#BlogTour | #BookReview: In A Deep Dark Wood by Tina Pritchard @inkubatorbooks @DamppebblesBTs #InADeepDarkWood #damppebbles

“What she saw in the wood would change her life forever.

Walking in the wood one day, Fran witnesses the horrifying murder of local teen, Tyler.  She tells the police exactly what she saw, but their investigation doesn’t seem to make much headway.

Fran tries to settle back into a normal life, but is tormented by guilt – was there something she could have done to save the boy?  Fran can’t let it go and finds herself drawn to Tyler’s grieving mother, Mel, both finding some strange connection through this shared trauma.

Then someone launches a terrifying campaign of intimidation against Fran and her husband, Laurie. Could it be the killers? Are they letting her know she had better be careful what she says? Who she sees? And why is Mel acting so strangely? Does she know more about her son’s death than she is saying?

Fran can’t help herself – she needs to know the truth. But when she begins to dig, she uncovers the terrible secret of the deep, dark wood – a secret that will change her life forever.

In a Deep Dark Wood – a stunning psychological thriller with a nerve-shredding climax. Perfect for fans of K. L. Slater, Sarah A. Denzil and Miranda Rijks.”

Hello and a very warm welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of In a Deep Dark Wood by Tina Pritchard. In a Deep Dark Wood will be published by Inkubator Books on Sunday 28th February 2021. I chose to read and review a free eARC of In a Deep Dark Wood which has in no way influenced my review.

In a Deep Dark Wood is such an assured, confident debut that it’s clear the author has been honing their craft for some time. It was a pleasure to read and I enjoyed every moment of this entertaining novel.

Mother of two, Fran Hughes, is minding her own business when she witnesses a horrific attack on a local teenager in the woods near her house. As the attack intensifies she realises that the victim – Tyler Ingram – is about to be murdered in front of her very eyes. Unable to stop the inevitable from happening Fran returns home traumatised and shocked, determined to help the police discover who killed the teenager. But the investigation falters. She’s on the periphery and wants to help bring justice to the boy’s family. So Fran decides to do her own digging into Tyler’s life. But what she discovers could have terrifying consequences for Fran and her own family…

In a Deep Dark Wood instantly hooks the reader in with a brilliantly tense scene in a prison which I adored. I needed to know more. I had to find out who this woman was and why she was doing what was being described. From there we’re introduced to Fran and her gorgeous little pup, Buddy, as they take their daily stroll through the deep dark wood and make their horrifying discovery. I quickly warmed to Fran. She’s beautifully normal and reacts in a very measured and mature way to all of the situations she’s put in (*most* situations anyway – sensible decisions don’t always make for gripping thrillers, after all! 😉). I was with Fran every step of the way as she attempted to discover the truth.

The plot is well paced with some very exciting moments and unexpected twists. The storyline really surprised me by heading down a route I wasn’t expecting but I really enjoyed it. One character in particular – for their devious and despicable ways – stood out from the rest for me. An utterly horrible creation who, because I’m peculiar like that, made the book for me. More evilness please!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. In a Deep Dark Wood is an entertaining read and I loved spending time with Fran. I found the book very easy to read speeding through it in under two days. One aspect of the ending felt a little forced to me but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this well-written novel. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of In a Deep Dark Wood. The above review is own unbiased opinion.

In a Deep Dark Wood by Tina Pritchard was published in the UK by Inkubator Books on 28th February 2021 and is available in digital format (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.ukamazon.comGoodreadsthe damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

After a life dedicated to bringing up a family, taking a social science degree, working as a lecturer, a trainer and more recently an independent celebrant, Tina addressed her burning need to write a novel. In a Deep Dark Wood reflects her belief that scratching below the surface of ordinary lives can reveal a rich seam of material. She wrote the book after her interest was piqued by police investigations in the UK Midlands into County Lines Drugs operations. After researching she discovered just how prevalent the problem is in rural communities.

Like many women of her age, the main character Fran has lost a sense of who she is beyond being a wife and mother. She is an unlikely protagonist. In need of a purpose after a terrible year that has left her reeling, she finds it, albeit in a way that ultimately endangers her life.

Tina loves to write and has won competitions for some of her short stories and poetry. She lives in a beautiful part of the world and gains much of her inspiration from walking her badly behaved terrier Horace, in the Derbyshire countryside.

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: The Collector by John Maher #InkubatorBooks @cobaltdinosaur #TheCollector #damppebbles

The Collector John Maher“They say human life is the most precious thing. The Collector doesn’t agree.

When world renowned archaeologist Philip Carlton suddenly and unexpectedly commits suicide, the police are called to investigate. Heading up the investigation is Detective Lucy O’Hara, a Forensic Linguist – and she immediately sees something is wrong with the suicide note. In her gut, she knows this was cold-blooded murder.

Battling sceptical superiors and the Irish establishment, Lucy digs for the truth and begins to uncover a shadowy trade in ancient artifacts led by a mysterious figure known only as ‘The Collector’.

As Lucy works to uncover his identity, she soon realises she is up against a ruthless mastermind who is systematically eliminating anyone who might lead her to him. But Lucy won’t give up and soon The Collector turns his attention to her…

The Collector – the first in a gripping new series featuring Detective Lucy O’Hara.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Emma has given me the keys to the blog today so I can share my guest review of The Collector by John Maher with you. I received a free eARC of The Collector but that has in no way influenced my review.

The Collector is the first book in the Lucy O’Hara series and I really enjoyed it. I don’t remember reading a book about a forensic linguist before, and I was intrigued to see what was involved. Lucy O’ Hara is a detective determined to get her career back on track, and when her linguistic skills sense that a suicide note may hold some clues that hint at foul play, she is thrown into a deadly game.

The joy of this book is that against the background of murder and traded ancient artifacts, the characters were the stars.  Whether this was the excellent Lucy O’ Hara, the mysterious Sullivan parachuted into the investigation for unclear reasons, the deeply malevolent Collector, the cold hitman, or multiple suspects, each had a distinctive and well-defined character and often a hidden motive…

Lucy O’Hara stands out though (as you would imagine in Lucy O’ Hara book one!). A detective in need of rehabilitation with a strong sense of justice. She has a need to prove herself and overcome demons in the past, which must be done whilst leading her team through parts of the investigation with a determination that belies her shattered confidence. Her team blends colleagues from different parts of Ireland and you can sense the unity and belief growing, as the story unfolds. The author uses location well to denote changes in the pace of the story, whether the focus is on Lucy’s personal challenges or the investigation.

As I mentioned earlier the blurb mentions Forensic Linguists and some may be put off by this, worrying about a potentially complex read. I can reassure you that it wasn’t. Maher leads the reader through each of the deductions in such a simple way that you don’t feel intimidated. In fact, I thought the author could have made more of this unusual skill and I’m looking forward to finding out how more breakthroughs will come from this skillset in book two!

I would happily recommend The Collector to anyone looking for a strong story, with well-written characters and a different approach from the main detective. John Maher’s writing pulls you into an Ireland populated with strong characters, malevolent villains from across Europe and intelligent and complex police officers. A strong starting novel in what could become a fan favourite series.

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

The Collector by John Maher was published in the UK by Inkubator Books on 5th July 2020 and is available in paperback 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 | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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John MaherJohn Maher has published five novels and a collection of short stories. He has won national awards for radio play and short story with RTE in Ireland. His novel, The Luck Penny, was shortlisted for debut novel on BBC Radio 5.

A former teacher and lecturer, he holds a Phd from the School of Oriental and African Studies (London).

He lives in a small Irish village, between the Atlantic and the Irish Sea, from which he steals away, from time to time, to visit the world outside the island.

THE COLLECTOR will be his first novel published with Inkubator Books.

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Into Darkness by T.J. Brearton (@BreartonTJ) #InkubatorBooks #IntoDarkness #damppebbles

draft1-2020-0351-Garret-Ryan-(for-T.J“They have been judged. The verdict – guilty. The sentence – death.

Two beautiful young women are found strangled, their bodies meticulously washed and groomed. The only thing they have in common – both worked as reporters for local TV stations. 

A coincidence? Or something more sinister?

Rookie Special Agent Shannon Ames is assigned to the case and soon impresses with her brilliant intuition and startling ability to think outside the box. 

But as Shannon takes a more prominent role in the investigation, she finds herself drawn into a deadly dance with a master of deception, a serial killer whose victims all work in media – journalists, influencers, reporters. 

Shannon’s superiors are convinced it’s part of some grand attack on the free press, but she has a hunch these killings are much more targeted. And she follows that hunch – straight into the heart of darkness…

Into Darkness is a gripping mystery thriller that will keep you up all night as it races towards its shocking conclusion. Perfect for fans of David Baldacci, Robert Dugoni and Lisa Regan.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be taking part in the Into Darkness blog tour and sharing my review of the cracking first book in the Shannon Ames Thriller Series. Into Darkness is written by T.J. Brearton and was published by Inkubator Books on Sunday 12th April 2020. I received a free eARC of Into Darkness but that has in no way influenced my review.

I’ve been wanting to read a book by T.J. Brearton for some time now. He’s an author I see mentioned often on blogs and in bookish Facebook groups. I even have a couple of his books on the terrifying TBR, but y’know…time and all that (#bookwormproblems). So when the opportunity arose to read Into Darkness, the first book in a brand new series from one of my favourite publishers, I just couldn’t say no. And what a cracking read it is! There’s nothing I love more in my crime fiction than a kick-ass female lead (and a serial killer, got to love a serial killer….🤷). Shannon Ames is something else and I absolutely loved her (the book also features a serial killer so win/win!).

Shannon is a rookie FBI Agent stationed in NYC. She’s smart, gutsy and she’s come a long way from her humble beginnings as a farm girl in The Adirondacks. Still grieving the loss of her brother, which left the relationship between Shannon and her mother strained, she arrives at Williamsburg’s 90th precinct ready to help the NYPD investigate the disappearance of Monica Forbes. Monica is a local television news reporter and is the second reporter to have gone missing. The first, Eva Diaz, was found wrapped in black bin bags and slung over a fence after being meticulously washed by her killer. Time is running out for Monica and you just know that the situation isn’t going to end well. As the death toll starts to rise, with more and more media personalities and influencers falling victim to a sadistic killer, Shannon’s colleagues jump to some startling conclusions. But Shannon has her own ideas and it’s down to her to stop the killer, no matter what it takes…

Shannon is feisty and spirited and I loved her. I also absolutely adored NYPD detective, Luis Caldoza. The chemistry between Ames and Caldoza is wonderful to read and their obvious spark really added something to the story for me. The pacing in this book is fantastic. The reader is carried along as the action takes place on the page with beautifully written peaks and troughs. There are some absolute heart-stopping moments and for me, one moment in particular made me gasp out loud. I really liked where the author took the story and the motive he gave his killer for carrying out his horrific deeds. It was fascinating to watch the story unfold.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would and I look forward to reading the second book in the Shannon Ames Series soon. If you’re looking for a new crime thriller series to follow then I heartily suggest you give this one a go. It’s a thrilling roller-coaster ride of a read and Shannon is a really likeable protagonist and someone the reader can get behind. Recommended.

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

Into Darkness by T.J. Brearton was published in the UK by Inkubator Books on 12th April 2020 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.comGoodreads |

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brearton author photo 500x500T.J. Brearton’s books have reached half a million readers around the world and have topped the Amazon charts in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. A graduate of the New York Film Academy in Manhattan, Brearton first worked in film before focusing on novels. His books are visually descriptive with sharp dialog and underdog heroes. When not writing, Brearton does whatever his wife and three children tell him to do. They live happily in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate, New York. Yes, there are bears in the Adirondacks. But it’s really quite beautiful when you’re not running for your life.

T.J. is the author of Dead Gone and many other crime thrillers. INTO DARKNESS will be his first novel published with Inkubator Books.

 

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Deadly Waters by OMJ Ryan (@OMJRYAN1) #InkubatorBooks @cobaltdinosaur #DeadlyWaters #damppebbles

2019-1396 OMJ Ryan b03“Several young women have recently drowned in Manchester’s vast network of canals. A coincidence? Or something more sinister?

When star detective DCI Jane Phillips begins to investigate, her finely tuned instinct tells her these are no accidents. And when she discovers that each of the drowned women has a mysterious circular bruise on the back of her neck, Phillips is sure of it — she’s up against a very clever serial killer.

But how are the victims being chosen? And who will be next?

With the body count rising, Phillips and her team find themselves in a fight to the death with a shadowy figure who always seems to be one step ahead.

Can Phillips stop the killer before the next victim dies? Or will she herself become an offering to Manchester’s deadly waters?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. I’m handing the keys over to my trusty guest reviewer, Ryan, today and he’s going to share his thoughts on Deadly Waters by OMJ Ryan as part of the blog tour. Ryan received a free eARC of Deadly Waters but that has in no way influenced his review.

Drowning in an ice cold canal is not how many would choose to end their lives and DCI Jane Phillips has that gut feeling that there is more to this than it may seem.  This is despite the view of her superior officer and others on the force wanting to dismiss the crimes, and DCI Phillips soon realises she has a race against time before the next victim is found or her supervisor stops the investigation.

This was my first OMJ Ryan read and I really enjoyed it. The lead characters and the team (Jones, Bovalino and Entwistle) are well drawn. Small mention is made of the team’s background but their interactions and easy to recognise traits make it easy to get to know them. DCI Jane Phillips, however, is much more nuanced. Mentions are made of an event in her personal history and a more conflicted character with nerves, determination and a host of personal dilemmas appears as the book progresses. The tension with her superior officer made an intriguing side plot, presenting the team with a ticking time bomb of whether they would be allowed to continue the investigation.

The plot is interesting. When one body is found in the canal with a circular bruise on the back of her neck, no-one is sure what to think. But when a second appears suspicions are raised, and it soon becomes clear the body count is only going to increase. At this stage we get to meet the murderer. Not in name, but taking the role of narrator for the murders. We get to hear more about their motive and method before flicking back to see an investigation struggling to find a connection, let alone a solid lead. With both sides trying to work out who is next – for very different reasons!

Deadly Waters is well paced, mixing the drama of the murder and fast police responses with the growing frustration of an investigation going nowhere. Some promising avenues soon become dead ends and the truth that they are uncovering may not be one they want to hear.

This is book two in the series and whilst references were made to book one, there is nothing to stop you reading this as a standalone. In fact, I am now very tempted to go back and find out more about that adventure!

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a UK based crime thriller, and even without reading it, I would suggest adding the first book, Deadly Silence, to your TBR too! DCI Phillips is a character that many will love and the book feels ripe for screen adaption. Excellent police characters mixed with a dark and self-righteous murderer who is in a hurry to take more lives. A great read.

Ryan chose to read and review an eARC of Deadly Waters. The above review is his own unbiased opinion.

Deadly Waters by OMJ Ryan was published in the UK by Inkubator Books on 15th March 2020 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.com |  Goodreads |

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OMJ RyanHailing from Yorkshire, OMJ Ryan worked in radio and entertainment for over twenty years, collaborating with household names and accumulating a host of international writing and radio awards.

In 2018 he followed his passion to become a full-time novelist, writing stories for people who devour exciting, fast-paced thrillers by the pool, on their commute – or those rare moments of downtime before bed. Owen’s mission is to entertain from the first page to the last. DEADLY WATERS will be his third novel published with Inkubator Books.