#BookReview: Dark Water by Robert Bryndza (@RobertBryndza) @bookouture #DetectiveErikaFoster #DarkWater

dark water cover.jpg“Beneath the water the body sank rapidly.  She would lie still and undisturbed for many years but above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as eleven-year-old Jessica Collins.  The missing girl who made headline news when she vanished twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she discovers a family harbouring secrets, a detective plagued by her failure to find Jessica, and the mysterious death of a man living by the quarry. 

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.”

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “Surely Emma has got this wrong.  Surely she meant to include the title, cover and blurb of Deadly Secrets, book 6 in the Erika Foster series and the most recent release.  Surely she can’t mean Dark Water, the third book in the series, can she?  Being the dedicated, up-to-date crime fiction blogger she is, she MUST have read Dark Water AGES ago”.  I’m right, aren’t I?  That’s exactly what you’re thinking.  No?  Well, truth be told, I am deeply ashamed to admit that I have fallen (significantly) behind in some of my favourite series; Robert Bryndza’s Erika Foster series being one of them (there are many, MANY more!).

I came up with a brilliant idea the other month whilst staring at my burgeoning NetGalley shelf and wondering what the heck I was going to read next.  I decided to pass the buck and get someone else to decide for me by running a poll.  Dark Water was the winner, closely followed by another Bookouture author and, erm…another Robert Bryndza book!  And I am so glad you chose Dark Water for me to read, thank you!  I’ve missed Erika a lot.

It’s been nearly TWO YEARS (oh gosh *hangs head in shame*) since I last caught up with my favourite Slovakian detective.  You can read my review of The Girl in the Ice (book #1) by clicking HERE and my review of The Night Stalker (book #2) by clicking HERE.  I was a little concerned as I started to read.  Worried that I wouldn’t remember enough of Erika’s history, worried that I’d forgotten the dynamics of her working relationships and, my immediate ‘main’ concern, why all of a sudden she was based in Bromley?!  I needn’t have worried (although I am still trying to figure out the move to Bromley!).  Within a few chapters I was reminded exactly why I love this tough, determined and dedicated DCI as much as I do.

Erika Foster and her new team unwittingly find themselves in the middle of a heart wrenching cold case investigation.  In the dead of night, Erika and the Met Police Marine Recovery team are searching Hayes Quarry for ten kilos of heroin with a street value of four million pounds.  What they find is worth so much more than four million pounds to one family.  The grisly discovery of Jessica Collins’ remains rewinds the clock by twenty-six years.  A high profile missing child case which was never solved and destroyed not only a family but the career of the Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Amanda Baker.

Of course, that doesn’t stop Erika from wanting to jump into the driving seat of the case now it’s been reopened.  And now that’s it’s become about a young girl’s murder, Erika is determined to bring justice for Jessica.  But, just as DCI Amanda Baker failed all those years ago, it seems Erika might be destined to fail on this one too…

I love Erika Foster. I was also very happy to see, despite the move to Bromley, that Erika was able to recruit the DIs she worked with in South London; DI Moss and DI Peterson (two very familiar characters who I feel I know well, yay!).  Bryndza’s characters are always so real and very memorable.  Other characters in the book also stood out for me.  I found myself loving the Collins family which may surprise some people.  I felt there was something the family unit was hiding; something….not quite right and I loved them for that.  It’s always the darker characters, the secretive ones that grab my attention!

I’m afraid I managed to guess one of the major twists in the story fairly early on, but that certainly didn’t put me off and there was a lot more to come!  Plus, I was keen to see what Erika was going to do and how she was going to solve the case.  I wanted to know what her break would be and how Bryndza would tie up the threads of the story.  That was more important to me than anything else.

Would I recommend this book?  Oh definitely.  I adore Robert Bryndza’s writing and I absolutely love Erika Foster (it’s true, I still have my #girlcrush on her!).  Beautifully detailed, devilishly good and a book that’s hard to put down.  I promise to make a start on Last Breath (book #4 in the series) soon.  I DEFINITELY won’t leave it so long this time!

Four out of five stars.

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

Dark Water by Robert Bryndza was published in the UK by Bookouture on 20th October 2016 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Book Depository |

about the author3

robert bryndza.jpgRobert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice, which is the first in his Detective Erika Foster series.

The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath and Cold Blood are the second, third, fourth and fifth books in the series. The sixth book, Deadly Secrets is now available to purchase.

Robert’s books have sold over 2 million copies and have been translated into 27 languages.

In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

Sign up to Robert Bryndza‘s mailing list here.

Author Links:Instagram | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour #BookReview: Shadow of the Beast by Michael Fowler (@MichaelFowler1) @caffeinenights

shadow-of-the-beast-jpg‘A new terror is sweeping Barnwell and Hunter faces a killer whose evil surpasses all others.’

“The discovery of a skeleton buried beneath the altar of an old chapel should not have raised an eyebrow, but this one was different. This one had been savagely murdered, and all the evidence points to the blood-thirsty killer the press have dubbed ‘The Beast of Barnwell’; a killer who has already served time for the brutal murder of a young girl and is now free.

Is this his handiwork?

In the midst of the enquiry, a 22 year old woman is abducted on her way home from work. Is there a link?

To add to Hunter’s workload his former boss, Michael Robshaw, is deliberately mown down and left for dead.


In his search for the truth Hunter returns to his undercover roots – with deadly consequences.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Shadow of the Beast blog tour…and hooray, it’s publication day!  Happy book birthday Michael Fowler and Caffeine Nights Publishing. Shadow of the Beast is book five in the DS Hunter Kerr series.  I haven’t come across this series or author before, but I will definitely be keeping a lookout for Michael Fowler’s books in the future.  (And hey, it wouldn’t be a damppebbles review if I wasn’t going into a series somewhere around book 5, would it?!)

Construction work digs up a human skull.  DS Hunter Kerr is called to the scene to start a new murder investigation.  Except it’s not a recent death.  The body is that of a young woman who was murdered in the 1980s.  But that’s only half of the problem.  Placed upon her corpse is the skull of a cow, and it’s quite obvious that the skull had skin and flesh covering it when it was first interred with the victim.  There starts a particularly difficult investigation for DS Kerr and his team, which goes to prove that time does not heal all wounds.  Time just makes it harder to solve a murder investigation.  The body count is rising as the investigators dig as far back as the 1970s.  Can Kerr and his team discover who has been getting away with murder for all this time?  And what of the savage hit and run accident that has put Crime Manager, Michael Robshaw into ICU?  Is this current vicious attack related to past misdemeanours…?

There’s nothing like a good ol’ police procedural to lose yourself in and Shadow of the Beast did just that for me.  This was my first introduction to Hunter Kerr and team and I will be making a point of reading the other books in the series as soon as the #terrifyingTBR starts to reduce a little.  I was expecting a strong and rather strapping DS with a name like Hunter Kerr and thankfully Michael Fowler’s writing and my imagination didn’t let me down!  I liked Hunter.  I expect there’s a lot to his back story that I’m not aware of but he did feel different to my normal lead investigators.

Even though the majority of the investigation is written around a cold case it was still exciting to read with twists and turns.  One of the characters oozed evil for me, a real nasty piece of work.

Would I recommend this book?  I most certainly would, what’s not to love?!  It fits the bill perfectly for those autumnal evenings where all you want to do is snuggle on the sofa with a glass of wine and a good book.  Lovely!

Four out of five stars.

Thanks to Noelle Holten, Caffeine Nights Publishing and Michael Fowler for providing me with a copy of Shadow of the Beast in exchange for an honest review.

Shadow of the Beast (DS Hunter Kerr #5) was published in the UK by Caffeine Nights Publishing on 6th October 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Caffeine Nights Publishing |

Smith & Sons (11)

mf-publicity-imageMichael Fowler was born and brought up in the Dearne Valley area of Yorkshire where he still lives with his wife.

At the age of 16 he left school with the ambition of going to art college but his parents’ financial circumstances meant he had to find work and so he joined the police.

He has never regretted that decision, serving as a police officer for thirty-two years, both in uniform and in plain clothes, working in CID, and undercover in Vice Squad and Drug Squad, retiring as an Inspector in charge of a busy CID in 2006.

Since leaving Michael has embarked on two careers: he is an established author with two crime series to his name: DS Hunter Kerr and DS Scarlett Macey, and he has also co-written a true crime story.

He is a member of the Crime Writers Association and International Thriller Writers.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Goodreads |


Last Light: an edge-of-your-seat crime thriller by C J Lyons

51LvVBATMCL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_“1987: Lily Martin is horrifically murdered along with her young child in Texas.

Today: Life should be easy after leaving the FBI –  but not if you’re detective Lucy Guardino. Lucy has always seen herself as a normal mum who happened to have a job chasing the worst of the worst. But after a violent predator targets her family and she’s injured, Lucy sacrifices her career at the Bureau.

She joins the Beacon Group, a firm that specializes in cold cases. Lucy fears she’s traded the elite for shepherding a team of amateurs.

She is sent to rural Texas to investigate a case that’s already been closed with the killers behind bars for twenty-nine years.

But who really killed Lily Martin and her infant daughter? Why was an entire family targeted for annihilation? What price will Lucy pay when she fights to expose a truth people will kill to keep buried?”


What a fantastic concept and a great, great book.  This is book one in the Beacon Falls series but it brilliantly features one of CJ Lyons existing characters, Lucy Guardino.  Lucy was part of the FBI until her family were targeted and Lucy was badly injured.  So instead of (woe betide) retiring or killing her off, CJ Lyons has moved her away from the FBI to the slightly more relaxed Beacon Group investigating cold cases.

Lucy and her team are thrown in at the deep end on her first day in the office and asked to investigate the murder of a young family dating back to 1987.  Having never really travelled with the FBI she soon finds herself waving goodbye to her family and boarding a plane to Texas, with sulky colleague TK.  On arrival they meet David, the reason for their being in Texas and the son of one of the accused.  He believes whole heartedly that his father is guilty but his mother is dying and it’s her wish to have the case investigated one last time.

The murders were the biggest thing to happen to the small town so everyone who was alive then remembers what happened 29 years ago.  The Sheriffs Department and the deputies stand by their investigation – they sent two evil, murderous men to jail.  But that was then, this is now…could the two men accused of this terrible crime be innocent after all??

The characters make this book.  Lucy is fantastic but she’s a well established character so that came as no surprise.  TK got on my nerves to start with but I really warmed to her towards the end of the book.  She’s quite full of herself and arrogant but she’s an ex-Marine and I guess that’s how they are made.  Most of the other characters in the book really appealed to me (I won’t say which ones didn’t otherwise I could give the game away).

For a novel about solving a 29 year old cold case the plot was fast moving and engrossing.  I found this book hard to put down and heartily recommend it.  I better go and start downloading the first six books in the Lucy Guardino series!

Four out of five stars.

Many thanks to Hayley at edpr, the team at Canelo and CJ Lyons for providing me with a copy of Last Light in exchange for an honest review.

Last Light by CJ Lyons was published in the UK by Canelo on 3rd May 2016 and is available in eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com