#BookReview: Black Widows by Cate Quinn @orionbooks #BlackWidows #damppebbles

“Aged nineteen, devout Rachel marries fundamentalist Mormon, Blake Nelson, and moves to a remote homestead in rural Utah. Isolated and alone, Rachel obeys her husband’s advice to keep sweet and prepare for End of Days.

Soon after their disappointing wedding night, Blake takes his second wife – emotionally-troubled, jailbait, Emily. Though it’s not until the arrival of third wife Tina, a reformed junkie-stripper from Vegas, that the bitter rivalry sets in.

Out in the desert, the only thing the sister-wives have in common is an obsession with their righteous husband. Until, that is, Blake’s body is found, brutally murdered near his favourite fishing spot, his wedding finger missing.

As police dig deeper, it seems a hot-bed of bitter tensions bubble beneath the pious Mormon exterior. Blake’s sister-wives just couldn’t keep sweet. But which was capable of murder?

Inspired by true events, this gripping tale of religious polygamy peeks under the covers of a real-life Mormon fundamentalist cult.”

Hello, a very happy New Year to you and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Black Widows by Cate Quinn. Black Widows was published by Orion Books on 2nd September 2021 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats.

For those of you with an excellent memory you may recall that Black Widows was one of the books I chose for the 20 Books of Summer Challenge last year. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get round to it during the three months of the challenge but I did promise to prioritise the remaining six books. This is the second of those six that I have managed to read and I am so incredibly glad that I did. I loved Black Widows!

Three very different women living in an isolated homestead in the Utah desert; Rachel, Emily and Tina. Cut off from the rest of the world and instructed to keep sweet. Just biding their time and waiting for the End of Days. Bickering, falling out and judging each other. Tensions between the women run deep. Because they’re all married to the same man, Blake Nelson, a fundamentalist Mormon. When Blake’s mutilated body is discovered down by the river, the finger of suspicion points at the wives. Each woman resents her sister-wives, they have their own troubling secrets which they’ll do anything to keep. Including murder…?

Black Widows is a highly compelling, character-driven mystery which drew me in from the first page and didn’t let go until the very last word. I savoured every moment I spent with this book and looked forward to picking it up every evening. The characters are multi-layered and stand tall from the page, each making an individual contribution to the tale. Their past lives are very different but they’ve all suffered trauma of some sorts. Rachel is devout and homely, wholesome and sweet no matter what life throws at her. She’s also the first wife which gives her status over the other two. Emily is young and immature. Very much out of her league. I often felt my heart break for her as she found herself in situations she didn’t know how to handle, often turning to TV crime dramas to help her process events. Tina, the third wife, has street smarts and a whole lot of sass that she’ll use to get what she wants. An ex-Vegas stripper, she’s worldly and will take risks the other wives won’t. The three women are an unlikely team and it’s clear from the outset that they don’t get on. But will being charged of murder change that?

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I loved Black Widows and I’m so glad it’s my first review of 2023, kicking the year off in style! I enjoyed spending time with the sister-wives. I thought the three very different characters made for fascinating reading. The reader gets to hear from each wife and see the situation from her point of view. What’s clear is that there is very little trust amongst the wives, all believing the others could have killed Blake. But who did? Well, you’ll just have to pick up a copy of Black Widows and find out for yourself! I will say I wasn’t able to guess whodunit so the reveal was quite a shock! A very well-written, original mystery that I fully appreciated from start to finish. If, like me, you’re a fan of a well-crafted, character-driven tale that draws you in and doesn’t let go, then Black Widows is a must read! I cannot wait to read more by this author and have already downloaded a copy of Blood Sisters. Highly recommended.

Black Widows by Cate Quinn was published in the UK by Orion Books on 2nd September 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.ukWaterstonesFoyles | Book Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Cate QuinnCate Quinn is a travel and lifestyle journalist for The Times, the Guardian and the Mirror, alongside many magazines. Prior to this, Quinn’s background in historic research won prestigious postgraduate funding from the British Art Council. Quinn pooled these resources, combining historical research with first-hand experiences in far-flung places to create critically acclaimed and bestselling historical fiction.

The damppebbles Top Ten(ish!) of 2022 #amreading #amreviewing #amblogging #Bestof2022 #TopReadsof2022 #BookRecommendations #bookblogger #BookTwitter #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to my final post of 2022, my top ten(ish!) books of the year. ‘Ish’ because, as in previous years, I hope you can’t count 😂. It’s been a cracking year for books with record numbers of five star reviews featuring on the blog. The debuts have been killing it once again this year but for me, the established authors have also had an incredible year. Clare Mackintosh’s first police procedural became a firm favourite of mine. M.W. Craven treated fans to another utterly absorbing and cleverly written tale where Poe and Tilly shine (the latest release from this author is THE highlight of my bookish year!). And a new-found favourite author of mine, Ronald Malfi, delivered another creepy, character-driven full-length tale as well as publishing a collection of impossible-to-put-down short stories. What a superb literary year it’s been! I cannot wait to see what 2023 brings.

So without further ado and in no particular order (apart from the last one which is my book of the year), here are my top ten(ish!) books of 2022…

The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh
 I loved The Last Party and I hope this is only the start of DC Ffion Morgan’s adventures. Everything about this book worked for me. The plot is incredibly gripping and hugely compelling – I had to know what had happened to Rhys Lloyd and why, the setting is beautifully drawn by the author, and the characters are some of the most memorable I’ve met this year. In fact, I would go as far as saying that something about this book reminded me a little of when I first met M.W. Craven’s Tilly and Poe. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is but I think this series could be something quite special. The first book has certainly left its mark on me and I am excited to read more, that’s for sure! Masterful storytelling, jaw-dropping twists and turns and a cast that I pretty much fell in love with.
My Review of The Last Party

The Botanist (Washington Poe #5) by M.W. Craven
The Botanist is a superb addition to an outstanding series which I believe every crime fiction fan needs on their bookshelf. Tense, gripping, clever, hugely compelling, truly divine characterisation, beautifully paced and darn well perfect in every respect. What more could you want? Tilly and Poe are the ultimate crime fighting duo, you won’t find another pairing like these two and I love that! The Botanist is without a doubt a sure-fire five-star winner for me and will definitely be featuring in my favourite books of the year list [taddah, here’s the proof!]The Botanist, along with the other books in the series, are a must read. Incredibly well-written and head and shoulders above others in the same genre.
My Review of The Botanist

Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi
Black Mouth is a captivating, emotional, yet creepy story of childhood trauma and how, as we get older, the nightmares we faced as children can still be just as frightening, the memories just as destructive. The characters are sublime, the setting was perfect and the writing is divine. Completely absorbing, totally immersive, I was addicted to this book from the moment I cracked the spine and I now feel bereft that my time with Jamie, Mia and Clay, and of course the pure delight that is Dennis, is over. I’m so excited to see what’s next for the author. You can be sure of one thing, I’ll be at the front of the queue!
My Review of Black Mouth

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor
Dirt Town is a very atmospheric, incredibly readable tale which I enjoyed every dark and desolate moment of. The setting is exactly the kind of setting I want in my crime fiction novels – a small town on its last legs. I loved the vivid descriptions the author uses to set the scene, putting the reader right there in the middle of things. But the characters were EVERYTHING. Multi-layered, completely believable and totally unforgettable. It’s hard to believe Dirt Town is a debut and I’m excited to see what Scrivenor delivers next.
My Review of Dirt Town

Out of Her Depth by Lizzy Barber
I loved Out of Her Depth. It’s a highly addictive, sophisticated and atmospheric thriller that has left its mark on me. The characters felt real, their interactions were very convincing, the setting – well, I’m booking my holiday to Florence this year! – and the plot drew me into the story, and kept me within the pages even when I should have probably been cooking dinner for the kids (don’t worry, they were fed 😂). I loved this book and will be recommending it to everyone, starting with YOU! If you enjoy psychological thrillers featuring toxic friendships then you need this book in your life. It was a thrilling, uncomfortable, unnerving, tense joy to read and I highly recommend it.
My Review of Out of Her Depth

Sundial by Catriona Ward
Sundial is highly original, darkly compelling and totally twisted (in the best way possible). The pressure really was on for the author following the huge success of The Last House on Needless Street but by George, she’s gone and done it again! Sundial is a very different beast to its predecessor but I think I preferred it ever so slightly. Both books are superb but I think this one, for me, takes the edge. The setting is very well drawn, I could feel the heat of the Mojave Desert blistering my skin. The characters have real depth and I felt as though they were living and breathing in front of me. The plot flowed beautifully, keeping me within the pages and occupying my thoughts when I wasn’t reading. Addictive, uncomfortable at times but truly stunning in concept and delivery. Psychological horror at its absolute finest and this book firmly puts Ward on my ‘must read’ author list. I’m excited to see what Catriona Ward delivers next!
My Review of Sundial

One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke
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!
My Review of One of the Girls

Outback by Patricia Wolf
Outback is such an accomplished, compelling debut which I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. I loved the characters. In particular the working relationship between DS Walker and Barbara Guerra. It was a real highlight for me as not only am I fan of Australian crime fiction I also love German crime fiction too, so Outback really was a joy for me to read with influences from both. The plot was fascinating and drew me into the story. I was keen to discover what had happened to Rita and Berndt, which kept me turning the pages. I adored the setting with its wide horizons and emptiness which despite being vast still felt oddly claustrophobic. The author paints a beautifully vivid, atmospheric picture for the reader which I can’t help but applaud. All in all, I loved Outback and would recommend it not only to fans of Australian crime fiction but to anyone who enjoys a well written mystery full of suspense.
My Review of Outback

Nasty Little Cuts by Tina Baker
Nasty Little Cuts is a hugely compelling unravelling of a marriage gone wrong. It’s pretty bleak and brutal at times. I don’t feel the author has held back at all, which I am grateful for, as it’s a shocking tale told in glorious, unflinching technicolour. A toxic relationship at breaking point, fuelled by the past and heading towards catastrophe. Will it be for everyone? I’m not sure, but if you’re a fan of domestic suspense done INCREDIBLY WELL then yes, you must read this book! A gutsy, brave story from an author who is now on my ‘must read’ list. Deliciously dark, disturbing and oh so good!
My Review of Nasty Little Cuts

Little Nothings by Julie Mayhew
I ADORED Little Nothings. 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.
My Review of Little Nothings

More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez
More Than You’ll Ever Know is a superbly written debut. The unravelling of the mystery drew me into the story, the true crime element worked beautifully, the settings – both Mexico City and Loredo, Texas – were vividly drawn by the author and I could picture the scenes unfolding clearly in my mind. I loved the dual timeline where the reader gets to meet Lore and Cassie in the present day but we also get to sneak a look behind the curtain with flashbacks to Lore’s life in 1985/6 and the path she took to the ultimate deception. Plus, of course, the night of the shooting. The entire book worked for me. But the characters, they were EVERYTHING. More Than You’ll Ever Know is a sublime novel which, if you’re a fan of beautifully written literary mysteries you will devour. I was completely entranced and captivated by this stunning novel.
My Review of More Than You’ll Ever Know

And my book of the year is….

WAKE by Shelley Burr
WAKE is an absolute corker of a novel which I immersed myself in completely. It consumed my thoughts whilst reading it and I still, weeks later, think about it more than any other book I’ve read recently. Absolutely, categorically, my favourite book of the year so far. This is the type of crime fiction I want to read. WAKE is such a compelling, intriguing mystery with superb characters and a vividly drawn, remote setting. I lived and breathed this book alongside Mina and Lane, gripped by the mystery of what happened to Evie McCreery. Every single little thing worked. Beautifully tense, truly unforgettable and the ultimate page turner. A magnificent debut and I’m excited to see what the author has in store for us next. Gosh, I really loved this book!
My Review of WAKE

So there you have it. Lashings and lashings of gorgeousness in one glorious post (even if I do say so myself 🤣). It’s a darn fine looking bunch of books, I think you’ll agree. Ten (😳) truly amazing books which you should do everything in your power to get hold of.

Have a peaceful and safe New Year, bookish lovelies, and I will see you on the other side. Providing I can remove myself from my post Christmas mince-pie induced haze I will be sharing my first review of the New Year with you on either Monday or Tuesday of next week (giving myself a little leeway, just in case 😜). Thank you for your support over the last year. 2022 is officially damppebbles’ most successful year since the blog started in 2016 and that’s all down to YOU! You are AMAZING! Stay safe, stay bookish and keep reading. Lots of love, Emma @damppebbles x

Fancy purchasing one of the books on my top ten(ish!) of the year? Then please check out my bookshop.org and amazon shops (please note, the following link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | damppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

#BookReview: Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough @HarperCollinsUK #Insomnia #damppebbles

In the dead of night, madness lies…

Emma can’t sleep.

CHECK THE WINDOWS

It’s been like this since her big 4-0 started getting closer.

LOCK THE DOORS

Her mother stopped sleeping just before her 40th birthday too. She went mad and did the unthinkable because of it.

LOOK IN ON THE CHILDREN

Is that what’s happening to Emma?

WHY CAN’T SHE SLEEP?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough. Insomnia was published by HarperCollins on 31st March 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow next year. I chose to read and review a free eARC of Insomnia but that has in no way influenced my review.

Sarah Pinborough, over the years, has become a bit of a go-to author for me. Her latest release, Insomnia, is the third of this author’s books I have read. Although I must admit (I am ashamed to admit!) that I haven’t as yet read Behind Her Eyes which is very well known for its WTF ending and has recently been made into a Netflix series (I haven’t watched the series either as I want to read the book first). However, I WILL be able to watch Insomnia when it hits our screens (which I understand it will be doing in the future) because oh boy, I HAVE read this incredibly compelling story.

Emma Averell is a successful divorce lawyer, has a devoted husband, two beautiful children, a luxurious house and a top of the range car. She’s also only a few days away from turning 40 which strikes fear into the hearts of many people but for Emma that fear is tenfold. Because Emma’s mother, Patricia, had a catastrophic breakdown on her 40th birthday almost killing Emma’s older sister. Patricia told Emma she has ‘bad blood’ too so she’s terrified history will repeat itself. When Emma starts suffering from insomnia she knows what’s happening. The same happened to her mother before that devastating night. All Emma needs to do is sleep and then everything will be fine. But no matter how hard she tries, no matter what remedies she takes, she just can’t sleep…

Insomnia is a tense and gripping tale which I read in two sittings. I found Emma an intriguing lead character. I was keen for everything to work out for her in the long run but the impending sense of doom the author conveys tells you that the Averell’s are in for a rough ride. A bone-shatteringly rough, incredibly bumpy ride indeed! I didn’t necessarily like Emma but I felt for her. I wanted her to find answers, I wanted her story to be different from her mother’s. Emma’s descent happens quickly over the course of 11 days, going from a switched on wife, mother and lawyer to someone who doubts themselves constantly, questioning her own actions and thoughts. She zones out for long periods of time making Emma the perfect unreliable narrator. Pinborough is an absolute master at writing an unreliable narrator as she skilfully proves within the pages of this book.

I absolutely fell in love with Emma and Robert’s youngest child, Will, who at the tender age of five is morphing from a fun-filled, bouncy kid to a quiet, nervous child. I thought making their older child, Chloe, a teenager on the cusp of being an adult herself was a really interesting move by the author as that meant there were three adults all repeatedly telling Emma she was losing her mind – Robert, Chloe and Emma’s older sister, Phoebe. When those that love you the most keep telling you you’re unstable, that something is wrong, surely they must be right?

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Insomnia is a dark tale which I devoured over the course of a day featuring a cast of fascinating characters. If you’ve read any Sarah Pinborough novels in the past then you’ll know to expect the unexpected. My advice, expect the unexpected 😂 The ending is both shocking and surprising. Aspects of it, I loved. The torrential rain beating down set the scene perfectly, the tension was so sharp and the fear I felt in my gut was 100% real. But there were things about the ending which I wasn’t so keen on. I don’t want to say too much for fear of putting my foot in it and saying something I shouldn’t but I will say the ending was very different, unique and not at all what I expected. Lots to love, a couple of teeny, tiny things…not so much. But all in all, a gripping tension filled read which I heartily recommend to fans of psychological thrillers, particularly those who are looking for something a little different.

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

Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough was published in the UK by HarperCollins on 31st March 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Sarah PinboroughSarah Pinborough is a New York Times bestselling and Sunday Times Number one and Internationally bestselling author who is published in over 30 territories worldwide. Having published more than 25 novels across various genres, her recent books include Behind Her Eyes, now a smash hit Netflix limited series, Dead To Her, now in development with Amazon Studios, and 13 Minutes and The Death House in development with Compelling Pictures. Sarah lives in the historic town of Stony Stratford, the home of the Cock and Bull story, with her dog Ted. Her next novel, Insomnia, is out in 2022.

#BookReview: The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard @CorvusBooks @CapitalCrime1 #TheNothingMan #damppebbles

I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man.
Now I am the woman who is going to catch him…

You’ve just read the opening pages of The Nothing Man, the true crime memoir Eve Black has written about her obsessive search for the man who killed her family nearly two decades ago.

Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle is reading it too, and with each turn of the page his rage grows. Because Jim was – is – the Nothing Man.

The more Jim reads, the more he realises how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard. The Nothing Man was published by Corvus Books on 6th May 2021 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats. My copy of The Nothing Man arrived at damppebbles HQ thanks to the brilliant Capital Crime Book Club which I heartily recommend to all crime fiction fans!

Eve Black was the sole survivor of The Nothing Man, a prolific serial killer wreaking havoc in Cork at the turn of the Millennium. Now she’s written a tell-all book about her experience. It’s an instant bestseller and propels both Eve and The Nothing Man back into the spotlight nearly nineteen years after his terror filled reign. Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle happens upon the book one shift and instantly his world is  turned upside down. Because Jim knows everything there is to know about The Nothing Man. Jim IS The Nothing Man. He becomes obsessed with the book and with Eve. Grasping every opportunity he can to sneak a few more chapters. What is clear to aging Jim is that Eve is getting closer to unmasking him. Which can mean only one thing. She must be stopped…

Oh my goodness, I loved The Nothing Man! This is the first book I’ve read by this author but I swear I’ll be reading everything Ryan Howard has written as soon as humanly possible. I loved the story, which was very compelling, I loved the writing style, I even loved how it was formatted and presented to the reader. It’s a book within a book, which you can’t really go wrong with in my opinion! The Nothing Man is a highly original, unnerving, creepy read which I read over the course of one day because I just couldn’t put it down.

I read a lot of crime and in particular serial killer thrillers, which by no means makes me an expert on the subject. Not in the slightest. But I have noticed that when the experts are talking about the psychology of a serial killer their reasons for suddenly stopping can vary. They get caught, they themselves die or they just burn out. And that’s what made The Nothing Man so incredibly fascinating for me. I don’t think I’ve read a book before where the killer just decides that they’ve had enough, they’re too old, or the need to kill has just…gone. Seeing things from Jim’s point of view, this plain, ordinary man who used to be the talk of the town, had my attention 100%. I loved it. He’s a horrible human being, as you would expect, but I found him utterly intriguing.

I really liked Eve Black who is determined to find the man who killed her family, putting herself back in the spotlight to do so. Eve teams up with Detective Inspector Edward Healy who was involved in the original Nothing Man case all those years ago, and together they plough through everything they have, leaving no stone unturned. There must be something the original investigation missed and they’re going to find it. All of the attacks and murders are revisited in Eve’s book which made for riveting reading. I was hooked!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Nothing Man is a compulsive, unsettling and thoroughly intriguing read. A completely different take on the serial killer thriller and I devoured it, captivated by the author’s well-written tale. True crime fans in particular will find something to love within the pages of The Nothing Man. I was gripped from start to finish and savoured every moment I had with this excellent book. And as a result, I look forward to reading more from the author very, very soon. All in all, a cleverly plotted novel unlike anything I’ve read before. Highly recommended.

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard was published by Corvus Books on 6th May 2021 and is available in 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.uk | WaterstonesFoylesBook Depository | Goodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Catherine Ryan HowardCatherine Ryan Howard is an internationally bestselling crime writer from Cork, Ireland. Her debut novel, DISTRESS SIGNALS, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger. THE LIAR’S GIRL (2018) was shortlisted for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. REWIND (2019) was shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year and is currently being developed for screen by Clerkenwell Films (Misfits, Lovesick, The End of the F***ing World.) THE NOTHING MAN was a no. 1 Irish Times bestseller and a no. 1 Kindle bestseller (UK) and was shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year. Her latest novel, 56 DAYS, was published in August 2021. It is a thriller set in lockdown that Catherine wrote while she was in lockdown.

Prior to writing full-time, Catherine worked as a campsite courier in France and a front desk agent in Walt Disney World, Florida. She still wants to be an astronaut when she grows up.

#BookReview: The Night Shift by Alex Finlay @AriesFiction @HoZ_Books #TheNightShift #damppebbles

“What connects a massacre at a Blockbuster video store in 1999 with the murder of four teenagers fifteen years later?

It’s New Year’s Eve of 1999 when four teenagers working late are attacked at a Blockbuster video store in New Jersey. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again.

Fifteen years later, four more teenagers are attacked at an ice cream store in the same town, and again only one makes it out alive.

In the aftermath of the latest crime, three lives intersect: the lone survivor of the Blockbuster massacre, who is forced to relive the horrors of her tragedy; the brother of the fugitive accused, who is convinced the police have the wrong suspect; and FBI agent Sarah Keller, who must delve into the secrets of both nights to uncover the truth about the Night Shift Murders…”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Night Shift by Alex Finlay. The Night Shift was published by Aries Fiction, part of Head of Zeus, in paperback format on 1st September 2022 and is also available in hardcover, audio and digital formats.

Something about The Night Shift really appealed to me. And I know exactly what it was. This book centres around a massacre which took place in a Blockbuster Video store on New Year’s Eve 1999, followed by a similar event which took place in an ice cream store fifteen years later. Everything you need to know about why I purchased and immediately read a copy of this book is in that previous sentence. Everything! The nostalgia called to me. And I can’t help it but books featuring serial or spree killers really intrigue me. There was no way I was going to let this one pass me by!

New Year’s Eve, 1999. The world holds its breath waiting to see if the dawn of the new millennium will result in untold technological chaos around the world. In Linden, New Jersey, tragedy strikes when the night shift staff of the local Blockbuster Video store are viciously attacked, leaving all but one of them – Ella Monroe – dead. Fifteen years later Ella has trained to become a therapist, helping others deal with trauma. So she’s the perfect person to call when a second attack, this time in a Linden ice cream store, leaves three of the night shift dead, and only one of the teens – Jesse Duvall – alive. The two attacks are so similar it’s hard to believe they’re not connected. But what is the connection? FBI Agent Sarah Keller is determined to uncover the truth…

The Night Shift is a very compelling psychological mystery with excellent characterisation, multiple intriguing points of view and a heart pounding ending. The story is told from three very different perspectives which makes for a riveting read. We have Ella who was the sole survivor of the 1999 Blockbuster attack. Ella is now a therapist helping other victims of trauma come to terms with what has happened to them. She’s also a mess, drinking and partying ’til the early hours whilst her unknowing fiancé is away from home. FBI Agent Sarah Keller is working with the local police force to find a link between the massacre in ’99 and the more recent ice cream parlour attack. I really liked Sarah and would go as far as saying she was my favourite character. However, she’s 8.5 months pregnant with twins and I can’t help but feel that were this not fiction, she wouldn’t be chasing down the bad guys and driving in high speed car chases! It’s also worth mentioning that this is the second (maybe more, I don’t know for sure) appearance Agent Keller has made in one of this author’s books but I didn’t discover that until I’d finished reading. It didn’t make a jot of difference to me. I felt the author told me everything I needed to know. There were no holes in her story. The third point of view is Chris Ford’s, formerly Chris Whitaker. Chris’s older brother, Vincent, was initially arrested for the Blockbuster attack fifteen years ago but the police let him slip through their fingers. Vincent hasn’t been seen since but could he be responsible for this latest attack? Chris is now a lawyer and is determined to find his brother and prove his innocence. The characters are all very well drawn, they’re interesting and really play their part in the story well.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Night Shift is a compelling mystery which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I would pick up another of this author’s books without a moment’s hesitation. In fact, I’ve already added Every Last Fear to my wish list as I’ve been told how good it is by several trusted bloggers. The Night Shift is a well-plotted, well-written tale which had me glued to the pages wondering how things were going to turn out for the characters. And what a magnificent ending! I loved it, every single nail-biting second. Marvellous stuff! The Night Shift was a fantastic introduction to an author I will make a point of reading again. Gripping, compelling and very intriguing. Recommended.

The Night Shift by Alex Finlay was published in the UK by Aries Fiction on 1st September 2022 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 |

Alex FinlayAlex Finlay is the pseudonym of an author who lives in Washington, D.C. His 2021 breakout thriller, Every Last Fear, was an Indie Next pick, a LibraryReads selection, an Amazon Editor’s Best Thriller, as well as a CNN, Newsweek, E!, BuzzFeed, Business Week, Goodreads, Parade, PopSugar, and Reader’s Digest best or most anticipated thriller of the year. Alex’s work has been translated into more than a dozen languages and optioned for film and television.

#BookReview: Hunting Evil by Chris Carter #HuntingEvil #damppebbles

Every story has a beginning…

They met for the first time in college. Two of the brightest minds ever to graduate from the prestigious Stanford University. They met again in Quantico, Virginia. Robert Hunter has become the head of the LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit. Lucien Folter has become the most prolific and dangerous serial killer in FBI history.

Hunter caught Lucien. He’s been in prison for years. But Lucien has just escaped. And he’s angry. He’s going to make the man who put him away suffer.
 .
That person … is Robert Hunter.

And every story must come to an end…

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Hunting Evil (Detective Robert Hunter #10) by Chris Carter. Hunting Evil was published by Simon & Schuster on 19th March 2020 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats.

For those of you with a good memory you may recall that Hunting Evil was one of the books I chose for my 20 Books of Summer Challenge this year. (Let’s face it, no one but me is gonna remember that, but still… 😂.) Carter’s Robert Hunter series is one of my very favourite crime series (I know, how many times can you use the word ‘series’ in one sentence?) out there, so I was a little disappointed I didn’t manage to get around to it. But I did promise in my challenge wrap up post that I would put the effort into reading the handful of books I missed. Which meant this was the first book I selected when a short break in my reading schedule came up. It’s the tenth book in the series and in a way (which the author discusses himself at the start of the novel) it’s a sequel to An Evil Mind (Robert Hunter #6). To get the full impact of this book I think it’s important that you’re familiar with the characters of An Evil Mind, the history between them and the background they share.

Lucien Folter, ex friend and college roommate of Detective Robert Hunter and now the most evil serial killer on US soil, has escaped from a high security prison leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. After Hunter finally managed to capture Folter several years ago, Folter has been biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to make his escape. And what an escape it was! Now all Folter wants is to be reunited with the man responsible for his incarceration and his number one obsession, Detective Hunter. He intends to make Robert’s life hell on earth and he’ll stop at nothing to achieve that. And he’ll enjoy every single second of Robert’s suffering. Detective Hunter will pay the ultimate price….

I LOVE the Robert Hunter series. It’s one I always recommend to readers looking for a action-packed, thrilling read. It’s dark and gruesome, all the things I love in a book! I love this series. But I struggled with Hunting Evil. First off, these books tend to be a little fantastical in parts but in this latest instalment, I feel the author (who I respect and admire greatly) went a little OTT. Certain events felt a lot more theatrical than they normally are and that left me shaking me head with a frown on my face.

For those that haven’t read any of the books in the series Robert Hunter is a highly intelligent, highly driven man who sees the solution to problems others don’t. I would LOVE to see Robert’s character move on and develop from that a little. I’m beginning to find him quite flat and one dimensional. He feels very robotic to me but I can see why that appeals to readers and why the author writes Hunter that way. Perhaps this isn’t a series for me anymore, which makes me terribly sad. Other characters in the book are well-written and my love for Robert’s partner in the Ultra Violent Crimes Unit, Carlos Garcia, continues to grow.

Would I recommend this book? If you’ve read An Evil Mind, don’t mind stories with a large dollop of artistic license and you’re looking for a book that will entertain from start to finish then yes, I would recommend Hunting Evil. I’m glad I’ve read it. I certainly won’t be giving up on the series yet and I am definitely in the minority here looking at the plethora of five stars on Goodreads. Believe me when I say, this is one of my favourite crime series. If you’d like proof here’s my review of book eight in the series, The Caller. Carter is not afraid to turn his readers’ tummies with a spot of gore here and there, the action never stops and the author always comes up with the most fascinating and unique ways to kill lesser characters off. There is no one else out there doing what Chris Carter is with his series. No one. These books make great reading and I still stand by that. This one just wasn’t for me.

Hunting Evil by Chris Carter was published in the UK by Simon & Schuster on 19th March 2020 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.uk | WaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Chris CarterBiographies can be an absolute drag, so I won’t bore anyone with a long life story.

I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.

I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well-known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.

A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full-time writer.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg @MichaelJBooks #NobodyButUs #damppebbles

“He’s a well-respected college professor. She’s a young and eager-to-please student.

He knows she would do anything for him. She knows his certainty is his weakness

He thinks he’ll get what he wants. She thinks he’ll get exactly what he needs.

Two liars.
One twisted path.
A game of cat and mouse.
BUT WHO IS THE HUNTER? AND WHO IS THE PREY?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg. Nobody But Us was published by Penguin Michael Joseph in paperback format on 10th November 2022. I chose to read and review a free ARC of Nobody But Us but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Jen and Sriya at Penguin Michael Joseph for sending me a proof copy.

THIS BOOK! As soon as I laid eyes on Laure Van Rensburg’s debut thriller I knew I had to read it. That cover is glorious, the blurb is so utterly intriguing and the tagline was pretty unforgettable – meet 2022’s most f*cked up couple! I couldn’t wait to get stuck into Nobody But Us and oh boy, it delivered on every count and more.

Ellie and Steven have finally managed to find a gap in their busy schedules to get away for a few days and celebrate their six month anniversary. They’re heading to an isolated cabin in the woods, many miles away from the hustle and bustle of New York. It will be the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together and really get to know each other. A perfect weekend for a perfect couple. Except, that’s not quite the truth. Ellie and Steven are far from perfect. They both have secrets. They’re both liars…

Dark and intoxicating, Nobody But Us is an exquisite yet deeply unsettling read which pulled me into its pages instantly and didn’t let go until the brutal end. The tension the author conveys is palpable. I felt as though I was on a precipice and at any moment the ground could fall away beneath my feet. Who would make it out of the cabin alive? Would either of them? Both of them? Neither of them? The drama was pinpoint sharp, the dance of these two adversaries towards the denouement, full of danger and anger, was utterly compelling. I didn’t want to be parted from this story for any amount of time but when I was, it was ALL I could think about.

Told in the present with flashbacks to the past, the author ensures the reader gets the full uncomfortable picture of what led these two characters to this point. And with a small cast of characters we really get to know the bones of Van Rensburg’s creations. The propulsive plot and with suspense building throughout it felt as though I was watching a movie play out before me. Precariously balanced on the edge of my seat and with my heart in my mouth.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Nobody But Us is an exceptional debut and I’m excited to see what this author publishes next. Very unsettling, hugely character driven – just how I like my thrillers – and near impossible to be parted from for any length of time. The pace of the novel draws the reader into the story and puts you on edge immediately. You never really know what direction the author is going to take next and as an avid reader of thrillers, that is a wonderful thing! I loved the isolated setting (also a fan of thrillers where help is nowhere near) and the perfectly placed twists and turns. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Nobody But Us. I found it refreshing, sophisticated and utterly captivating. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Nobody But Us. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg was published in the UK by Penguin Michael Joseph on 10th November 2022 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.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |

Laure Van RensburgLaure Van Rensburg is a French writer living in the UK and an Ink Academy alumna. Her stories have appeared in online magazines and anthologies such as Litro Magazine, Storgy Magazine, The Real Jazz Baby (2020 Best Anthology, Saboteur Awards 2020), and FIVE:2:ONE. She has also placed in competitions including 2018 & 2019 Bath Short Story Award.

#BookReview: Bone White by Ronald Malfi @KensingtonBooks #BoneWhite #damppebbles

“A landscape of frozen darkness punctuated by grim, gray days.
The feeling like a buzz in your teeth.

The scrape of bone on bone. . .

Paul Gallo saw the report on the news: a mass murderer leading police to his victims graves, in remote Dread s Hand, Alaska.

It’s not even a town; more like the bad memory of a town. The same bit of wilderness where his twin brother went missing a year ago. As the bodies are exhumed, Paul travels to Alaska to get closure and put his grief to rest.

But the mystery is only beginning. What Paul finds are superstitious locals who talk of the devil stealing souls, and a line of wooden crosses to keep what s in the woods from coming out. He finds no closure because no one can explain exactly what happened to Danny.

And the more he searches for answers, the more he finds himself becoming part of the mystery. . .”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Bone White by Ronald Malfi. Bone White was published by Kensington Publishing on 25th July 2017 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats.

In the last couple of years I have become a huge fan of Ronald Malfi’s writing. So much so, the author’s latest book – Black Mouth – was one of the three books I chose for my #R3COMM3ND3D2022 post yesterday. Both Come With Me and Black Mouth are exceptional, unforgettable horror reads which I strongly recommend you pick up if you’re a fan of the genre. And if you’re a lover of short stories you won’t go wrong with Ghostwritten which is also excellent. So of course I was going to delve into this author’s back catalogue and visit a few of their earlier books. Bone White is the first of Malfi’s earlier books I have managed to get a copy of. But based on my enjoyment of this, and the author’s more recent works, it certainly won’t be the last!

When a bedraggled yet vaguely familiar face makes an unexpected appearance in the local diner one night muttering and covered in blood, the locals of Dread’s Hand are shocked. When he speaks of killing people and willingly leads detectives to the burial site, the spotlight falls on the small Alaskan town. Paul Gallo is desperate to find his twin brother Danny whose last known location was on the outskirts of Dread’s Hand. Seeing the news reports of the serial killer and watching the footage of the forensic teams excavating the burial site is too much for Paul. He packs a bag and heads straight to Alaska. But on arrival Paul discovers Dread’s Hand is like no other town. The locals are hostile and secretive, no one speaks of the horrors uncovered in the woods and he can’t help but notice the lines of crosses placed near the edge of the woodland. To find closure Paul needs to discover if his brother was one of the serial killer’s victims. But Dread’s Hand and its strange residents aren’t going to make life easy for him…

Bone White once again proves to the reader what an exceptionally talented writer Ronald Malfi is. The setting, the characters and the plot couldn’t have been any better. They were moulded and sculpted into the best versions of themselves giving the reader an unforgettable reading experience. It seems to be something this author achieves time and time again. I saw some similarities between the town in Black Mouth and Dread’s Hand. The thing that stood out the most though was how Dread’s Hand is as much a character in the story as Paul, or Detective Jill Ryerson are. It felt as though it was a living, breathing, terrifying thing which I, of course, LOVED!

The plot is well paced keeping the reader within the story and turning the pages late into the night. Although, the more I progressed into the book, the more unsure I became about reading just before bed. Paul’s story is a chilling, creepy one with a well-written sense of impending doom which had me imagining all sorts of nasties before I turned out the light!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. If you’re a horror reader and you haven’t experienced Bone White then that needs to change. Paul is a such a well-crafted character that he felt real to me. I could feel his grief, his desire for answers no matter what that meant, for closure of any description. And despite the last turbulent years of their relationship, the strong brotherly bond between the twins. I loved the small town feel of the novel, the way the community turned their back on Paul and the isolation he experienced. This is another cracking novel from a favourite author of mine who excels at writing the three key elements of a novel: place, character and plot. The author really knows how to tell a riveting and compulsive story. Reading a Ronald Malfi novel is always an experience, a memorable one at that, and I don’t think as readers we can ask for anything more! Highly recommended.

Bone White by Ronald Malfi was published by Kensington Publishing on 25th July 2017 and is available in 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.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |

Ronald Damien MalfiRonald Malfi is the award-winning author of several horror novels, mysteries, and thrillers. He is the recipient of two Independent Publisher Book Awards, the Beverly Hills Book Award, the Vincent Preis Horror Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, and his novel Floating Staircase was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Maryland and tweets at @RonaldMalfi

#BookReview: My Husband’s Killer by Laura Marshall @BooksSphere #MyHusbandsKiller #damppebbles

Three couples. One murder. A holiday to die for . . .

We arrived at a villa on the Amalfi Coast, ready to enjoy a sun-soaked weekend with our oldest friends – and one new face.

By the end of the weekend, my husband is found dead.

But how can I mourn him, when on the day of his funeral I discover he was having an affair?

The only suspects are the women we went on holiday with. My oldest, closest friends.

Do I really want to dig into my husband’s secret? Do I really want to know who betrayed me?

And as I start to unravel their secrets . . . do I really believe his death was an accident?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of My Husband’s Killer by Laura Marshall. My Husband’s Killer is published by Sphere Books today (that’s Tuesday 29th November 2022) and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow next year. I chose to read a free ARC of My Husband’s Killer but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Becky and the team at Sphere for sending me a proof copy.

Earlier this year I read The Anniversary by Laura Marshall and loved it! I went in blind, having not reminded myself of the blurb before starting, and was gripped from the very first page. As a result, I downloaded all of the author’s earlier novels and have been looking forward to the newest book from Marshall with bated breath. And what a treat it was! My Husband’s Killer is another cracking psychological suspense novel from a new favourite author of mine!

A dream holiday with close friends on the Amalfi Coast turns to a nightmare when Andrew, husband to Liz, and father to Ethan and Josh, goes missing. After an extensive search, no sign of Andrew is found. Local authorities presume he drowned after a drink-fuelled night in an unfamiliar location. So his friends and family return home without him. On the day of his funeral Liz makes a shocking discovery which turns her world upside down. She comes to realise one of her closest friends has a devastating secret they’ve been keeping from her. It’s the ultimate betrayal. She can’t help but question everything they’ve been through over the last 25 years and where their loyalties really lie. But in discovering who has deceived her, Liz may unwittingly find out exactly what happened to Andrew that night. And if it wasn’t an accident it raises the biggest question of all. Which of her friends killed Andrew…?

My Husband’s Killer is a suspenseful psychological thriller which I powered through keen to discover whodunit. Marshall’s writing is once again excellent. The plot builds beautifully over the course of the book, with red herrings and well-placed touches of misdirection to keep the reader guessing. There are a lot of characters in this story and my poor addled brain did lose track of who was who and how they were all related at times. But as the story progresses and you get to know the characters in a little more depth, it all becomes clear. Particularly as many of the main characters get to tell some of the story themselves. The core group of characters have known each other for a long time and have been friends/lovers since university (most of them are in their 40s now). So there is a lot of history here which I thought the author conveyed incredibly well to the reader. You really get a feel of what’s what in this friendship group before tragedy struck and I appreciated the clear and thorough backstory. The multiple timelines helped a lot in this respect. The reader gets to witness life at university for the group and the beginning of several long-term relationships, the tragic holiday to the Amalfi Coast which is the beginning of the end for Andrew, and how utterly devastating life for Liz and the boys is after Andrew’s death. The way the author provides such a believable starting point for her characters and then builds upon it, giving the reader glimpses into their lives, made me feel as though I had been on the journey with them.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I thoroughly enjoyed My Husband’s Killer and flew through it keen to discover who was responsible for Andrew’s demise. I did manage to guess the culprit but I think I got there only a minute or two before Liz did. The plot was intriguing and kept me turning the pages. There are a lot of characters which did feel a little confusing to start with, but I soon became used to the different names and relationships. To the point where the main characters, by the end of the book, felt familiar to me. The majority of them aren’t particularly likeable but that makes them all the more interesting I feel! I enjoyed their stories. All in all, this is a suspense filled thriller which I devoured in a few short sittings. EVERYONE is a suspect, they ALL have something to hide and I was very much caught up in the mystery. A very readable, tense, compulsive novel which I recommend to fans of psychological suspense thrillers. Particularly those who like a domestic thriller.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of My Husband’s Killer. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

My Husband’s Killer by Laura Marshall was published by Sphere Books on 29th November 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.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Laura MarshallLaura Marshall is the bestselling author of four psychological thrillers. Her debut novel, Friend Request, was a Kindle No.1 and Sunday Times bestseller, with over half a million copies sold in the UK. Laura’s books have sold in twenty-four territories around the globe.

She grew up in Wiltshire, studied English at the University of Sussex and currently lives in Kent with her family.

For more information visit Laura’s website www.lauramarshall.co.uk or find her at www.facebook.com/lauramarshallauthor or on Twitter @laurajm8.

#BookReview: The Buried by Sharon Bolton @orionbooks #TheBuried #damppebbles

“AN OLD ENEMY IS LAID TO REST . . . AND A NEW CRIME IS DISCOVERED

Florence Lovelady, the most senior serving policewoman in Britain, visits convicted serial killer Larry Glassbrook in prison. Larry is coming to the end of his life but has one last task for Florence: to learn the identity of the remains discovered at children’s home Black Moss Manor. The town Florence escaped narrowly with her life still holds many secrets. Will she finally learn the truth? Or will time run out for her first?

The latest Florence Lovelady thriller, set shortly after the bestselling first novel The Craftsman in the chilling, new series from Richard and Judy bestseller Sharon Bolton”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Buried by Sharon Bolton. The Buried is the second book in The Craftsman Series and was published by Orion Books in hardcover, audio and digital formats last week (that’s Thursday 10th November 2022). I chose to read and review a free eARC of The Buried but that has in no way influenced my review.

The Buried is the much-anticipated sequel to one of my favourite books of 2018, The Craftsman. I say sequel but it’s more of a prequel combined with a sequel. Which is a very impressive achievement! As soon as this book landed on my radar, I knew I had to read it. One of the things I loved most about the first book was the character of Police Constable Florence Lovelady. So the chance to be reacquainted with her and to return to creepy Sabden at the foot of the Pendle Hills, where witchy goings on were regularly reported, was an opportunity I could NOT miss!

Serial killer, Larry Glassbrook, has been in prison for thirty years for murdering three teenagers. The police officer responsible for his capture, Florence Lovelady, was a lowly probationary WPC and the first and only female officer working out of Sabden at the time. Now she’s the most senior serving female officer in the Met and despite their history, Florence has been keeping in regular contact with Larry. But Larry is ill and is nearing the end of his life. With the discovery of children’s remains near Black Moss Manor, a children’s home that was closed in 1969, Larry has one last task for Florence. To discover the identity of the victims. Because according to Larry, the children buried near Black Moss died more recently than official channels are claiming. But to carry out Larry’s final request, Florence must return to Sabden. The town that almost destroyed her…

A cleverly written police procedural told in the past and the present with a witchy twist. The Buried is everything I hoped it would be. It was a joy to be reunited with Florence Lovelady again – older, wiser and forever tied to Sabden, no matter what she does to sever that tie. Something I do need to say before I go any further though is that I strongly recommend you read The Craftsman before picking up The Buried. A lot happened in the first book and. whilst the author ensures the reader is briefed enough to follow the flow of the story, there were moments where I, as someone who read The Craftsman four years ago, found myself getting muddled. With hindsight, I wish I had re-read The Craftsman first before making a start on the prequel/sequel. Looking at other reviews, it seems other readers feel the same. But that does not take away from the fact that this is a cracking second book in the series and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. But please make sure you’re familiar with the storyline of The Craftsman before making a start on The Buried. I enjoyed the dual timeline and hopping from the late 60s to the late 90s. The characters were once again expertly drawn, as I have come to expect from this author. The plot was well paced with an overarching feeling of dread permeating the pages of the book from the very start, all the way to the tense conclusion. The author excels at writing suspenseful plots which pull the reader into the narrative and keep them hooked, wanting to discover how the story will end. I truly hope this isn’t the last we see of Florence and Sabden. I’m such a fan of this unique series and I find myself preferring the author’s setting, plot and characters to more traditional police procedurals. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to crime fiction fans who are looking for something a little different. But make sure you read The Craftsman first! Recommended.

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

The Buried by Sharon Bolton was published in the UK by Orion Books on 10th November 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.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Sharon (formerly SJ) Bolton grew up in a cotton-mill town in Lancashire and had an eclectic early career which she is now rather embarrassed about. She gave it all up to become a mother and a writer.

Her first novel, Sacrifice, was voted Best New Read by Amazon.uk, whilst her second, Awakening, won the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark award. In 2014, Lost, (UK title, Like This, For Ever) was named RT Magazine’s Best Contemporary Thriller in the US, and in France, Now You See Me won the Plume de Bronze. That same year, Sharon was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library, for her entire body of work.