#CaseClosed: #March2018 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles #booklove

Hello, my bookish beauties. As today is the last day of March I have my monthly ‘goings-on’ post to share with you. It’s #CaseClosed time! And I’ll be honest here, I have no idea where March has gone. I ‘somehow’ missed that after March 29th (my dad’s birthday, an obviously easy to remember date!) and after March 30th, comes…wait for it, March 31st! And that’s it, March 2018 is officially done. How the heck did that happen?

Before I go any further, I would like to wish all of you who celebrate Easter a very happy, chocolate filled one. And if you don’t celebrate Easter then I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend so far, full of the things you love (books I hope, lots and lots of books).

I’m glad to say that March at damppebbles HQ has been significantly busier than February. Thank crunchie!

I took part in five blog tours:

Only three were review posts:
Blue Night by Simone Buchholz | Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell | No Comment by Graham Smith |

And two were extract posts:
The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne | Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley |

I managed a few publication day or ‘near as dangit’ reviews:
Fighting Monsters by Rebecca Bradley | The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste | The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne | Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett | Hangman by Daniel Cole |

My First Monday Crime review for March was the eerie The Intrusions by Stav Sherez. Well worth a look if you’re a crime thriller fan.

I hosted a couple of other posts which weren’t strictly blog tours but coincided with either the initial publication of a book or the release in a new format:
Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett (guest post: Why Adam is a Vet) | Good Friday by Lynda La Plante (extract) |

I also had a small-(ish) NetGalley meltdown, lol! You can read that post by clicking HERE. I hope, by posting my burgeoning NetGalley shelf, that I’ve made a number of my fellow book bloggers feel a little better about theirs. The outright winner of the poll was the third book in the Detective Erika Foster series written by Robert Bryndza, ‘Dark Water’, so look out for a review coming to the blog soon. I’m absolutely thrilled with what you lot chose (thank you!), I adore Erika and can’t wait to read ‘Dark Water’.

Then there was the fantastic news that I’m going to be organising blog tours for the incredible indie crime fiction publisher, Fahrenheit Press! What a match made in crime fiction heaven, huh? If you’re a book blogger and would like to be kept informed then please click this link and enter your details. I have some of the most amazing books to organise tours for so you really don’t want to miss out!

(Gosh, March WAS a busy month!). Finally, I shared the stunning cover of the latest Louise Jensen psychological thriller, The Date. So excited to read this one. Louise Jensen’s ‘The Surrogate’ was one of my books of 2017!

And breathe….

Which only leaves one thing left to do. My book of the month for March 2018!

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I’ve had a couple of stonking five star reads this month. However, there was no question which book I was going to choose as my book of the month…

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It’s Hangman by Daniel Cole, the second book in the Ragdoll series. I enjoyed the first book in the series but this latest instalment blew me away. I loved it. It felt like a crime/horror crossover which I am absolutely loving at the moment. Highly entertaining from start to finish!

hangman cover

“I have to say, I found the story a little far-fetched in some places but in all honesty, I didn’t actually give a hoot as I was utterly captivated by the characters and what was going to happen next. Daniel Cole had my full attention from start to finish and to me, that is more important than a little artistic licence. I also loved the humour Cole has written into the pages of Hangman. This is the first book in a long time that I found myself quietly chuckling along to.

So utterly gripping I couldn’t put this book down. I described the need to keep turning the pages of Ragdoll as similar to catnip. Well, the author has done it again but this is super strength catnip! A perfect read for me.”

So, that was March. I can’t wait to see what April has in store for us – lots of lovely new book releases I hope and maybe, just maybe, a hint of sunshine (PLEASE!). I’m joining the blog tour for My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland on Monday 2nd April so make sure you pop back for that. It’s a corker of a read.

Have a wonderful ‘springy’ month everyone.

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#CoverReveal: The Date by Louise Jensen (@Fab_fiction) @bookouture #TheDate

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the blog this evening, particularly as I have a rather special cover reveal to share with you.

Regular visitors to damppebbles will know that I am a HUGE fan of Louise Jensen’s psychological thrillers and I am over the moon that her next release is on the horizon. Today I have the stunning cover of The Date to share with you, Jensen’s fourth release with the mighty Bookouture. Without further ado, here is the blurb…

Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor.

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future.

By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her.

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her…

From the no. 1 bestselling author of The Sister, The Gift and The Surrogate, The Date is a gripping page-turner that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go To Sleep.

Oh.My.Flipping.Goodness! What a blurb and what a stunning cover. Feast your eyes on this beauty 😍….

the date.jpg

I CANNOT WAIT to get my paws on this new release!  It’s available to pre-order now but won’t be downloading to your Kindle until 21st June 2018 (I’m not sure I can wait that long!).  Click HERE for the universal pre-order link.  And if you need any help making your mind up (pah!) then you should check out my reviews for the first three of Jensen’s books; #1 The Sister#2 The Gift and the absolutely superb #3 The Surrogate.

about the author3

Louise Jensen author pic - no creditLouise is a USA Today Bestselling Author, and lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat.

Louise’s first two novels, The Sister and The Gift, were both International No.1 Bestsellers, and have been sold for translation to sixteen countries. The Sister was nominated for The Goodreads Awards Debut of 2016. Louise’s third psychological thriller, The Surrogate, is out now.

Louise loves to hear from readers and writers and can be found at www.louisejensen.co.uk, where she regularly blogs flash fiction.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogBlitz | #BookReview: No Comment by Graham Smith (@GrahamSmith1972) @caffeinenights @rararesources #NoComment

No Comment.jpg

When a single mother, Julie Simon, is found in her kitchen with a stab wound to her stomach, Cumbria’s Major Crimes Team are handed the case.

Under the supervision of DI Campbell and with advice from his former DI, Harry Evans, DC Amir Bhaki fights to discover who assaulted an innocent woman and left her with life-threatening injuries.

Nothing is as it first appears and when the team looks into Julie’s life they uncover a hidden sex-life that may just hold the key to the identity of her attacker.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to damppebbles today and to my stop on the No Comment blog blitz which I share with some pretty fabulous bloggers. No Comment is the latest DI Harry Evans novella, written by Graham Smith and published yesterday (that’s Thursday 22nd March 2018) by Caffeine Nights.

I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a previous DI Harry Evans novella, Matching the Evidence plus the latest full-length novel in the series, I Know Your Secret. More recently Smith has been focussing on his Jake Boulder series (which I also love) so I was delighted to hear Harry and the team were to make a very welcome, long-awaited return.

Smith has managed to pack one heck of an almighty punch into this latest Major Crimes Team novella. It was so good to be reacquainted with the Cumbrian MCT again. The memories of these well developed and fascinating characters came flooding back. And for the record, I still don’t like DC Lauren Phillips! I was, however, feeling slightly more positive towards the dastardly DI Campbell this time around. So who knows, my feelings for Lauren may change with time…ha! (I’m due to read the next full-length novel in the series, titled When the Waters Recede, soon. By the end, I expect I’ll be back to loathing Campbell again. He’s that kind of character!).

One of the things I love about this series is the way that every member of the team is an individual and they have something unique to add to the story. Smith seems to effortlessly spotlight one character in particular per novel/novella giving you an insight into what makes them tick. This time the story focusses on DC Amir Bhaki and his gut feeling about the violent scene he encounters in Julie Simon’s kitchen.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. It’s probably best to read the previous novellas and full-length novels before you get to No Comment though. The MCT carries a lot of history and there are things which may not make immediate sense otherwise. In my usual wannabe amateur detective way, I was trying to work out whodunit and why-they-dunit but I completely failed. The twist is quite unexpected and will leave you with a gaping jaw. It did me, anyway! Smith is such a talented writer and I cannot wait to read more from him. Roll on When the Waters Recede!

Four stars out of five.

I chose to read and review an eARC of No Comment. The above review is my own unbiased opinion. My thanks to Graham Smith for asking me to feature on the blog tour.

No Comment by Graham Smith was published in the UK by Caffeine Nights on 22nd March 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook format (please note, the following Amazon links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author3

Graham Smith Author Pic

Graham Smith is a time served joiner who 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.

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and three novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

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

Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, eight attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter | Website |

#BlogTour | #Extract: Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley (@mrsmjriley) @KillerReads #DarkWaters #AlexDevlin

Cover Dark Waters.jpg“Secrets lie beneath the surface…

Two men, seemingly unconnected, are discovered dead in a holiday boat on the Norfolk Broads, having apparently committed suicide together.

Local journalist Alex Devlin, planning an article on the dangers of internet suicide forums, starts digging into their backgrounds.

But Alex’s investigation soon leads her to a much darker mystery – one that will hit closer to home than she could possibly have imagined, and place the lives of those she loves in terrible danger.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on the Dark Waters blog tour.  Dark Waters is the third book in the Alex Devlin series written by Mary-Jane Riley and published by Killer Reads.  I am absolutely gutted that I haven’t managed to get around to reading this series yet but, thanks to my iron-will (ha!) I have a bit of a blog tour break coming up soon so plan to make a start on The Bad Things (book one in the series) then.

I was fortunate enough to feature a guest post from Mary-Jane Riley back in 2016 as part of my #damppebblestakeover series.  Mary-Jane explains in her brilliant post how the nugget of an idea grows into a book (plus she declares a love of stationery *swoon*).  I wonder, Mary-Jane, have you looked into The Snowflake Method yet?

Anyway, I’m wittering.  To celebrate the release of Dark Waters in eBook I have a STONKING extract to share with you today.  So sit back, move your breakfast/lunch/dinner plate to one side (you’ll thank me!) and enjoy…

The Norfolk Broads – a haven of peace and tranquility simply waiting to be discovered and explored. And a boating holiday on the Broads opens up a world of beauty, cruising through reed marshes, woodland and meadow. Find hidden waterways teeming with wildlife. Moor close to welcoming riverside pubs, quaint villages, and market towns. Choose a Harper’s Holidays cruiser and start unwinding today!

Three Weeks Earlier

Decomposition sets in.

First, both hearts stop beating and the cells and tissues are starved of oxygen. The brain cells are the first to die – all that ‘being’ ended.

Blood drains from the capillaries, pooling in lower-lying parts of the body, staining the skin black. Rigor mortis has been and gone by now, the muscles becoming stiff three hours after death, but within seventy-two hours rigor mortis has subsided. The bodies are cool. They are pliable again.

As the cells die, bacteria begin to break them down. Enzymes in the pancreas cause each organ in each of the bodies to digest itself. Large blisters appear all over the bodies. Green slime oozes from decomposing tissue, and methane and hydrogen sulphide fill the air. Bloody froth trickles from the mouths and noses.

And all this time the insects are enjoying themselves. One fly can lay three hundred eggs on one corpse, and they will hatch within twenty-four hours. The hatching maggots use hooks in their mouths to scoop up any liquid seeping from the bodies. They are efficient, these maggots. Their breathing mechanism is located on the opposite end to their mouths so they can breathe and eat at the same time.

Within a day the maggots reach the second stage of their lives and burrow into the putrefying flesh.

The pleasure cruiser has been tied to the wooden mooring post on Poppy Island for at least three days. There has been no movement. The curtains are drawn. The doors and windows are closed. Somebody will find them soon.

Wowsers, what a brilliant extract!  I hope that’s piqued your interest.  The eBook is available to download now with the paperback to follow towards the end of May so make sure you grab a copy!

Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley was published in the UK by Killer Reads | Harper Collins UK on 16th March 2018 and is available in eBook format (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

mary-jane riley (1).jpgMary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Mary-Jane has three grown-up children and lives in Suffolk with her husband and two golden retrievers.

DARK WATERS is her third crime thriller featuring investigative journalist, Alex Devlin.

Author Links:Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

#BookReview: Hangman by Daniel Cole (@Daniel_P_Cole) @TrapezeBooks @orion_crime @Lauren_BooksPR

hangman cover.jpg

“A detective with no one to trust
A killer with nothing to lose

18 months after the ‘Ragdoll’ murders, a body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, the word ‘BAIT’ carved into the chest.

In London a copycat killer strikes, branded with the word ‘PUPPET’, forcing DCI Emily Baxter into an uneasy partnership with the detectives on the case, Special Agents Rouche and Curtis.

Each time they trace a suspect, the killer is one step ahead. With the body count rising on both sides of the Atlantic, can they learn to trust each other and identify who is holding the strings before it is too late?”

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Daniel Cole’s debut crime thriller, Ragdoll. I thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly the inventive ways Cole came up with to kill off a number of the characters. It’s no secret that I like my crime thrillers edging on horror with lots of bodies and lots of blood, so Ragdoll held a lot of appeal for me. The second book in the Ragdoll series, Hangman immediately became a must-read. I just had to see what the author was going to do with his characters next…

And the answer is, he completely ignored his lead protagonist and focussed solely on a supporting member of his cast. Not what you would expect, right? I’ve seen Hangman mentioned in places as Detective Fawkes #2. It really isn’t though. Fawkes hardly features in this novel and I absolutely flipping LOVED it! My one bugbear with Ragdoll was that I felt very little for either Fawkes or his sidekick, Emily Baxter. If anything, Baxter irritated me with her fawning over Fawkes and her (ugh) neediness. Having read Hangman from cover to cover I have completely changed my mind about her. I love the new ‘slightly more damaged than she was before’ Emily Baxter. Her sarcastic manner, her bossiness, her ‘don’t actually give a damn!’ attitude and her secretiveness. I really like this new Baxter and hope she doesn’t change back to her old, puppy dog ways in book three when Fawkes *may* return.

Baxter isn’t the only character I loved in Hangman. I’ve already mentioned that Fawkes isn’t really present. However, Baxter is instructed to work alongside the FBI and CIA as her current investigation spans continents and has links to the famous Ragdoll case she ‘heroically’ solved. Curtis (the FBI agent) and in particular Rouche (the CIA operative) really brought something to the story. We get to see Baxter’s newfound barriers crumble a little as she warms to Rouche. I’m not sure there is any point in the story where she trusts him but I really enjoyed the relationship between the two.

I have to say, I found the story a little far-fetched in some places but in all honesty, I didn’t actually give a hoot as I was utterly captivated by the characters and what was going to happen next. Daniel Cole had my full attention from start to finish and to me, that is more important than a little artistic licence. I also loved the humour Cole has written into the pages of Hangman. This is the first book in a long time that I found myself quietly chuckling along to.

Would I recommend this book? Totally. I loved it. I preferred it to Ragdoll. I loved seeing things from Baxter’s perspective and I hope the *possible* return of Fawkes in book three doesn’t reduce her character to what it was in book one. I would be devastated. So utterly gripping I couldn’t put this book down. I described the need to keep turning the pages of Ragdoll as similar to catnip. Well, the author has done it again but this is super strength catnip! A perfect read for me.

Five out of five stars.

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

Hangman by Daniel Cole was published in the UK by Trapeze Books on 22nd March 2018 and is available hardcover, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

daniel cole

Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer, and most recently for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Ragdoll is his first novel. He lives in Bournemouth, England.

Author Links: | Twitter |

#Extract: Good Friday by Lynda La Plante (@LaPlanteLynda) @BonnierZaffre @ed_pr #JaneTennison

good friday

“Every legend has a beginning . . .

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not.

Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast

that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation.

‘Good Friday’ is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target. As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can she convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London’s entire detective force?”

‘La Plante excels in her ability to pick out the surprising but plausible details that give her portrayal of everyday life in a police station a rare ring of authenticity’ Sunday Telegraph

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to damppebbles today and boy, do I have a treat in store for you! Back when the weather was warmer (only a smidge, mind you) in August I was part of the blog tour for Good Friday, the third book in the Tennison series written by the Queen of Crime Drama, Lynda La Plante. That was to celebrate Good Friday‘s release in hardback, eBook and audio. Tomorrow marks the book’s publication in paperback – the perfect excuse to reshare the stonking extract I featured in August.

So without further ado, brace yourself…

Jane took the Circle line from Baker Street and changed at King’s Cross St Pancras to take the Piccadilly line to Covent Garden. From there it was just a short walk to the Bow Street station. It was eight thirty when Jane arrived at Covent Garden station, right at the peak of the early morning rush hour. There were groans from the other passengers when they saw that the lift wasn’t working, but Jane didn’t mind as she wasn’t in any great hurry. She followed the throng of people walking up the 193 steps of the spiral staircase, trying her best not to bump into the people heading down the stairs in the opposite direction. Behind her was a woman with a pushchair and a baby in her arms.
‘Can I help you?’ Jane asked.
‘Oh, yes please, thank you, love. These lifts here are always out of order.’
Jane carried the pushchair, and as there were so many people up ahead of her, they moved very slowly. On reaching the top stair she unfolded the pushchair so the woman could put her baby in the seat. Jane paused at the ticket barriers to search her handbag for her warrant card. The area surrounding the faulty lift was heaving with people moving in both directions, and a guard was on duty checking and taking tickets. Behind Jane were queues of passengers waiting impatiently to show their tickets so they could leave the station, and she found herself being pushed forward.
The guard shouted, ‘Please do NOT push! We apologise for the lifts being out of order and ask for your patience. Please proceed in an orderly manner through the ticket barriers!’
Jane made her way through the ticket barrier and out into the packed foyer.
‘Excuse me, sir, you forgot your bag.’
Jane turned to see an elderly woman pointing to a rucksack that had been left on the floor next to the ticket box.
‘Hey, you left your bag!’ the woman repeated. Jane followed her gaze and caught sight of a man wearing a hooded winter coat, walking away with his head down. Instead of turning to acknowledge the old lady he pushed people out of his way as he hurried
towards the Long Lane exit.
‘I just saw him put it down!’ the woman said loudly. Jane hesitated. Was it just a mistake, and the man had simply not heard the woman calling out to him? She hurried after him, in the hope of stopping him and reuniting him with his bag.
‘Excuse me, sir! I’m a police officer and . . .’
The man kept on moving quickly through the throng of people and Jane picked up her pace as she called out for him to stop. Just as he reached the exit, Jane managed to grab hold of his sleeve. He half turned towards her and she had a momentary glimpse of his
profile, but he twisted out of her grasp, batting her away. He pushed people aside as he ran out of the station. Jane stumbled backwards, and then turned to look for the abandoned rucksack. She could feel the panic rising as she realised it had gone, but then calmed down as she reassured herself that the old lady must have been mistaken and the real owner had picked it up. Jane turned around in a circle, searching for anyone carrying the rucksack. Then she saw the ticket barrier guard holding it against his chest, heading towards the guards’ office. She immediately sensed that something was very wrong. For a second she was paralysed with fear, but then she started pushing people aside and screamed at the guard to put the rucksack down, shouting for everyone to evacuate the area. Some people began to run. But it was too late.

I don’t know about you but I need a lie-down now and some calm, soothing music after that extract! WOAH!

Good Friday by Lynda La Plante was published in the UK by Bonnier Zaffre on 22nd March 2018 and is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

Lynda la Plante

Lynda La Plante was born in Liverpool. She trained for the stage at RADA and worked with the National Theatre and RDC before becoming a television actress. She then turned to writing – and made her breakthrough with the phenomenally successful TV series WIDOWS.

Her novels have all been international bestsellers. Her original script for the much-acclaimed PRIME SUSPECT won awards from BAFTA, Emmys, British Broadcasting and Royal Television Society as well as the 1993 Edgar Allan Poe Writer’s Award.

Since 1993 Lynda has spearheaded La Plante Productions. In that time the company has produced a stunning slate of innovative dramas with proven success and enduring international appeal.

Based on Lynda’s best selling series of Anna Travis novels, Above Suspicion, Silent Scream, Deadly Intent and Silent Scream have all adapted into TV scripts and received impressive viewing figures.

Lynda has been made honorary fellow of the British Film Institute and was awarded the BAFTA Dennis Potter Writer’s Award 2000.

On 14th June 2008 Lynda was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List (Writer and Producer for services to Literature, Drama and to Charity).

On 3rd October 2009, Lynda was honoured at the Cologne Conference International Film and Television Festival with the prestigious TV Spielfilm Award for her television adaptation of her novel, Above Suspicion.

Books penned by Lynda La Plante include: The Legacy, The Talisman, Bella Mafia, Entwined, Cold Shoulder, Cold Blood, Cold Heart, Sleeping Cruelty, Royal Flush, Above Suspicion, The Red Dahlia, Clean Cut, Deadly Intent and Silent Scream, Blind Fury (this entered the UK Sunday Times Bestsellers List at number 1 having sold 9,500 copies in its first two weeks), Blood Line, Backlash, Wrongful Death, and Twisted, which have all been international best-sellers.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#BookReview: Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett (@RachelAmphlett) #CalltoArms #DetectiveKayHunter

call to arms

“Loyalty has a price.

Kay Hunter has survived a vicious attack at the hands of one of the country’s most evil serial killers.

Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation. DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.

Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.

But as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.

Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…

Call to Arms is a gripping police procedural, and the fifth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH
2. WILL TO LIVE
3. ONE TO WATCH
4. HELL TO PAY
5. CALL TO ARMS

A page-turning murder mystery for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and Harlen Coben.”

Call to Arms is the fifth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series written by author, Rachel Amphlett. I LOVE this series and always make a point of keeping up to date with the latest release (one of the few I actually manage as well!). You can check out my reviews of the first four books by clicking on the following titles; #1 Scared to Death, #2 Will to Live, #3 One to Watch and #4 Hell to Pay.

I was delighted to have the latest Kay Hunter novel in my mitts. And before long, the events of the previous novel came crashing back into my mind. (IF YOU HAVENT READ THE FOURTH BOOK IN THE SERIES, MISS THE NEXT BIT OUT!). The near-deadly tousle on the beach, the shocking conclusion where Hunter was suddenly promoted to DI as her friend and current DI, Devon Sharp, was forcibly removed from her hospital room. But despite being fully aware of all of that, having Kay’s colleagues refer to her as DI Hunter still came as a bit of surprise to me!

(SKIP TO HERE!) At the start of Call to Arms Kay Hunter is on light duties having only recently returned to work. She’s bored, not helped by a recent promotion and a large increase in the amount of paperwork she has to complete. Hunter realises the only way to get back to the action of ‘real police work’ is to get her friend and colleague, Devon Sharp reinstated as DI of the team. It helps a great deal if you’ve read Hell to Pay, the fourth book in the series before reading Call to Arms. I’ve always said each and every book in the Kay Hunter series can be read as a standalone. Not this one, this is the exception. It would help enormously if you’ve read Hell to Pay first. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Kay decides to reinvestigate a cold case in her own time which, if she can prove wasn’t properly investigated in the first place, may help clear Devon Sharp’s name whilst digging a fellow senior colleague deeper into the hole he has already made for himself – part of the draw maybe?! The investigation is into the death of an Army Private who skidded out of control and to his death on his motorcycle one dark and dismal night. Kay is connected to the case in other ways; the soldier who died was Devon Sharp’s godson. This time it’s personal and Hunter will stop at nothing to make sure the truth is discovered. No matter what the outcome.

So here’s the thing. I enjoyed Hell to Pay but not as much as I expected to (which is really weird as the despicable characters in the story and the evil deeds that were happening before my eyes are very much the kind of thing that I love to read about. Weird right?). However, I was thrilled to fully submerge myself in this latest brilliant instalment, Call to Arms. I REALLY enjoyed it and it reminded me exactly why I love Amphlett’s writing and, in particular, Kay Hunter as much as I do.

I loved that the plot headed off at an unexpected tangent and the more we discovered about the deceased, the darker the tale became. I devoured this book in a few short hours which is unheard of for me. I didn’t want to put it down.

One of my issues with Hell to Pay was the lack of Adam, Kay’s other half in the story. Again, it’s quite strange because I’m not a reader who cares much for romance in my stories. However, I love the relationship between Kay and Adam. I love how utterly normal they are. I was glad to see Adam playing more of a part in Call to Arms. He even managed to bring me to tears at one point! (And don’t forget to check out the brilliant guest post I hosted earlier this week – it’s all about the lovely Adam!).

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely but make sure you grab copies of the first four books in the series as well. I promise it’ll be worth it. My favourite in the series is still Will to Live but Call to Arms is a very welcome addition to a much-loved series. I hope Amphlett continues to write this series for many years to come. I am so fond of the characters and ALWAYS look forward to finding out what is going to happen next.

Four out of five stars.

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

Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett was published in the UK on 11th March 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

rachel-2016-2141

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.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

Calling all crime fiction loving #BookBloggers! damppebbles teams up with the awesome @fahrenheitpress #BlogTours #Noir #Crime #BlogBlitz #HotPunkPublisher

fahrenheit image.jpg

I have some exciting news to share with you all today. The awesome independent crime fiction publishing house, Fahrenheit Press, and I have joined forces! I am going to be organising and running blog tours and blitzes for them starting with FIVE superb titles that you won’t want to miss!

I’m looking for the very best book bloggers with a bit of a thing for crime fiction and noir to join my database and become part of something special. Review copies will predominantly be eBooks but the odd paperback may be available from time to time. I’ll be sending an email out to everyone on my list in the coming weeks so make sure you’re signed up and watching that inbox (not too closely, you need to eat and sleep!).

If you’re in, then please complete the form below and I will be in touch soon:

If you would like to find out more about Fahrenheit Press then have a look at their website, particularly their ABOUT PAGE which tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

Fahrenheit Press is determined to change the way indie publishing is carried out and make 2018 their year. They’ve recently started two new imprints; Fahrenheit Editions which will be publishing beautiful hardback copies of some of their most popular titles and Fahrenheit 13, a collection of the very best in hard-boiled noir and experimental crime fiction. As a crime fiction fan, it’s incredibly exciting to see what Fahrenheit Press have in store for us readers.

I’m so excited, I hope you are too and you’ll want to join me and be a Fahrenheit reviewer. Don’t forget to fill in the form above!

 

Fahrenheit Press Images © http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/

#BookReview: The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne | @bookouture #TheBabysitter

the babysitter cover

“You trust her with your family. Would you trust her with your life?

Mark and Melissa Cain are thrilled to have found Jade, a babysitter who is brilliant with their young children. Having seen her own house burn to the ground, Jade needs them as much as they need her. Moving Jade into the family home can only be a good thing, can’t it?

As Mark works long hours as a police officer and Melissa struggles with running a business, the family become ever more reliant on their babysitter, who is only too happy to help. And as Melissa begins to slip into depression, it’s Jade who is left picking up the pieces.

But Mark soon notices things aren’t quite as they seem. Things at home feel wrong, and as Mark begins to investigate their seemingly perfect sitter, what he discovers shocks him to his core. He’s met Jade before. And now he suspects he might know what she wants …

Mark is in a race against time to protect his family. But what will he find as he goes back to his family home?

If you loved reading The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and The Sister, you’ll love the suspense of The Babysitter. This unputdownable read will have you turning the pages until way after dark.”

The Babysitter is the first Bookouture release from Sheryl Browne, having previously published her work with ChocLit. Having met Sheryl a couple of years ago (she’s such a darling), I was keen to read her latest book. I also took part in the blog blitz for The Babysitter when it was first released by hosting an extract. You can read that post by clicking HERE.

First up, I can see this book being huge. It’s a well-written psychological thriller with an antagonist you will love to hate. Mark and Melissa Cain are likeable enough characters if maybe a touch too nice (or maybe clueless) at times. Everything that follows all comes down to personal taste. And to prove that point I will link to a number of very positive reviews, written by my blogger peers, at the end of this review. I wanted to love this book. Really, I did. I certainly didn’t hate it, but I struggled to find any love for it either. I feel like I’m heading towards a reading slump at the moment and the only type of fiction that grabs my attention, that gets any kind of real interest from me is on the darker side. For me, The Babysitter is the total opposite of dark fiction (although there was one scene with a pig, which I can safely say was my favourite part!).

I did thoroughly enjoy the prologue which, if you read the extract I featured on publication day, you will see hints at some fairly dark themes. I think I wanted more of that and less of the happy little middle-class family. Aspects of Jade’s character I really liked; her malevolence, her deviousness and her anger. But other characters were just too nice, too naive and too accepting for my tastes. And I certainly wouldn’t want DI Mark Cain involved in any investigation I was part of! This story is not all sweetness and light, by the way. I feel that’s how I’m making it sound but it really isn’t. One of the characters is fairly evil in their intentions and disgustingly manipulative. I’m afraid it just wasn’t enough for me. I wanted a lot more.

Would I recommend this book? I’m not sure. If, like me, you prefer to read darker tales then no, this book isn’t for you. But if you enjoy psychological thrillers then don’t let me put you off – I would hate for that to happen. I read the book from start to finish despite not being fully invested. And in all honesty, I would pick up another book written by Sheryl Browne without a moment’s doubt.

What other reviewers are saying about The Babysitter: Jen Med’s Book Reviews | Chelle’s Book Reviews | Novel Gossip | Sweet Little Book Blog |

The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne was published in the UK by Bookouture on 8th March 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, the following Amazon links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

about the author3

sheryl browne

Sheryl Browne brings you powerful psychological thrillers and contemporary fiction. Sheryl’s latest psychological thriller THE BABYSITTER – the first of a three-book deal – comes to you from fabulous BOOKOUTURE. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and previously writing for award winning Choc Lit, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

So why does Sheryl write in two genres? Quoting E. L. Doctorow, Sheryl says: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights…” This she thinks sums up a writer’s journey, you never quite know where you are going until you get there. You might start with an outline, but a strong character will always divert from the plot. If Sheryl’s not sure where a character is going, she simply has to trust him to show her the way. Plus, according to one reviewer, she also has a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

#GuestPost: Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett (@RachelAmphlett) #DetectiveKayHunter #CalltoArms

call to arms

“Loyalty has a price.

Kay Hunter has survived a vicious attack at the hands of one of the country’s most evil serial killers.

Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation. DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.

Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.

But as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.

Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…

Call to Arms is a gripping police procedural, and the fifth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH
2. WILL TO LIVE
3. ONE TO WATCH
4. HELL TO PAY
5. CALL TO ARMS

A page-turning murder mystery for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and Harlen Coben.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome the brilliant author of the Detective Kay Hunter series, Rachel Amphlett, to damppebbles today. I absolutely love the Kay Hunter series and always make sure I keep up with the latest release. The marvellous Call to Arms, the fifth book in the series, was published on Sunday 11th March 2018. To help celebrate Rachel has very kindly agreed to join me today and tell us about one of my favourite aspects of the series; Kay’s rather dishy other half, vet Adam!

Regular readers of the blog will know that I like my detectives damaged, on the edge and very much alone (i.e. no romantic counterpart). That is not the case with Kay though. Kay and Adam’s relationship really adds to the story for me. Plus the steady stream of creatures he brings home from work always makes me smile (and in Call to Arms, I have to admit I cried a little too).

So without further ado, I will hand over to Rachel to tell us why she chose a career in veterinary medicine for Mr Kay…

Why a vet?

One of readers’ favourite characters in the Kay Hunter series is that of her other half Adam, who’s a vet.

Writing a crime thriller series can be quite harrowing. A lot of the research can be disturbing, and let’s face it – when you’re running around chasing a serial killer or trying to solve a cold case murder, there isn’t much room for laughter.

I knew when I was first developing the idea for the series that I didn’t want my female detective to have a fractured home life – there were already plenty of other books like that around – and, as a lot of the crimes Kay Hunter investigates are dark and disturbing, I wanted her home life to provide her with a sense of normality.

The idea of Adam being a vet really appealed to me as soon as it popped into my head. (I blame watching repeats of the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small as a kid.)

Here was a character who was Kay’s equal in intelligence, could provide her with a safe home life AND give me a perfect excuse to provide some light relief for readers during the course of the series.

After all, you never know what animals a vet might bring home!

As well as Kay’s own career lows and highs, Adam’s veterinary practice impacts their lives too and I really enjoy seeing how these two characters support each other throughout the stories and challenges that their lives bring.

Of course, events in Kay’s professional life have meant it hasn’t all been plain sailing for her and Adam, but I think the dynamic between these two people is something that is working and seems to have been well received.

In fact, I’ve been amazed at how well readers have taken to Adam’s character – he and Kay are a real team, and I think it’s because they have a relatively normal home life (again, depending on what guests he’s looking after!) that readers can relate to the problems they encounter.

In Call to Arms, Adam gets his own chance to shine as we find him caring for a terminally ill patient. The storyline gave me an opportunity to explore his own character further, balancing out the investigation Kay leads with an emotionally-charged scene that anyone who has had a pet will relate to.

I hope that in Call to Arms readers get a greater sense of how much Adam cares about his work, his patients, and their wellbeing.

Adam is a huge support for Kay, and I don’t think she’d be the detective she is without him in her life.

Thank you so much for joining me today Rachel, and for giving us an insight into Adam. I have read Call to Arms and was delighted to see Adam shine. My review of Call to Arms will be up on the blog later this week so keep an eye out for that.

Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett was published in the UK by Saxon Publishing on 11th March 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

Author

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.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |