#BlogBlitz | #BookReview: Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell (@Caroline_writes) @bookouture

Murder-Game-Kindle (1).jpg“A serial killer is playing a terrifying game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead. 

In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the twisted killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die… 

But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby persuades her boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to use his criminal connections to set up a dangerous meeting. Because to catch this killer, she needs to think like one… 

But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team become. Is Mason really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining Ruby up to be his next victim?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Peter James will be hooked by this dark and utterly disturbing thriller, packed with twists until the final page.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to the blog today as I am one of seven blogs kicking off the Murder Game blog blitz.  Make sure you check out these other awesome blogs taking part in day one of the tour; Novel DeelightsMy Chestnut Reading TreeNovel GossipChapter in my LifeI Love Reading and I Dig Books (And Dirt).  And the rest of the blog blitz is shaping up rather nicely, so don’t miss out! 

Murder Game is the third book in the Detective Ruby Preston series written by Caroline Mitchell and published by Bookouture.  I am such a fan of this series and have reviewed both of the previous books on damppebbles in the past (click HERE for my review of book one, Death Note and click HERE for my review of book two, Sleep Tight).  My love for Ruby and her tough guy beau, Nathan is pretty darn strong so there was no way on earth I was going to miss this latest instalment.

The first two books shine so brightly for me because they’re exactly what I enjoy reading; a delusional yet completely different serial killer in each book with a pretty consistent M.O.  The killer knows what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and they’re going to keep on doing it until Ruby and DI Downes catch them.  Perfect!  The reader is introduced to another dark and evil mind in Murder Game but this time there’s a rather sinister twist.  Convicted of six murders, named The Lonely Hearts Killer and stuck behind bars for a few more years, Ruby has the displeasure of meeting Mason Gatley.  It seems their latest offender is basing his crimes on Gatley’s from back in the day (DI Downes was a DC at the time so we’re talking a few years ago!).  I loved the tension Gatley brought to the pages of Murder Game.  What a thoroughly loathsome character but I have to confess to secretly enjoying Ruby’s stand-offs with the vile killer!

What makes this series stand out head and shoulders above others is the relationship between Detective Sergeant Ruby Preston and the love of her life, local gangster, Nathan Crosby.  The chemistry between the two characters really sparks and my reaction to them in the first book really surprised me, especially as romantic relationships don’t really work for me in crime fiction (if I wanted soppy stuff I would read romance – that’s my opinion anyway!).  I felt that chemistry was lacking a little in Murder Game.  It certainly wasn’t as full on or as intense as the first two novels and I missed it.

If I’m honest, I felt the entire Crosby family were a little absent in this latest instalment.  Murder Game focuses more on the investigation rather than the relationships between the characters.  With any other series this would have pleased me no end but I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.  I wanted more of Nathan’s mother and her inherent dislike of Ruby because she’s a copper.  More of Nathan’s caustic, sadistic brother, Lenny who always lends a vile edge to the story.  I really felt their absence.

Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely!  If you’re a fan of the serial killer thriller then you really must read this series because it’s incredibly special and one of my all-time favourites.  I adore Ruby Preston and I adore Mitchell’s writing.

Four out of five stars.

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

Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell was published in the UK by Bookouture on 31st October 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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about the author3

IMG_6478USA Today Bestselling Thriller Author.

Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family, parrot and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. Published by Bookouture and Thomas & Mercer, she now writes full time and all her books have become number 1 best sellers in their categories.

Her fast-paced DC Jennifer Knight thrillers carry a hint of the supernatural and are weaved from Caroline’s personal experiences in the police and paranormal.

Set in Shoreditch, London, her DS Ruby Preston series is described as “terrifying, addictive serial killer thrillers”.

 Caroline also writes psychological thrillers, the most recent, Witness, has been described as “thrilling, tense, exciting, dark and twisted in the best possible way”.

Author Links: | Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook |

#CoverReveal: Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell (@Caroline_writes) @bookouture

I am beyond thrilled to welcome you to damppebbles this evening as I have something incredibly exciting to share.  Earlier today the fabulous folk at Bookouture (one of everyone’s favourite publishers) revealed the cover of the second Ruby Preston novel written by the extremely talented Caroline Mitchell.  Now I absolutely ADORED the first book in the series.  So much so that it made it onto my ‘books of the year’ post in 2016.  To read my review of Love You to Death click here.

So imagine how excited I am that book two in the series is to be published on 20th April. I’m half way through reading it at the moment and it is SO good.  I adore Ruby Preston.

Whilst I ponder on my new #girlcrush, here’ s the blurb for book two in the Ruby Preston series, Sleep Tight.

SLEEP TIGHT by Caroline Mitchell 

Close your eyes … Just pray you don’t wake up.

A killer stalks the streets of East London. All over the area, murdered young women are discovered, their bodies posed into a sickening recreation of fairytale princesses.

Detective Ruby Preston is determined to hunt down a disturbed individual who is using the women to realise their twisted fantasies. But when body parts are found at the home of her lover, Nathan Crosby, Ruby is torn between her job and her heart.

Convinced that he is being framed, Ruby must catch the killer before Nathan becomes the number one suspect. But as more victims are found, it becomes harder to prove his innocence.

Ruby is in too deep, knowing that the cruel individual is getting ever closer, looking for his next beautiful victim. But can she stop a killer hell-bent on fulfilling their horrific desires – before it’s too late? And how well does she really know the man she loves?

A terrifying, addictive serial killer thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, for readers of Angela Marsons, Peter James and Rachel Abbott.

And here’s what my fellow bloggers and reviewers are saying about Ruby:

Oh my friggin God! Thisssss booooook! Su-bloody-perb! …a quadruple #HellYeah recommendation from me! Tantalisingly terrifying, twisted, and dark’ CrimeBookJunkie

Just superb!! I can tell you, you will NOT know the ending until you get there!! It’s a shocker!’ Next Book Review

‘OMG what a corker of a book. I absolutely love Ruby.  I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough … Loved it, loved it, loved it.’ By The Letter Book Reviews

Compelling, absorbing, chilling, gruesome and freakishly brilliant.  Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop.’  Jen Med’s Book Reviews (5*)

‘Ruby is an excellent character. Real, raw and utterly relatable’ Bibliophile Book Club (4*)

‘Caroline Mitchell creates some seriously dark and scary stuff ‘ StefLoz Book Reviews

‘Fast paced, great lead character and twists and turns, what more could you ask for?’ Worcester Source (4*)

‘It will certainly have you holding your breath on more than one occasion… I really can’t wait for more from this series.’ Victoria Wilkinson – I Love Reading

Oh my God…this book blew me away! Kept me hooked right till the last page’ The Book Guzzler (5*)

‘Ruby, well she’s just in a league of her own. She shows so much strength yet I love the vulnerable side to her’ By The Letter Book Reviews (5*)

‘I think I pretty much held my breath through the last few chapters! There are twists and turns aplenty and it’s packed full of action and suspense’  Chat About Books (5*)

‘It’s a compelling and dark read; it gives you thrills, it gives you the fear and it gives you all the twists and turns you are looking for’ Chapterinmylife (5*)

‘A thrilling ride that blurs the boundary of what is right and what is wrong. The plot is terrifying yet somehow heartbreaking’ Kitty Catalyst – Bibliophile (5*)

I think I’ve kept you waiting long enough.  Here’s the stunning cover:

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I absolutely love it and I can’t wait for you to read this book and enjoy it as much as I am doing at present.  So get clicking and pre-order Sleep Tight now!

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caroline mitchell.jpgA former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences.

Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex.  She now writes full time.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

#BookReview: Death Note by Caroline Mitchell (@Caroline_writes) @bookouture

death note.jpg“Twenty years ago you were forced to give your daughter up. Now she’s back. Or is she?

Women who’ve had to give up children for adoption are being killed. A knock at their front door begins a nightmare from which they will never wake up.

East London Detective Ruby Preston and her team must hunt down a disturbed individual before someone else is taken. But when bodies start turning up, staged in perfect, domestic scenes, it carries the echo of a memory in Ruby’s mind. The tinkling of a music box. A mother and child reunion…

Then just as Ruby thinks they’ve made a breakthrough, she receives a sinister email, and the case takes a terrifying personal twist. 

Can Ruby catch the killer before they strike again? Or will her troubled past catch up with her first?”

What a corker of a book!  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect before I started reading…but I loved this book!  I came to Caroline Mitchell’s writing a little later than most.  I read Caroline’s The Silent Twin, which is book three in the Detective Jennifer Knight series, earlier this year (you can read my review by clicking here).  The Silent Twin was one of the first crime books I read with a paranormal twist to it, something I normally stay quite clear of.  The reviews were outstanding though and my FOMO (or, if you are my husband, my Fear Of Missing Out) kicked in.  I’m very glad it did as I loved The Silent Twin and wanted more Jennifer Knight.  So imagine my disappointment when I heard Ms Mitchell was putting Knight to one side and starting on a new series with a detective called Ruby.  I’ll admit it…I was a little disappointed.  Would it still have that paranormal aspect that I’d enjoyed so much?  Well, no, there are no ghosts assisting Ruby from the beyond. But oh my, DS Ruby Preston is SUPERB.  I absolutely loved this book!

Woman are being abducted from their homes only to turn up a few days later in an empty house, very dead and deliberately posed.  All of the women have one thing in common, they gave their daughter up for adoption 20 years ago.  Just like DS Ruby Preston did.  As the number of bodies rises, Ruby starts to receive correspondence from the killer who calls herself Lucy.  Lucy is the name Ruby gave her daughter…and the killer knows things that only the holder of Lucy’s birth certificate would know.  But surely Ruby’s daughter isn’t the killer, is she?  And is this some sort of sick revenge for giving her away all those years ago?  One thing is for sure, Lucy is on the hunt for her mummy and nothing will make her stop killing.  NOTHING! Not even finding her real mum…

DS Ruby Preston has the illustrious honour of being added to my girl crush list (other members of this elite group include Robert Bryndza’s DCI Erika Foster and M.J. Arlidge’s D.I. Helen Grace).  I loved her and I loved her relationship with gangster ex-boyfriend, Nathan. A brilliant addition to the story which leaves you wondering will they or won’t they.  It wasn’t a silly soppy romance that I find so stomach churning in other crime novels.  I could feel the character’s pain, their wanting to be together but knowing it just couldn’t happen.  Brilliant, clever writing as I’m not one for love affairs in my crime fiction but I couldn’t get enough of this one (or rather, these two!).

Lucy is one of those memorable serial killers; the kind that come back to haunt you in your dreams, the kind where you see a picture of a slightly malevolent looking child and you go, “yep, that’s Lucy!”.  She’s a chilling character and not knowing who (or at times, what!) she is makes the feeling of unease grow. By the time the reveal came I was completely clueless and not sure what to expect (and if you had made me put a bet on, I would have lost my life savings).  Fantastically eerie, chock full of suspense and wonderfully disorientating in the best way possible.

I was hooked from the opening lines all the way through the nail biting conclusion.  The one moan I do have about the book is that it was too short!  Now you may think 314 pages is sufficient.  Normally I would agree, but not this time.  I didn’t want it to end, I wanted LOTS more.  I hope Caroline Mitchell has already made a start on book two in the series, I’m not sure I can wait much longer!

NOT REALLY A SPOILER ALERT:  For those that have read the book, I can somewhat dubiously confirm that nutscaping is a real thing.  I was too scared to look for myself so approached Caroline Mitchell on Twitter.  She MADE ME look, my eyes will never be the same again!  Thanks Caroline…

Would I recommend this book?  If you love crime thrillers and don’t buy this book, there has to be something wrong with you.  It’s superb.  I loved the characters, I loved the relationships and I loved Lucy!  Don’t miss out on the start of a breathtakingly brilliant new series.  You have been warned!  Chilling, twisted and disturbing – exactly what I want in my serial killer thrillers! #HereComesLucy

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Death Note.

Death Note by Caroline Mitchell was published in the UK by Bookouture on 11th November 2016 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads | Bookouture |

Smith & Sons (11)

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A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time.
Published by Bookouture, her DC Knight crime thriller series reached the number one position in the Amazon crime charts and sold over a quarter of a million copies in the first year and a half of publication. The first in her new series, Love You To Death, features DS Ruby Preston is due for publication 11th November 2016.

Her new psychological thriller, Witness, is published with Thomas & Mercer and due for publication 20th December 2016.

Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex.

Author Links:Website | Twitter | Facebook | amazon.co.uk | Goodreads |