#BlogTour | #BookReview: Watching the Bodies by Graham Smith (@GrahamSmith1972) @BloodhoundBook

Watching the Bodies“When Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken.

What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Watching the Bodies blog tour alongside the lovely Caroline over at Bits About Books.  Watching the Bodies is the first book in the new Jake Boulder series, is written by author Graham Smith and was published by Bloodhound Books on 25th April 2017.

Graham Smith is best known for his DI Harry Evans series set in Cumbria.  I have read a novella and the latest book in the series, I Know Your Secret featuring DI Evans.  Both of which I enjoyed so I was thrilled to be asked to join the blog tour and excited to make a start on this brand new series featuring expat Scot, Jake Boulder.

The first thing I should say is that this new series is nothing like Smith’s DI Evans series. I’m a huge fan of the ‘damaged detective’ (that includes Evans) and I love my police procedurals but this was something else altogether.  Something great.  Something refreshing and different.

I was expecting the story to be set close to home so was pleasantly surprised to find myself in Utah.  I have a bit of a penchant for crime stories set in America so this immediately appealed to me.  From then on things just got better and better.  This is a cracking serial killer thriller which doesn’t shy away from blood, guts and gore.  I absolutely loved the serial killer’s method of choosing his next victim along with his way of deciding how they were going to die.  As an avid crime reader it does sometimes get a little tiresome reading about the killer’s same, repetitive MO again and again.  You don’t get this with Watching the Bodies.  Each victim is disposed of in a different and unique way which I (because I’m a little strange) found fascinating.  I also like my serial killers to reach double figures in the victim count.

Jake Boulder is a very intriguing character and I want to read more.  He could be one of those aloof, very masculine characters who steals a few reader’s hearts but I, for one, am undecided at the moment.  Don’t get me wrong.  I really liked him.  I’m just not sure that I fell for his charms as some other readers may do.  Employed at one of the local bars as the doorman he’s a fighter who hasn’t forgotten his Scottish roots, despite living in the US for many years.  I loved that he’s still close and heavily influenced by his mother and her maternal concerns.  That relationship gave the story several lighter, more humorous moments which were appreciated.  I also loved the relationship between Boulder and Alfonse.  Alfonse is the owner of a PI company and Boulder’s best buddy.  He’s also the reason Boulder gets into the trouble he does.  Alfonse is a geek, a computer genius so his pairing with tough nut, Boulder seemed unlikely but it totally works.  I could read about these two all day long.

Would I recommend this book?  Most definitely.  It’s one of the best serial killer thrillers I have read in a LONG time.  I couldn’t stop turning the pages and devoured the book in two short days.  If this is what Graham Smith has in store for us with this new series then consider me hooked.  I can’t wait to read more!

Four and a half stars out of five.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Watching the Bodies.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Watching the Bodies by Graham Smith was published in the UK by Bloodhound Books on 25th April 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author2

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Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and one book, WATCHING THE BODIES in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

Author Links: | Facebook | Website | Twitter | Amazon UK |

 

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#BlogTour | #GuestPost: After the Affair by Jonathan Kaye (@JonathanKaye000) @baattyabtbooks

after the affair cover.jpgDo you like a book with a gripping story? A page-turner you can’t put down? A book with believable characters, a twisty yet credible plot and an easy-to-read pace? If that’s you, then this thriller set in Dublin should be right up your street. 

“University Lecturer David Ryan is having an affair. And he thinks no-one knows. 

He’s wrong. Someone does know. And that someone is out to blackmail him.

But when the blackmail attempt goes wrong, both Ryan and the blackmailer find themselves dragged into an underground (and decidedly seedy) world of secrets, lies and violence. A world where no-one can be trusted and everyone has something to hide.

Set in modern-day Dublin, ‘After the Affair’ is the unputdownable debut thriller from author Jonathan Kaye.”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my stop on the After the Affair blog tour. My thanks to Helen at baattyaboutbooks for asking me to be involved.  After the Affair is author Jonathan Kaye’s debut novel and I, for one, am extremely excited to read it.  So far the reviews from fellow book bloggers and reviewers have been fantastic and they know what they’re talking about, let me tell you!

In celebration of this rather wonderful blog tour I have a fantastic booky focussed guest post from Jonathan Kaye to share with you today (I do love a guest post!).  So without further ado, I’ll hand over to Jonathan…

A Blast from the Past

I once had very little money. Actually I still have very little money. But at this particular time in my life I had even less. I had a nice car though. (Which, in itself, was the reason I had very little money!)

Anyway, with my cash-flow limitations being what they were, my evenings were rather, well, free I guess you might say. The whole notion of going out to a pub or a restaurant or a cinema was something neither I nor my bank balance could countenance with a straight face. Indeed, if I even attempted to slot my cash-card into an ATM to check my funds, the machine would just spit it back out and ‘LOL’ would appear on the screen.

I worked in ‘The Works’ for £3.70 an hour. (Showing my age now, I know!!) Surrounded by books, stationery and, I have to say, amazing people. Oh, and occasionally very odd customers. “Do you sell cigarettes?” “Do you cut keys?” “Can I have two cornettos and a chocolate magnum please?” One’s best option was to smile, shake one’s head and say ‘No, I’m sorry.’ (Though I never quite understood why I was the one who ended up apologising for their obvious lack of brain equipment – but hey, I learned to let it go!)

I remember in particular the run up to Christmas being an epic, almost impossible, task. My colleagues and I were like a team of antarctic explorers with depleted food stocks and insufficient protection from the elements, battling the constant blizzard of last minute shoppers to reach our longed for destination of the South Pole – or 6pm Christmas Eve as we called it. Seriously, Shackleton, Scott and Crean had nothing on us. And when we made it to our Christmas Eve destination, we collapsed, exhausted but joyous, ready to celebrate our one single day of freedom before the Sales brought our respite to an abrupt and anti-climactic end. Oh retail joy, how I don’t miss you!

(It was in Milton Keynes by the way. And I know for a fact that the manager I worked for is still there. She’s a wonderful person so if you do happen to pop in to that particular store, tell her JK says hello – and when she looks at you blankly, just say the lanky Irish bloke who worked here in the mid-nineties…)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, evenings. My evenings were never going to amount to much in a social sense. To be honest, even if I’d wanted to go somewhere in my very nice car I’d hardly have managed to stump up for the fuel – which I soon realised rendered the concept of having a nice car rather pointless, but that’s a conversation for another day. Instead, my evenings (and remember we’re talking pre-internet here, pre-facebook, wow, imagine!) meant I had plenty of time on my hands. So I used that time to read. Yep, I read. A lot. An awful lot. I treated the bookshop like my own personal library. Now, don’t worry, I never damaged a single spine or marked a single page. In fact, I was so stealthy in my reading habits that no unsuspecting customer would ever have questioned the assumed virginity of their newly acquired book even after my grubby paws had been all over it. (Ugh, I’ll change that sentence before I share this piece on-line don’t worry ….. Ooops, too late!)

I devoured books, lots and lots and lots of books. But to this day, more that 20 years later, one particular novel still sticks in my mind. It was probably the first book I read where I experienced that ‘OMG sweet suffering jeeeeebers’ feeling as I turned the last few pages and found out what the previous few hundred had been leading up to. It was called ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ by Alan Folsom. Published in 1994 I think. And it was an epic read!

So if you like an good page-turning thriller and you’ve never read it, grab yourself a copy. You won’t be disappointed. Y’know, now that I think about it, I might even read it again myself sometime!

OK, I admit it.  I actually spat my tea out all over the keyboard when Jonathan mentioned using The Works as his own personal library.  Absolutely brilliant.  And how many UK based book fanatics haven’t dreamt of doing that at one time or another…?  Hmmm…? My thanks to Jonathan Kaye for such a humourous and interesting guest post.  And of course for the book recommendation!

After the Affair by Jonathan Kaye was published in the UK on 6th November 2016 and is available in eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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j kaye.jpgJonathan Kaye is a stay-at-home dad who decided to write a thriller when his son started school. The house was tidy by ten every morning so what else was he gonna do till, like, three? Apart from drink coffee with moms – which he is very good at by the way.

It took him a while to figure out the plot. He even had to use google to find out what policemen and judges and people like that did. Characters were easier. He just based one of them on himself and all the others on people he knew. Seriously it’s what all writers do. Why do you think Stephen King’s protagonist is invariably a novelist?

Three years after starting out, he wrote the words ‘The End.’ It was quite the experience. Then he proofread and proofread and proofread again … but he knows there might still be one or two typos and he asks you to not be too upset by the fact.

Finally, he’s sitting here now wondering why he’s writing about himself in the third person. It is making him feel important and aloof though!

Author Links: | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

 

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell (@Caroline_writes) @bookouture

sleep tight“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 his dark 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.

As Ruby starts to close in on the twisted individual, can she stop him before he strikes again? 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.”

I am so incredibly happy to welcome you to damppebbles today as it’s my stop on the Sleep Tight blog tour.  Sleep Tight is the second book in the DS Ruby Preston series and is written by the incredibly talented Caroline Mitchell and published by Bookouture. If you missed it, I was rather fond of the first book in the series, Love You to Death.  So much so that it made it onto my books of 2016 list.  If you click here you can read my five star review of the book which started my obsession with Ruby Preston.

I guess the question is, did the second book in the series live up to my incredibly high, almost unachievable expectations?  I’ve been waiting with bated breath for my next fix of DS Ruby Preston so when I say the pressure was high, it was REALLY high!  And once again, Caroline Mitchell has knocked it out of the park.  It was SO good to be back on the case with Ruby and Co.

Ruby is as strong-willed and kick-ass as she was in the first book.  Her relationship with local crime boss, Nathan is as fully charged as ever but this time Ruby has to clear Nathan’s name as part of an investigation into a serial killer dressing his victims as macabre fairytale princesses.  It’s hard to deny you had something to do with the murders when a box of recently harvested organs is discovered beneath your bed, as Nathan quickly discovers.   Ruby however is convinced of Nathan’s innocence.  Her senior officers are convinced of Nathan’s guilt, so it’s down to our fearless hero to find the real killer and clear her man’s name.  The chemistry between Ruby and Nathan is something which makes this series of books extra special in my opinion.  As I may have mentioned before, I’m not one for slushy stuff in my crime novels but it’s such a big part of these characters stories that it just works.  There was less friction between the couple this time around but that was partly to do with Nathan being in hiding for the majority of the book.

Lenny, Nathan’s rather creepy brother, is back with a bang this time around as well.  I mentioned friction a moment ago and that’s what Lenny brings to the story.  But definitely NOT in the same way as Nathan.  His antagonistic personality, his needling, inappropriate behaviour towards Ruby makes my skin crawl.  He’s so repulsive but it just wouldn’t be the same without him.

We find out fairly early on who the killer is but what we don’t know is, who is pulling their strings.  The killer’s back story is quite shocking and it immediately clarifies why certain things are happening and the reason they’re happening to the people they are.  For me, it just made me fall a little more in love with one of the main characters but I refuse to say which one.  There are plenty more twists and surprises in store, including one that left me gasping like a fish out of water.  Thinking about it now, I still can’t quite believe it happened!

Would I recommend this book?  Of course I would (you’d be a fool not too!) but start with Love You to Death as it sets the scene and it’s bloody fabulous!  A tense, edge of your seat read which I devoured.  I didn’t want it to end!  Oh, and I have such a girl crush on Ruby Preston…but don’t tell anyone. Please Caroline Mitchell, keep writing about Ruby. I’m totally hooked!

Five out of five stars.

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

Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell was published in the UK by Bookouture on 20th April 2017 and is available in eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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caroline mitchell

A 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 |

 

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Lie to Me by Jess Ryder (@jessryderauthor) @bookouture

lie to me cover.jpgHow can you tell the truth… if all you’ve ever known is a lie?

Three minutes. That’s all it takes for Meredith’s entire world to fall apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother who abandoned her.

Meredith can’t believe what her eyes have seen. Yet what if her memory has locked away the painful reality of her childhood? Can there be any truth in the strange and dangerous story her mother forced her to tell on camera? 

The search for answers leads Meredith to Darkwater Pool, the scene of the murder of a young woman, Cara, over 30 years ago. What could possibly be the link between her mother and the victim?

To find the truth Meredith must search through a past that is not her own. The problem is, she’s not the only one looking…

A dark, compulsive psychological thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Louise Jensen.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Lie to Me blog tour which I share with the lovely Rae over at Rae Reads.  Lie to Me is written by Jess Ryder and was published by the fabulous Bookouture on 19th April 2017.

The blurb of this book grabbed my attention straight away and that tagline, how can you tell the truth if all you’ve ever known is a lie…I just love it!  I was excited to make a start on this intriguing psychological thriller.  And the verdict? I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Meredith, the main character in the book is instantly likeable.  You join her as she sorts through the contents of her father’s attic where she makes an unexpected discovery.  A videotape with her name written on it in her mother’s handwriting.  Against her father’s advice she enthusiastically watches the tape hoping for answers about her estranged mother, Becca.  But what she gets is a whole lot more twisted and life will never be the same again for Meredith.

I flew through the pages of this book.  It grabbed my attention and kept pulling me back, time and time again.  So much so that I finished it in two short days (that’s quick for me). The author’s writing style was very much to my taste and I wouldn’t hesitate to read another book by Jess Ryder.

Each chapter is told from one of three points of view; you have Meredith the lead character, Cara before her death in the mid-1980s and Jay, the man accused but found innocent of Cara’s murder.  Cara is also a very likeable character and I felt a little sad knowing that all the future held for her was a terrifying death.  The chapters told from Jay’s point of view make it very clear that he is man living on the edge and doing everything he can to escape his past.

You discover that the only reason Jay was found innocent of Cara’s murder was because of Becca’s testimony which confused the court and led to Jay being released.  The impact had by Becca’s testimony on the case instantly drags Meredith into a cold case investigation, alongside her detective ex-boyfriend Eliot.  Eliot’s only focus is his career and he refuses to share certain findings with Meredith.  Which only frustrates Meri and makes her even more determined to work out who killed Cara all those years ago.  Surely it wasn’t her own mother, only to be driven mad by the guilt?

For me, the story of Meredith’s quest, her desire to find out what happened to her mother and the slightly odd bunch of characters she meets along the way made this book for me.  All of the characters add something to the story, and the character of Isobel will stay with me for a long time to come.  There are shocks and surprises along the way, none of which I saw coming so full marks to the author.

A tale of family secrets, lies and betrayal which I found hard to put down.  In all honestly I preferred the main body of the book to the ending but it’s still a great read which I would recommend to fans of the genre without hesitation.  I’m looking forward to reading more from Jess Ryder.

Four out of five stars.

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

Lie to Me by Jess Ryder was published in the UK by Bookouture on 19th April 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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jess ryder.jpgJess Ryder is the pseudonym of Jan Page, author, screenwriter, playwright and award-winning television producer.  After many years working in children’s media, she has recently embarked on a life of crime.  Writing, that is.   So she’s very excited about the publication of her debut thriller Lie to Me.  Her other big love is making pots.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

#CoverReveal: Watching the Bodies by Graham Smith (@GrahamSmith1972) @BloodhoundBook

Hello my booky friends.  I am delighted to have a cover reveal to share with you today and it’s for a book I have been wanting to read since I first heard about it at the end of last year.  The book is Watching the Bodies by Graham Smith and it is the start of a brand new series featuring expat Scot, Jake Boulder.  Here’s the blurb:

“When Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.”

Now, I have to confess that I have already read an ARC of this book and it’s an incredibly gripping read.  And of course, I have the biggest crush on Jake Boulder already!  This is one that fans of the serial killer thriller should NOT miss.

And here’s the cover:

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I hope that’s piqued your interest.  I will be part of the blog tour on Sunday 30th April so pop back then to read my review of this thrilling action-packed book.

Watching the Bodies by Graham Smith will be published in the UK by Bloodhound Books on 25th April 2017.

“Watching the Bodies is a storming addition to the action thriller genre, and Jake Boulder a new tough guy to root for. Be under no illusion, Boulder is no Jack Reacher or Joe Hunter clone – he is his own man, and re.png

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Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and one book, WATCHING THE BODIES in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

Author Links: | Facebook | WebsiteTwitter | Amazon UK Author Page |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Will to Live by Rachel Amphlett (@RachelAmphlett) @emmamitchellfpr

Will to Live Cover MEDIUM WEB (1).jpg“Reputation is everything

When a packed commuter train runs over a body on a stretch of track known to locals as ‘Suicide Mile’, it soon transpires that the man was a victim of a calculated murder.

As the investigation evolves and a pattern of murders is uncovered, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter realises the railway’s recent reputation may be the work of a brutal serial killer.

With a backlog of cold cases to investigate and attempting to uncover who is behind a professional vendetta against her, Kay must keep one step ahead of both the killer and her own adversaries.

When a second murder takes place within a week of the first, she realises the killer’s timetable has changed, and she’s running out of time to stop him…

Will to Live is the second book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future…

If you like Angela Marsons, Peter James and Robert Bryndza, discover the latest addition to Rachel Amphlett’s new series today.”

I am delighted to welcome you to my 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.  I read and reviewed the first book in the series Scared to Death a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it, so was looking forward to making a start on Will to Live.

And once again, I very much enjoyed DS Kay Hunter’s latest outing.  Maybe more so than the first book.  I felt this novel gave a lot more information about Kay’s past which I was left wondering about previously.  And the other characters seemed to shine through a little more.  In the first book one character in particular, DC Ian Barnes, left me a little cold.  This completely changed whilst reading Will to Live and I became rather fond of Kay’s sarcastic sidekick.

I absolutely loved the killer’s method of disposing of his victims.  What a different and interesting solution, and it fitted beautifully with the rest of the story.  Throughout the book I struggled to tie the different threads together and couldn’t predict which way Amphlett was going to take the story.  And when it came to the big reveal, I was both surprised and shocked at the outcome.  A joy to read.

There are some fairly gory scenes in this book which of course, ticked all the boxes for me but some readers may find them a little hard to stomach.  Don’t let that put you off though as this book is worth it even if you’re not one for blood, guts and gore.

Would I recommend this book?  Most definitely but make sure you read Scared to Death first.  You could read this as standalone but I think it works better if you start with the first book in the series (same with every other series out there really!).  A really absorbing plot, great characters who are really coming into their own and a series to watch.  I can’t wait to see where Rachel Amphlett takes Kay Hunter and her team next.

Four and a half stars out of five.

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

Will to Live by Rachel Amphlett was published in the UK by Saxon Publishing on 4th April 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller 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.

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.

You can keep in touch with Rachel by signing up to her mailing list via her website (http://www.rachelamphlett.com), or via Facebook (http://on.fb.me/TN7rpu) and Twitter: @RachelAmphlett

 

 

#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett (@BeckettSimon) @TransworldBooks

the restless dead‘Composed of over sixty per cent water itself, a human body isn’t naturally buoyant. It will float only for as long as there is air in its lungs, before gradually sinking to the bottom as the air seeps out. If the water is very cold or deep, it will remain there, undergoing a slow, dark dissolution that can take years. But if the water is warm enough for bacteria to feed and multiply, then it will continue to decompose. Gases will build up in the intestines, increasing the body’s buoyancy until it floats again.
And the dead will literally rise . . . ‘

“Once one of the country’s most respected forensics experts, Dr David Hunter is facing an uncertain professional – and personal – future. So when he gets a call from Essex police, he’s eager for the chance to assist them.

A badly decomposed body has been found in a desolate area of tidal mudflats and saltmarsh called the Backwaters. Under pressure to close the case, the police want Hunter to help with the recovery and identification.

It’s thought the remains are those of Leo Villiers, the son of a prominent businessman who vanished weeks ago. To complicate matters, it was rumoured that Villiers was having an affair with a local woman. And she too is missing.

But Hunter has his doubts about the identity. He knows the condition of the unrecognizable body could hide a multitude of sins. Then more remains are discovered – and these remote wetlands begin to give up their secrets . . . “

I am very excited to welcome you to damppebbles today as it’s my stop on the The Restless Dead blog tour.  The Restless Dead is the fifth book in the Dr David Hunter series written by well established and popular crime writer, Simon Beckett.  This latest addition to the series was published by Bantam Press in hardcover on 6th April 2017.

And I absolutely flipping loved it!  I’ve been wanting to read a Simon Beckett novel for some time now so when I was asked to be a part of the The Restless Dead blog tour, I couldn’t refuse.  I’ve heard so many good things about Dr David Hunter and I’ve got to tell you, they’re all true!

The first thing that really appealed to me about this book is that it’s about a forensic anthropologist rather than the usual detective or private investigator.  I tend to read a lot of crime novels a year that it’s always refreshing to see things from a different perspective.  And what a fascinating, detailed tale Simon Beckett has written.  The story hooked me in quite early on and I became somewhat mesmerised by the bleak landscape.  This is one of those books where the setting is as much a part of the story as the characters and the plot.  In fact, I’d go as far as saying the setting is one of the main characters.

The recovery of a long dead corpse from an Essex estuary begins a tale woven with intricate secrets and damaging lies.  Dr Hunter is called to assist with the recovery and is grateful for the work following a recent episode which caused embarrassment and damage to his good name.  Why he’s been called, he is yet to discover as he normally meets the victim in the clinical cleanliness of the morgue.  This early rescue mission introduces us to my favourite character in the story; the level-headed, gentle DI Lund.

From there the investigation begins.  Is the body in the estuary that of Leo Villiers? The son of Sir Stephen Villiers who went missing several weeks before?  Sir Stephen says it is but the rate of decomposition doesn’t fit and David Hunter has his doubts.  And what of Emma Derby?  Glamorous, recently married and rumoured to be having an affair with Leo.  Emma went missing before Leo.  Is Leo responsible for Emma’s death?  The recovery of such a damaged corpse raises a lot more questions that it answers.  David fights to be a part of the case but DSC Clarke, SIO has other ideas.  Particularly when he fails to arrive in time for the autopsy.

Sometimes you read a book and everything about it just feels right.  That’s how I felt about The Restless Dead.  I couldn’t put this one down and when I was away from the book I was thinking it through, trying to connect the threads of the story.

There is so much going on but it’s written so beautifully that it’s easy to follow the story from start to finish without feeling lost.  It flows so well, you can tell the author is a master of his craft.  The plot is fascinating and I loved the forensic detail.  I experienced several emotions whilst reading.  What I wasn’t expecting was to burst into tears at one point.  I can’t remember the last book which made me cry.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, most definitely.  If The Restless Dead doesn’t make it onto my books of 2017 list then I need to give up reading.  Gorgeously atmospheric, brilliantly creepy and some of the best characters I’ve read in a long time.  Chock full of nail biting tension which I lapped up.  This book was everything I want in my crime thrillers.

Five out of five stars.

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

The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett was published in the UK by Bantam Press on 6th April 2017 and is available in hardcover and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Author information taken from amazon.co.uk

Simon Beckett worked as a property repairer, taught English in Spain and played percussion with several bands before becoming a novelist and freelance journalist. He writes for most national newspapers and colour supplements, including The Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent on Sunday and Observer. He is married and lives in Sheffield.

Author Links: | Website | FacebookTwitter |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Dog Fight by Michael J. Malone (@michaelJmalone1) @SarabandBooks

Dog Fight by [Malone, Michael J]“Kenny O’Neill, a villain with a conscience, returns in a hard-hitting thriller of exploitation, corruption and criminal gangs.

When Kenny’s cousin, Ian, comes to the aid of a fellow ex-squaddie in a heap of trouble, he gets caught up in the vicious underground fight scene, where callous criminals prey on the vulnerable, damaged and homeless.

With Ian in too deep to escape, Kenny has no option other than to infiltrate the gang for the sake of his family.

Kenny is an experienced MMA fighter, as tough as they come, but has he found himself in the one fight he can never win?”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Dog Fight blog tour.  Dog Fight‘s author, Michael J Malone was responsible for my book of 2016.  He created the incredible, emotional psychological thriller A Suitable Lie and since then I’ve been incredibly keen to read his other work.  So when I was asked to join the blog tour for his new release, I jumped at the chance.

**IF YOU HAVE READ PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THIS SERIES PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS SO READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK**  I do everything I can to avoid spoilers in my reviews but having not read this series previously it was rather hard.  It has been pointed out by a lovely person that the following review does unintentionally contain spoilers (thank you lovely person) and instead of rewriting the whole thing I’ve decided to add this warning!  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!  DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU….

Michael J. Malone is known for his crime series featuring DI Ray McBain and Kenny O’Neill.  Having only read A Suitable Lie previously, I was interested to discover that some of Malone’s previous titles feature McBain whilst others mainly feature O’Neill (with the other always appearing alongside).  Dog Fight is Kenny’s story but I was thrilled to find Ray McBain making a cameo role as I’ve heard so many positive things about this character.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It’s gritty, raw and I loved how incredibly Scottish it is. Michael J. Malone’s writing is compelling and I was drawn into the dark and murky underground fight scene.  I absolutely loved the characters.  Kenny, and to some degree McBain, are new favourites of mine (McBain didn’t feature as much in the story but I’m determined to read the first DI McBain novel, Blood Tears as soon as possible).  I also really like Kenny’s cousin, Ian who plays a pivotal role in the story.  These guys are ex-military, some of them are down on their luck, living in the gutters but a lot of the characters had real heart and that appealed.  Others didn’t so much, but that also appealed as they were the shady characters lining up fights amongst the wounded and the broken of Glasgow’s streets.

The plot was intense, quite brutal in places and I loved it.  The story really pulls you in, sticks you in a choke hold and doesn’t let go.  It’s not my usual type of crime thriller but it was exactly what I needed.  The right book at the right time.  I would gladly read more gangster-type novels on the back of this (particularly if we’re talking about Kenny O’Neill).

Kenny is a very naughty boy and the relationship between him and DI McBain is very intriguing.  How can a police DI and a local gangster become pals?  Well, there’s only one thing for it.  I’ll have to read all of the other books in the series and find out for myself.  They’re already loaded onto my Kindle so it’s just finding the time to fit them into my reading schedule.  Shouldn’t be too hard, huh?

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  Particularly if you’re a fan of police procedurals and fancy seeing things from a slightly different perspective.  I love Michael J. Malone’s writing and I love his characters.  Dog Fight is very different to A Suitable Lie but it was a great read which I really enjoyed.  Mr Malone, it’s official, I’m a fan of your work. Highly recommended.

Four out of five stars.

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

Dog Fight by Michael J. Malone was published in the UK by Contraband on 6th April 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Michael J. Malone is the author of four crime novels: Blood Tears, which won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers, A Taste for Malice, Beyond the Rage and 2016’s Bad Samaritan. His thriller The Guillotine Choice is the amazing true story of an innocent man’s time in the notorious Devil’s Island penal colony.

Author Links: | Saraband.net | Facebook | Website | Twitter |

 

#CaseClosed: March 2017 #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles

We may be one fifth of the way through April already but that’s not going to stop me from posting my monthly summary post, oh no!  Rules. Ha! They’re made to be broken, right?  That or I’m just a disaster at the moment and can’t get myself organised enough to publish my #CaseClosed posts on the first of the month.  I should probably add it to my extensive list of goals I shared with you last month…now there’s a thought!

Happy April everyone!  I’m delighted to report that the weather here in the UK has become more ‘Spring-like’ and I have finally managed to defrost after a long, cold Winter.  My kids have finished for the Easter break (I know, how early?!!) which means the amount of reading and blogging I’ll be doing over the next week and a half will be significantly reduced, boo!  But I get to spend time with the children, yay!

During March I managed to read the grand total of 11 books!  For those that have a vague memory of the ‘goals’ I set myself last month…goal one – tick.  I also managed to read Dark Houses by Helen H Durrant which is the book I’ve had on my NetGalley shelf the longest (goal two – tick) as well as one of the books my husband gave me as part of my Christmas present, The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore (goal three – tick).  As for goal four….well, let’s not even go though (hehehehe).

So, what happened on the blog last month?  I was absolutely thrilled to welcome some incredibly talented guest reviewers to damppebbles.  I featured reviews of Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall and Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan from the lovely Tracie Delaney at Passionate About BooksMadam Tulip by David Ahern from Nicki over at Nicki’s Book BlogSplintered by Kelly Miller from the gorgeous Dee over at Novel DeelightsThe One by John Marrs which could end up being Sam over at Clues and Reviews top read of the year! And The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti from Helen Claire over at baattyaboutbooks.  Thank you to all my guest reviewers for volunteering to help reduce the #terrifyingTBR.  I am eternally grateful.

I took part in 10 blog tours during March:

Of these six were reviews:

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski | The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman | The Place That Never Existed by Jim Ody | Mystery at Maplemead Castle by Kitty French | The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney | After She’s Gone by Maggie James |

And four were either guest posts or extracts:

Dead Embers by Matt Brolly | The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury | Deadly Game by Matt Johnson | Boundary by Andree A. Michaud |

I also hosted a series spotlight for the lovely Sheryl Browne and her new crime thriller series featuring DI Matthew Adams.

And on top of all of that, I actually managed to read and review some non-blog tour books…WOAH!

You can find links to my review of Dark Houses and The Poison Artist above.  Here are my thoughts on Little Bones by Sam Blake and Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett.

In other news I made my 200th post to the blog.  I’m sure many of my fellow bloggers achieved this a very long time ago but as a slow reader I was rather proud.

I plan to set myself the same goals this month as last so keep an eye out for a review of The Rule of Fear by Luke Delaney as that’s the oldest resident on the NetGalley shelf at the moment.  I haven’t decided which of my Christmas present books I’ll read but I can share my April book with you:

51UlDLJK0OL._SY346_.jpg“This was meant to be the perfect trip. The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted and emotional, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a mistake – either that, or she is now trapped on a boat with a murderer…”

I’ve been hankering after this book for some time so it was good that I never mentioned it to the hubby (otherwise he wouldn’t have bought it for me, ha!).  Have you read it?  What did you think?

On a slightly more grumpy note, I have decided to reduce the number of blog tours I feature on.  I think I’m starting to suffer from the dreaded blogger burnout as I’ve found it hard going writing reviews and sharing the book love of late.  Hopefully this is just a temporary thing but I think I need to take a break (particularly from social media for a while). I know I’m not the only one who feels like this as several of my blogger friends have said they feel exactly the same.  I will try to do as much as I’ve always done, but you may notice a dip in the number of posts I share.  I’m sorry.  I really do want to spread the #booklove and support my fabulous fellow bloggers but I’m running out of time each day and the kids sulk when I make any kind of move towards my phone.  Grump over, normal(ish) service to resume (kind of!).

Well, that’s it my lovelies for another #CaseClosed.  Have a fabulous April, one and all.