#BookReview: The Secret by Katerina Diamond @AvonBooksUK #TheSecret #20booksofsummer20 #damppebbles

the secret“Can you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

When Bridget Reid wakes up in a locked room, terrifying memories come flooding back – of blood, pain, and desperate fear. Her captor knows things she’s never told anyone. How can she escape someone who knows all of her secrets?

As DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a horrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder right under their noses in Exeter.

And as the past comes back to haunt her, Grey must confront her own demons. Because she knows that it can be those closest to us who hurt us the most…”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be sharing my fifth 20 Books of Summer review with you, which is for The Secret by Katerina Diamond. The Secret is the second book in Diamond’s DS Imogen Grey series and was published in all formats by Avon Books on 20th October 2016. I received a free eARC of The Secret but that has in no way influenced my review.

I confess, I’m a terrible book blogger. I read The Teacher (the first book in the DS Grey series) in 2017 and despite really enjoying it, I completely failed to review it. I read it shortly before my first massive reading slump (I can assure you, it was NOT the cause) and then never went back to write down my thoughts. I do regret that, as this series feels elevated from many of the run of the mill police procedurals out there. Diamond has no fear. She’s quite happy to shock and stun her audience with her graphic descriptions and the acts of violence her characters carry out. Which, of course, I absolutely love. I’m a reader who doesn’t shy away from a more brutal crime fiction novel. In fact, I wish more authors were as fearless as Diamond is, and were prepared to push the situations their characters find themselves in a little more.

Having recently returned to work, DS Imogen Grey and her partner, DS Adrian Miles, are tasked with finding a missing woman, Bridget Reid. Bridget was last seen by a hapless bystander half-conscious on the bank of a river after being pursued by two men. Both Grey and Miles know that they’re against the clock and they need to find Bridget soon, before the unthinkable happens. But their investigation grinds to a halt and they struggle to find a direction. As they dig deeper, more and more horrifying secrets are unearthed. Can they find Bridget alive, before it’s too late…?

This book is so much darker than the cover leads you to believe, and I kinda like that. With its grisly opening and it’s fast-paced story, led by a strong and gutsy female lead, it’s hard to not get sucked into this book from the get-go. Whether you’ll end up liking Detective Grey is another matter altogether but I think I’m certainly warming to her. One of the things I remember from reading the first book – The Teacher – was that I liked DS Adrian Miles more than Grey. But the more I get to know this character, the more I like what she’s about.

The story is multi-layered with lots going on to keep your interest. Everybody has a secret to some degree in this novel. There are chapters set in the present which follow the current investigation in Exeter with DS Grey and DS Miles. Then there are chapters set in the past – two years previous – which follow DS Grey and another officer, DS Sam Brown, on a different investigation in Plymouth. The reader discovers so much about Imogen and her past in this book, which I really enjoyed. Then there are some quite harrowing chapters from a young boy throughout the years who is unnamed but we get to follow him as his domineering and violent father carries out his despicable plans.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would but it’s not for the squeamish. There are some pretty grisly scenes in The Secret which I loved! The constant shift from the past to the present was a little disorientating at times, particularly if I had put the book down for a few hours before returning to it. But sitting here cogitating on the novel as a whole, I really enjoyed it and have since been able to piece the different aspects together. All in all, a very entertaining read and I really look forward to catching up with Grey and Miles again soon. Recommended.

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

The Secret by Katerina Diamond was published in the UK by Avon Books on 20th October 2016 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 | Goodreads | Book Depository |

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Katerina DiamondKaterina is the author of the Sunday Times Best Selling Exeter based crime thriller series – starting with ‘The Teacher’ and followed by The Secret, The Angel, The Promise and Truth or Die. Katerina is currently working on her seventh novel which is a standalone.

Katerina also runs the facebook book group CRIME SUSPECT with several other crime authors.

Katerina currently lives in East Kent. Katerina was born in Weston-super-Mare and has lived in various places since including Greece, Cyprus, Derby, East London and Exeter. Katerina watches way too much TV.

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Hell to Pay by Rachel Amphlett (@RachelAmphlett) @EmmaMitchellFPR #H2P

Hell to Pay Cover MEDIUM WEB“When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you today to my stop on the Hell To Pay blog tour.  Hell To Pay is the fourth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series written by talented author, Rachel Amphlett and it’s a cracking series for established as well as brand new fans of the crime genre.  I have had the joy of reading the first three books in the series (and in order, and that’s an achievement for me in itself!) so if you missed them the first time around, or would just like a refresher then please click the following titles to read my reviews; #1 Scared To Death#2 Will To Live and #3 One To Watch.

Hell To Pay opens with Detective Hunter being called to a car accident in the dead of night.  What appears to be a fairly easy to explain incident turns a lot darker when the corpse of a young woman is found in the boot of the car.  The driver is unconscious and barely alive.  What Kay doesn’t realise is that she has moved one step closer to the man who has been making her life a misery for some time.  Regular readers of the series will be aware that Kay Hunter has been suffering from issues at home and work since the evidence in a major case she was involved with went missing.  Having been investigated by Professional Standards and miscarrying her daughter as a result, Kay is on a mission to discover who is out to destroy her.  What she discovers defies evil and could well be the death of her…

I love this series and always look forward to reading the next instalment.  I hope Amphlett continues to write about her beleaguered Detective Hunter for some time to come as they’re the sort of books a reader can lose themselves in for hours on end.  The shocking first chapter had me hooked and I was intrigued as to who the mysterious, murderous driver of the car was.  I then realised that the culprit was already in custody meaning a large percentage of the investigation was pretty much wrapped up, so I started to wonder where the author would take the rest of the story.  And that’s where things started to take a much slower pace for me.  I love this series and I will always recommend it to crime fans, but I was wanting something more to happen.  Which is probably one of the strangest things I have ever said as there is so much going on in Hell To Pay, all manner of evil and deviant deeds being carried out.  But weirdly, this time around, it just wasn’t enough to satisfy me as a reader.

The author has successfully managed to introduce her cast of characters to any new readers picking up Hell To Pay as their first Detective Hunter read.  I was thrilled to see the return of Adam, Kay’s rather gorgeous other-half, return to the pages but was disappointed when he headed north of the border for a conference, for the majority of the book.  Adam is such an essential part of Kay’s life and he keeps her grounded.  He was missed.

Would I recommend this book?  I would recommend this series 100%!  The book ends with an explosive and shocking cliffhanger, and I cannot wait to see how the situation plays out in book five.  It’s not my favourite in the series and this time around I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped, but that’s just me.  There are MANY other readers out there who had a very different reading experience to mine.  Make sure you check out Ellen’s review over at Bibliophile Book ClubMeggy’s review over at Chocolate’n’Waffles blog and Amy’s review over at NovelGosssip.  That’s just a small selection of the love for this book, author and series.  I’m just an old grump!

Three and a half stars out of five (rounded up to four stars)

I chose to read and review an eARC of Hell To Pay.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.   My thanks to Emma and the author for asking me to be on the blog tour.

Hell To Pay by Rachel Amphlett was published in the UK Saxon Publishing on 16th November 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Rachel Amphlett’s online eBook store |

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AuthorRachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014.

An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |