#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Jo B (@tiny_ickle_jo) #JosBookBlog #damppebbles

A very warm welcome to damppebbles, dear reader. We’re all about the book love on what promises to be a sunny Autumnal Friday in the UK because I have another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 to share with you today. (Actually, we’re ALWAYS about the book love here at damppebbles!) I am delighted to welcome another of my favourite bloggers to share their three #R3COMM3ND3D2018 picks – the very lovely Jo of Jo’s Book Blog. If you’re not already following Jo then I absolutely insist you start. I promise you won’t regret it.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018, you say? What’s that about then? Allow me to explain. #R3COMM3ND3D is about sharing the book love. I invite bookish types – book bloggers, authors and people who work in publishing – to shout about three (only three!) books they love. They can be any genre, written by any author and published by any publisher. But of course, there is a catch. The books must have been published in the same year. At the moment we’re all about the 2018 book love but come 1st November, #R3COMM3ND3D2019 will start and we’ll begin sharing our favourite books from this year’s releases. If you would like to take part (and you’re an author, book blogger or you work in publishing) then please add your details to the form below.

Here are Jo’s three 2018 picks…

the memory chamber.jpg

The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave
A thought-provoking tale of love, loss, and murder set in a near-future world that has an element of Black Mirror about it. A brilliant sci fi thriller.
https://josbookblog.co.uk/2018/02/05/the-memory-chamber-by-holly-cave/

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The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
I love the dilemma presented in this novel – if you could find out in advance the date upon which you were going to die, would you? And in finding out, would you then try to avoid that fate? An intriguing question brilliantly brought to life.
https://josbookblog.co.uk/2018/01/27/the-immortalists-by-chloe-benjamin/

the darkness

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson
The Darkness is intricately plotted and reads like a classic mystery with some darker themes running through it, this is a fantastic start to a new trilogy.
https://josbookblog.co.uk/2018/03/12/blog-tour-the-darkness-by-ragnar-jonasson/

Excellent choices, thanks Jo. I’ve read and enjoyed The Memory Chamber and your other two picks are on my wish list.

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:

| The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave | The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin | The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson |

About Jo:
I’ve been blogging for around 3 and a half years now, and I’ve no idea where the time has gone – it seems like only yesterday that I was (nervously) posting my first review! I’ve been an avid reader since I was a child, and have always had an inclination towards darker stories – as a friend once pointed out, if I describe a book as bleak then I probably enjoyed it. This started with a fascination with fairy tales and myths when I was younger, and has developed into a love for post-apocalyptic / dystopian fiction now that I’m older – something that started when I read 1984 and Brave New World at A-level. I also read a lot of crime, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, horror… honestly, I’ll give most things a go!

Jo’s Social Media Links:
| Jo’s Book Blog | Twitter @tiny_ickle_jo |

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: Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson (translated by David Warriner) @OrendaBooks #BloodSong #damppebbles

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“The action swings from London to Sweden, and then back into the past, to Franco’s Spain, as Roy & Castells hunt a monstrous killer … in the lastest instalment of Johana Gustawsson’s award-winning series

Spain, 1938: The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016: A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule.

Terrifying, vivid and recounted at breakneck speed, Blood Song is not only a riveting thriller and an examination of corruption in the fertility industry, but a shocking reminder of the atrocities of Spain’s dictatorship, in the latest, stunning installment in the award-winning Roy & Castells series.”

A very warm welcome to the blog today and to my review of one of my most eagerly anticipated books of the year, Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson. Blood Song is the third book in Gustawsson’s Roy and Castells series and is published by the mighty Orenda Books today! Wishing Johana and all the team at Orenda a very happy publication day. I received a free eARC of Blood Song but that has in no way influenced my review.

I want to put my cards on the table here and say I loved (LOVED!!) the second book in Gustawsson’s Roy and Castells series, Keeper. It was my book of 2018 and I still recommend to everyone. The first book in the series, Block 46, is also rather spectacular and well worth a read. Saying that, Blood Song does work perfectly well as a standalone so if you wanted to dive straight in, you could (but why would you do that when you have two utterly captivating novels to read first?!).

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

The current day investigation into the massacre of the Lindberg family in Falkenberg, Sweden, led by the brilliant Profiler Emily Roy and ably assisted by true-crime writer Alexis Castells, is compelling reading. I love Emily. I love that she doesn’t bow to social norms and is just herself – whether YOU like it or not. The unstoppable investigative duo are joined by Aliénor Lindberg, new recruit to Scotland Yard and recently orphaned daughter to the aforementioned Lindberg’s. It may seem unusual to include the recently bereaved daughter in the investigation of her parents and sister’s grisly death but Aliénor and Emily have a bond. Emily knows the only way Aliénor will heal is by being at the forefront of things.

The chapters set in Spain under Franco’s rule broke my heart. The book tackles a highly emotive subject and I take my hat off to Johana Gustawsson. There were points where, because of the heart-breaking scene I was reading (and so clearly picturing because there’s no avoiding it when reading a Johana Gustawsson novel) I had to take a step back and take a breather. I couldn’t stay away for long though. I was totally captivated by Gustawsson’s words. The terror and fear were palpable. The torture brought me to tears.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I most definitely would. Blood Song AND the first two books in the series. I cannot wait for book four. CANNOT. WAIT! Roll on whenever that will be. I am a massive fan of Johana Gustawsson’s books and I urge you to pick this one because you won’t regret it. If you’re looking for an intelligent thriller that will bury itself deep within your soul then this is it. Beautiful, traumatic and totally addictive. Hard to read at times but impossible to put down for long. I loved Blood Song.

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

Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson (translated by David Warriner) was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 19th September 2019 and is available in paperback 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 | Waterstones | Book Depository | Goodreads |

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Johana Photo

Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Website |

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David Warriner translates from French and nurtures a healthy passion for Franco, Nordic and British crime fiction. Growing up in deepest Yorkshire, he developed incurable Francophilia at an early age. Emerging from Oxford with a modern languages degree, he narrowly escaped the graduate rat race by hopping on a plane to Canada – and never looked back. More than a decade into a high-powered commercial translation career, he listened to his heart and turned his hand again to the delicate art of literary translation. David has lived in France and Quebec, and now calls beautiful British Columbia home.

Translator Links: | Twitter | Website |

#BookReview: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager @EburyPublishing #LockEveryDoor #damppebbles

lock every door 2“You’ve been offered a luxury apartment, rent free. The catch: you may not live long enough to enjoy it…

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents. 

These are the only rules for Jules Larson’s new job as apartment sitter for an elusive resident of the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile private buildings and home to the super rich and famous.

Recently heartbroken and practically homeless, Jules accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

Out of place among the extremely wealthy, Jules finds herself pulled toward other apartment sitter Ingrid. But Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her. Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story – but the next day, her new friend has vanished.

And then Jules discovers that Ingrid is not the first temporary resident to go missing…

Welcome to the Bartholomew…You may never leave.”

A very warm welcome to the blog today and to my review of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager.  Lock Every Door was published by Ebury Publishing on 25th July 2019 and is available in hardcover, audio and ebook formats.  I received a free eARC via NetGalley but that has in no way influenced my review.

I felt anxious about reading Lock Every Door.  Let me give you a little of the backstory.  Riley Sager’s Final Girls is one of the most INCREDIBLE books I have EVER read.  Here’s my review of Final Girls so you can see how much I loved it. I still recommend it to everyone today and it’s one of the few books I would pick up and read again (and again!).  So I was excited to read this author’s second novel (under his nom de plume), Last Time I Lied.  With hindsight, I think my expectations were too high when I started LTIL which led me to be a *little* harsh in my critique of it. I’m sorry Mr Sager.  There are so many readers out there who prefer Last Time I Lied to Final Girls but isn’t that the beauty of reading – it’s subjective.  So knowing I was going to be reading the third novel by this author (which I was excited about, by the way, but also a little anxious), I was keen to separate my feelings about the first two novels from Lock Every Door and read it as though it was written by a brand new author to me (does that make sense?).  Anyway, to cut a long, dwindling story short, I really enjoyed Lock Every Door. But I’m not going to compare it to either of this author’s first two books.

Jules Larsen has landed on her feet after splitting up with her boyfriend and losing her job.  She’s going to be an apartment sitter at an exclusive New York apartment building for 3 months, where the rich and famous spend their days.  Not only will she live the life of luxury, but they are also going to pay her four thousand dollars a month!  It’s a win-win situation.  But there are rules she must stick to; no visitors, don’t talk to or discuss the other residents and no nights away from the apartment.  Jules understandably feels the rules are a little strict but this is an opportunity not to be missed.  Particularly as her favourite book, which she often shared with her missing sister, Heart of a Dreamer, was set at the Bartholomew.  But the Bartholomew is rumoured to have many dark secrets and the longer Jules spends living there, the more concerned she becomes.  And when a friend and fellow apartment sitter goes missing, Jules knows that not everything is as it first seemed…

This a wonderful gothic thriller which sends shivers down the reader’s spine.  Poor Jules.  I really felt for her as she seemed to have the worst luck.  First, you’re dumped, then you lose your job and then you move into the apartment from hell thinking it’s the answer to your prayers. Oh, and there’s a strong chance you won’t survive the ordeal.  I was immediately intrigued by the plot and was trying to plan in my own mind where the story was going to go.  The Batholomew is a character all by itself with it’s creaky barred elevator and the demonic-looking gargoyles on every corner.  The eeriness of the setting really added to an already creepy story and I found myself totally immersed in the author’s tale.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes.  It’s a compelling gothic chiller which I struggled to put down.  I strongly suggest you give this author’s other books a go too (whoops, wasn’t going to mention them!) as they’re worth reading.  I loved the ending which was very satisfying and a lot of fun. I would have been disappointed if this book had finished any other way.  Chilling, dark and hard to put down. Recommended.

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

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager was published in the UK by Ebury Publishing on 25th July 2019 and is available in hardcover, 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.ukWaterstonesBook Depository  | Goodreads |

about-the-author3

pseudonymRiley Sager is a pseudonym for an author who has been previously published under another name. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley is a writer, editor and graphic designer who now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Riley’s first novel, FINAL GIRLS (called “The first great thriller of 2017” by Stephen King), was published in 2017 in the United States, the United Kingdom and more than twenty countries around the world.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Karen (@Karen55555) #GoBuyTheBook #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. It’s Monday which means I’m sharing another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post with you today.  I am delighted to welcome the lovely Karen to the blog.  Karen blogs over at Go Buy The Book (very sage advice!) so if you’re a crime fan then I suggest you head on over and hit the subscribe button ASAP.

What’s #R3COMM3ND3D? #R3COMM3ND3D gives bookish types (authors, book bloggers and those who work in publishing) the opportunity to shout about three books they love.  There’s a catch though.  They must be from a specific year.  At the moment we’re sharing the 2018 book love but from 1st November, #R3COMM3ND3D will be all about this year’s brilliant books.  If you fall into one of the aforementioned categories and you would like to take part in this year’s #R3COMM3ND3D then please add your details to the form at the bottom of this post.

Without further ado, here are Karen’s choices….

don't make a sound

Don’t Make a Sound  (DS Nathan Cody #3) by David Jackson
I love a book with a huge curveball and this one was bigger than most! A very clever plot that made me question everything I had read. This is definitely my book of the year.
https://gobuythebook.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/dont-make-a-sound-by-david-jackson/

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Dying Truth (DI Kim Stone #8) by Angela Marsons
The books in the Kim Stone series are all excellent, but there was something even more special about this one… even if Angela Marsons did leave us all aghast by one of the events!
https://gobuythebook.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/dying-truth-by-angela-marsons/

the stranger diaries.jpg

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
A spooky murder-mystery from the author of the Ruth Galloway and Stephens & Mephisto novels. Very atmospheric, this is a perfect read for a dark autumnal night.
https://gobuythebook.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/the-stranger-diaries-by-elly-griffiths/

Thanks so much, Karen. I adore David Jackson’s DS Nathan Cody series so I’m delighted to see Don’t Make a Sound on your list. I also love the DI Kim Stone series (but I’ve fallen behind and haven’t read Dying Truth yet). And The Stranger Diaries is going straight on the wish list!

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

Don’t Make a Sound by David JacksonDying Truth by Angela MarsonsThe Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths |

About Karen:
An avid reader of crime fiction and non-fiction who also likes to dabble in genealogical mysteries and psychological thrillers. I blame Enid Blyton and her ‘Five Find-Outers’ books which were read numerous times as a child!

Karen’s Social Media Links:
Go Buy The BookTwitter @Karen55555Facebook |

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 Jo Robertson (@jocatrobertson) #MyChestnutReadingTree #damppebbles

Hello my bookish friends. Happy Friday and a very warm welcome to damppebbles and to another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post.  Today I am thrilled to welcome my #blogbestie to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2018 picks, the fabulous Jo Robertson. Jo’s brilliant blog, My Chestnut Reading Tree, is a must-read for book lovers so if you haven’t discovered it yet (and I’m sure you have!) then head on over and say ‘hi’.

If you’re new to damppebbles and you’re wondering exactly what #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is, then allow me to explain. #R3COMM3ND3D is where I invite bookish types – authors, book bloggers and people who work in publishing – to shout about three books they love (yes, ONLY three!).  They can be any genre, any author – traditionally, indie or self-published.  There are no rules.  Well, actually, there is one rule and it’s pretty hefty.  All three books must have been published in the same year.  At the moment we’re sharing the love for 2018’s releases but on 1st November #R3COMM3ND3D2019 starts.  If you would like to take part please fill in the form at the bottom of this post.

Here’s are Jo’s #R3COMM3ND3D2018 picks…

the old you

The Old You by Louise Voss
For me, this is the perfect example of its genre. A slow build up of tension, with unreliable narrators and a cleverly crafted unique storyline come together in this twisty domestic Noir. But it was just so beautifully written that I actually savoured it over the period of a week and I never do that!!
https://mychestnutreadingtree.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/the-old-you-by-louise-voss-blogtour-orendabooks/

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Where the Missing Go by Emma Rowley
I loved this book so much that I immediately preordered her second book as soon as I finished it. This one was so addictive it was completely unputdownable! I found I could relate to the main character so completely that the emotions I felt for her situation threatened to overwhelm me at times. And I don’t want to mention the twist really as I don’t want the reader to look for it but as it’s expected now in the majority of psychological thrillers, I will just say…..wow!!!
https://mychestnutreadingtree.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/where-the-missing-go-by-emma-rowley-orionbooks-benwillisuk-emma_rowley/

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The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
I read this on holiday last year and it was one of the books that I bought when I did my £5 Amazon gift card challenge where I tried to buy as many books as I could for £5 that I wouldn’t have bought otherwise. This was a brilliant choice for me and the favourite book of my holiday! “Jaw dropping” and utterly addictive, this is a book that you will be drawn into without even realising it’s happening and I guarantee you’ll want to talk about it to someone who’s read it afterwards!
https://mychestnutreadingtree.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/holiday-reads-part-2-theotherwoman-ifidiebeforeiwake/

Brilliant choices, thanks Jo. I already have The Old You on the terrifying TBR and I’m adding the other two to the wishlist.

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:

The Old You by Louise VossWhere the Missing Go by Emma RowleyThe Other Woman by Sandie Jones |

About Jo:
I’m just a Nana who loves to read! I read mainly psychological thrillers and crime books but I will read pretty much anything if it appeals to me.

Jo’s Social Media Links:
My Chestnut Reading TreeTwitter @jocatrobertsonFacebook |

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)

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Irony In The Soul: Nobody Listens Like The Dying by Pete Adams (@Peteadams8) #IronyInTheSoul #KindHeartsandMartinets @cobaltdinosaur @NextChapterPB #damppebbles

Irony in the Soul.jpeg“Recuperating from his past mission, disturbed but driven D.I. Jack Austin returns to work amid a personality clash with a retired colonel – who happens to be his new Chief Constable.

When the Constable is kidnapped – and returned in pieces – DI Austin’s hapless hunt for the culprit begins. He investigates a string of cryptic murders including a beheaded minister, a drowned woman in a Hijab, and a band of terrorists with explosives.

Meanwhile, Austin battles a grievous inner conflict. Will he thwart the perpetrator, or become a conspirator himself?”

Hello again. Emma has allowed me to return to share my thoughts on the second book in Pete Adams’ Kind Hearts and Martinets series, Irony In The Soul.  If you missed my review of book one, Cause and Effect, then you missed an introduction to our main character DI Jack Austin (a.k.a Jane), Amanda (a.k.a Mandy) and the motley crew of Plymouth Community Policing.

To say that Jack is more than meets the eye is an understatement, whether you are after empathy, violence, insight or intuition then Jack is your contradiction of a hero. Irony In The Soul can be picked up without having first read Cause and Effect but I would suggest starting at the beginning and taking the time to get to know Jane and the crew as things are about to get a lot bigger!

The second book in the series starts with religious hatred being stirred up in Plymouth’s tolerant and law-abiding suburbs.  Within a few chapters, the feeling that malevolent forces are at work is growing and you wonder if Jane is looking at a personal vendetta or events larger than anyone at Community Policing can foresee.

Beyond the investigation is the author’s development of the personal relationships within the team, and the blossoming relationship between Jane and Amanda which started in book one, Cause and Effect.  The author spends a lot of time building this relationship, providing a more rounded picture of Jack and giving the reader more of an insight into his back story.

The rest of the Community Policing group are also becoming fuller characters. Be it the ‘mumsy’ Jo-Jums or even bit-part players like Spotty the Media Officer. Even the disliked senior officer is growing in character before he is kidnapped and partially returned (don’t worry – this is not as gruesome as it sounds!)  The team work quickly, with help from everyone from the local gangsters to the secret service, to understand the scale of threat they are looking at and avert disasters whilst trying to find their boss.

The villain of the piece ‘Moriaty/Norafarty or any other such sound-alike that pleases you’ is an intriguing character.  Whether they are in for idealism, money or personal gain is not fully understood in this book and you can feel that the next book will bring further developments.

The ending of the book comes quickly if you read it as avidly as I did – easy to pick up – hard to put down!  But I warn you, there are strings left deliberately and tantalisingly hanging for book three, A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza: In Dead Flat Major.  Pete Adams has created a brilliant cast of characters whose personalities and beliefs are coming to the fore in this book.  His plotting is strong and the storyline is worrying believable bringing in media, technology and larger powers.  Another worthwhile and enjoyable read from this author. Just don’t blame me if you have to invest in book three too!

Ryan received a free eARC of Irony In The Soul.  The above review is his own unbiased opinion.

Irony In The Soul by Pete Adams was published in the UK by Next Chapter Publishing on 14th July 2019 and is available in paperback 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.comBook DepositoryGoodreads |

Irony in the Soul banner.png

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pete adamsPete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook |

#BookReview: The Bad Place by M.K. Hill @HoZ_Books #TheBadPlaceBook #damppebbles

the bad place.jpg“The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Five of them got out alive.

That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet up annually to hold a candlelit vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes.

Is history repeating itself? Is one of them responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message?

DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place. But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl…”

A very warm welcome to damppebbles today and to my review of The Bad Place by M.K. Hill. The Bad Place was published on 5th September 2019 and is available in hardcover and ebook formats with the audio and paperback to follow. I received a free ARC of The Bad Place but that has in no way influenced my review.

M.K. Hill also writes under his full name, Mark Hill, and is the author of the DI Ray Drake series. You can check out my review of his first two books here: His First Lie and It Was Her. I thoroughly enjoyed both of his previous books so when I heard Hill was writing a new series with a new publisher I knew I had to read it. So I was delighted to win a copy of the book at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in July (as well as a voucher for Harrogate favourite, Betty’s Tea Rooms!).

I loved the sound of The Bad Place. It had a different feel to other ‘missing children’ novels (and I’ve read a few!). Twenty-six years ago a minibus full of teenagers was taken by a madman. Intent on doing something evil, Jerry Swann drove the kids to his remote farmhouse and locked them in the cellar. Six teenagers were thrown into a terrifying, life-changing situation. Five of the children managed to escape and run to safety. Becky Haskell didn’t. Becky was killed as the police tried to rescue her from Swann’s clutches. The farmhouse was aptly renamed from Baden Place to the Bad Place by the press. Now, every year, the group meet for dinner and remember Becky. But on her way to dinner, one of the original six, Lydia witnesses another teenage girl being kidnapped. Her immediate thought is that it is happening again, Jerry Swann has returned from the dead and is taking more children to the Bad Place. DI Sasha Dawson remembers the original case well. As a probationary WPC she made a promise to one of the girls which she was unable to keep and has lived with the guilt ever since. But this time she’ll do everything right and find the missing child. But the only way to rescue missing Sammi is to work out exactly what happened at the Bad Place all those years ago…

DI Sasha Dawson is a great character and I’m looking forward to reading more about her in future novels. She has a complicated home life (not helped by her incredibly frustrating and interfering mother), two moody teenagers and an emotionally distant, grieving husband. The couple suffered a terrible tragedy when their young son was mown down by a dangerous driver and despite Sasha having time to grieve for her son, Kev was more focussed on getting his wife through her pain. The reader watches as Kev falls apart but Sasha, who is consumed by work and other people’s problems, isn’t present enough to notice. This heartfelt sub-plot added to what is a great detective novel.

Being a detective novel I should mention the investigation. I liked the majority of the team and I’m hoping DC Power won’t be quite so arrogant and a little more cautious now he realises that he’s not immortal.  I’m looking forward to seeing if the memory of his rather savage beating lasts into the second book – or maybe he will have left to join The National Crime Agency by then…😂. The team works well together though and they look to Sasha for guidance.  I did feel they were all flailing a little at times which made me even more desperate for Karin to reveal everything (or just a little more than she was!) about the day they escaped.  Karin is the lynchpin holding the group of survivors together and the one instigating and hosting the yearly memorial dinner.  But the flashback scenes in the cellar show how utterly obsessed she was with Becky as a teenager. Even in the present day, Karin can’t let go of her friend and is convinced that she might, just might, still be alive.  It sent shivers down my spine.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I’m excited to read the next book in the DI Sasha Dawson series.  This was a compelling, page-turner of a novel and I heartily recommend it to fans of detective fiction (and those who just enjoy a good story).

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

The Bad Place by M.K. Hill was published in the UK by Head of Zeus on 5th September 2019 and is available in hardcover and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesBook DepositoryGoodreads |

about-the-author3

Mark_Hill-308 (1).jpgI’m MK to some, and Mark to others…

I’ve been a journalist and an award-winning music radio producer. I worked for about five minutes in PR.

But I write now, which is just as well, because I love writing. It’s my dream job.

I’m on Facebook. If you like any of my books, if you’re interested in keeping up to date with news, events and giveaways – everything Dawson and Drake, basically – then head to my author page and, you know, ‘like’ the page.

Or if Twitter’s your thing then you can find me there, too. I tweet about all sorts: writing, books, movies, games, custard, otters, all the stuff you like. So give me a follow.

Alternatively, you can laugh at my terrible photos on Instagram.

But wait, before you do any of that, make sure you buy my books.

The Bad Place, His First Lie and It Was Her are out now as in ebook and paperback —from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, all the usual places.

© https://www.mkhill.uk/about

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Kim (@about_thethrill) #ItsAllAboutTheThrill #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. I hope you had a great weekend, full of bookish treats. It’s Monday which means it’s time for another #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. Today I am delighted to welcome a fabulous book blogger to the blog, the lovely Kim at It’s All About the Thrill. If you haven’t discovered Kim’s blog yet then what are you waiting for?

#R3COMM3ND3D2018? What’s that about then? Allow me to explain. #R3COMM3ND3D is all about sharing the book love. I invite bookish types (book bloggers, authors and those who work in publishing) to shout about three books they love. Any genre, any author but they must have been published in the same year.  At the moment we’re concentrating on 2018 but from 1st November (which actually isn’t all that far away now and will be here before we know it!) it will be all about 2019’s releases.  If you want to shout about three books published in 2019, please complete the form at the bottom of this post.

Here are Kim’s choices…

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One Day in December by Josie Silver
This is my biggest surprise read of the year. I usually only read thrillers/suspense, so this is not my genre. WOW! I can’t even express how much I loved this book. It just makes you feel good. You will be missing out of you don’t read it because it is “not your genre”.
https://itsallaboutthethrill.blogspot.com/2018/11/one-day-in-december-by-josie-silver.html

the craftsman

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton
Waking up to find out you are buried alive in a coffin. Holy flipping crap! It doesn’t get much creepier than this! Bring on the nightmares! Loved it! Like nothing I have ever read before.
https://itsallaboutthethrill.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-craftsman-by-sharon-bolton.html

the proposal.jpg

The Proposal by S.E. Lynes
It was the definition of a psychological thriller. Kept me up until 5 am! Went quickly from a girl gets stalker book to dark, creepy mindblowing, wtf did I just read book.
https://itsallaboutthethrill.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-proposal-by-se-lynes.html

Thanks so much, Kim. I’ve read (and loved!) The Craftsman and I have The Proposal on my TBR.

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

One Day in December by Josie SilverThe Craftsman by Sharon BoltonThe Proposal by S.E. Lynes |

About Kim:
ER nurse, dog mom, book lover and blogger

Kim’s Social Media Links:
It’s All About the ThrillTwitter @about_thethrillInstagram |

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)

 

#BlogTour | #BookSpotlight: Sleep by M.K. Boers (@PurpleQueenNL) #SleepMKBoers #damppebbles

Happy weekend bookish friends and welcome to damppebbles. I am delighted to be closing down the Sleep by M.K. Boers blog tour today following a week of brilliant reviews and content posts from some amazing book bloggers.

Today I will be shining the spotlight on Sleep so read on to find out more…

sleep.jpg

“A marriage made in heaven, a murder made in hell.

Why kill the man you love?

Lizzy was struggling, everyone knew that.
He shouldn’t have done those things.
He shouldn’t have pushed her so hard.
And now, her children, her marriage, her hope – gone.
It was all her fault, she knew that, but was there a chance of redemption?

Lizzy Dyson’s on trial for her life. She knows she must pay for what she did, even if it wasn’t planned, but will the jury believe her?

A domestic noir, suspense-filled psychological drama, about heartbreak and betrayal, Sleep reveals what drives a woman to murder.”

Doesn’t that sound BRILLIANT?! Here are what others have been saying about the book:

“You’ll love Lizzy and you’ll hate her. You’ll want to hug her, you’ll want to slap her. But in the end, you’ll want to save her. An enthralling insight into one woman’s shattered life, and the strength she must summon to rebuild it.” Michael Wombat, Author of The Raven’s Wing & Fog.

“A compelling domestic drama where the tragic build-up to an awful crime unfolds through the eyes of a desperate woman.” – SJI Holliday, Author of The Lingering & Violet

“I thought the court scenes were fascinating, I enjoyed the way the witnesses were taken down by the prosecution and the defence and the way that each of the witnesses seemed to help Lizzy accept her actions. Regardless of whose side they were on. I particularly enjoyed the way Reedy’s true nature was revealed. ” – Steph’s Book Blog

“A well written, well paced novel for fans of psychological suspense.” – Liz Loves Books

“I loved the honesty with which the author portrayed the lives of all the characters, both the main ones and other friends and relatives. Each put their stamp on this story. I can wax eloquent about Boers’s book, but it ought to be read for its genuineness and commitment to her story.” – Shalini’s Books & Reviews

Sleep by M.K. Boers was published in the UK on 29th August 2019 and is available in paperback 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 | Goodreads |

about-the-author3

M K Boers spent her early childhood in Surrey, in the south of England, and her teens moving round the UK, but currently resides in the Netherlands.

Under her pen name Miranda Kate, she has been featured in several Flash Fiction anthologies, and has published two collections, one of dark flash-fiction tales called Mostly Dark, and another of science fiction stories called Slipping Through, the latter containing a short novella for which a sequel will be forthcoming this year.

Find M K Boers on her website, on her Facebook page and on Twitter – @PurpleQueenNL

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Lorna (@ljwrites85) #OnTheShelfReviews #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to damppebbles today. It’s Friiiiiyaaaaaaay which means it’s time for another stonking #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. Today I am delighted to welcome a brilliant book blogger to share the #R3COMM3ND3D book love – Lorna from On The Shelf Reviews. If you’ve not visited Lorna’s blog before then I absolutely insist that you do. You can thank me later 😉.

#R3COMM3ND3D is all about sharing the book love. Three books published in one year which other readers should make a point of picking up. They can be any genre, written by any author – traditionally, indie or self-published. The only rule is the year (which is harder than it sounds!). At the moment we’re concentrating on 2018 but there are only 7 weeks of #R3COMM3ND3D2018 left. Then, from 1st November, it will be all about the 2019 releases. If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and you would like to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2019 then please complete the form at the end of this post.

Here are Lorna’s choices…

The Siren and the Specter.jpg

The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz
This a book that really surprised me and reignited my love of all things ghostly and spooky.
https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/blogtour-review-the-siren-and-the-specter-by-jonathan-janz-jonathanjanz/

faceless.jpg

Faceless (DI Rosalind Kray #1) by Rob Ashman
This is a brutal but fascinating read that managed to have one of my real top fears (snakes) in it but it was so addictive I just had to read to the end.
https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/blogtour-review-faceless-by-rob-ashman-bloodhoundbook-robashmanauthor-newrelease/

The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker.jpg

The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson
This is a genre defying book, it’s young adult yet it’s also got hints of the paranormal and of course a whole heap of mystery!
https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com/2018/07/27/blogtour-review-the-death-and-life-of-eleanor-parker-by-kerry-wilkinson-bookouture/

Thanks so much, Lorna. Great choices and a couple of additions to the terrifying TBR!

If Lorna 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 Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz | Faceless by Rob Ashman | The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson |

About Lorna:
Hi, my name is Lorna or LJ. I’m a blogger, mother, carer from Liverpool. I have always loved books and accidentally stumbled into blogging and reviewing about eighteen months ago. My dream would be to become a published author (you can see read some of my short stories on my blog. Shameless plug I know!)

Lorna’s Social Media Links:
| On The Shelf Reviews | Twitter @ljwrites85 |

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)