#BookReview: Rubicon by Ian Patrick (@IPatrick_Author) @fahrenheitpress #RubiconBook

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“Two cops, both on different sides of the law – both with the same gangland boss in their sights.

Sam Batford is an undercover officer with the Metropolitan Police who will stop at nothing to get his hands on fearsome crime-lord Vincenzo Guardino’s drug supply.

DCI Klara Winter runs a team on the National Crime Agency, she’s also chasing down Guardino, but unlike Sam Batford she’s determined to bring the gangster to justice and get his drugs off the streets.

Set in a time of austerity and police cuts where opportunities for corruption are rife, Rubicon is a tense, dark thriller that is definitely not for the faint hearted.”

You have no idea how long I have wanted to read this book. I saw a couple of stonking reviews for it months ago now (before the recent blog tour) and I knew, as a die-hard fan of the police procedural, as a lover of coppers on the edge, as a book blogger that lives and breathes crime fiction that this book and I were destined to meet. I feel quite sad that it’s taken me this long to read it because it’s an incredible read and I relished every moment of being in Sam Batford’s company.

Rubicon is Ian Patrick’s debut and it’s such an assured read that I had to stop at times and remind myself of that fact. Ian Patrick has experienced life on the beat himself and that experience, that living of ‘the job’ gives the novel a level of authenticity that readers (readers like me, anyway) crave. Rubicon is a fast-paced crime thriller that keeps you turning the pages from start to finish and I was hooked from the explosive opening to the very last word.

Sam Batford is an Undercover Officer walking a very fine line. He’s prepared to do whatever is necessary to get what he wants. But he has a heart too, which I loved. Sam is seconded to work with DCI Klara Winter on the Vincenzo Guardino (or ‘Big H’) case but he has his own ideas and instead of working in harmony with his new DCI, he is determined to do his own thing and leave Winter flailing in his dust. Winter is an unlikable, do-gooder character who seems more out for the glory of arresting notorious local gangster Big H than anything else. She plays by the book though, whereas Sam…..doesn’t so much. The reader is regularly given an insight into Winter’s thought processes thanks to her ‘Sensitive Decision Log’; a clever move on the author’s part as it gives the reader a more candid look into this senior detective’s thoughts and feelings.

Now I’m a fairly slow reader but you can easily lose a day (chances are you read faster than me) to Rubicon. It has a way of completely absorbing you into the story and before you know it, you’ve read half of the book before you’ve even realised. It’s punchy, it’s thrilling and it’s everything I want in a crime thriller. One of the things I liked most about Rubicon is that Sam isn’t your usual copper. I read a lot of detective fiction so it’s good to have a lead who isn’t scared of REALLY breaking the rules (and oh my gosh, those rules get shattered!). Sam Batford is a character I want to see more of, I love the idea of a renegade cop and Sam fits the mould perfectly.

Would I recommend this book? I would. It’s edgy, absorbing and so deliciously different to other books in the genre. An absolute delight to read and I will be recommending this book to everyone. What a debut!

Four and a half stars out of five.

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

Rubicon by Ian Patrick was published in the UK bu Fahrenheit Press on 21st August 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, the following Amazon links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Fahrenheit Press | Goodreads |

about the author3

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Educated in Nottingham, Ian left school at sixteen. After three years in the Civil Service he moved to London for a career in the Metropolitan Police.

He spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command. A career in policing is a career in writing. Ian has been used to carrying a book and pen and making notes.

Now retired, the need to write didn’t leave and evolved into fiction.

Author Links: | Twitter | Amazon Author Page |

#GuestPost: Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett (@RachelAmphlett) #DetectiveKayHunter #CalltoArms

call to arms

“Loyalty has a price.

Kay Hunter has survived a vicious attack at the hands of one of the country’s most evil serial killers.

Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation. DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.

Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.

But as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.

Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…

Call to Arms is a gripping police procedural, and the fifth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH
2. WILL TO LIVE
3. ONE TO WATCH
4. HELL TO PAY
5. CALL TO ARMS

A page-turning murder mystery for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and Harlen Coben.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome the brilliant author of the Detective Kay Hunter series, Rachel Amphlett, to damppebbles today. I absolutely love the Kay Hunter series and always make sure I keep up with the latest release. The marvellous Call to Arms, the fifth book in the series, was published on Sunday 11th March 2018. To help celebrate Rachel has very kindly agreed to join me today and tell us about one of my favourite aspects of the series; Kay’s rather dishy other half, vet Adam!

Regular readers of the blog will know that I like my detectives damaged, on the edge and very much alone (i.e. no romantic counterpart). That is not the case with Kay though. Kay and Adam’s relationship really adds to the story for me. Plus the steady stream of creatures he brings home from work always makes me smile (and in Call to Arms, I have to admit I cried a little too).

So without further ado, I will hand over to Rachel to tell us why she chose a career in veterinary medicine for Mr Kay…

Why a vet?

One of readers’ favourite characters in the Kay Hunter series is that of her other half Adam, who’s a vet.

Writing a crime thriller series can be quite harrowing. A lot of the research can be disturbing, and let’s face it – when you’re running around chasing a serial killer or trying to solve a cold case murder, there isn’t much room for laughter.

I knew when I was first developing the idea for the series that I didn’t want my female detective to have a fractured home life – there were already plenty of other books like that around – and, as a lot of the crimes Kay Hunter investigates are dark and disturbing, I wanted her home life to provide her with a sense of normality.

The idea of Adam being a vet really appealed to me as soon as it popped into my head. (I blame watching repeats of the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small as a kid.)

Here was a character who was Kay’s equal in intelligence, could provide her with a safe home life AND give me a perfect excuse to provide some light relief for readers during the course of the series.

After all, you never know what animals a vet might bring home!

As well as Kay’s own career lows and highs, Adam’s veterinary practice impacts their lives too and I really enjoy seeing how these two characters support each other throughout the stories and challenges that their lives bring.

Of course, events in Kay’s professional life have meant it hasn’t all been plain sailing for her and Adam, but I think the dynamic between these two people is something that is working and seems to have been well received.

In fact, I’ve been amazed at how well readers have taken to Adam’s character – he and Kay are a real team, and I think it’s because they have a relatively normal home life (again, depending on what guests he’s looking after!) that readers can relate to the problems they encounter.

In Call to Arms, Adam gets his own chance to shine as we find him caring for a terminally ill patient. The storyline gave me an opportunity to explore his own character further, balancing out the investigation Kay leads with an emotionally-charged scene that anyone who has had a pet will relate to.

I hope that in Call to Arms readers get a greater sense of how much Adam cares about his work, his patients, and their wellbeing.

Adam is a huge support for Kay, and I don’t think she’d be the detective she is without him in her life.

Thank you so much for joining me today Rachel, and for giving us an insight into Adam. I have read Call to Arms and was delighted to see Adam shine. My review of Call to Arms will be up on the blog later this week so keep an eye out for that.

Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett was published in the UK by Saxon Publishing on 11th March 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

Author

Rachel 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 |

#BookReview: The Intrusions by Stav Sherez (@stavsherez) @FaberBooks @1stMondayCrime #TheIntrusions

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“When a distressed young woman arrives at their station claiming her friend has been abducted, and that the man threatened to come back and ‘claim her next’, Detectives Carrigan and Miller are thrust into a terrifying new world of stalking and obsession.

Taking them from a Bayswater hostel, where backpackers and foreign students share dorms and failing dreams, to the emerging threat of online intimidation, hacking, and control, The Intrusions explores disturbing contemporary themes with all the skill and dark psychology that Stav Sherez’s work has been so acclaimed for.

Under scrutiny themselves, and with old foes and enmities re-surfacing, how long will Carrigan and Miller have to find out the truth behind what these two women have been subjected to?”

I recently finished reading The Intrusions by Stav Sherez and can confirm that I am now totally freaked out. This is normally the point where I say, ‘but in a good way’. However, I’m not all that sure that being *this* freaked out and a tad too nervous to log on to the internet is, in any way, a good thing or how it could be seen ‘in a good way’. I am of course jesting (a little) and I’m not really worried (well, maybe a smidge). Flipping heck!

The Intrusions is the third book in the Carrigan and Miller series and the first book I have read by author Stav Sherez. Going into a series part way through doesn’t really worry me too much these days. If the author in question is worth their salt then they should be able to plug any cavernous holes in the story for a new reader and, if anything, tempt you into wanting to read all previous instalments. Which is exactly what Sherez has done.

Within a few pages, I had fallen a little bit in love with gutsy, plucky DS Geneva Miller. Shortly after I was introduced to DI Jack Carrigan and knew that this book, this particular partnership, was something I was going to very much enjoy. I didn’t have the same instant affection for Carrigan, that built throughout the course of the book but I did like him – thanks to his somewhat reckless methods of getting an arrest during his last big case.

DS Miller is in the wrong place at the wrong time (or maybe it’s the right time). Making her way through the station’s reception area a young, distraught woman catches her attention. Madison claims that her friend, Anna, has been drugged and taken by a man in a van. Madison herself acts as though she under the influence of something and makes little to no sense during the interview. But DS Miller believes what she’s been told and wants to investigate. Before long, the team are thrown into a world they have very little knowledge of. A world where you’re watched from the moment you wake. A world where your life isn’t really your own.

The themes in The Intrusions chilled me to my very core. An incredibly compulsive read and one that will stay with me for time to come. I loved how the author leads you down one path, where you’re as flummoxed as his detectives and then totally turns the tables on you. I had a wild stab in the dark at one point, pinning my suspicions on one character. Only for those suspicions to be confirmed later on in the story. That certainly didn’t take any enjoyment away from the story for me. And even if you do take a lucky punt like me, there are still plenty of shocks and surprises to come.

Before I conclude this review, a word of advice for you. Find a post-it note, or find some blu-tack and stick it over the camera on your device. Really, this is something you WANT to do.

Would I recommend this book? Oh yes, I would. It’s a thrilling, frightening read which will make you think about the time you spend online, and who you are spending it with. The final chapter blew me away with its nail-biting intensity. And that epilogue…WOAH! I am thrilled to have discovered Stav Sherez’s writing. I think this is the start of a long and happy relationship.

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review a copy of The Intrusions. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Stav Sherez will be appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday 5th March 2018. Stav will be appearing alongside Elly Griffiths, Sarah Vaughan, Matthew Blakstad and moderator Jake Kerridge, crime fiction critic for the Telegraph. The event is FREE of charge and will be held at 6.30pm on Monday 5th March at City University, College Building, A130. Click HERE to book your FREE ticket or hop over to the First Monday Crime website for more information.

The Intrusions by Stav Sherez was published in the UK by Faber & Faber on 1st February 2018 and is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

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Stav Sherez’s first novel, The Devil’s Playground, was published in 2004 by Penguin Books and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger.

Sherez’s second novel, The Black Monastery, was published by Faber & Faber in April 2009.

His third novel, A Dark Redemption, the first in a London-based police procedural series, was published by Faber and Faber in February 2012.
It deals with Joseph Kony and the legacy of LRA child soldiers now living in London.
A Dark Redemption was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2013.

The second in the Carrigan and Miller series, Eleven Days, was published by Faber in May 2013.

From 1999 to 2004 Sherez was a main contributor to the music magazine Comes with a Smile. He has also written for various other publications including The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator, Zembla and the Catholic Herald.

Author Links: | Twitter | Amazon |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Blue Night by Simone Buchholz (@ohneKlippo) Trans. by Rachel Ward (@FwdTranslations) @OrendaBooks #BlueNight

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“After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble.

However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs.

When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived…

Fresh, fiendishly fast-paced and full of devious twists and all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to my stop (and the penultimate stop) on the Blue Night blog tour which I share with author and blogger, Nic Parker. Blue Night is the first in a new series from established German crime fiction author, Simone Buchholz and was published by Orenda Books in paperback on 28th February 2018.

If you don’t already know, I am a HUGE fan of German crime fiction. Huge. I seek it out whenever possible (or at least when the TBR isn’t too mountainous). German crime fiction and, strangely, Japanese crime fiction too. I don’t like to follow the herd with your Nordic Noir, oh no – not me (although I do love Nordic Noir as well!)! So when I heard one of my very favourite publishers was about to release a novel written by a German author and translated into English, I had to read it. Orenda Books and German crime fiction – it was like a dream come true for me!

So what did I think? I really enjoyed it. I loved our main protagonist, Chastity Riley. She’s obviously a bit of a tough nut having previously convicted her superior of corruption and blasted the dangly bits from a poor and unfortunate gangster. Having been demoted after her escapades to the Public Prosecutors Office and to the *yawn* role of Victim Protection, Chastity is starting to stagnate. Things start to look up however when she meets a mysterious man in a Hamburg hospital. Granted he’s had nearly every bone in his body broken, he’s missing a finger and he’s not much of a talker but Chastity is intrigued. After all, it’s her job to protect him. Using somewhat unsuitable bribes for a man so close to death, she manages to get the victim talking and before long Chastity is on the case, hunting down a supplier of deadly drugs to the Hamburg area and beyond.

There’s a real unease to this tale which I thoroughly enjoyed. A gritty, hard edge noir which appealed to my darker side. I also liked that Chastity was surrounded by a slightly flawed group of friends who all looked out for one another. Themes of friendship really ran quite deep for me in this novel, and I liked it! But then, Chastity is my kind of protagonist. She’s a lean, mean, crime-fighting machine. Knows her right from her wrong and will do absolutely everything she can to make sure the path to justice is taken. I’m really very excited about this series and look forward to reading more about Chastity Riley in the future.

One thing I will say (actually two things but bear with me!), this is a quicker than average read as there are only 276 pages in the paperback version. The perfect book for a snowy (or sunny if you’re reading this after the cold snap we had at the end of February/beginning of March!) weekend some may say. I initially had a couple of small issues with some of the formatting in this book which left me feeling a little confused at times. It was only a matter of getting used to the characters, their names, the timeframe and the way these short passages are presented to the reader though. By the end of the novel, it wasn’t an issue for me at all.

Would I recommend this book? I would. Particularly if you’ve ever fancied giving German noir a go – I think Blue Night would be the perfect place to start. Gripping, ominous and delightfully edgy. I can’t wait to meet up with Chastity Riley again soon. For a shorter than average novel, it really packs one heck of a punch!

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Blue Night. The above review is my own unbiased opinion. My thanks to Orenda Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing with a review copy.

Blue Night by Simone Buchholz (translated by Rachel Ward) was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 28th February 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author3

Simone Buchholz Picture.jpg

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up for the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter |

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Having always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, I discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study Modern Languages at the University of East Anglia. I spent my third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Saarbrücken, Germany. During my final year, I realised that I wanted to put these skills and passions to use professionally and applied for UEA’s MA in Literary Translation. Since then, I have been working in Norwich, UK, as a freelance translator of literary and creative writing from German and French to English.

Author Links: | Twitter | Website |

Rachel Ward bio and image © http://www.forwardtranslations.co.uk/
Review © Emma Welton | damppebbles.com