#BookReview: One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke @HarperCollinsUK #OneoftheGirls #damppebbles

“ONE IS A LIAR.
ONE IS A STRANGER.
ONE IS A CHEATER.
WHO IS A KILLER?
We were dying for a holiday . . .

The six of us arrived on that beautiful Greek island dreaming of sun-drenched beaches and blood orange sunsets, ready to lose ourselves in the wild freedom of a weekend away with friends.
On the first night we swam under a blanket of stars.
On the second night the games began on our clifftop terrace.
On the third night the idyll cracked, secrets and lies whispering on the breeze.
And by the final night there was a body on the rocks below . . .
Who would kill for it?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke. One of the Girls is published by HarperCollins today (that’s Thursday 26th May 2022) and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow. I chose to read and review a free eARC of One of the Girls but that has in no way influenced my review.

I thoroughly enjoyed Clarke’s previous thriller, The Castaways, last year. I found it very compelling with great characters and I loved the ending. So much so, I can still remember it clearly now. So when I saw the author was about to publish a new book I leapt at the chance to read it. And it’s now safe to say Clarke is firmly on my ‘must read author list’ because I LOVED One of the Girls.

Lexi is getting married! And to celebrate, her best friend, Bella, has convinced her a hen party would be brilliant idea. They and four of Lexi’s friends are heading to the Greek island of Aegos for four nights and some much needed time away from ‘real life’. But when the women arrive, it’s clear the cracks are already starting to show. Everyone has secrets. This group of six woman have more than most. And by the end of their exotic getaway, someone will be dead and someone will be a killer…

I flew through this book, completely absorbed and soaking up the Greek sun with this disparate group of women. I can’t express how much I loved everything about it. The characters are all so different but they work so well together. An odd group of women brought together to celebrate Lexi, but you can feel the tensions simmering under the surface and you can’t help but ask yourself ‘what is actually going on here?’. That intrigue, that sense that there was so much more to come, really hooked me into the story.

Lexi is a sweetheart and it’s clear to the reader why these women have travelled for hours to celebrate her forthcoming nuptials. Bella, her maid of honour and self-appointed best friend, is such a character! Obnoxious and brassy, I really liked her but I think I’ll be in the minority on that one. She’s spoilt and demanding, utterly frustrating at times. But I thought she was written so well. She elicits an emotional response from the reader and I appreciated that. The other women, who I won’t go into detail about here otherwise this review will be as long as the book (!), are fantastic creations. All individual personalities, all with their own totally believable backstory, all with their own heartaches and simmering resentments.

The plot is paced beautifully and I was in the story from the moment I picked the book up to the moment I put the book down. This is one of those novels I enjoyed so much that I was sad when it was over (although, in truth, I did race to the conclusion keen to find out how things would end so it was my own darn fault really!). There are many twists and turns along the way, some I was able to see coming, others knocked me for six and I loved that moment of shock the author delivered.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I loved One of the Girls and I’ll probably re-read it in the future as I’m keen to return to Aegos and be reunited with this fascinating, eclectic group of women and their complicated friendships. The setting was exquisite (yes, I’m desperate for a holiday!), the plot was so well drawn and thought out but the characters absolutely did it for me. They felt like real people and I was watching an edge-of-your seat TV drama play out before me. Clarke is such a talented writer and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next. A hugely compulsive read featuring divine characters and their bubbling resentments which I couldn’t get enough of. Totally addictive. I loved it! Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of One of the Girls. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke was published in the UK by HarperCollins on 26th May 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Lucy Clarke

Lucy Clarke is the bestselling author of six psychological thrillers – THE SEA SISTERS, A SINGLE BREATH, THE BLUE/NO ESCAPE, LAST SEEN, YOU LET ME IN and THE CASTAWAYS. Her debut novel was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, and her books have been sold in over 20 territories.

Lucy is a passionate traveller, beach hut dweller, and fresh air enthusiast. She’s married to a professional windsurfer and, together with their two young children, they spend their winters travelling and their summers at home on the south coast of England. Lucy writes from a beach hut, using the inspiration from the wild south coast to craft her stories.

WWW Wednesday | 25th May 2022 #WWWWednesday #bookblogger #amreading #BookTwitter #damppebbles

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading.

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Botanist (Washington Poe #5) by M.W. Craven
Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he’d still have his thumb left. There’s the insanely brilliant, guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. He’s known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.

And then there’s Estelle Doyle. It’s true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street but this time has she gone too far? Shot twice in the head, her father’s murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints going in. Since her arrest she’s only said three words: ‘Tell Washington Poe.’

Meanwhile, a poisoner the press have dubbed the Botanist is sending high profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice he gives his victims, and regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity.

For a man who hates locked room mysteries, this is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life . .


What did you recently finish reading?

The Lost Children (DCI Matilda Darke #9) by Michael Wood
Matilda Darke is back…

APRIL 2020: LOCKDOWN

DI Brady has been tracing victims of systemic abuse at a local children’s home after a high-profile accusation pitched it into the spotlight – a case that couldn’t be more personal.

As Matilda and her team piece together the disturbing picture of the history of the home, it soon becomes clear that this is much bigger than they ever suspected.

But nothing prepares them for what they uncover next…

The Lost Children is an utterly gripping crime thriller weaving a breakneck tale of a vast network of secrets and lies, a relentless detective determined to sabotage it, and a murder that shatters two decades of silence.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Sun Damage by Sabine Durrant
The heat is intense.
The secrets are stifling.
She just needs to escape . . .

Nine guests arrive at a remote villa in the south of France.

They know each other well. Or think they do.

But at least one of them has plenty to hide – and nowhere to run.

Under the relentless sun, loyalties will be tested, secrets revealed, and tensions pushed to the point of no return.

The sensational new novel from the universally acclaimed Sabine Durrant – destined to be the thriller of summer 2022.

20 Books of Summer Challenge #20booksofsummer22 #amreading #amreviewing #damppebbles #bookblogger #BookTwitter

Hello bookish pals and welcome to damppebbles.

After a mini hiatus last year, and on the back of my somewhat shocking success in 2020, I’m excited to be joining Cathy’s #20BooksofSummer challenge again this year (check out Cathy’s BRILLIANT blog at 746 Books)!

Now, you may say that in 2020 we were in the middle of a lockdown and therefore finding the time to read was perhaps a little easier. You may also say that we’re now NOT in a lockdown, life seems to be returning to some sort of semblance of normality and the time period we’re talking about covers a whole six weeks where two young children (my children) will expect me to entertain them during their waking hours. You may say that and yes, you would be very sensible to point that out! Using a pinch of common sense I should, in theory, drop the target from twenty books to say, perhaps, fifteen? That would be sensible, right? I laugh in your face ‘sensible’. I’m going for the big TWO OH again this year, which I’m sure to regret.

Our lovely host as always is the fabulous Cathy. If you would like to take part yourself then you’re very welcome to join in – the more, the merrier. More information about #20BooksofSummer can be found HERE where you can also sign up yourself if you fancy it. Cathy is very relaxed about the rules, which is lucky for me. I think I may need a spot of leniency this year 😰. You can choose to read 10, 15 or 20 books during the challenge which starts on 1st June and runs until 1st September. Want to change your choices part way through? That’s fine. Want to drop from 20 to 10 books. Also fine. Check out Cathy’s sign up post for all the information you need.

Selecting my twenty books this year was tough. Seventy-five percent of my choices in 2020 came from my NetGalley shelf which made a hefty dent in my TBR and increased my NG percentage a heck of a lot. This year, the three books I still have to read on my NetGalley shelf are all included in my list. The rest is made up of review copies from publishers – past and present – and my own books. I’ve also made sure that I’ve included three books from my ’12 books in 12 months’ challenge, otherwise I’m going to fall even further behind with that one. I think it’s a cracking list and I’d be interested to hear what you think!

The Trial by S.R. Masters (One More Chapter)
Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi (Titan Books)
A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor (Penguin Michael Joseph)
True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Penguin Books)
Follow Me to the Edge by Tariq Ashkanani (Thomas & Mercer)

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs (Thomas & Mercer)
The Watchers by A.M. Shine (Aries)
Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi (Penguin Books)
Black Widows by Cate Quinn (Orion)
Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker (Bonnier Zaffre)

No Country for Girls by Emma Styles (Sphere)
The It Girl by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster)
The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh (Sphere)
Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas (Penguin Books)
The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell (Orion)

The Collective by Alison Gaylin (Orion)
Hunting Evil by Chris Carter (Simon & Schuster)
The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson (HQ)
Until the Debt is Paid by Alexander Hartung translated by Steve Anderson (Amazon Crossing)
Damage by Caitlin Wahrer (Penguin Books)

What a good looking bunch they are, even if I do say so myself! Have you read any of them? Any you’re really looking forward to reading? Are you taking part in the challenge this year? I’d love to see your books so please feel free to leave a link to your challenge post in the comments!

If you would like to join in then there’s still plenty of time as we don’t kick off until 1st June. Go on, give it a try. How hard can it be, right…? 😉

20-books

#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Homes by J.B. Mylet @ViperBooks #TheHomes #damppebbles

“There were good people in The Homes. But there were also some very, very bad ones…

A thousand unwanted children live in The Homes, a village of orphans in the Scottish Lowlands on the outskirts of Glasgow. Lesley was six before she learned that most children live with their parents. Now Lesley is twelve, and she and her best friend Jonesy live in Cottage 5, Jonesy the irrepressible spirit to Lesley’s quiet thoughtfulness.

Life is often cruel at The Homes, and suddenly it becomes much crueller. A child is found murdered. Then another. With the police unable to catch the killer, Lesley and Jonesy decide to take the matter into their own hands. But unwanted children are easy victims, and they are both in terrible danger…
Inspired by a true story, and introducing readers to the unforgettable voice of young orphan Lesley, The Homes is a moving and lyrical thriller, perfect for readers of Val McDermid, Chris Whitaker, Jane Casey and Denise Mina.

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be joining The Homes blog tour. The Homes by J.B. Mylet will be published by Viper Books later this week (that’s Thursday 26th May 2022) and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Homes but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Rosie at Viper Books for sending me a proof copy.

Lesley and Jonesy are twelve-year-old best friends who have been abandoned by their parents. They’re unloved. They live in the Homes, a purpose built village in Scotland, alongside nearly 800 other orphaned and abandoned children. Life is tough. Beatings are common. But it’s the only life they know. When one of the older teenage girls is found dead, it’s the most exciting and interesting thing to have ever happened at the Homes. But when a second girl is killed, realisation dawns on the children. There’s a killer loose targeting the young female population of the Homes and any of the girls could be next. Lesley and Jonesy don’t want to die so they take it upon themselves to try and solve the murders. But the more they dig and poke around, pointing fingers at the staff, the closer to danger they get…

Oh my word, this book! I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from The Homes but what I got was a brilliantly written mystery featuring some of the most memorable characters I’ve met, alongside a bit of an education about the Quarriers Homes and how life was for the children who lived there.

Lesley is such a wonderful character. We meet her as she’s just about to face up to bully Glenda McAdam and it’s immediately clear to the reader that Lesley is very much out of her depth. She’s a clever girl and brawling, particularly with the powerhouse that is Glenda, is not something she wants to do. Egged on by best pal Jonesy, she knows the only way to get Glenda off her back is to stand up to her. And that’s exactly what she does. This opening chapter provides the reader with everything they need to know about Lesley. It’s a beautiful introduction to a character who will stay in your heart long after you’ve finished reading.

The Homes is very much Lesley’s story. Her life, her friends, how she copes with being one of only four children from the Homes who attends the grammar school, the relentless teasing and bullying she gets for being smart, her weekly meetings with Eadie, the on-call psychologist, her interactions with her strict houseparents – Mr & Mrs Paterson – and the other girls who share a room with her, and it’s an absolutely fascinating, highly compelling tale. I was completely smitten with Lesley’s story. Her life isn’t perfect but she has routine and stability, and it’s all she knows.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Homes is a well-written and compelling tale which I was drawn into from the moment I met Lesley. I adored spending time in her world and I now feel a little bereft having finished the book. I couldn’t for the life of me work out whodunit so when the reveal did happen, I was shocked. I also really, really enjoyed that the author has used local dialect throughout the book to tell the story – lots of deids and heids and cannaes – which really added to the authenticity of the story. I read the entire book with a Scottish accent! Emotional, devastating at times, and with a well-plotted mystery at its heart, The Homes is a must read for readers who like strong character-driven tales. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Homes. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Homes by J.B. Mylet was published in the UK by Viper Books on 26th May 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

J.B. MyletJ.B. Mylet was inspired to write The Homes based on the stories his mother told him about her childhood. She grew up in the infamous Quarrier’s Homes in Scotland in the 1960s, along with a thousand other orphaned or unwanted children, and did not realise that children were supposed to live with their parents until she was seven. He felt this was a story that needed to be told. He lives in London.

#GuestReview: Don’t Play Dead with Vultures by Jack Leavers (@jackleavers) #TheBookGuild @cobaltdinosaur #DontPlayDeadWithVultures #damppebbles

“Summer 2008 sees former Royal Marine John Pierce lured from running convoys in Iraq to a lucrative contract in the steamy jungles of French West Africa. He soon discovers this new theatre is even more dangerous than the war zone he left behind. Corrupt officials, drug cartels, and competing military factions rub shoulder-to-shoulder in a melting pot of greed and intrigue… And a sadistic foe lurks in the shadows.

When old intelligence contacts take an interest, the situation gets complicated fast. Dark forces emerge and events spiral out of control. Pitched into a desperate race against time, can Pierce’s makeshift team of soldiers and civilians fight fire with fire and outwit vicious enemies?

One thing’s for sure, Pierce won’t leave anyone to the mercy of a brutal adversary he knows only too well no matter what it takes.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am handing the blog over to my guest reviewer, Ryan, who is going to share his thoughts on Don’t Play Dead with Vultures by Jack Leavers. Don’t Play Dead with Vultures was published by The Book Guild on 28th April 2022 and is available in paperback and digital formats. Ryan chose to read and review a free ARC of Don’t Play Dead with Vultures but that has in no way influenced his review. Grateful thanks to the author for sending Ryan a finished copy.

John Pierce is back and I’m beginning to think that Jack Leavers likes to make him suffer! Appetite For Risk – the debut from Jack Leavers – saw Pierce in difficult circumstances across Iraq, and Don’t Play Dead with Vultures, set a few years later, sees John move on from Iraq to help scope potential new business ventures in Guinea. But luck, fate and the occasional rash decision see John making enemies of powerful foes.

Jack Leavers is a master of this style of thriller. You aren’t many pages into the story before you can feel his experience and knowledge of military and corporate private security flowing from the pages. I enjoyed the last book but in this book Jack’s characters have developed even further. We get to see the character’s motives and their mixture of guilt and pleasure as they put themselves through treacherous circumstances. Putting themselves at risk and worrying their families with their recklessness, whilst loving the buzz. John’s relationship with his team is wonderful in Don’t Play Dead with Vultures. Whether it is the relaxed military banter flowing between his long term colleagues like Ryan and Hutch, or the trust building with the new team in Guinea. Leading teams in this environment means it is inevitable that people will get put in the line of fire and hurt, and Leavers does a great job of showing Pierce wrestle with the balance of protecting his people whilst trying to get the job done.

One particular aspect of Jack’s writing I love is the use of radio dialogue to build the situation. Heard exclusively from Pierce’s perspective the radio chatter builds the picture of what is happening across the team as they engage with the enemy. The radio messages work brilliantly to build the tension for the reader, allowing them to develop their knowledge of the situation alongside Pierce and see him respond (which often means throwing himself, or the team, into even greater peril!).

Leavers builds the environment for the story incredibly well, whether it is the heat and dust of Iraq or the hot and humid forests of Guinea. Jack has clearly operated in all of the environments he describes and even after you’ve put your copy of the book down, you will still be checking for those darned Mozzies!

Would I recommend this book? If you are a fan of military and spy thrillers with a realistic edge then Jack Leavers is a must read author for you. Great characters involved in exciting adventures and dangerous situations. A five star read!

Don’t Play Dead with Vultures by Jack Leavers was published in the UK by The Book Guild on 28th April 2022 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Jack Leavers is a former Royal Marine with over thirty-years’ experience spread across the military, private security, corporate investigations, maritime counter-piracy, and risk management. His varied career has included numerous deployments to conflict zones around the world such as Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, trouble spots in Africa, and the Somali pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean.

Jack continues to work in challenging environments and has now begun to pen novels inspired by some of the more enterprising projects that got the green light, and other audacious plans that didn’t.

Jack is normally based in London, UK, but finds he’s at his most productive writing-wise when deployed overseas. Trips to Iraq and Africa beckon and a third book is in the works.

Capital Crime Launch 2022 Festival Programme @CapitalCrime1 #BookTwitter #BookFestival

Capital Crime launched their 2022 programme with a bang last night at leading independent bookshop, Goldsboro Books, at a party to announce their stellar line up and spectacular new location.

Taking place in the shadow of the iconic Battersea Power Station from 29th September – 1st October 2022, Capital Crime will bring together readers, authors, industry figures and the local community for the first major literary festival held on the site for a weekend of fun, innovation and celebration of crime fiction.

Consisting of over 40 events and over 150 panelists, the line-up will include appearances from Peter James, Kate Mosse, Mark Billingham, Richard Osman, Robert Harris, SA Cosby, Dorothy Koomson, Jeffrey Archer, Anthony Horowitz, Charlie Higson, Jeffery Deaver, Lucy Foley, Bella Mackie, Ragnar Jónasson, Paula Hawkins, Reverend Richard Coles, Mark Edwards, Claire McGowan, Ben Aaronovitch and Former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Judge Lady Hale, in conversation with Harriet Tyce. Their full schedule of innovative panel talks will be announced later in the summer.

As part of the live festival this year, Capital Crime’s Social Outreach Initiative will be returning for a third year with the aim to create an inclusive, safe space where state school students with an interest in books can engage with authors, agents, editors and publishers to help demystify the publishing industry.

The festival will also be launching the coveted Fingerprint Awards, which celebrate the best in genre, as chosen by readers. In 2022 the Fingerprints will present eight awards as well as a prestigious lifetime achievement award.

Co-founded by David Headley, the owner of one of London’s destination bookshops, which attracts visitors from all over the world, Capital Crime 2022 will serve as a major London attraction, following the regeneration of the local Battersea area and improved transport links.

Festival Founder, David Headley, said: “I am so delighted that Goldsboro Books and Capital Crime, along with our valued festival sponsors, will be working in partnership this year to bring a bigger and better live celebration of crime fiction back to London. We were so proud of what we achieved at our inaugural festival, and look forward to welcoming authors and readers to our new, exciting venue.”

Festival Director, Lizzie Curle, said: “After what ’s been an emotional few years, we are so grateful to our readers, authors and sponsors for their support, and are thrilled to be reuniting household name authors, new voices in fiction and their fans at our new home in Battersea Park. Though this Capital Crime event may look a little different from the outside; diversity, inclusivity and accessibility remain at the heart of our festival. We can’t wait to celebrate the best genre in the world, and hope everyone will agree it’s been worth the wait.”

With diversity, accessibility, inclusivity and readers at the heart of the festival, Capital Crime this year will take place in a series of large stretch-tented venues for multiple panel events, signing area, a stunning bar area central to the festival, a pop up Goldsboro Books bookshop in the iconic Pump House Gallery, and an array of London’s tastiest street food traders.

Weekend and Day Passes are available from the Capital Crime website:
www.capitalcrime.org/product/capital-crime-festival-2022

About Capital Crime:
Founded by bookseller, agent and publisher, David Headley, and author Adam Hamdy, Capital Crime is a new crime and thriller festival located in London. Built around the reader, Capital Crime is modelled on the extremely successful mass participation, multi-media conventions that engage and delight audiences in new and innovative ways.

Capital Crime is committed to producing an inclusive, welcoming festival that will deliver something for everyone.

www.capitalcrime.org | @CapitalCrime1

About Goldsboro Books:
Goldsboro Books is an independent bookshop, based in central London, specialising in signed first edition books. Providing an expert, knowledgeable team and a carefully curated range is at the heart of the business, delivering the best book-buying experience for every customer. Goldsboro Books aims to interest and inspire book lovers, readers and collectors and provide the finest quality signed books in the world. Goldsboro Books was founded in 1999 by two friends and book collectors, David Headley and Daniel Gedeon. Their reputation for spotting quality books early on, an expert eye on the future collectibles, along with enthusiasm and passion for bookselling excellence has grown with the business and Goldsboro Books has become a world-famous and much admired bookshop. Their global reputation grew in 2013 when they were the only bookshop in the world to have signed copies of The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, who of course turned out to be none other than J.K. Rowling.

https://www.goldsborobooks.com@GoldsboroBooks

WWW Wednesday | 18th May 2022 #WWWWednesday #bookblogger #amreading #BookTwitter #damppebbles

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading.

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Lost Children (DCI Matilda Darke #9) by Michael Wood
Matilda Darke is back…

APRIL 2020: LOCKDOWN

DI Brady has been tracing victims of systemic abuse at a local children’s home after a high-profile accusation pitched it into the spotlight – a case that couldn’t be more personal.

As Matilda and her team piece together the disturbing picture of the history of the home, it soon becomes clear that this is much bigger than they ever suspected.

But nothing prepares them for what they uncover next…

The Lost Children is an utterly gripping crime thriller weaving a breakneck tale of a vast network of secrets and lies, a relentless detective determined to sabotage it, and a murder that shatters two decades of silence.


What did you recently finish reading?

No Secrets by David Jackson
THEY BELIEVE HIS LIES. SHE KNOWS THE TRUTH.

You can’t lie to Izzy Lambert. Her highly developed empathic abilities allow her to read people’s emotions with terrifying accuracy – and consequences. As a child her insights sparked her parents’ divorce. As an adult she avoids getting too close to people for fear of what she might learn.

But now young girls are going missing in her town. The police have no suspects but, seeing her old school caretaker interviewed on the news about the story, Izzy comes to a chilling realisation: he knows where the missing girls are. When the police won’t take her seriously despite the lives at stake, she will risk everything to uncover the truth.

The Box by Dan Malakin
To save your child you must open The Box…

Ed Truman’s family is falling apart. His daughter Ally is being targeted by an alt-right incel organisation, Men Together. His house is being picketed, former clients are accusing him of sexual assault, his son won’t speak to him. And then Ally disappears.

Frantic, Ed suspects that Men Together have abducted her. But before he can go to the police, his DNA is found on the body of a young woman. Suddenly he’s the subject of a nationwide manhunt, led by the tenacious DCI Jackie Rose. Ed finds himself on the run with Ally’s friend, Phoenix, who claims to know where Ally is. But what is the truth? Is Ed a violent sexual predator? Or is he the victim of a ruthless conspiracy? The answers are in The Box. But not everyone who goes in, comes out alive…

From the bestselling author of The Regret, this heart-pounding thriller is perfect for readers of Harlan Coben, Mark Billingham and M.W. Craven.


What do you think you’ll read next?

The Trial by S.R. Masters
Would you sign up to a medical trial if you didn’t know the possible side effects?

18-40? PAID CLINICAL TRIAL IN THE CANARY ISLANDS – UP TO £20,000 TAX FREE

It seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. An all-inclusive luxury trip abroad, all you need to do is take a pill every day and keep a diary.

Except you don’t know anything about the drug or what its side effects might be.

The headaches start, a dull ache at first. Every day worse than the last.

Then a body is found.

Everyone is a suspect. Anyone could be a killer. Even you . . .

#BookReview: When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins @panmacmillan #WhenIWasTen #damppebbles

“Twenty-one years ago, Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were killed in what has become the most infamous double murder of the modern age.

Their ten year-old daughter – nicknamed the Angel of Death – spent eight years in a children’s secure unit and is living quietly under an assumed name with a family of her own.

Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down her older sister, compelling her to break two decades of silence.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and journalist Brinley Booth, a childhood friend of the Carter sisters, is tasked with covering the news story.

For the first time, the three women are forced to confront what really happened that night – with devastating consequences for them all.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins. When I Was Ten was published by Pan Macmillan in paperback format on 30th December 2021 and is also available in hardcover, audio and digital formats.

I have been wanting to read When I Was Ten since it first landed on my radar last year. Having finished one book, I was in a strange ‘nothing really appeals…’ mood and was looking for something a little dark and a little uncomfortable to get my teeth into. Which is when this book suddenly sprang to mind! Without a second thought, I downloaded a copy and made a start straight away. And what a devastating and utterly compelling story When I Was Ten is. I absolutely loved it!

Twenty-one years ago Richard and Pamela Carter were viciously murdered in their beds. The case became infamous, partly due to the respect held by the local community for Dr Carter – the local GP – but mainly because the killer was their youngest daughter. After spending time in a secure unit for children, the daughter assumed a new identity and started a new life. But now a documentary crew have found the older of the two sisters and questions are being asked. The Angel of Death is back in the spotlight, the last place she ever wanted to be, and her new life is about to come crashing down around her…

Oh my goodness, When I Was Ten is SO GOOD! This is, I’m ashamed to admit, the first book I’ve read by this author despite being told repeatedly by fellow readers for years that I would love her books. They were right.  I loved the story, the characters and Cummins’ writing. So much so, I plan to download the author’s entire back catalogue as soon as I’m physically able to.

When I Was Ten centres around the Carter sisters and their friend and neighbour from 21 years ago, Brinley Booth. Told in the past and the present, we get to hear from journalist Brinley as she decides whether to reveal her connection to the biggest story of the year to her boss. In doing so, she knows it’ll give her failing career a real boost. But does she really want to dredge up difficult memories from that time again? Particularly as Brinley knows more than she’s letting on. We also get to hear from Catherine as her carefully created life crumbles around her. As her daughter and husband realise who has actually been head of their family for the last twelve years. How well do we really know those we’re closest to? There are also deeply unsettling flashbacks to the past which show the reader how the Carter sisters were treated by their supposedly perfect parents in their nice big house. It makes for difficult reading at times but I couldn’t tear myself away!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. When I Was Ten is dark and twisty and absolutely everything I love about crime fiction. There were a number of brilliantly written surprises along the way, some which left me with my jaw on the floor. I thought the characters were very well-written and really pulled the reader into the story. The book is paced beautifully, encouraging ‘just one more chapter’ before turning out the light. But before you know it, half of the night has passed and you know you’ll be living on coffee and fumes come the morning *true story* (it was so worth it though 😉)! When I Was Ten is undoubtedly one of my favourite reads of 2022 and fans of family centred crime thrillers should put this one top of their wish list. You’ll be missing out on something quite special if you don’t! Hugely compelling, immensely readable, heart breaking and unexpectedly emotional, and impossible to put down. Loved it. Highly recommended.

When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins was published in the UK by Pan Macmillan on 30th December 2021 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Fiona CumminsFiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy, where she now teaches her own Writing Crime course. She is the bestselling author of five crime thriller novels, all of which have received widespread critical acclaim from household names including Val McDermid, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Martina Cole and Ian Rankin. Three of her novels have been optioned for television.

Rattle, her debut, has been translated into several languages and Marcel Berlins wrote in The Times: ‘Amid the outpouring of crime novels, Rattle is up there with the best of them.’ Fiona was selected for McDermid’s prestigious New Blood panel at the 2017 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, where her novel was nominated for a Dead Good Reader Award for Most Exceptional Debut. A sequel, The Collector, was published in February 2018 and David Baldacci described it as ‘A crime novel of the very first order’.

Her third novel – standalone thriller The Neighbour – was published in April 2019. Ian Rankin called it ‘creepy as hell’. Her fourth novel When I Was Ten, an Irish Times bestseller, was published in April 2021. Into The Dark, Fiona’s fifth novel, will be published in April 2022 and was described by Sarah Vaughan, author of Netflix smash-hit Anatomy of A Scandal, as ‘Complex. Inventive. Twisty. Unsettling.’

When Fiona is not writing, she can be found on Twitter, eating biscuits or walking her dogs. She lives in Essex with her family.

#BookReview: Little Nothings by Julie Mayhew @BloomsburyRaven #LittleNothings #damppebbles

“With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Liv Travers never knew real friendship until she met fellow mums Beth and Binnie. The three women become inseparable as they muddle through early parenthood together.

Then along comes Ange. Ambitious, wealthy and somehow able to do it all.

Under Ange’s guiding presence, the group finds new vigour and fresh aspirations – bigger houses, better schools, dinners at exclusive restaurants. But Liv can’t keep up and is increasingly edged out.

When the four families take a three-week trip to a luxurious holiday resort, Liv seizes the opportunity to reclaim her place at the heart of the group, only to discover the true, devastating cost of a friendship with Ange.

Set over the course of a single, life-changing trip to a Greek island paradise, Little Nothings is a sly, suspenseful novel about female bonds turned toxic, and the desperate ends one woman will go to keep her friends close – and her enemy closer.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Little Nothings by Julie Mayhew. Little Nothings is published by Raven Books today (that’s Thursday 12th May 2022) and is available in hardcover and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free ARC of Little Nothings but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to the team at Raven Books for sending me a proof copy.

Let’s face it, with us all being stuck at home for the past two years the thought of going overseas for a few days, soaking up the sun and drinking cocktails by the pool probably appeals a lot more than it has before. It certainly does to me anyway! So when I first laid eyes on this book, the cover alone called my name. Look how glorious it is! I then checked out the blurb and knew I HAD to read this book. A toxic friendship set against the stunning backdrop of Corfu? Yes please!

Liv Travers has always struggled to make friends. Even at school she was often the one left out. Going into adulthood, nothing changed. The concept of making friends just alluded Liv. That was until she met Binnie and Beth at a baby group. Suddenly something clicked and the three women became as thick as thieves. And Liv finally understood what she had been missing all these years. And then along came Ange. Confident, more than competent, excelling at everything and the new focal point of the group. And for Liv, something changed. So when Ange suggests the four families head to an exclusive resort in Corfu for three weeks, they can’t say no. But the trip is far from paradise for Liv, and the true cost of being friends with Ange soon becomes devastatingly clear…

Little Nothings is a divine tale of female friendships gone horribly wrong and oh my gosh, it blew me away. I loved every single second, every single word of this book from its agonising start to its jaw-dropping conclusion. Although her neediness did often make me cringe a little, I adored Liv. There was just something about her that I, and perhaps I shouldn’t admit to this, understood? She’s such a well-written character. So much so she felt very real to me. The other characters in the book are also excellent. The mere mention of Ange’s name made my blood pressure rise. There was a wonderful sense of uncomfortable apprehension as I waited to see what awful slight, what dastardly lengths she had gone to to put Liv well and truly in her place. Stunning!

I was fully immersed in the story from the moment I picked up the book and met Liv. As the story progresses the reader gets to discover more about Liv and Pete’s history and what they’ve both had to face over the preceding months. Why this holiday has become such a big event for them, why they’ve pushed so hard to get to Corfu when really they should be over a thousand miles away at home, and how what they were expecting, what was promised, was a big, fat, ugly lie. All of those little nothings, all of those hurtful comments which were covered up and brushed aside with a smile, all of the times things have gone wrong. Well, they all add up.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I ADORED Little Nothings and I know it will feature in my top books of the year list in December. Everything worked for me. The characters stood tall from the page and I don’t think I’ll forget any of them in a hurry. The pace of the book made sure that I was turning the pages late into the night – way past my bedtime. The setting was perfect and the descriptions were beautifully vivid enabling me to picture the scene with ease. I loved everything about this book. Every last little detail. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Little Nothings. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Little Nothings by Julie Mayhew was published in the UK by Raven Books on 12th May 2022 and is available in hardcover and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

ImageJulie Mayhew is a journalist who became an actress (because she wanted more creative ways to tell stories), who became a scriptwriter (because she couldn’t find enough brilliant roles for women).

She is an award-winning novelist, an award-nominated radio dramatist and has written short stories and stage plays to critical acclaim. As a participant in the BFI Network x BAFTA Crew programme, Julie now also writes and directs for the screen.

Born and raised in Peterborough, home is now Hertfordshire. She is mum to two boys. Her best friend is a border terrier called Connie.

WWW Wednesday | 11th May 2022 #WWWWednesday #bookblogger #amreading #BookTwitter #damppebbles

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading.

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

No Secrets by David Jackson
THEY BELIEVE HIS LIES. SHE KNOWS THE TRUTH.

You can’t lie to Izzy Lambert. Her highly developed empathic abilities allow her to read people’s emotions with terrifying accuracy – and consequences. As a child her insights sparked her parents’ divorce. As an adult she avoids getting too close to people for fear of what she might learn.

But now young girls are going missing in her town. The police have no suspects but, seeing her old school caretaker interviewed on the news about the story, Izzy comes to a chilling realisation: he knows where the missing girls are. When the police won’t take her seriously despite the lives at stake, she will risk everything to uncover the truth.


What did you recently finish reading?

WAKE by Shelley Burr
EVERYBODY THINKS THEY KNOW MINA McCREERY.
EVERYONE HAS A THEORY ON WHAT HAPPENED TO HER SISTER.
NOW IT’S TIME TO FIND OUT THE TRUTH…

Mina McCreery’s sister Evelyn disappeared nineteen years ago. Her life has been defined by the intense public interest in the case. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, she lives alone on her family’s destocked sheep farm.

When Lane, a private investigator, approaches her with an offer to reinvestigate the case, she rejects him. The attention has had nothing but negative consequences for her and her family, and never brought them closer to an answer.

Lane wins her trust when his unconventional methods show promise, but he has his own motivations for wanting to solve the case, and his obsession with the answer will ultimately risk both their lives.

Superbly written, taut and compassionate, Wake looks at what can happen when people’s private tragedies become public property, and the ripples of trauma that follow violent crimes. Wake won the CWA Debut Dagger in 2019.


What do you think you’ll read next?

The Box by Dan Malakin
To save your child you must open The Box…

Ed Truman’s family is falling apart. His daughter Ally is being targeted by an alt-right incel organisation, Men Together. His house is being picketed, former clients are accusing him of sexual assault, his son won’t speak to him. And then Ally disappears.

Frantic, Ed suspects that Men Together have abducted her. But before he can go to the police, his DNA is found on the body of a young woman. Suddenly he’s the subject of a nationwide manhunt, led by the tenacious DCI Jackie Rose. Ed finds himself on the run with Ally’s friend, Phoenix, who claims to know where Ally is. But what is the truth? Is Ed a violent sexual predator? Or is he the victim of a ruthless conspiracy? The answers are in The Box. But not everyone who goes in, comes out alive…

From the bestselling author of The Regret, this heart-pounding thriller is perfect for readers of Harlan Coben, Mark Billingham and M.W. Craven.