention is drawn to St Angela’s children’s home where, in the 70’s and 80’s evil roamed the corridors.  Run by the Catholic Church, St Angela’s holds terrifying secrets that someone doesn’t want shared.  How far are they, and most importantly, how far is Lottie prepared to go?  Far enough to put her own children into mortal danger…?

This is a chilling read.  The subject matter is hard going at times but handled incredibly well by the author.  The sections where you’re reading about the children of St Angela’s are pretty intense but well written, creating an air of unease and uncomfortable expectation.

I loved the setting.  I have read a number of outstanding Irish crime thrillers this year and this one stands strong alongside them.  It’s an incredibly atmospheric read and you feel as though you are there, traipsing through the snow with Lottie and her team.

DI Lottie Parker is in an intriguing character and one I would like to read more of.  I felt I could sympathise with her situation but her parenting skills really irked me at times. She’s doing the best she can with the situation she’s in but I felt she neglected her children a lot of the time in favour of the job.  Now, I don’t claim to be super-mum but c’mon Lottie…they’re your kids!  Saying that, the story-line would have faltered quite early on without her questionable parenting, so I can understand why it was necessary for her to be so work focused.

Lottie’s relationship with DS Boyd is an interesting one.  They’re colleagues and sparring partners, yes.  But there’s something else there too.  They do have a brief personal past together and I wonder if this is something we will see built upon in future books.  There’s definitely friction there along with a rather large dollop of chemistry.

I found the plot compelling and whenever I had to put the book down, I wanted to get straight back to the story.  There is a lot of action (which can only be a good thing), with twists and turns along the way to wrong foot you.  I’m afraid I was able to tell ‘whodunit’ quite early on in the story but this didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment of the book.

Would I recommend this book?  I would, particularly if you’re a fan of dark crime fiction or have a penchant (like me!) for Irish crime.  It’s a good solid start to what promises to be a cracking new series and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of The Missing Ones.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney was published in the UK by Bookouture on 16th March 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Patricia yearned to be a writer after reading Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene and even wanted to be Nancy Drew when grew up. She has now grown up (she thinks) but the closest she’s come to Nancy Drew is writing crime!

In 2009, after her husband died, she retired from her job and started writing seriously. Fascinated by people and their quirky characteristics, she always carries a notebook to scribble down observations.

Patricia also loves to paint in watercolour and lives in the Irish midlands with her children.

Author Links: Website | Twitter |

 

#GuestReview: Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan (@eva_dolan) @HarvillSecker @Tracie_Delaney

watch her disappear.jpg“YOU CAN RUN FROM YOUR PAST. BUT YOU CAN’T RUN FROM MURDER.

The body is found by the river, near a spot popular with runners.

With a serial rapist at work in the area, DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are initially confused when the Hate Crimes Unit is summoned to the scene. Until they discover that the victim, Corinne Sawyer, was born Colin Sawyer.

Police records reveal there have been violent attacks on trans women in the local area. Was Corinne a victim of mistaken identity? Or has the person who has been targeting trans women stepped up their campaign of violence? With tensions running high, and the force coming under national scrutiny, this is a complex case and any mistake made could be fatal…”

Welcome, lovely people, to another fabulous damppebbles guest review post.  Today I am thrilled to welcome the very lovely Tracie Delaney back to the blog with her review of Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan.  Tracie blogs at the fabulous Passionate About Books and previously featured on damppebbles with her brilliant review of Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall.

Here’s a little more information about Tracie:

tracie.jpegI’ve been obsessed with books for as long as I can remember. As a child, I could be found with one of two things in my hand; a book or a bridle (I was an avid horse rider in my younger years).

Reading is a wonderful form of escape. I love the way books transport you to different worlds and allow you to be a part of so many character’s lives.

I blog and write under the pseudonym Tracie Delaney. My first novel, Winning Ace, is due out in May 2017.

And here are Tracie’s thoughts on Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan:

My heartfelt thanks goes to Emma Welton at damppebbles.com for giving me the chance to read and review Watch Her Disappear.

Police are called to a horrifying scene early one morning; the body of a woman has been discovered by a river, a popular spot with runners. The woman has suffered severe facial injuries and has been strangled with the cord from her music earphones, dragged from the path while she took her morning exercise.

When Detective Inspector Zigic, Head of the Peterborough Police Hate Crimes unit is called in, he’s confused. Surely this is more a case for CID?

But then it is revealed that the woman, Corinne Sawyer, used to be Colin Sawyer. Halfway through her transition, she presented in real life as a woman, but Zigic has to consider whether she was killed due to mistaken identity, or was there a murderer on the loose targeting transexual females?

As Zigic and his partner, Ferreira, dig deeper into the closed and secretive world Corinne belonged to, they begin to uncover hidden and unreported crimes from a community living in fear.

And alongside this murder, CID are embroiled in investigating a series of brutal rapes. Is the serial rapist escalating? Are the cases connected? And if they are, will Zigic struggle to hold off CID from wanting to reassign Corinne’s case into their own department?

I absolutely adored this novel. I’ve never read anything by Eva Dolan before, but believe me, that will be rectified.

This book is a slow burn mystery/thriller. It isn’t one of those books where you are left breathless as wave after wave of shocks come at you, thick and fast. In this book, the author builds the tension slowly, carefully—and realistically.

The story is told over one week, from the time of Corinne’s death to the eventual capture of her killer, but through that relatively short timeframe, the author digs deep, showing the level of scrutiny and work I would imagine goes into a real murder investigation.

I loved DI Zigic. You got to see two different sides to the same character – Exhausted husband due to newly-born daughter Emily keeping him awake at night to tenacious and integrity-fuelled DI, determined to find the killer while at the same time, desperately trying to stop the case being returned to CID.

Ferreira, his partner, took me a little more time to connect with, although as the story went on, it left me thinking that she’s exactly the sort of copper I’d want if I ever found myself in a similar situation to Corinne’s family.

This author is clearly very talented; from the way she strings a sentence together that leaves you in awe, to the careful pacing of plot and the full and rounded characters she lays on the page.

As the front cover states in a quote from Ian Rankin – She’s top drawer.

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Thank you for this fabulous review Tracie.  I really want to read this book, and hopefully soon (luckily I still have a copy on the #terrifyingTBR).

Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan was published in the UK by Vintage Books on 26th January 2017 and is available in hardcover and eBook formats (with the paperback to follow later this year) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Eva Dolan is an Essex-based copywriter and intermittently successful poker player. Shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger for unpublished authors when she was just a teenager, Long Way Home is her debut novel and the start of a major new crime series.

Author Links:Twitter |