#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Jo Perry (@JoPerryAuthor) #DeadIsBeautiful @fahrenheitpress #damppebbles

It’s Friiiiiiyaaaaaaaaay! Thank Crunchie it’s Friday. I am delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today and to another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. Today I’m thrilled to welcome the wonderful Jo Perry to the blog.  Jo writes the most intriguing series of crime noir novels, the ‘Charlie and Rose Investigate’ series featuring a dead lead protagonist called Charlie and his equally dead dog, Rose.  The series is published by the mighty Fahrenheit Press and I’ll tell you a little about the latest book in the series, Dead Is Beautiful in a short while.

But first, let me explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about.  #R3COMM3ND3D is about sharing the book love.  I invite bookish types – authors, book bloggers and those who work in publishing – to nominate three books they love.  They can be any genre, any author, any publisher – self, indie or traditionally published.  The only stipulation being that they were published in a certain year.  At the moment we’re sharing the 2018 book love but come 1st November it will be all about 2019’s releases.  If you’d like to take part then check out the Google form at the bottom of this post but don’t delay – places are being snapped up faster than ever before.

Here are Jo’s choices…

A Dead American In Paris (The 3rd Republic Novels #2) by Seth Lynch
In book two of Lynch’s series, Salazar remains a uniquely compelling and brilliant protagonist, an existential hero grappling with turbulent internal and external forces: violence, autonomy, alienation and the disordering and disturbed and disturbing world of post-war Paris. What a series!
https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2NWP8TNZXN05F/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B07BSB9KBB

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Black Moss by David Nolan
An ambitious, powerful and affecting thriller that tackles memory, violence, and guilt–collective and personal. The action moves back and forth in time and from the alcohol-blurred to the sober mind of an endearing and often tragic protagonist I hope to see again. The Manchester setting and news media milieu enrich the novel. A great debut.
https://www.amazon.com/Black-Moss-David-Nolan/dp/1912526336?ref=pf_ov_at_pdctrvw_dp#customerReviews

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The Bomb Maker by Thomas Perry
Absolutely hair-raising suspense but what’s best is the deep dive into the warring consciousnesses of a bomb maker and the bomb squad operative who must stop him. I will be upfront and admit that Thomas Perry is my husband, but that can’t stop me from saying how shreddingly good this book is.

Wonderful choices, Jo. Thank you.  Two of the books you’ve chosen are already on the wish list and the third will be added immediately.

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

A Dead American in Paris by Seth LynchBlack Moss by David NolanThe Bomb Maker by Thomas Perry |

About Dead Is Beautiful:
DeadIsBeautifulKindleDEAD IS BEAUTIFUL finds Rose leading Charlie from the peace of the afterlife to the place he hates most on earth, “Beverly Fucking Hills,” where a mature, protected tree harboring a protected bird is being illegally cut down. The tree-assault leads Charlie and Rose to a to murder and to the person Charlie loathes most in life and in death, the sibling he refers to only as “his shit brother,” who is in danger. Charlie fights-across the borders of life and death–for the man who never fought for him, and with the help of a fearless Scotsman, a beautiful witch, and a pissed-off owl, Charlie must stop a cruel and exploitative scheme and protect his beloved Rose.

amazon.co.ukamazon.comFahrenheit Press |

About Jo Perry:
I am the author of the series of dark, comic mysteries, Dead Is Better, Dead Is Best, Dead Is Good and Dead Is Beautiful published by Fahrenheit Press.

Jo’s Social Media Links:
WebsiteTwitter @JoPerryAuthorFacebook |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BookReview: Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner @BoroughPress #MissingPresumed #damppebbles

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Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

Hello and a very warm welcome to the blog today and to my review of Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner. Missing, Presumed was published by The Borough Press in 2016. I received a free eARC of this book via NetGalley but that has in no way influenced my review.

Erin Kelly describes this book as beautifully written. I couldn’t agree more. Missing, Presumed feels quite different to other books in the genre. Steiner presents a pretty bleak story but with such style and eloquence that you can’t help but be captivated. This is a slow burn police procedural with a less than perfect detective set in a wintery Cambridgeshire. There was a heck of a lot of buzz about this book when it was first published so I knew I just had to read a copy and find out more. I’m very glad I did.

DS Manon Bradshaw made this book shine for me. On the verge of hitting the big ‘four-oh’ Manon is determined to find a husband (I’m sure a committed partner would be enough in all honesty, lol!). She’s fed up with her life and feeling so lonely, so turns to internet dating to find Mister Right. Only finding Mister Very Wrong, Mister Oh No and Mister You Must Be Joking! Falling asleep every night to the crackle and hiss of her ‘borrowed’ police scanner. When Edith Hind is reported missing Manon is one of the first to hear the report over her scanner, and it’s only around the corner so she gets dressed and heads out into the chilly night. What she finds is a scene that causes some concern; the coats in the hallway are disturbed, the front door is open, Edith’s phone and keys have been left behind and there are a few ominous looking blood spots in the kitchen. An investigation to find missing Edith is launched led by Manon’s Major Incident Team but they’re aware time is running out. When it’s revealed the missing woman is the daughter of Lord Ian Hind, physician to the Queen and is good friends with the Home Secretary, the team know the case is going to be big news. Can Manon and the team find the missing woman before it’s too late…?

The book is written from multiple viewpoints which include Edith’s mother, Miriam, Manon and a wonderful colleague of Manon’s, DC Davy Walker. I loved Davy – what a nice young chap! Manon’s DI, Harriet Harper, is also a great character I loved the relationship between the two of them. I didn’t like any of the Hinds who all come across as pompous, self-serving, self-entitled fools. Even the devastated Miriam failed to stir any sympathy within me. The other character I loved was Fly, a young boy who, having lost his brother, is taken under Manon’s wing. Their relationship absolutely blossoms and it’s a joy to watch.

The investigation was slow going and at times I would have liked things to happen a little quicker. The reveal was quite a shocker but I relished it. It was very satisfying and I wouldn’t have wanted the book to end any other way with hindsight.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. It’s beautifully written and a wonderful character driven novel which I thoroughly enjoyed. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book by Susie Steiner. An intriguing mystery with a wonderfully flawed lead character who I hope to see a lot more of in the future.

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

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner was published in the UK by The Borough Press on 25th August 2016 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

about-the-author3

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Susie grew up in north London, studied English at university and trained as a journalist. She worked in newspapers for 20 years, 11 of them on staff at The Guardian. Her first novel, Homecoming, was published by Faber & Faber to critical acclaim in 2013. Her second, Missing, Presumed was a Sunday Times bestseller which introduced detective Manon Bradshaw. It was a Richard & Judy book club pick and has sold 250,000 copies to date in the UK. Missing, Presumed was selected as one of the Guardian’s, Wall Street Journal’s and NPR’s standout books of 2016. It was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year 2017. Persons Unknown, the sequel to Missing, Presumed, is her third novel – also a Richard & Judy book club pick and also long-listed for the Theakstons. The third in the Manon trilogy is called Loss of Life and is due out in May 2020. Susie has written extensively about losing her eyesight to Retinitis Pigmentosa. She is registered fully blind and lives in London with her husband and two children.

Author image and biog © http://www.susiesteiner.co.uk/

Author Images: | Website | Twitter |

#BookReview: The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry @canongatebooks #TheWayofAllFlesh #damppebbles

the way of all flesh“Edinburgh, 1847. Will Raven is a medical student, apprenticing for the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson. Sarah Fisher is Simpson’s housemaid, and has all of Raven’s intelligence but none of his privileges.

As bodies begin to appear across the Old Town, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh’s underworld. And if either of them are to make it out alive, they will have to work together to find out who’s responsible for the gruesome deaths.”

Welcome to damppebbles and to my review of The Way of All Flesh.  The Way of All Flesh was written by Ambrose Parry (also known as Christopher Brookmyre and Dr Marisa Haetzman) and was published by Cannongate Books in paperback format on 30th April 2019.  I received a free eARC of this book from NetGalley but that has in no way influenced my review.

What an absolutely wonderful historical mystery this is!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t read enough historical fiction.  I loved the setting (a dank and foggy Edinburgh in the 1840s), I loved the characters and I loved how wonderfully descriptive the writing is.  I was completely immersed in the story and I relished every single moment of it.

Medical student, Will Raven, acquires an apprenticeship with the renowned obstetrician, Dr James Young Simpson.  He is certain a life of riches awaits him and hopes his association with the esteemed Professor will ensure a line of wealthy patients queue up outside his door seeking his services in return for great financial remuneration.  Arriving at 52 Queen Street in a bloody and battered state Raven soon realises that not everything is as he first hoped and is aghast when the good Doctor is called to a less-than-salubrious abode and waves off payment.  Raven was sure he would be treating wealthy ladies from the New Town and living the high-life on the doctor’s coattails.

When the doctor and Raven witness a young woman’s contorted body being pulled from the docks Raven is reminded of his friend, Evie and how her body was discovered in a similar horrifying state.  Could the deaths be connected?  And what could cause the bodies to contort in such a way?  Raven enlists the help of Sarah Fisher, the doctor’s housemaid and together they try to solve the mystery before more young woman lose their lives in such a horrific manner…

There’s so much to this book.  Yes, the mystery element plays a part but there’s so much more to it than that.  The characters are just wonderful.  I loved both Will and Sarah.  Will is a little priggish at times but he can be forgiven as his heart is in the right place, no matter how it initially seems.  I adore Sarah and I loved how ahead of her time she is.  Wanting to break down those gender and class divides – it’s clear to the reader that she does not want to settle for her lot and her intelligence and thirst for knowledge is an inspiration (unfortunately it just doesn’t *quite* fit into 1840s Edinburgh life).  Brilliant characters and I am thrilled to hear they will return in a second book.

Dr Simpson’s quest to ease the pain and trauma of childbirth for his patients by discovering a new anaesthetic, therefore replacing ether, was a fascinating sub-plot which I thoroughly enjoyed.  There are some scenes in the book which are a little on the gory and upsetting side but these tend to relate to medical procedures and just the way situations were dealt with in the 1840s.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes, and I’m very much looking forward to the second book in the series which is out this Summer.  I loved how wonderfully atmospheric the writing is.  I loved the characters and can’t wait to see how they develop in future books.  A great historical read and one I heartily recommend.

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

The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry was published in the UK by Canongate Books on 30th April 2019 and is available in hardcover (which is beautiful, by the way), paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesBookDepositoryGoodreads |

about-the-author3

ambrose parry.jpgAmbrose Parry is a pseudonym for a collaboration between Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. The couple are married and live in Scotland. Chris Brookmyre is the international bestselling and multi-award-winning author of over twenty novels. Dr Marisa Haetzman is a consultant anaesthetist of twenty years’ experience, whose research for her Master’s degree in the History of Medicine uncovered the material upon which this series, which begun with The Way of All Flesh, is based. The Art of Dying is the second book in the series.

Author Links:Twitter |

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Nicola Smith (@ShortBookScribe) #ShortBookandScribes #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to the blog. It’s Monday which means it’s time for another completely brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post! Today I am delighted to welcome fabulous blogger Nicola Smith to damppebbles to share her three #R3COMM3ND3D picks. Nicola blogs over at the brilliant Short Book and Scribes so why not head on over and pay her a visit. You won’t regret it!

#R3COMM3ND3D2018? What’s that all about then? Allow me to explain. #R3COMM3ND3D is where I invite bookish types; book bloggers, authors and publishers to tell us about three books they think the rest of us MUST read. Any author, any genre, any publisher but with one proviso…the three choices must have been published in one year.  At the moment we’re concentrating on 2018 but from 1st November #R3COMM3ND3D will be all about the 2019 book love.  If you fall into one of the above categories then have a look at Nicola’s recommendations then head down to the bottom of this post to pick three reads from this year you loved and want to share with the rest of us.

Without further ado, here are the books Nicola chose…

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The Lido by Libby Page
It’s a beautifully written story of friendship and loss. It left me in floods of tears.
http://shortbookandscribes.uk/reviews/bookreview-the-lido-by-libby-page-libbypagewrites-orionbooks-blogtour/

the perfect girlfriend

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
This for me was a standout psychological thriller with a very disturbed, yet compelling, protagonist.
http://shortbookandscribes.uk/reviews/bookreview-theperfectgirlfriend-by-karen-hamilton-kjhauthor-wildfirebks-headlinepg-blogtour-loveyoutodeath/

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Appetite by Anita Cassidy
It’s shocking and thrilling, tackling issues of desire and greed in a very honest way.
http://shortbookandscribes.uk/reviews/bookreview-appetite-by-anita-cassidy-anitacassidy76-reddoorbooks-blogtour/

Thanks so much, Nicola. Great choices. I think this is the second (maybe third…? but I’d need to check) mention for The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton. I have a copy on my TBR and I can’t wait to read it!

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

The Lido by Libby PageThe Perfect Girlfriend by Karen HamiltonAppetite by Anita Cassidy |

About Nicola:
I’m Nicola and I blog at Short Book and Scribes. My blog is 2 years old and I love being able to read and review some of the amazing books out there. I have a son who is almost five and I work as a church administrator. It was very hard to limit myself to three books for this feature!

Nicola’s Social Media Links:
Short Book and ScribesFacebookTwitter @ShortBookScribe |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Norrie (@norrie_reads) #ReadingUndertheBlankie #damppebbles

Hello! Welcome to damppebbles and another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. I’m back sharing the book love after a brief break to celebrate anniversaries (10 years!) and birthdays (not going to disclose the years on that one 😉). Today I am delighted to welcome the ever so lovely Norrie of Reading Under the Blankie to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2018 picks. If you haven’t discovered Norrie’s blog yet then what are you waiting for? 😍

‘What is this #R3COMM3ND3D thing you speak of?’ I hear you cry! Well, it’s about the book love and sharing three books you think everyone else should read.  Any author, any genre, any publisher…but with one catch. The books must have been published in the same year.  At the moment we’re sharing the 2018 book love but come 1st November it will be all about 2019.  If you’re a book blogger, author or publisher and would like to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2019 then please scroll to the bottom of this post and fill in the Google form.

Without further ado, here are Norrie’s choices…

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The Retreat by Mark Edwards
When it comes to suspense, Mark Edwards is one of my go-to guys. He just gets it, you know, like he can see into your soul.
https://readingundertheblankie.com/2018/10/10/the-retreat-by-mark-edwards/

and so it begins

And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott
This is such a cleverly plotted, delicious thriller! Part courtroom drama, part murder mystery, this will appeal for a wide range of crime fiction fans.
https://readingundertheblankie.com/2018/10/08/and-so-it-begins-by-rachel-abbott/

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Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Set in 1950s Morocco, Christine Mangan’s debut is an unnerving story of obsession, deception and some serious gaslighting. Also a great spin on frenemies!
https://readingundertheblankie.com/2018/03/14/tangerine-by-christine-mangan/

Thanks so much, Norrie. I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed The Retreat by Mark Edwards and I’m adding your other two choices to my wishlist!

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

The Retreat by Mark EdwardsAnd So It Begins by Rachel Abbott |  Tangerine by Christine Mangan |

About Norrie:
Book lover, cat hugger, coffee drinker, capable of eating half a cheesecake in one sitting. Best not to approach before she had her breakfast.

Loves a good thriller, but would probably not touch romance with a stick. Based on the amount of crime fiction she’s read, could probably solve a crime. Or not, but she would certainly try. Loves science fiction and secretly dreams about joining the Starfleet since she was fourteen.

Norrie’s Social Media Links:
Reading Under the BlankieTwitter @norrie_readsInstagram |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BookReview: The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven (@MWCravenUK) | @GoldsboroBooks #GlassBell Award 2019 Shortlist #damppebbles

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“Welcome to the Puppet Show . . .

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …”

Hello and a warm welcome to damppebbles. I am absolutely delighted to be bringing you my review of the utterly magnificent The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven again today to celebrate this corker of a book being shortlisted for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award. The Puppet Show is up against five other brilliant titles; VOX by Christina Dalcher, Snap by Belinda Bauer, Our House by Louise Candlish, Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg- Jephcott and The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. The winner will be announced by Goldboro Books on Monday 16th September.

Launched in 2017, the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award is awarded annually to an outstanding work of contemporary fiction, rewarding quality storytelling in any genre. The winner of the Glass Bell will receive £2,000 in prize money, and a handmade, engraved glass bell. The jury of ten consists of team members from Goldsboro Books, DHH Literary Agency and The Dome Press. There is no fee, nor limit to the number of books that a publisher may submit, allowing both established and debut authors a chance to win. The inaugural winner was Chris Cleave, for his extraordinary Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Sceptre), the moving and unflinching novel about the profound effects that the Second World War had on ordinary citizens back at home in Britain. Last year, the award went to John Boyne for his sweeping, poignant and comedic odyssey of post-war Ireland, The Heart’s Invisible Furies (Transworld).

Without further ado, here’s my review of The Puppet Show:

A little over two years ago I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a book called Body Breaker written by Mike Craven (that’s Mike Craven as in M.W. Craven, if you were wondering what odd tangent I was meandering off at!), and it was an absolute joy to read from start to finish. I pretty much fell in love with Craven’s protagonist, DI Avison Fluke. Then I heard Mike was about to release a new book called The Puppet Show, featuring a brand new detective with a brand new publisher (to Craven, that is). Now I openly admit, I was intrigued. After all, what crime fiction fan wouldn’t be? Particularly when I heard the main character of The Puppet Show is called Washington Poe (what a name! Where does this author get inspiration from for his character’s names? He appears to err on the unusual which is a rather splendid thing IMHO). Then, as if by magic (I pressed a button on NetGalley) a copy of The Puppet Show arrived on my Kindle and the deal was sealed. Washington Poe and I were destined to meet…

And truth be told, I flipping love him as much as I love DI Fluke. Craven certainly knows how to write and develop a character to the point where they jump off the page at the reader. I was smitten from early on; particularly as we meet Poe after he has shunned modern life and is living with his loyal pet dog, Edgar, in a semi-converted shepherd’s croft in the middle of nowhere (for ‘nowhere’ read Cumbria or the Lake District! Please don’t hurt me Cumbrians, it does sound pretty vast, lonely and desolate from Craven’s illustrative descriptions and I’ve never visited 😉). Suspended from work following his last (bodged) case and awaiting the result of an internal investigation and an IPCC inquiry, Poe has pretty much decided that his past is very much behind him and that his future lies in Herdwick Croft with Edgar, and the sheep. But that was before Cumbria’s latest serial killer, The Immolation Man made matters personal. Whether he wants to or not, Poe must return to the Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) and to a case that could easily be the death of him.

I have a bit of a thing for serial killer novels. They’re my favourite, particularly if they are a smidge on the gory side as well (which this book is). I also thoroughly enjoy books which make you think the plot is heading one way and then totally flips things over and makes you gasp in surprise when you end up somewhere you didn’t expect (which again, this book did). Another thing I love is a cast of well-written, individual, stand out characters who all add something to the story (yup, that’s The Puppet Show). I loved this book.

As I’ve mentioned Washington Poe’s supporting cast it would be rude to ignore them. First and foremost, Tilly Bradshaw is a shining star and will appeal to nerds far and wide. Her intelligence and her awkwardness are a delight to read and I hope she makes future appearances with Poe as her sidekick! Beleaguered DI Stephanie Flynn is now her ex-bosses boss (!) which makes things somewhat tricky between her and Poe at times. He’s a little reckless and likes to follow the evidence anywhere, whereas Flynn likes to play by the book. I would LOVE to read a prequel to The Puppet Show and see the dynamic between the two of them before Poe was demoted from DI to DS and Flynn was promoted. Not dropping any hints here, Mike…

Would I recommend this book? I would, most definitely. If you’re a fan of crime fiction, if you can stomach a drop of blood or a pool of melted human fat (OK, it is a little grisly in places and you may need a slightly stronger stomach than I’ve alluded to in this paragraph, but for me I loved the gruesome touches to this book. Plus the author provides a wealth of information about burns and the effect of fire on a human body) then you will enjoy this well-written, engrossing crime thriller. I struggled to put it down and I’m left wanting more Washington Poe and more Tilly Bradshaw. I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Five out of five stars.

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

The Glass Bell 2019 poster - shortlist.jpg

The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven was published in the UK by Constable on 7th June 2018 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Book Depository | Goodreads |

about-the-author3

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Although Mike Craven was born in Cumbria in 1968, he grew up in the North East, going to the same school as Newcastle and England centre-forward, Alan Shearer, before running away to join the army. He believes, but has no proof, that his little sister moved into his bedroom before the train had even left the station. He trained for two years as an armourer (that’s gunsmith to you and I) before spending the next ten being paid to travel the world and drink ridiculous amounts of alcohol.

In 1995, sick of writing postcards and having fun, he decided it might be time to do something a bit more sensible. And it doesn’t get more sensible than doing a law degree. So he did Social Work instead. Two years later, as pimply-faced, naive social worker he started working in Cumbria as a probation officer. Sixteen years, and a few promotions, later he is still there, although as a crime writer, he now has different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals.

Mike’s first DI Avison Fluke novel, Born in a Burial Gown, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award and will be out on 11th June, published by Caffeine Nights. His collection of short stories featuring Fluke and his colleagues from the Cumbrian Force Major Incident Team, Assume Nothing, Believe Nobody, Challenge Everything, is out now.

In March 2017 Mike signed a two-book deal with Little, Brown for his new Washington Poe series. The first book, The Puppet Show, was released under his new name, M .W. Craven, in June 2018.

In between joining the army and securing a publishing deal, Mike found time to have a pet crocodile, survive cancer, get married, and buy a springer spaniel named Bracken. He wanted to call him Gimli but was told to grow up. He lives in Carlisle where he tries to leave the house as little as possible and gets annoyed by people who say “it’s too cold to snow” and “watch that swan, its wings can break your arm”.

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

#BookReview: I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney @HQStories #IKnowWhoYouAre #damppebbles

I know who you are.jpg“Aimee Sinclair: the actress everyone thinks they know but can’t remember where from. But I know exactly who you are. I know what you’ve done. And I am watching you.

When Aimee comes home and discovers her husband is missing, she doesn’t seem to know what to do or how to act. The police think she’s hiding something and they’re right, she is – but perhaps not what they thought. Aimee has a secret she’s never shared, and yet, she suspects that someone knows. As she struggles to keep her career and sanity intact, her past comes back to haunt her in ways more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.

I Know Who You Are will leave your heart pounding and your pulse racing. This is the most twisted thriller you’ll read all year.”

Welcome to damppebbles today and to my review of Alice Feeney’s I Know Who You Are which I read in instalments via The Pigeonhole in May.  My thanks to The Pigeonhole for the free copy which has in no way influenced my review.  I Know Who You Are was published in paperback and eBook format by HQ on 16th May 2019.

I read Alice Feeney’s debut, Sometimes I Lie in 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed it.  When this book appeared on my social media feed I knew I had to read it and I’m delighted I did.  As a small sidestep, this was my first experience of reading a book via The Pigeonhole which I enjoyed for several reasons.  The first, I was able to read two books at once which is something I NEVER do.  Having a short ‘stave’ to read each day kept me focussed and when I had finished that days section I went back to my ‘normal’ read.  Secondly, the anticipation was heightened a little as when we got a cliffhanger I HAD to wait until the next stave arrived the following day.  However, what I struggled with, and I think it’s particularly prevalent whilst reading I Know Who You Are which is bursting with red herrings, wrong turns and possible outcomes, was one of the other readers managed to guess the big twist.  If you haven’t read a book with The Pigeonhole before, you and other readers can comment on the text.  My nosiness got the better of me so I had to check each comment as and when they appeared.  One reader put their thoughts forward and after that, I couldn’t unsee what I had seen.  They were very close to being correct and this did take a lot of the oomph out of the ending for me.  Nothing really to do with the book but the experience did influence my read so I wanted to include my thoughts.  In future, I would probably not bother looking at the other comments in case someone comments with something which later turns out to be a spoiler.

I really enjoyed this book although it did feel a little far fetched at times.  Set in 2017 and the late 80s, this is Aimee Sinclair’s story.  Aimee is an emerging actress, on the brink of becoming a household name but she’s not quite there yet.  One day she returns home from filming to find her husband missing.  His keys, wallet and phone are discarded on the table – there’s no sign of a struggle – and Aimee has an ominous feeling so she calls the police.  They start to investigate but before long Aimee is their number one suspect.  Not helped by the circumstantial evidence they have collected including photos of Aimee withdrawing £10.000 from their joint account, which she has no memory of.  Aimee was diagnosed with transient global amnesia as a child which the police repeatedly throw back in her face.  But she knows now what she knew then – that diagnosis was a lie.  That’s not the only lie in Aimee’s life though, there are many others and as the police step up their investigation Aimee will need to work even harder to make sure her secrets stay buried.  But someone knows who she REALLY is…

The flashbacks to 1980s Essex are harrowing.  I found myself getting very angry with one of the characters who made my skin crawl more often than not.  A terrible, despicable person who blew from hot to cold in the blink of an eye.  I don’t want to give too much away as you need to read this book and find out for yourself so I’ll just say that Aimee ends up far away from home and my heart ached for her.  Throughout these chapters, I questioned the history of these people and what had gone before.  I just had to know!

I found it impossible to say at any given point in this book that I knew 100% what was going on and where the story was going (even with the other reader’s suggestions there were other storylines in play which completely flummoxed me and it certainly didn’t cover all of the twists – there were more to come).  Feeney is a master of the unreliable narrator.  I didn’t trust what Aimee was saying, doing or feeling at any point.  Everyone is a suspect, everyone is telling their own version of the truth and as the reader, you just don’t know who to believe.  I’ve grown to love novels like this over the years.  I don’t want the plot to be obvious, I want to doubt the opinions I form and I want a twist that knocks me sideways.  Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, the twist had a little of the oomph taken out of it but it was still shocking, disturbing and totally memorable (if a little far fetched).

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes.  A very compelling read which keeps you on your toes from start to finish.  I felt dizzy with the lies, the suspicion and the red herrings and I loved it!  Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of I Know Who You Are.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney was published in the UK by HQ on 16th May 2019 and is available in paperback, audio and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesBookDepositoryGoodreads |

about-the-author3

alice feeneyAlice Feeney is a writer and journalist. She spent 15 years at the BBC, where she worked as a Reporter, News Editor, Arts and Entertainment Producer and One O’clock News Producer.

Alice is has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside, where she lives with her husband and dog.

Sometimes I Lie, her debut thriller was published around the world in 2017.

Author Bio © https://www.alicefeeney.com/

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter |

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Heleen Kist (@hkist) #InServitude #damppebbles

Hello! How was your weekend? I hope it was chock full of some fantastic books. It’s Monday which can mean only one thing – time for another fabulous #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post! Today I am delighted to welcome a brilliant author to the blog, the lovely Heleen Kist. Heleen’s debut novel, In Servitude, was published last year and if you would like to find out more then scroll on down to the bottom of this post.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for bookish types to share the book love. If you could pick any three of your favourite books to shout about, what would they be? Any author, publisher or genre. #R3COMM3ND3D2018 has one rule though. That rule being the books must have been published in 2018.

Here are Heleen’s three choices…

Corrupted.jpg

Corrupted (Charles Holborne Legal Thriller #4) by Simon Michael
Loved the 1960s setting, which opened my eyes to historical crime fiction, and the mix between the real-life Cray brothers and the fictional story worked extremely well.

perfect silence

Perfect Silence (A DI Callanach Thriller #4) by Helen Fields
It’s the fourth in a series of strong police procedural. This one is particularly gruesome but you still get a warm feeling from the will-they-or-won’t-they nature of the relationship between the two main characters.

stoned love

Stoned Love (Sam Batford #2) by Ian Patrick
I loved the opening of this book – rats and drugs! – which set the scene for a hard-boiled tale of undercover corruption. This is the second in the Sam Batford series, but I read it as a stand-alone.

Brilliant choices, Heleen. Thank you. Both Perfect Silence and Stoned Love have been chosen before so they’re both going on the terrifying TBR!

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

| Corrupted by Simon Michael | Perfect Silence by Helen Fields | Stoned Love by Ian
Patrick |

About In Servitude:in servitude.jpg
When Grace’s beloved sister Glory dies in a car crash, her life spirals out of control. She discovers Glory was indebted to a local crime lord and laundering money through her café. What’s worse, Grace is now forced to take over.

Defying her anxiety, Grace will stop at nothing to save herself and those Glory left behind from the clutches of Glasgow’s underworld. But her plans unravel when more family secrets emerge and Grace is driven to question everything she believed about her sister – even her death.

IN SERVITUDE is a gripping roller coaster of family, crime and betrayal. Perfect for lovers of page-turning suspense.

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones

About Heleen:
Heleen Kist is a Dutch businesswoman who lived all over the world while growing up and for her career. Then she fell in love with a Scotsman and his country, and now writes about its (sometimes scary) people from her garden office in Glasgow.

Her debut psychological suspense novel ‘In Servitude’ won a silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards 2019, was a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2019, and was shortlisted for The Selfies 2019, the UK publishing industry’s first award for self-published authors.

She was selected as an ‘up and coming new writer’ and awarded a Spotlight at Bloody Scotland 2018, the International crime writing festival.

Heleen’s Social Media Links:
| Twitter @hkist | Website | Facebook |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger David (@Bluebookballoon) #BlueBookBalloon #damppebbles

Happy Friday! I’m so glad the weekend is nearly here. Do you have plans? Lots of lovely books I hope. I am thrilled to welcome one of my favourite book bloggers to damppebbles today to share their #R3COMM3ND3D2018 picks, the brilliant David of Blue Book Balloon.  No one has ever made me want to read Fantasy novels as much as David has (he does read and review other genres, I should probably add that). If you haven’t already, please check out his brilliant blog.

So what’s this #R3COMM3ND3D2018 thing all about then? Allow me to explain.  #R3COMM3ND3D is all about the book love.  It’s a chance for bookish folk to choose three books they think the rest of us should make a point of reading.  Any genre, any author, any publisher – indie, self or traditionally published.  The only stipulation is that the three books must all have been published in the same year.  At the moment we’re concentrating on 2018 but come 1st November I’ll make a start on sharing the 2019 picks! If you would like to be involved please complete the form at the bottom of this post.

Without further ado, here are David’s choices…

city of brass.jpg

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty
Magic and adventure grounded in reality – basically, everything you ever loved about Middle Eastern stories and legends, but in a modern fantasy and without the orientalism.
https://bluebookballoon.blogspot.com/2018/03/review-city-of-brass-by-sa-chakraborty.html

before mars.jpg

Before Mars (Planetfall #3) by Emma Newman
The third book set in Newman’s SF Planetfall universe, this is a largely self-contained adventure. It captures the human spirit of survival on a harsh planet and combines that with a mystery/ thriller plot that’ll leave you guessing till the end.
https://bluebookballoon.blogspot.com/2018/04/review-before-mars-by-emma-newman.html

the sing of the shore.jpg

The Sing of the Shore by Lucy Wood
Sea, salt, the beach… Cornwall is idyllic, no? Well not in these short stories. Deep rooted in place they examine life in England’s most remote county from all angles, always suffused by a sense of the weird and the possible. I can’t recommend Wood’s writing to highly, read this and then her earlier novel Weathering and collection Diving Belles.
https://bluebookballoon.blogspot.com/2018/04/review-sing-of-shore-by-lucy-wood.html

These all look brilliant, thanks David. A couple of additions to the TBR here I think!

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

The City of Brass by S.A. ChakrabortyBefore Mars by Emma NewmanThe Sing of the Shore by Lucy Wood |

About David:
Originally a physicist, I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up an office. Trying to read my way out again. I live in the heart of Midsomer Murders country and my wife is the Vicar, so I probably won’t be here for long.

David’s Social Media Links:
Blue Book Balloon Twitter @Bluebookballoon |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year (2019) that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BookReview: The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek (trans. by Jamie Lee Searle) #TheNightwalker #damppebbles #15BooksofSummer (6/15)

the nightwalker“As a young man, Leon Nader suffered from insomnia. As a nightwalker, he even turned to violence during his nocturnal excursions and had psychiatric treatment for his condition. Eventually, he was convinced he had been cured – but one day, years later, Leon’s wife disappears from their flat under mysterious circumstances. Could it be that his illness has broken out again?

In order to find out how he behaves in his sleep, Leon fits a movement activated camera to his forehead – and when he looks at the video the next morning he makes a discovery that bursts the borders of his imagination. His nocturnal personality goes through a door that is totally unknown to him and descends into the darkness….”

Hello book fans. Welcome to damppebbles and to my review of The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek – translated by Jamie Lee Searle, the sixth book in my #15BooksofSummer challenge.  The Nightwalker was published by Sphere on 28th July 2016 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and ebook formats.  If you’ve been following my blog for some time and you have a very VERY good memory you may remember my husband’s brilliant Christmas gift to me several years ago.  The Nightwalker was one of the books he chose.

My husband knows me well (thankfully!) and is aware of my love of translated crime fiction, particularly German and Japanese novels.  Sebastian Fitzek is my favourite German author and I have read a number of his translated books (and all before damppebbles.com existed!).  This was quite different though.  It was plodding along at an enjoyable pace without the usual twists and turns I was used to in a Fitzek novel. And then things kinda took an odd turn. I say ‘kinda’, there’s no bones about it, it definitely went off on a tangent I never expected.  I have to confess I was a little lost at points.  But the confusion was sort of fun.  It’s a very clever book and I would love to know how the author managed to construct such a twisty tale – where the ideas came from and how he managed to plot it just so.  I feel the need to draw similarities to Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter in some respects.

Leon is a fascinating character with a long, disturbing history of sleepwalking.  One particular event sent alarm bells ringing for me.  We’ve all heard of the tales (possibly myths) of sleepwalkers committing murder in their sleep.  That’s not quite what happened to Leon but it wasn’t far off.  But he’s had extensive treatment for the condition and his life has improved.  That is until the morning he wakes and his wife has left him.  Fearing his old habits are back with a vengeance Leon straps a motion-activated camera to his head and records his nightly meanderings.  Watching the video back the next morning blows his mind.  Sleeping Leon finds a hidden door, descends a ladder and enters an unknown world.

I’m not going to say anything else about the plot.  All I will do is advise you to pick up a copy of this somewhat mind-blowing book and read it for yourself.  There are many things I’m still trying to get my head around in this novel but I found it immensely interesting that the author has taken something we all do, but know so little about and written this wonderfully odd thriller about it.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. But I will suggest picking up other Sebastian Fitzek novels before this one as it felt quite different to his other books and I’m still not 100% sure how I fully feel about it (I finished reading the book in mid-June and I’m writing this review on 31st July!).  I felt a little giddy reading The Nightwalker but ‘good’ giddy.  ‘Something a bit different and verging on out of my comfort zone’ giddy.  Interesting. Very, very interesting.

The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek was published in the UK by Sphere on 28th July 2016 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesBook DepositoryGoodreads |

15 books of summer

about-the-author3

Sebastian Fitzek was born in Berlin in 1971. After going to law school and being promoted to LL.D., he decided against a juridical profession for a creative occupation in the media. After the traineeship at a private radio station, he switched to the competition as head of entertainment and became chief editor, later on, thereafter becoming an independent executive consultant and format developer for numerous media companies in Europe. He lives in Berlin and is currently working in the programme management of a major capital radio station.

Author Links: TwitterWebsiteFacebook |