#BookReview: Hangman by Daniel Cole (@Daniel_P_Cole) @TrapezeBooks @orion_crime @Lauren_BooksPR

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“A detective with no one to trust
A killer with nothing to lose

18 months after the ‘Ragdoll’ murders, a body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, the word ‘BAIT’ carved into the chest.

In London a copycat killer strikes, branded with the word ‘PUPPET’, forcing DCI Emily Baxter into an uneasy partnership with the detectives on the case, Special Agents Rouche and Curtis.

Each time they trace a suspect, the killer is one step ahead. With the body count rising on both sides of the Atlantic, can they learn to trust each other and identify who is holding the strings before it is too late?”

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Daniel Cole’s debut crime thriller, Ragdoll. I thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly the inventive ways Cole came up with to kill off a number of the characters. It’s no secret that I like my crime thrillers edging on horror with lots of bodies and lots of blood, so Ragdoll held a lot of appeal for me. The second book in the Ragdoll series, Hangman immediately became a must-read. I just had to see what the author was going to do with his characters next…

And the answer is, he completely ignored his lead protagonist and focussed solely on a supporting member of his cast. Not what you would expect, right? I’ve seen Hangman mentioned in places as Detective Fawkes #2. It really isn’t though. Fawkes hardly features in this novel and I absolutely flipping LOVED it! My one bugbear with Ragdoll was that I felt very little for either Fawkes or his sidekick, Emily Baxter. If anything, Baxter irritated me with her fawning over Fawkes and her (ugh) neediness. Having read Hangman from cover to cover I have completely changed my mind about her. I love the new ‘slightly more damaged than she was before’ Emily Baxter. Her sarcastic manner, her bossiness, her ‘don’t actually give a damn!’ attitude and her secretiveness. I really like this new Baxter and hope she doesn’t change back to her old, puppy dog ways in book three when Fawkes *may* return.

Baxter isn’t the only character I loved in Hangman. I’ve already mentioned that Fawkes isn’t really present. However, Baxter is instructed to work alongside the FBI and CIA as her current investigation spans continents and has links to the famous Ragdoll case she ‘heroically’ solved. Curtis (the FBI agent) and in particular Rouche (the CIA operative) really brought something to the story. We get to see Baxter’s newfound barriers crumble a little as she warms to Rouche. I’m not sure there is any point in the story where she trusts him but I really enjoyed the relationship between the two.

I have to say, I found the story a little far-fetched in some places but in all honesty, I didn’t actually give a hoot as I was utterly captivated by the characters and what was going to happen next. Daniel Cole had my full attention from start to finish and to me, that is more important than a little artistic licence. I also loved the humour Cole has written into the pages of Hangman. This is the first book in a long time that I found myself quietly chuckling along to.

Would I recommend this book? Totally. I loved it. I preferred it to Ragdoll. I loved seeing things from Baxter’s perspective and I hope the *possible* return of Fawkes in book three doesn’t reduce her character to what it was in book one. I would be devastated. So utterly gripping I couldn’t put this book down. I described the need to keep turning the pages of Ragdoll as similar to catnip. Well, the author has done it again but this is super strength catnip! A perfect read for me.

Five out of five stars.

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

Hangman by Daniel Cole was published in the UK by Trapeze Books on 22nd March 2018 and is available hardcover, 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

daniel cole

Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer, and most recently for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Ragdoll is his first novel. He lives in Bournemouth, England.

Author Links: | 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: This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan (@eva_dolan) @BloomsburyRaven @BloomsburyBooks #ThisIsHowItEnds

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“There’s plenty of intrigue, sex, and drugs in this fast-paced mystery, set against a backdrop of gentrifying London.

Ella Riordan is a community activist who became famous when she was beaten by police during a social protest. Now Ella is a squatter in a building where the owners are evicting tenants so they can convert it into luxury condos, and she’s determined to stay and defend the few holdout tenants, despite death threats.

One night after a rooftop party with her fellow holdouts, Ella finds a horrible scene awaiting her in her apartment. In a panic, she calls her neighbor Molly, who convinces her that the police won’t believe she’s innocent. Together the two women concoct a gruesome plan to hide the body down the building’s elevator shaft.

But the secret won’t stay buried for long. As truth hangs in the balance, a neighbor tells Molly he had heard Ella arguing with a man in the hallway and mistrust grows between Ella and Molly, as repercussions of that night threaten to change both women’s lives forever.”

It is my pleasure to welcome you to my stop on the This Is How It Ends blog tour. This Is How It Ends is a standalone thriller written by established crime fiction author, Eva Dolan. I have to hang my head in shame and admit I am yet to read any of Dolan’s DI Zigic & DS Ferreira series but I have only ever heard positive things. And I was thrilled to host a guest review of Watch Her Disappear, the fourth book in the Zigic & Ferreira series last year (my thanks to Tracie Delaney for reading and reviewing).

This Is How It Ends is such a clever, well-constructed piece of fiction. I found myself completely absorbed in Ella and Molly’s dilemma. For me, my reading experience tends to be 80 to 90 percent about the people involved. The characters are what appeal to me and oh boy, Eva Dolan sure shows the rest of the literary world how to write real, believable people! Bit by bit, as the story progressed, Molly broke my heart. I felt an odd connection to this 60-year-old woman, a former Greenham Common activist, now a photographer, with her lashings of kohl and her Sex Pistols t-shirts. She’s probably about as far away from me as a person can get. But I got her. And I loved her.

Ella didn’t have the same beguiling effect on me. I felt throughout the book that the reader wasn’t being given enough information about Ella to make a decision. She was aloof, elusive and darn right mysterious. Not helped by the fact that the reader sees very little of the present day Ella in the story. Chapters alternate between Molly and Ella. Molly’s chapters are set in the present, after the discovery of a dead body and after our fearless females have flung him down the lift shaft. Ella’s chapters move backwards through time, showing the reader what happened in the lead up to the party. How Ella and Molly reached this significant point in their lives.

The story is strong, captivating and unexpected. I absolutely loved the setting, the dilapidated high rise block of flats due for demolition so something bigger, shinier and with lots more glass can be put in its place. Dolan paints a very vivid picture of the desolate, decaying surroundings Molly and the dwindling number of other residents find themselves in. The desire to stay and slow the progress of gentrification down, the need to remain in a home they’ve occupied since it was first built or the knowledge they have nowhere else to go, I found very moving. The rats, however, would have put me off years ago!

Would I recommend this book? I would. It’s going to be huge. There is something about This Is How It Ends, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, which will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.  I’ll give it a go though! It’s clever, the relationship between Molly and Ella is something quite spectacular and I loved how the story is pretty much all about the women with the few men playing a less significant role.  A great book and definitely recommended.

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of This Is How It Ends. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan was published in the UK by Raven Books on 25th January 2018 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats (with the paperback to follow later this year) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |


about the author3

eva dolan

Eva Dolan was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger for unpublished authors when only a teenager. The four novels in her Zigic and Ferreira series have been published to widespread critical acclaim: Tell No Tales and After You Die were shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year Award and After You Die was also longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. She lives in Cambridge.

Author Links: | Twitter |

#BookReview: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole (@Daniel_P_Cole) @TrapezeBooks

ragdoll.jpg“A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes & Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?”

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole is a book which has been sat on my bookshelf for some time now giving me the eye.  I have been desperate to read this intriguing tale for such a long time, and I have finally managed to do so!  Let’s face it, regular readers of the blog will know that I like my crime fiction with lots of bodies and blood.  In fact, the gorier, the better.  So on hearing that the killer creates a ragdoll made of severed limbs and various other body parts….well, there was no way I could pass this one by!

Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes is a rather notorious figure in the MET.  His career hit an all-time low during the trial of London’s most feared serial killer, The Cremation Killer.  After taking several years to himself Wolf is back in the midst of the action and facing down a new killer.  Except this one has provided a list of the intended victims and the dates they will die, alongside a macabre ragdoll which, coincidentally, points with a long-dead finger to Wolf’s newly leased apartment.  Wolf and his former partner, Detective Emily Baxter are on the case but will they be able to save the victims before it’s too late…?

I really wanted to like both Wolf and Emily Baxter but I’m afraid neither managed to provoke much of a reaction in me, I neither liked them or loathed them.  Out of the two characters, Emily Baxter was the harder to like as she came across as quite needy at times and her desire to be more than colleagues with Wolf was quite stomach churning.  But that’s me, I would happily go without a romantic interest in the books I read for, well, all eternity if I could.  Fawning over a bloke, particularly a bloke like Wolf, made her feel quite cringe-worthy to me.  This may be due to Ragdoll being the first book in the series.  There have been several occasions before where I haven’t like the lead characters in book one, only to warm to them as the series progresses.  I’m excited to see what Cole is planning next, and the good news is we don’t have to wait long.  Hangman, the second Ragdoll book, will be published in March 2018!

What I absolutely loved and what I have to commend the author on, is the fabulously inventive and original ways in which he killed off a number of the characters.  Reading this book and discovering how the next murder was carried out was like catnip to me.  I had to carry on reading, I became quite feverous wanting to know what ingenious way the killer was going to strike next.  Absolutely blinking brilliant from start to finish and I couldn’t stop reading.  I also enjoyed how Cole linked the past and the present, making sure Wolf was fully aware that he was involved in this process, whether he liked it or not!

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, I would.  This is a must read if you’re a fan of grisly crime fiction (a bit like me really!).  I can’t wait to see where Cole will take his characters next, particularly with that chilling last line of Ragdoll.  Incredibly compelling, highly inventive and full of surprises.  I very much enjoyed Ragdoll.

Four out of five stars.

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole was published in the UK by Trapeze Books on 19th October 2017 and is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats (the following Amazon links are affiliate links)
| amazon.co.ukamazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

daniel cole

Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer, and most recently for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Ragdoll is his first novel. He lives in Bournemouth, England.

Author Links: Twitter |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Killing State by Judith O’Reilly (@judithoreilly) #RandomThingsTours

KIlling State Cover Image.png“The bullet in his brain isn’t the problem.

She is.

Michael North is a hero, with a bullet in the brain to prove it. A bullet which has rewired his neural pathways and heightened his sense of intuition. A bullet which is driving him mad.

Working for an extra-governmental agency called The Board, North knows one thing for sure. He is very good at killing very bad guys.

But what happens when a hero is ordered to kill a good woman rather than a bad man? Because it turns out that rising political star, Honor Jones, MP, can’t stop asking the right questions about the wrong people.

He should follow orders. Shouldn’t he?”

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Killing State blog tour.  Killing State is author Judith O’Reilly’s first foray into the thriller genre having previously written two non-fiction books, Wife In The North and A Year of Doing Good.

Michael North is a war hero, a trained killer and a very intriguing character.  Despite not believing it possible during the opening chapters, I grew to be rather fond of him.  We first meet North as he is stalking his next target through a London park.  Honor Jones is the Tory MP for Mile End and has mere minutes to live.  But the tables are turned when Jones confronts her attacker, immediately questioning North about the whereabouts of her missing friend, Peggy.  North is thrown – he wasn’t comfortable with the kill in the first place – killing a man is easy, killing a woman is asking for something else altogether.  There’s something about Jones and her desperate need to find her friend, something about Jones’s traumatic upbringing which appeals to North’s better side, resulting in a decision that is likely to kill him in the long run.  That’s if the bullet in his brain doesn’t get him first!

Killing State is an action-packed, thrilling read.  I was intrigued by the prologue thinking it was going to be the same old, run-of-the-mill thriller where the dashing hired killer takes out (in a murderous way, of course!) the high flying female MP.  But it’s not.  The story took a twist I wasn’t expecting.  From then on I was transfixed with the relationship between North and Honor Jones.  She didn’t trust him, he didn’t know what to make of her and I loved that simmering chemistry between them!  By refusing to carry out an order from ‘The Board’, a secret government agency orchestrated by Lord Tarn, North signs his own death warrant as well as cementing Jones’s own demise.  The hunt is on.  Will North and Jones manage to find Peggy before The Board hunt them down and destroy them all?

The action in Killing State is full-on, it’s pretty darn intense and the levels of bloodshed are reasonably high (just the way I like my thrillers!).  This is a thoroughly enjoyable cat and mouse style thriller and at times I wasn’t sure which side was the cat and which side was the mouse!

O’Reilly’s cast of characters is something quite special.  Not only did I become quite fond of North, I also really warmed to the sassy, uber-intelligent, 14-year-old IT expert, Fangfang Yu.  As well as gutsy, hard as nails, Stella, and her flighty daughter, Jess.  They all add something noteworthy to this compelling multi-layered tale.

Would I recommend this book?  I would and I’m very much looking forward to reading the next book in the Michael North series.  If you’re a conspiracy fan then you will love Killing State.  Intricate, explosive and action-packed.  What more could a thriller fan want?

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Killing State.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.  My thanks to Anne Cater for asking me to feature on the blog tour and for providing me with a review copy.

Killing State by Judith O’Reilly ebook is published by Loughman Press on 6 November 2017. The paperback will be published on 15 March 2018 and will be available to buy from WH Smith Travel and Amazon.

Killing State by Judith O’Reilly was published in the UK by Loughman Press on 6th November 2017 and is available in eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author3

Judith Author Pic (1).jpgJudith O’Reilly’s claim to fame is that one of her books was a Radio 4 Book of the Week. As far as she’s concerned that’s as good as it gets.

Judith has written three books. Her latest book is called Killing State. It’s a commercial political thriller and her first novel – at least the first one she’s allowed to leave the house without her. She likes to describe it as a Lee Child meets Robert Harris, with a young and very British action hero and compelling and dynamic female characters. She may be the only person who ever thinks that. We’ll have to see.

Judith’s a former political producer with BBC 2’s Newsnight and ITN’s Channel 4 News, and a former education correspondent with The Sunday Times where she also covered politics, undercover reporting and general news. She still writes for The Sunday Times.

Her two non-fiction books were called Wife in the North and A Year of Doing Good (both published by Viking Penguin, in 2008 and 2013 respectively). Wife in the North reached number three in the UK bestsellers’ chart and was in the top ten for five weeks. It was also a top ten bestseller in Germany. It sold into ten countries, was serialised by The Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week (has she mentioned that already?), and was based on Judith’s eponymous blog which was named as one of the top 100 blogs in the world by The Sunday Times. Judith’s blog is credited with kicking off the popularity of domestic blogging in the UK. For A Year of Doing Good, she did a good deed a day for a year. It did not make her a better person. She has taught memoir and blogging at Newcastle University and occasionally advises on strategic communications. Most of all though, she writes and drinks a lot of tea. Occasionally, she shakes things up and drinks coffee.

Author Links: | Twitter |

#BlogTour #BookReview: Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister (@GillianMAuthor) @MichaelJBooks

Anything You Do Say (1).jpg“It’s the end of the night. You’re walking home on your own.

Then you hear the sound every woman dreads. Footsteps. Behind you. Coming fast.

You’re sure it’s him – the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave you alone.

You make a snap decision. You turn. You push. Your pursuer tumbles down the steps. He lies motionless, face-down on the floor.

Now What?

Call 999
Wait for the police to arrive. For judgement, for justice,whatever that may be. You just hope you husband, family and friends, everyoneyou love, will stand by you.


Stay silent. You didn’t mean to do it. You were scared, you panicked. And no one saw. No one will ever know. If you leave now. If you keep quiet. Forever.

Which is it to be?”

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Anything You Do Say blog tour.  Anything You Do Say is the second book written by Gillian McAllister and was published by Michael Joseph Books on 19th October 2017.

I am absolutely ashamed to admit that I haven’t (as yet!) managed to read McAllister’s debut, Everything But The Truth.  It’s another of my TBR that’s been giving me that come-hither look for a while now but thanks to my need to overindulge in blog tours it’s been left, literally ‘stood up’ on my bookshelf!  I promise, after having read the wonderful Anything You Do Say, to make it a top priority!

Anything You Do Say is quite possibly the cleverest suspense thriller I have read.  The author has managed to write two different stories (albeit with the same characters) in the one book!  Two for the price of one; what a bargain us readers are getting.  Following a night out and a frightening confrontation in a bar, Joanna heads home to husband Reuben.  Traipsing the streets of London she is suddenly aware that someone is following her.  A quick glance tells her it’s the man from the bar, the one that…. Joanna starts to panic, she knows he’s followed her so he can finish what he started.  Utterly consumed by fear and panic she lashes out at her attacker and watches as he falls, head first into a shallow puddle at the foot of the steps.  In a moment of misguided self-defence, Joanna has changed her life forever.  Now, the decision she makes will dictate the direction which her life takes.  Call the police and report the incident or run home to Reuben and pretend it never happened.  Which decision will it be…?

The reader is given a fascinating ‘Sliding Doors-esque‘ look into what happens to gentle, indecisive Joanna as she changes her life forever.  The chapters are headed either ‘coverwhere Joanna decides to run away from what she’s done and hide her crime from everyone, even her husband Reuben or ‘reveal‘, where Joanna dials 999 and has to live with the consequences of that decision.  I found it riveting reading, the differences created; the repercussions of her situation and how it affects absolutely everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) else in her life.  Throughout the reveal chapters, I could feel Joanna’s despair emanating from the pages in front of me.  During the cover chapters, I watched as the decision totally devastated a nice, normal middle-class woman bit by agonising bit.

I’m not sure I liked Joanna.  I wanted to, and I really felt for her but I don’t think we got anywhere near the ‘liking’ stage.  I found her a little too dreamy at times and wanted to give her a good shake so she’d wake up and actually face what was happening to her.  Joanna’s husband, Reuben is also quite a frustrating character.  He’s very closed off to everyone around him, apart from his wife who he adores in his own, special way.  I desperately wanted him to notice that Joanna was gradually falling apart during the cover but he was oblivious.  Despite not really liking either of the main characters I was, however, totally invested in their lives and where, whether it be cover or reveal, they were headed.

Beautifully written and heartbreaking in places; my congratulations to McAllister for the amount of intricate research she has put into this novel.  As a reader, it was incredibly obvious to me how much time and effort had gone in to making Joanna and Reuben come alive. 

Would I recommend this book? I would.  I don’t think I’ve read a suspense novel quite like this before.  It takes a little while to get your head around the fact that you are, essentially, reading two different stories about the same characters but it’s well worth it.  In a perfect world, I would have liked a more surprising conclusion but that’s just me and my personal taste!  Nothing more.  A great read with a very interesting plot which pulls you in and keeps you hooked till the end.

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Anything You Do Say.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.  My thanks to the author and Jenny at Michael Joseph for asking me to join the blog tour.

Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister was published in the UK by Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House on 19th October 2017 and is available in eBook and audio formats (with the paperback to follow in January 2018) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author3

Gillian (1).pngGillian McAllister has been writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated with an English degree and lives in Birmingham where she now works as a lawyer. Her debut novel Everything But The Truth was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Death’s Silent Judgement by Anne Coates (@Anne_Coates1) @urbanebooks

deaths silent judgement.jpg“Death’s Silent Judgement is the thrilling sequel to Dancers in the Wind, and continues the gripping series starring London-based investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge.

Following the deadly events of Dancers in the Wind, freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is thrown into the heart of a horrific murder investigation when a friend, Liz Rayman, is found with her throat slashed at her dental practice.

With few clues to the apparently motiveless crime Hannah throws herself into discovering the reason for her friend’s brutal murder, and is determined to unmask the killer.

But before long Hannah’s investigations place her in mortal danger, her hunt for the truth placing her in the path of a remorseless killer…”

I am absolutely delighted to be part of the Death’s Silent Judgement blog tour today alongside the lovely Linda of Linda’s Book Bag.  I would also like to wish author, Anne Coates and publisher Urbane Books a very happy publication day!  I read and reviewed the first book in the Hannah Weybridge series, Dancers in the Wind last year.  If you missed that review or would just like a reminder, click here to read my thoughts.  I really enjoyed the first book so was thrilled to be asked to join the blog tour for Death’s Silent Judgement.

Being reacquainted with Hannah Weybridge once again was great.  Dancers in the Wind has very much stayed with me since I read it last year and I often just stop and think about Hannah.  She’s a struggling journalist but also a single mum to one year old Elizabeth.  In the first book Hannah just seemed to attract trouble wherever she went so I was keen to see if the same would happen in the second book.  And it certainly does! Hannah discovers her friend’s recently murdered body in a church basement.  Her friend, Liz Rayman, has recently returned from a stint volunteering at an outpost in Somalia.  On her return to London and as a qualified dentist, she was recruited by the local parish priest to offer free dental treatment to those living on the streets.  But whilst the priest is absent one evening, Liz is brutally murdered.  All of the signs point to one of the homeless people Liz was trying to help but Hannah can’t and won’t believe that theory.  Tasked by Liz’s mother to investigate, Hannah sets out to discover exactly why her friend was so brutally killed.  But what Hannah doesn’t realise is that she’s getting involved in something much bigger than she expects.  This goes way beyond the murder of her friend and into darker territory than she ever imagined.

I found the Dancers in the Wind to be quite a gritty, raw read.  Unfortunately between the first and the second book something has been lost.  I’m afraid to say that I didn’t get that edginess this time around.  Hannah came across as a nice, middle class mother who could easily afford to employ a nanny to look after her child whilst she went undercover in Cardboard City for a few hours, only to return to her comfortable home and sleeping baby.  I felt as though she had lost a lot of the ‘struggle’ which I really liked in the first book.

It may of course be something to do with the friction and the chemistry created by love interest DI Tom Jordan being completely absent.  Tom was working in the US throughout much of the story and was only available by telephone.  I really missed having this character involved in the investigation.

There is a new DI in Tom’s place for Hannah to deal with but I found her quite contrary. DI Claudia Turner blows hot and cold and I couldn’t work her out at all.  I hope Tom returns in the next book and DI Turner is only seen in passing.  When I think of this series I always tend to think of Hannah AND Tom so was maybe a little disappointed that the hunky DI felt too far away to be properly involved.

Something I haven’t mention in this or my previous review is that these books are set in the early to mid-nineties which I love.  There were several points when I thought ‘Oh, why doesn’t Hannah do that?’ only to realise that THAT hadn’t been invented back in 1994!  I left school around 1994 and I was just starting to take an interest in the world around me so it does feel a little nostalgic and who doesn’t love a little nostalgia in their reads?

The plot was fast moving and kept my attention from start to finish.  Even now, several days after finishing Death’s Silent Judgement I feel there are loose ends which I can’t tie up in my own mind.  Now this may to enable a third book in the series but I am left feeling a little confused and wondering.

Death’s Silent Judgement is the second book in the Hannah Weybridge series so I would recommend reading Dancers in the Wind first so you get to know the characters and their backgrounds.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  I love Anne Coates’ writing and I would read more of Anne’s work in a heartbeat.  Dancers in the Wind is, in my opinion, the superior book but this one is definitely worth a read.

Three and a half out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Death’s Silent Judgement.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Death’s Silent Judgement by Anne Coates was published in the UK by Urbane Publications on 11th May 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author2

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Author photo and information taken from Anne Coates’ website

All my life I have loved reading and writing. As a child I devoured books (following my mother’s example) and was encouraged by the Deputy Head at my secondary school. It was a brand new school and the actual library was not then open so books were stored in a room off his study. He allowed me to exchange books whenever I wanted which seemed an amazing privilege.

After reading for a degree in English and French, I came to London to begin my career and never left. Having worked for various publishers, I then moved to magazine journalism before becoming a freelance writer, editor and translator.

My first non-fiction books were written after the birth of my daughter Olivia (who is still known to friends as Libby) and some have been inspired by her or various stages in her life. It is an absolute joy for me that she shares my love of books, theatre, cinema as well as wining and dining.

My freelance journalism has led me to some strange places – for example a gas platform in the North Sea via helicopter – but I love how it has also informed my fiction. The idea for Dancers in the Wind emerged after I had interviewed a prostitute and then wondered “what if…”.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |



#BlogTour | #BookReview: No Safe Home by Tara Lyons (@taralyonsauthor) @BloodhoundBook

No Safe HOme cover.jpg“Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is haunted when the suspicious death of a teenage girl triggers suppressed memories. With a stalker targeting vulnerable women in Central London, and his team rapidly diminishing, Hamilton must conquer his emotions before another family is destroyed. 

In a sleepy town in Hertfordshire, Katy has worked hard to rebuild her life after leaving behind everything she knew. But when her past catches up with her, and her young son’s life is threatened, Katy must admit her true identity if she has any hope of surviving.

A home should be a safe place, shouldn’t it?

But sometimes it is hard to know who you can trust…

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my stop on the No Safe Home blog tour.  I have been waiting for the release of this book for some time now, ever since I read Tara Lyon’s brilliant debut solo novel In the Shadows last year.  In the Shadows was so good that it made it onto my top reads of 2016 list.  A brilliant, twisty story with one of the most appealing fictional detectives I have met in a long time.  And he’s back!  This is book two in the DI Denis Hamilton series and oh my gosh, it’s a corker!

DI Hamilton and his team become involved in two brutal cases.  The first, a young teenager who has apparently committed suicide in her bedroom.  Her parents don’t believe for one moment that it’s suicide – they know their daughter was murdered.  DI Hamilton’s reaction to the case is strange…unexpected and he hastily makes a retreat leaving the case in the capable yet nervy hands of DS Kerry Fraser.  The second case involves the murder of a woman and her young son, left to decompose for weeks before being discovered. Meanwhile, Katy Royal is hiding something.  She’s upped sticks and moved from the busy, bustling city to a leafy Hertfordshire town.  She’s incognito and plans to do absolutely everything she can to stay that way.  Even if it means her young son has to spend the majority of his time tucked away in their flat.  But someone is watching and wanting Katy all for himself, and they will stop at nothing to find her.  But is he the only one?  And, most importantly, is he the most dangerous?

I absolutely loved this book.  I couldn’t wait to be reacquainted with the grumpy yet lovable DI.  I felt whilst reading In the Shadows that DI Denis Hamilton was one of the main characters but he wasn’t THE main character.  I found the man intriguing and I wanted to know more.  And that is exactly what Tara Lyons has done, she’s given us a whole lot more Denis. No Safe Home provides us with DI Hamilton’s tragic backstory, we get to meet his long suffering wife and see snippets of their marriage and the after effects of their loss.  He’s a lot nicer than the majority of detectives I like to read about so maybe I’m mellowing with age!

The prologue is both shocking and terrifying.  After reading it, I put my Kindle down, got out of bed and went to check on my sleeping children.  It’s not often that a book has that kind of affect on me!  From that point on I was hooked.  Katy makes you instantly suspicious and you want to know exactly what she is running away from.  What has she left behind in London and why?  As the story progressed I began to feel a real warmth and lots of sympathy for Katy; after all, she’s just a young single mum trying to do what’s best for her son.

Whilst reading the closing chapters I suddenly realised that I was holding my breath!  The plot moves at a swift, exciting pace making the book hard to put down.  Although this is the second book in the series I think it could easily be read as standalone as there is little to no mention of the previous case undertaken by Denis and his team.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but something about this book, compared to Tara’s previous solo release, felt different.  The writing style felt more self assured, more knowledgeable…dare I say, more mature?

Would I recommend this book?  Most definitely.  It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read and I can’t wait for more DI Denis Hamilton.  I can’t remember the last time I felt so much fear whilst reading…I thought reading was supposed to be relaxing!  Gripping plot, great storytelling and relatable characters.

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of No Safe Home.  My thanks to Bloodhound Books for providing me with a copy and asking me to be a part of the blog tour.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

No Safe Home by Tara Lyons was published in the UK by Bloodhound Books on 31st January 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Bloodhound Books |




Tara is a crime/psychological thriller author from London, UK. Turning 30 in 2015 propelled her to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. She studied English Literature at Brunel University and was Assistant Editor at an in-house magazine for 8 years,

In the Shadows is the author’s solo debut novel published in March 2016. She has also co-written with New York Times bestselling author, M.A Comley – The Caller and Web of Deceit.

When she’s not writing, Tara can be found at a local Wacky Warehouse stuck in the ball-pit with her young, energetic son.

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Website |



#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates (@Anne_Coates1) @urbanepub

51spunndbkl-_sx324_bo1204203200_SHE IS HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH, BUT WHO IS HUNTING HER?

Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan.

When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence. Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat.

As she comes to realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth …. and stay alive.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Dancers in the Wind blog tour and let me tell you…this is one fantastic book.  Dancers in the Wind is author Anne Coates debut thriller novel and I for one hope there is a lot more to come.

To celebrate the publication of Dancers in the Wind (which happened on 13th October 2016) I have a brilliant guest post from Anne Coates to share with you today.  Anne has written a fascinating piece which gives an insight into one of the many processes a book goes through before it reaches publication.  What a skill to have!

Gamekeeper turned poacher?
How editing and abridging books has informed my own writing

While I have been writing most of my life, I have also been an editor and an abridger of both fiction and non-fiction. This started with my staff job on Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home and, after I went freelance, with Reader’s Digest (books) and Orion for their Compact Editions series and as a fiction consultant for a part-work.

I had to undergo training at Reader’s Digest – they have very specific rules and guidelines – and have worked for them for most of my freelance life. Every year they had a huge lunch party in London inviting publishers, agents, authors and celebrities. The first year I was invited I felt like I was the recipient of one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets!

Meeting one of the authors I mentioned that I’d cut his novel. He and his wife exchanged a glance and I cursed myself for being an idiot. Then his wife said, “It was amazing. Try as we might, we couldn’t see what you’d cut out.” And that is what abridgers aim for – a shorter book where the reader can’t see the joins. Needless to say I was chuffed to bits.

Memoirs are often easier to cut as authors tend to give too many people their back-stories which are mostly superfluous. If my eyes glaze over during my first readings, it’s a sign that something needs to be cut.

The effect this has had on my own work is that I write succinctly.  This was a perfect style for my short tales with a twist and flash fiction but for my novels I have had to learn to expand and develop both characters and narrative.

My first draft often reads like a series of disconnected scenes and I rewrite and rewrite until I’m satisfied everything works. Even so mistakes can get through – even for the best writers. In Mill on the Floss, the dog changes sex halfway through the book!

Timelines are so important. When abridging a book, I probably read it at least six times and probably am more intimate with it by the end than the author. I found a plot flaw when working on Anna Karenina that would probably (and has) passed most people by. Plus another well-known author had an eleven-month pregnancy in her novel.

But just in case you think I am getting above myself, I realised recently while writing the sequel to Dancers in the Wind, that I’d included a real event, which had actually happened the year before Death’s Silent Judgement is set. It made me think of the biblical quote: “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged… Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?”

So please forgive any logs of my own making – although I am sure the pros at Urbane Publications will have eliminated them.

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This is a very enjoyable novel which I devoured in the space of 24 hours.  No scrap that, it was more like 7 hours which for me, is super speed reading.  I couldn’t put it down.  Once I became immersed in Hannah and Caroline’s tale, I was hooked!  Before starting this book I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The cover suggested murder and violence but the title…didn’t!  I now know why the book is called Dancers in the Wind and I feel a little silly.  It all fits perfectly!

Freelance journalist Hannah Weybridge is working on a feature to coincide with the release of a television documentary featuring young prostitute, Princess and new copper on block, DI Tom Jordan.  The interview with Princess opens Hannah’s eyes and she hears things about life on the streets that she would prefer not to.  With DI Jordan it’s clear to see the sparks fly but Hannah is far too professional to make anything of it.  And DI Jordan has enough on his plate trying to solve the murder of a local prostitute. When the body of a second girl is found Tom is suddenly aware that the first murder was not the work of an overly frisky punter but something much more sinister.

Hannah meanwhile is getting on with her life, having forgotten all about the prostitute and the cop; she has a six month old daughter to care for and being a single mum she needs the phone to ring with more work.  But instead of the phone ringing, the doorbell rings late one night.  On her doorstep Hannah finds the badly beaten body of Princess, she’s barely alive.  Against her better judgement Hannah gives the girl shelter and cleans her up.  But what has Princess brought to Hannah’s door?  Are Hannah and her baby daughter safe? And will those responsible be held to account for their actions, or are they beyond the reach of the law…?

One of the things that stood out for me in this book is the fact that the main protagonist is a  journalist rather than a detective or PI.  She’s not really an investigative reporter either, she’s just a normal mum trying to do the best for her baby daughter.  That appealed to me and I found it refreshing (surely I’m not growing tired of my grumpy, addiction riddled cops…am I?).  Granted, DI Tom Jordan does feature quite heavily but he is by no means the star of the show.  This story belongs to Hannah and Princess (AKA Caroline).

It’s a gritty read and in some places quite shocking.  My attention was held from the opening chapters to the very end.  Once I’d finished the book I felt quite bereft and wanted more (there is a sequel on the way – no pressure, Anne Coates!).

This is another read where you suspect pretty much every character at one point or another.  I always enjoy books which use that formula as I’m always keen to hone my detective skills.

Would I recommend this book?  I most certainly would.  Brilliant characters with heaps of mystery to keep you guessing.  A thoroughly enjoyable and absorbing read.

Four and a half stars out of five.

Many thanks to Liz Barnsley, Urbane Publications, NetGalley and Anne Coates for providing me with a copy of Dancers in the Wind in exchange for honest review.

Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates was published in the UK by Urbane Publications on 13th October 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Urbane Publications |

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annecoatesFor most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both.

Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, Anne has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books.

Born in Clapham, Anne returned to London after graduating and has remained there ever since. In an attempt to climb out of her comfort zone, Anne has twice “trod the boards” – as Prince Bourgrelas in Ubu Roi when a student and more recently as a nun in a local murder mystery production. She also sings periodically in a local church choir and is relieved when she begins and finishes at the same time – though not necessarily on the same note – as everyone else. Needless to say, Anne will not be giving up her day job as an editor and writer.

Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind began with a real event followed by a “what if …” That is also the case with the two prize-winning 99Fiction.net stories: Codewords and Eternal Love.

Anne is currently working on the sequel to Dancers in the Wind.

Author Links:Twitter | Website | Blog |