#BlogTour: CWA Anthology of Short Stories edited by @medwardsbooks @the_cwa @OrendaBooks

CWA_Cover_Image.jpg“Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour. Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood. Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

Contributions from:
Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor, Susi Holliday, Martin Edwards, Anna Mazzola, Carol Anne Davis, Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson, Ed James, Gordon Brown, J.M. Hewitt, Judith Cutler, Julia Crouch, Kate Ellis, Kate Rhodes, Martine Bailey, Michael Stanley, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul Charles, Paul Gitsham, Peter Lovesey, Ragnar Jónasson, Sarah Rayne, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Vaseem Khan, William Ryan and William Burton McCormick”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to damppebbles today and to my stop on the CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour blog tour.  When an email arrived in my inbox headed ‘CWA Anthology blog tour’, well, my heart skipped a beat.  It’s the kind of invitation that this little crime blogger was made for.  I didn’t hesitate in replying with a big, fat ‘YES PLEASE’.  I just had to be a part of this tour.

I am a fan of short story collections and anthologies.  I enjoy the variety, the way the author has to make their point in a significantly reduced number of words and still make it interesting and believable.  I love that anthologies give the reader the opportunity to dip in and out as they choose.  In particular, I love THIS collection of worldly crime stories.  So much so that I would go as far as saying this is the best collection I have read for some time.

When it comes to reviewing an anthology I’m always in two minds.  Do I review each story individually or the book as a whole?  I normally end up reviewing the book rather than the individual works, after all, who wants to read a 2500 word book review?!  I’m going to stick to form and review the CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour as a whole.  However, I would like to say that it would be very easy to review each story individually.  In other collections, I have tended to find one or two stories where I wouldn’t know what to say.  That would not be the case with the CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour, which is truly a magnificent collection of crime fiction.

Editor and contributor, Martin Edwards, introduces the book to the reader explaining how the participating writers were given the Mystery Tour theme with many interesting and different interpretations.  Then we are thrown head first into the first offering, written by Ann Cleeves and titled ‘The Queen of Mystery’.  I loved this story and thought it was a chilling yet elegant way to start the collection.  It made me want to read more, I wanted to know whether the high standard shown by Cleeves could be backed up by her fellow contributing writers.  And it could, it was.

If I listed every story I enjoyed then I would be basically giving you the contents page!  And I’m sure you don’t need me to do that.  ‘Accounting for Murder’ by Christine Poulson demonstrated a very different way of telling a crime story which I found incredibly interesting.  At points, I wondered how the tale was going to be tied up but it was done well and felt strangely satisfying.  My absolute favourite story in the entire book was written by William Ryan and is titled ‘The Spoils‘.  The tale of a woman wronged and how deadly that can be – absolutely marvellous!

One of the other benefits of reading an anthology, and I find this quite often in the crime genre, is that writers who produce a series tend to include a short story featuring their main character.  I was delighted to meet Ed James’s Detective Scott Cullen for the first time in ‘Travel is Dangerous’, having wanted to read James’s work for some time now.  The same with Vaseem Khan’s Inspector Chopra in ‘Bombay Brigadoon’.  Not only are these short stories very satisfying for existing fans but they work as excellent taster pieces for new readers.

Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely.  I could go on for hours telling you about the cleverly crafted tales, about the obvious love and devotion the writers have for their craft.  I could include how much I, personally, appreciate crime writers and want to thank each and every one of them for the hours of enjoyment they give us readers (me!).  I could, but I won’t today because I’ve gone on long enough already!  Maybe I’ll save that for another time.

I love international crime so this was pretty much the perfect read for me.  Chock-full of GREAT stories, written by some remarkably talented people and the perfect Christmas gift for the crime fiction fan in your life.  This is a must-read book.  Don’t miss out!

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.  My thanks to Anne and Orenda Books for asking me to join the tour and providing me with a review copy.

CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour edited by Martin Edwards was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th November 2017 and is available in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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#BookReview: The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel (@AndreaSchenkel) @riverrunbooks

the murder farm cover.jpg“A whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch, his put-upon devoutly religious wife, and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter, Marianne. Also murdered was the Danners’ new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. Despite the brutal nature of the killings and the small village where it has taken place, the police have no leads. Officially the crime is unsolved. And then a former resident returns home…The Murder Farm is an unconventional detective story. The author interweaves testament from the villagers, an oblique view of the murderer, occasional third-person narrative pieces and passages of pious devotion. The narrator leaves the village unaware of the truth, only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.”

Yay!  I’ve managed to read one of my own books for the first time in a while.  Not only is it one of my books, it’s one my husband gave me (if you missed my ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ post and don’t know what I’m on about, then please click here).

I have a penchant for dark reads.  I also love translated crime, particularly German and Japanese novels (well…everyone else loves Nordic noir, don’t they!).  So this book, originally published in and set in Germany, was an absolute joy to read.  First off, I should mention that this is a short read.  I’m not a fast reader but this took only a couple of hours from start to finish.  The themes of the book (aside from the grisly Truman Capote-esque, ‘based on a true’ story murder) are quite hard-hitting and distressing.  I can’t say what they are though as that would be giving too much away.

The Murder Farm is set in post-war Germany in a small farm based community where outsiders are condemned before they set foot in the village.  But that doesn’t stop the locals having a say about their own.  Particularly when it comes to the Danner family, who have a habit of keeping themselves pretty much to themselves.  Everyone knows what happens at the Danner farm.  They employ ‘tramps’ and ‘ne’er do wells’ to work the land. Not to mention the……other thing.  When the entire household are found slaughtered, everyone has an opinion and they’re more than willing to share it….

I loved the slow build of this book.  It’s presented beautifully with a statement from one of the locals, and then immediately followed by what actually happened.  I loved seeing the difference in what was perceived and what was real.  It’s a dark, edgy story which is done to perfection with heaps of lovely small town paranoia.  At the end of the novel you and you alone discover whodunit.  There is no high action arresting of the culprit, no hauling over the coals.  Just a return to normal small town life; one with a murderer in their midst.

Would I recommend this book?  I would, most definitely.  Beautifully eerie, wonderfully dark and completely compelling.  Hubby did good in choosing this one for me, I think we were a perfect match (that’s me and the book by the way!)

Four and a half stars out of five.

The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel was published in the UK by Riverrun Books on 8th January 2009 and is available in hardcover, paperback and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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andrea-maria-schenkel.jpgAndrea Maria Schenkel, born in 1962, lives in Regensburg. 2006 saw her debut  The Murder Farm cause a sensation. The novel was awarded the Martin Beck Award for the best international crime scene in 2007 with the German Crime Prize, the Friedrich Glauser Prize and the Corine, 2008. The book sold over a million times, was translated into twenty languages and filmed for cinema. For her second book  Kalteis  (2007) she received for the second consecutive time the German Thriller Prize. Recently published  Finsterau (2012) and  Deceiver  (2013).

Author Links: Twitter |

#BlogTour #BookReview: A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley (@detectivekubu) @OrendaBooks

51rRel5hflL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_‘There’s no easy way to say this, Kubu. Your father’s dead. I’m afraid he’s been murdered.’

“Faced with the violent death of his own father, even Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu, Botswana CID’s keenest mind, is baffled. Who would kill such a frail old man? The picture becomes even murkier with the apparent suicide of a government official. Are Chinese mine-owners involved? And what role does the US Embassy have to play?

Set amidst the dark beauty of modern Botswana, A Death in the Family is a thrilling insight into a world of riots, corruption and greed, as a complex series of murders presents the opera-loving, wine connoisseur detective with his most challenging case yet. When grief-stricken Kubu defies orders and sets out on the killers’ trail, startling and chilling links emerge, spanning the globe and setting a sequence of shocking events in motion. Will Kubu catch the killers in time … and find justice for his father?”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the A Death in the Family blog tour.  A Death in the Family is book 5 in the Detective Kubu series written by brilliant writing team, Michael Stanley (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip).

It’s so good to have Kubu back!  At the start of August I had my first introduction to the very likeable Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu when I reviewed the wonderful Deadly Harvest.  If you missed that review, you can check it out by clicking here.  I was so looking forward to catching up with the man affectionately named ‘hippo’ once again and I was not disappointed!  It was a joy to read this book so soon after Deadly Harvest as the characters and the stunning setting of Botswana, were still fresh in my mind.

Assistant Superintendent Bengu receives a call in the middle of the night telling him that his father is dead.  A parent passing is bad enough but Kubu’s world crumbles when he discovers his father has been murdered.  He’s keen to start working on the case but Director Mabaku puts a halt on any involvement immediately.  Instead Kubu is tasked with investigating the apparent suicide of a government official.  Elsewhere the people of Shoshong are on the brink of catastrophe.  Having been offered jobs, the young men are keen to encourage the expansion of the local Chinese-run mine, but the Chief and Elders are more concerned about upholding tradition.  Anger starts to build and is set to erupt with explosive consequences.  Chock full of suspense, intrigue and corruption; will Kubu manage to find the cause of the official’s death, and more importantly, can he discover who killed his elderly father…?

I was surprisingly saddened by Kubu’s father’s death, having only met him once before in Deadly Harvest.  He seemed like such a kind gentle man that I found his murder quite unsettling (I’d read the back of the book and was fully expecting it – maybe I’m just a softie!).  I fell a little more in love with Kubu this time around, despite him being a relatively normal kind of guy and not my usual dark and dangerous detective.  You find out a lot more about him and what makes him tick in this book.  My feelings towards Samantha Khama haven’t changed one iota, I still dislike the woman!  She really doesn’t do herself any favours in my eyes. So I was rather pleased that Kubu was a touch colder towards her.

The plot was clever, intricate and interesting throughout.  My husband studied geology at university so we had a lovely chat about mining for minerals and rare earth elements (he chatted, I listened…I’m still none the wiser!).

I’m still amazed that two people can write so well together yet make it sound like one voice. Just goes to show what fantastic writer’s Mr Sears and Mr Trollip are!

Would I recommend this book?  I most certainly would.  I think it works well as a standalone.  I, however, enjoyed it more because the characters and the landscapes were familiar to me.  A cleverly written police procedural which is full of mystery and suspense featuring some wonderful characters – what’s not to love?

Four out of five stars.

Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of A Death in the Family in exchange for an honest review.

A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th July 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Orenda Books |

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A1tzuKdGl0L._UX250_Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award. The next in the Detective Kubu series is A Death in the Family, also published by Orenda Books.  Connect with Michael Stanley via Twitter @detectivekubu.

 

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: The Devil’s Daughters by Diana Bretherick (@DianaBretherick)

TDD - paperback jacket.jpg“1888. When young Scottish scientist James Murray receives a letter from Sofia Esposito, a woman he once loved and lost, he cannot refuse her cry for help. Sofia’s fifteen-year-old cousin has vanished but, because of her lower-class status, the police are unwilling to investigate.

Accompanied by his younger sister Lucy, Murray returns to the city of Turin where he was once apprenticed to the world-famous criminologist, Cesare Lombroso. As he embarks on his search for the missing girl, Murray uncovers a series of mysterious disappearances of young women and rumours of a haunted abbey on the outskirts of the city.

When the body of one of the girls turns up bearing evidence of a satanic ritual, Murray begins to slot together the pieces of the puzzle. But as two more bodies are discovered, fear grips the city and a desperate hunt begins to find a truly terrifying killer before he claims his next victim.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to my stop on The Devil’s Daughters blog tour. The Devil’s Daughters is the second book featuring Cesare Lombroso and his trainee criminal anthropologist, James Murray.  Those criminologists among you may recognise Lombroso’s name (well, you should do, anyway!) as Lombroso (1835-1909) was one of the founding fathers in the study of criminology.

Today I am delighted to share a guest post with you, written by the very talented author of The Devil’s Daughters, Diana Bretherick.  And to round things off, I have my review of this wonderful book.  So, without further ado, I’ll hand over to Diana…

Writing Crime Fiction.

Let me begin by telling you about my own ‘criminal past’. It began when I was about 11 and ‘stole’ my mother’s library books. Technically I suppose I borrowed them but as she didn’t know what I was doing and probably would have stopped me if she had, I was forced to go under cover – literally – with a torch under my bed sheets which made it all the more thrilling. She was an avid fan of crime writing, both fiction and true crime and I was immediately drawn into a dark world of murder, complicated puzzles and deception –a world that I have never really left.

I was particularly fascinated by old mysteries firmly rooted in a dark past where there was a doubt over the guilt of the accused, usually a woman – Florence Maybrick who was almost certainly wrongly convicted of poisoning her husband with arsenic and served many years in prison before her release, Edith Thompson hanged for the murder of her husband even though it was her young lover who wielded the knife, Alma Rattenbury who was acquitted of a similar spousal murder but committed suicide anyway – distraught at her lover being sentenced to death. Injustice, passion and misogyny lay at the heart of all of these cases and fired up my adolescent self, making me want to stand up for those falsely accused. Eventually I became a criminal barrister but reality never quite measured up to the drama of the past and the motivation behind a crime often took a back seat.

I wanted to know more. I took a sabbatical and trained as a counsellor, working with serious sexual offenders at Brixton prison as a volunteer. That was a fascinating though occasionally disturbing experience. It did answer some of my questions but not all, so I studied criminology. Here I found a whole host of theories none of which were completely satisfactory. As with all theories about anything they were always flawed in one way or another. I began to look at how crime was represented through media of various kinds. This led me to wonder if I could write my own crime fiction. I decided to study for a Masters in creative writing.

Thinking back to those stories from the past I focused on historical crime fiction. How did our ideas about criminals and their motivation begin? It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that crime was studied at all as a separate phenomenon. Then an Italian doctor called Cesare Lombroso discovered an anomaly in the skull of a criminal. Could it be, he wondered, that all offenders had similar characteristics? Lombroso was the world’s first criminologist and he suggested that some criminals were born with a propensity to offend, that they were throwbacks from a more primitive past and their physical characteristics would help us to identify them. He had his critics but many supported his ideas. He was the first to write about female criminals as a separate entity, something that didn’t happen again until the mid twentieth century.

I decided to make Lombroso my detective drawing on my fascination with both criminology and crime fiction. So far I have written two novels about him, giving him fictitious cases to solve assisted by a fictitious young Scottish doctor James Murray.

I am not sure that I have ever really found an answer to my question of what motivates someone to commit a violent crime. It is true that recent developments in the field of neuro-criminology suggest that some may have a propensity to violence identifiable from their genes although their criminality is almost certainly triggered by environmental factors.

Why then do people commit crimes, particularly of a violent kind? I doubt that we will ever find a conclusive answer. The thing about all of us, including criminals, is that we are all different as are the situations we find ourselves in. That is why both the study of crime and its fictional counterpart are so endlessly fascinating and why my ‘life of crime’ goes on.

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Who doesn’t love a bit of historical crime every now and then!  And if you don’t, can I suggest that you read this book?  It will totally change your mind!

James Murray receives a letter from his Italian love, asking for help but saying little else.  He’s a dashing and chivalrous kind of chap so he runs to her aide with his teenage sister, Lucy, in tow.  Upon arrival in Turin he discovers that Sofia is not keen to rekindle their love affair as hoped; all she wants is James’ help in finding her missing cousin, Chiara.  Broken-hearted, James sets out on the hunt for Chiara, only to discover the disfigured body of a girl.  Before long he and his mentor Lombroso, are on the hunt for a savage killer.  It doesn’t help that someone is out to discredit James and have him returned to Scotland.  It also doesn’t help that someone has their eye on his sister…

This is a fantastic book which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I try and avoid reading historical crime on a regular basis as it’s a special treat to myself, and this book goes to prove my theory about it being a treat.  What a treat The Devil’s Daughters is!  I loved the plot of this enchanting novel (enchanting makes it sound all light and fluffy – it’s not, it’s got just the right amount of blood, guts and a little bit of gore!).  I was drawn in from very early on and completely mesmerised by some wonderful characters who felt very real to me (yes, I know Lombroso was a real person!).  I adored James, what a kind hearted and chivalrous young man.  He, to me, felt like the main protagonist with Lombroso taking a back seat.  Lucy’s desire to become an accomplished writer of detective novels was so very charming, along with her desire to do what the blinking heck she wants to do, gender aside!  I even liked Miss Trott (what am I saying, I loved Miss Trott!).

Although I found the reveal of the murderer a little obvious, there were plenty of other surprises along the way to keep my interest.  Red herrings galore to keep you guessing, just the way I like my crime novels. It’s a brilliant book and, I’ll say it again, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’m off to add the first book, City of Devils, to my wishlist!

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  It’s a wonderfully written historical crime novel, with an endearing cast of believable characters.  I hope there is more to come from James Murray and Lombroso, but we’ll have to see.

Four out of five stars.

Many thanks to Emma Dowson, Orion Books and Diana Bretherick for providing me with a copy of The Devil’s Daughters in exchange for an honest review.

The Devil’s Daughters by Diana Bretherick will be published in the UK by Orion Books on 25th August 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Orion Crime |

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Diana Bretherick

Diana Bretherick was a criminal barrister for ten years and is a former lecturer in criminology and criminal justice at the University of Portsmouth.

Her first novel, City of Devils (Orion, 2013) was selected for the 2013 Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club. Her latest novel The Devil’s Daughters is recently published by Orion in paperback.  Connect with Diana via Twitter @DianaBretherick or Orion Crime @orion_crime.

Guest Post: Alison Baillie (author of Sewing The Shadows Together) #damppebbesTakeOver

Today it is my great pleasure to welcome the very talented Alison Baillie, author of Sewing The Shadows Together, to damppebbles.  Alison has written a wonderful post explaining the inspiration behind the people and places in her debut novel.  If you haven’t come across Sewing The Shadows Together before, here is the blurb:

cover STST“Can you ever get over the death of your sister? Or of your best friend?

More than 30 years after 13-year-old Shona McIver was raped and murdered in Portobello, the seaside suburb of Edinburgh, the crime still casts a shadow over the lives of her brother Tom and her best friend Sarah.

“Shona had been gone for so long but the memories still came unexpectedly, sometimes like a video from the past, sometimes distorted dreams, but she was always there.”

When modern DNA evidence shows that the wrong man was convicted of the crime, the case is reopened. So who did kill Shona? Sarah and Tom are caught up in the search for Shona’s murderer, and suspicions fall on family and friends. The foundations of Sarah’s perfect family life begin to crumble as she realises that nothing is as it appears. Dark secrets from the past are uncovered, and there is another death, before the identity of the real killer is finally revealed…

Set in Edinburgh, the Outer Hebrides and South Africa, Sewing the Shadows Together is a thoroughly modern murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing to the end. Filled with characters who could easily be friends, family or people we work with, it asks the question:

Do we ever really know the people closest to us?”

Alison has kindly offered me a review copy of Sewing The Shadows Together so look out for a review on damppebbles soon (ish!).

Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

Like many debut novelists people are always asking me if the story is based on my life, or if the characters are based on real people. It is totally fictional, but places and people have inspired the book and incidents from my life have been woven into it.

The story is told through the eyes of Tom and Sarah, the brother and best friend of a teenage girl who was murdered in Portobello, the seaside suburb of Edinburgh, in the seventies. They meet up again after many years, at a school reunion, and feel an instant connection because of their shared experience.

They have both been scarred by what happened. Tom and his family emigrated to South Africa after the tragedy, where Tom has drifted, never having a proper job or a real relationship.  Sarah keeps up the pretence of a lovely family life in her beautiful Edinburgh New Town flat, typified by Sunday lunches with her TV chat show host husband, her grown-up twins and her widowed mother. However, cracks soon appear beneath the facade of her perfect life.

When the local misfit who had been convicted of the crime is proved to be innocent, Tom and Sarah are caught up n the search for the real killer and dark family secrets are revealed as suspicions fall on family and friends before the truth finally comes to light.

The idea for Sewing the Shadows Together first came to me when I was teaching at Portobello High School nearly forty years ago. There were several high-profile murders in Scotland at that time and I couldn’t stop thinking about the effect this must have on the family and friends of the victims. The seeds of the novel were planted then, but it took many years before I actually wrote it and many things that happened in-between influenced the plot.

portobello beach

Portobello beach

The main settings of the book are based on places I know well. Portobello is a
very important place to me, my mother came from there and we always spent family holidays there when I was young. In the book I try to capture the special atmosphere of this Victorian resort with its promenade beside the long beach with the distant coast of Fife shimmering in the haze beyond the Firth of Forth.

I lived in Edinburgh for many years and I enjoyed writing about the Georgian buildings, the cobbled streets, the silhouette of the castle against the northern sky,  and also the bars that I love there.

Part of the book is also set in the Outer Hebrides, where Tom goes to scatter his mother’s ashes (the reason he came back to Scotland) and this section was based on a poignant holiday I spent there with a dear friend of mine, when we scattered her husband’s ashes on a deserted beach at sunset. I’ve tried to capture the wild isolated atmosphere of these islands, which made a great impression on me.

When I started writing the book, Tom and his family went to Australia, a country I’ve only visited once. But I’ve spent several holidays in Plettenberg Bay, a beautiful seaside resort on the cape coast of South Africa and realised this would be a much better place for them to go. I wrote quite a lot of the book there, inspired by walks along the wonderful beach, watching the dolphins leap in the crashing waves.

People ask if Sarah is me, and I suppose she does reflect part of my personality (although I’ve never had to suffer as she did) but there are also parts of me in Tom, and Rory, Sarah’s husband, is partly based on my ex-husband.  As the book is about ordinary people in extraordinary situations I always tried to imagine how I would react if I were in their position, although fortunately I haven’t had to suffer as they do.

Other incidents also found their place in the story. I went to a school reunion, and thought then that this would be a good starting point for the book, where back-stories could be introduced in a natural way. At this school reunion I also met my favourite old English teacher, who shares some characteristics with HJ Kidd, the teacher in the story, but only the nice aspects!

I vividly remember sitting in the classroom with this teacher as a thirteen-year-old when we read the poem Bat, by DH Lawrence. This poem is set in Florence at the Ponte Vecchio, where the poem was watching the swallows flying. Suddenly he realises that the flying creatures are not swallows but bats. This poem made a big impression on me, and I include this scene in the book as it reflects the theme of appearance and reality. The title Sewing the Shadows Together also comes from this poem.

All works of fiction are bound to reflect aspects of the writer’s life, and mine does too. Many readers have written to me saying how they could identify with certain scenes and characters.  I’m always thrilled by this and am glad it also reflects the experiences of readers, as a wife, husband, brother, mother, child or friend. I also love it when readers say they could feel themselves in the scenes with my characters and experience the setting. Lots of people who have never been to Scotland have said it made them want to jump on the next plane!

My next book is partly set in Scotland, where my heart will always be, but there is also sections set in Switzerland where I now live. I hope that readers will also be able to identify with these settings.

Thank you, Emma, for having me as a guest on your lovely damppebbles blog.  You can read more about me on my website, www.alisonbaillie.com on Facebook at Alison Baillie Author https://www.facebook.com/alisonbaillieauthor/ and occasionally on Twitter at alisonbailliex.

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A pleasure Alison, thank you for your fantastic post.  Please feel free to stop by damppebbles again soon.

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Alison Taylor-Baillie

ALISON BAILLIE was brought up in Ilkley, Yorkshire by Scottish parents. She studied English at the University of St Andrews, before teaching English in Edinburgh secondary schools and EFL in Finland and Switzerland. Now she spends her time reading, writing, travelling, playing with her granddaughter and attending crime writing festivals.

*Blog Tour: Review* Outside Looking In by Michael Wood

51-x44K35eL“When elderly George Rainsford goes to investigate a suspicious noise one night, the last thing he expects to find is a bloodbath. A man has been killed and a woman brutally beaten, left for dead.

The victims are Lois Craven and Kevin Hardaker – both married, but not to each other. Their spouses swear they knew nothing of the affair and, besides, they both have alibis for the attack. With nothing else to link the victims, the investigation hits a dead end.

The pressure is on for investigating officer, DCI Matilda Darke: there’s a violent killer on the loose, and it looks like her team members are the new targets. With no leads and no suspects, it’s going to take all Matilda’s wits to catch him, before he strikes again.”

I’m thrilled to be today’s stop on the Outside Looking In blog tour.  In true damppebbles style, this is the first DCI Matilda Darke book I have read despite it being the second book in the series (at least I’m not too late to the party with this one!).  And oh my gosh, I love Matilda Darke.  And I love Michael Wood’s style.  Totally readable and very engrossing.

The bodies of a couple are discovered in their car following what looks like a massacre.  He is dead, beyond resuscitating and she is barely hanging onto life.  DCI Matilda Darke is put on the case and soon discovers the victims are Kevin Hardaker and Lois Craven who were having a secret affair for over a year.  But why would someone kill these two fairly normal people, and why with such vengeance and hatred?  Suffering from negative publicity and her own demons, can Matilda discover who killed the couple and why, before anyone else is hurt…?

I should start by saying that DCI Darke has made it onto the illustrious damppebbles #girlcrush list.  I LOVE her.  She’s so wonderfully normal, the kind of person I’d like to pop down to Costa with for a coffee (I would say ‘pub’ and ‘white wine’ but she’s on the wagon!).  Thankfully I have the first book in the series, ‘For Reasons Unknown’ on my TBR so I can get my second fix of DCI Darke, ha ha!  Anyway, enough of my new womance…

The pacing of the plot is spot on with the story unfolding at a thoroughly enjoyable rate.  I wanted to keep turning the pages, I wanted to find out what was going to happen.  There was a moment where I felt pure dread for one character.  I won’t say anymore as I don’t do spoilers but oh my!

The conclusion is gripping and kept me on the edge of my seat.  There is encounter at the end of the book which I hope Michael Wood will be building on in the third book.  I’m looking forward to seeing where that particular story line goes.

This book does work as a standalone but I think it helps (no matter what the series or who the author) to read books in their correct order.  I wasn’t sure whether the missing child case that is mentioned often is something that was covered in book one or if it happened in the distant past.  I think going into a series partway through does leaving you feeling like you’ve missed a couple of important days at school!

I loved the nod to other great crime writers (being a crime fiction fanatic!).  I was hugely jealous of Matilda’s book inheritance and could immediately picture the bookcase she would need (boy, would it be big!).  If anyone would like to donate their crime fiction collection to me, the address is Emma @damppebbles….heh heh.

Would I recommend this book?  I most certainly would but I think starting at book one is the best way forward.  Outside Looking In is totally compelling, thoroughly engaging and you’ll really like DCI Matilda Darke.

Four and a half out of five stars.

Outside Looking In by Michael Wood was published in the UK by Killer Reads on 26th May 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. His first novel featuring DCI Matilda Darke, FOR REASONS UNKNOWN, was released in the autumn of 2015. The follow-up, OUTSIDE LOOKING IN, is released in May 2016 in ebook format by Killer Reads at HarperCollins.

 

#Blogival: Devil’s Demise by Lee Cockburn (Extract, Guest Post & Review)

41Xat-MjUgL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_“A cruel and sinister killer is targeting Edinburgh’s most powerful women, his twisted sense of superiority driving him to satisfy his depraved sexual appetite. He revels in the pain and suffering he inflicts on his unsuspecting victims but a twist of fate and an overwhelming will to survive by one victim ruins his plans for a reign of terror. His tormented prey will need all her courage if she is to survive the hunt. DS Taylor Nicks, DC Marcus Black and the team are failing to get a positive lead as this unlikely monster reeks havoc on the city, always managing to keep one step ahead of them. DS Nicks, a strong, intelligent and striking woman, is now under mounting pressure both at work and in her eventful private life. Can she stop the evil beast before he takes his ultimate revenge?”

Welcome to my third and final #blogival post of the month.  Today I am thrilled to have an extract from Devil’s Demise by Lee Cockburn along with a guest post from the author, as well as my review.  Here’s an extract from the book (be warned, it’s a saucy one!):

Marcus turned her on her side and re-entered her from behind, his hands caressing her silky swollen pleasure from the front, his kisses powerful and demanding, Maria turned her head round to allow their mouths to meet, Marcus finally giving in to his physical need and letting go, his hands and thrusts continuing until Maria tensed her body, trapping him in the grip of her orgasm; he took hold of her, kisses still manic and desperate although not with the animal desire previously felt. Maria freed herself from him and turned to face him, her face and neck flushed with the pleasure of their intimate hot sex. She held his face and kissed him, her tongue savouring his kiss, his meeting hers and the tenderness overwhelming.
“I love you, Marcus Black.”
“I love you too, Mrs Black.”
“You do realise that I’m going to be really, really late, young lady and I won’t know what to say.”
Maria smiled at him and whispered to him, “You’re not going anywhere.”
She pushed him over onto his back and used her mouth to arouse him again. She straddled him and demanded more, her body taking him into her, his hands slipping over and over her silky mound, again and again she came hard, her body tensed and needy; Marcus looked at her in disbelief, not unpleasant disbelief as she eventually sighed and slumped against him.
“I’ve really missed you.”
Marcus held her tight and said, “Not half,” and laughed with her, their bodies joined together in their twisted sheets, bodies glistening with beads of sweat and faces flushed with the glow of pent up desire and exhaustion.

After another shower Marcus finally left the house and headed to work. He rang his boss. She answered, “Yes, DS Nicks.” Marcus fibbed as he said, “I’m sorry I’m late, I was caught up.”
“In the sheets,” Taylor cut in. “It’s about time you lived a normal life like me, flying by the seat of your pants and telling lies about being stuck in traffic, cause that’s what you were going to say, wasn’t it?”
Marcus remained silent with a big warm smile spreading over his face; he couldn‘t have wished for a better boss, and hot too.
Taylor informed him, “I’m up at the enquiry office looking into the outstanding missing people files. You could meet me there. That will stop Findlay getting in about your mince. See you soon, you naughty boy.”

The enquiry office was a specialist department in the police that dealt with missing people and all of the sudden deaths in the city. There were 10 dedicated officers who catered to the next of kin; when a death occurred, they produced in-depth death reports for the procurator fiscal. They also collated and recorded all information about every missing person in the city area and any enquiry made relating to each case documented.  They created invaluable databases which officers could refer to and utilize, whenever the need arose.
Taylor looked up from her computer with a great big smile directed at a rather flustered DC Black.
“Glad you could come in, better late than never though, eh!”
Marcus apologised genuinely and pulled up a seat beside Taylor. She was looking as polished as ever, her tight fitting suit and long spiralling hair covering her shoulders, her scent intoxicating – any man’s dream, if you didn’t mind never reaching your goal.
“How long have you been at it?” Marcus, realising what he had just said, was leaving himself wide open for Taylor’s reply, which followed quickly.
“No, how long have you been at it more like?” Her laughter escaped and she patted him on the shoulders, as if to say that’s my boy.
“Let’s get down to business. We are looking for women, I’m not sure that the accused will have a certain age group, as we only have one victim.”
“That we know about!” added Marcus.
“Although I do think it will only be women, the man at the house was not planned, he just got in the way, poor old soul.” “How many do we have?”
“What, in Edinburgh or Scotland? Who knows how far he’s travelled to indulge in his sick fantasies,” Taylor replied with a tone of disgust, as her mind returned to Susan and the way he had sadistically left her.
“I think we have about six or seven that have potential, having looked through the files. There are two in Edinburgh, three in Glasgow and one in the Borders that I think we should look at first.”
Marcus pointed to the picture of one of the outstanding missing women, a young Polish prostitute; her name was Layla Petrovsky and she had been missing since Halloween a year ago.
“How do we even know if she’s still in this country? She might have made her money and gone back to where she came from – maybe just had enough and left, who knows?”
“Well, we’ll just have to work our way through all of them systematically and see if anything has been missed or if there is a lead we can still follow. A lot of enquiry has obviously been done and nothing has come to light so far that has made them suspicious enough to turn them into murder enquiries, not yet anyway.”

Marcus began his enquiry into Mary Dawkins, a 29 year old music teacher from Edinburgh, who had not been seen since December the year previously, and Taylor took the other Edinburgh case, the prostitute Layla Petrovsky missing since November the same year; neither of them looked overly suspicious, just people who had their own reasons for not wanting to be found, or on the other hand, other people who didn’t want them to be found, but it was a start.

What do you think?  Want to read more?  I’ll reveal my thoughts after I have shared a guest post from the author.

Last week I had a post from Adapt author, Edward Freeland, which featured his five favourite books.  I loved it so much that I’m doing it again!  Lee Cockburn shares her four favourite crime/thriller books with us.  Over to you Lee…

9780553817065My favourite crime writer just now is Tess Gerritsen, her books the surgeon and the apprentice were the first of a series, the characters Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles both believable, have real life vulnerabilities, but both very skilled workers in their chosen professions. I like the rest of the books in the series as I have read them all bar one, but my mum bought it for my birthday yesterday, but has told me I’ll get it once she’s read it on holiday! The main perpetrator of the book is Warren Hoyt, a cruel and vile man with surgical skills factually described throughout ithe book, and featuring in all of Gerritson’s books due to her profession, other that being an author. I like how Hoyt features in the second book, continuing his reign of terror and his unhealthy focus on Rizzoli.

269831._UY200_The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, I just loved it, the twists and turns throughout, the short chapters allowing you to race to the next, skilfully tying up all of the loose ends, and leaving me happy I picked it up, although I wasn’t available for a day or two.

375013Schindler’s list, by Thomas Keneally a war crimes thriller, brutally graphic, true account of the horrific atrocities that took place during the Second World War. Brilliant book, well written, provoking novel that leaves you with tears in your eyes at the way humans can behave towards one another.

Tea Planter's WifeThe last book not a crime thriller as such, the Tea Planters Wife by Dinah Jeffries, given to me by my mother in law. I started reading it, initially moaning at some of the over description, but the story soon had me drawn in, the true crimes of life itself out on full display, opinions and beliefs leading to the main character giving up her daughter, lies and deceit throughout left me impatient to get to the end, where I found myself in tears, with the sadness behind the unfortunate chain of events. Not the type of book I read, but really enjoyed it.

Thank you so much Lee.  Some great choices there.  I’ve read and enjoyed a number of Tess Gerritsen books and Schindler’s List is on my wish list.

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I love a serial killer thriller and I enjoyed this book.  I was a little sceptical to start with as there is a fair amount of quite explicit sexual content which I struggled with.  The violence is also quite brutal and very graphic but that didn’t bother me so much.

You find out who the killer is relatively early on in the book so the plot is built more around the hunt for the murderer, more cat and mouse than ‘whodunnit’.  I did wonder at times how the killer was managing to get away from the police as he seemed quite bumbling!  There were moments where I thought, ‘they’re going to get him now, surely…’.

The characters are well written but I struggled to connect with them.  The killer oozes evil and I wonder if the author intended to write a crime novel that could also border on being a horror novel (the cover certainly gives that impression).

Would I recommend this book? I would but my recommendation comes with a warning; there are quite a few explicit sexual scenes within the pages of this book. It’s certainly not for the fainthearted!

Three and a half stars out of five.

Thanks to Rachel at Authoright for providing me with a copy of Devil’s Demise in exchange for an honest review.

Devil’s Demise by Lee Cockburn was published in the UK by Clink Street Publishing on 10th November 2014 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones |

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Lee Cockburn has worked for Police Scotland for fourteen years including as a police sergeant in Edinburgh for five years and also as a public order officer. Before joining the force, she played for Scotland Women’s rugby team for fifteen years, earning over eighty caps for the Scottish ladies and British Lionesses teams. She also swam competitively for twelve years, successfully representing Edinburgh at the age of fifteen in the youth Olympics in Denmark in 1984. Lee lives in Edinburgh with her civil partner Emily and their two young sons Jamie and Harry.

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*Blog Tour: Extract* Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley

51eyx2Lz7mL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_“A young girl goes missing after getting into a car with a mysterious man. Soon after, a second girl disappears, and her devastated father, Witness, sets out to seek revenge.

As the trail goes cold, Samantha Khama – new recruit to the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department – suspects that the girl was killed for muti; traditional African medicine.

She enlists opera-loving wine connoisseur Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Benga to help her dig into the past. But as they begin to find a pattern, Kubu and Samantha suddenly find they are in a race against time…”

I am thrilled to be today’s stop on the Deadly Harvest blog tour.  Deadly Harvest, penned by writing team Michael Stanley (aka Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) is book four in the Detective Kubu series. If you are a regular visitor to damppebbles then you will know that I adore books with an international flavour. I don’t think I have visited Botswana before (in a literary sense, of course!) so I am incredibly excited to read Deadly Harvest in the not too distant future.  Here’s an extract to whet our appetites:

Chapter 1
As she walked home, Lesego’s head was full of Christmas. She knew her sister would save some of her tips and buy her a small present. Lesego had no money, so she was making Dikeledi a doily from scraps of red material left over from her needlework class. She was trying to embroider ‘Dikeledi’ across it in blue, but she’d made the first letters too big, and the whole word wouldn’t fit neatly. She frowned. She was going to have to start it again.

Lesego was carrying a cloth bag heavy with shopping and another with her schoolbooks and, even though it was a threadbare hand-medown, her school uniform was hot. She was already tired when she came to the steep hill leading to her aunt’s house in the upper section of Mochudi. She sighed, and her eyes followed the road upwards causing her to miss her footing. She stumbled, nearly dropping her shopping. The two potatoes she’d bought rolled from the top of the bag towards the road, and her shopping list, which had been shoved between them, fluttered into the weeds on the verge. She gave a small cry and scurried after the potatoes; her aunt would be furious if she lost anything. Just as she retrieved the fugitive vegetables, a red Volkswagen pulled over and stopped next to her. The driver leant across and opened the passenger door.

‘Hello, Lesego,’ he said. ‘Jump in. I’ll give you a lift up the hill.’
She gave a grateful smile and wrestled her shopping and school books into the car. ‘Hello, rra. It’s very kind of you. It’s a long hill.’
He smiled back, put the car into gear, and started on the road up. There was a click as he engaged the door locks.
Lesego took no notice. She looked around. ‘This isn’t your usual car.’
‘You’re very observant, Lesego. My car is at the garage. They loaned me this one while they service mine.’
She nodded, wondering about people who were so rich that they could just lend you a new car with no trouble. But she thought it would be rude to say that, so instead she pointed at her supplies.
‘I got everything my aunt wanted except the two sweet potatoes. They were too expensive – and old as well – so I bought two ordinary potatoes instead, which were cheap. Do you think she’ll be cross?’
‘I’m sure she won’t be. It was a sensible decision.’
She nodded, relieved.
When they reached the top of the hill, she turned to the driver.
‘You can drop me here if you like, rra. I can walk home now. Thank you.’
But the car started to move faster now that it was on the level.
‘Let’s go for a short drive first,’ he said.

So what do you think?  I’m hooked and that’s only the first paragraph or two of the first chapter!  I think it’s time for me to move Deadly Harvest to the top of my TBR.  Review to follow soon…

Many thanks to Christine at #northern #crime who helped me select such a fantastic extract to share with you all.

Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th May 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones |

Smith & Sons (11)unspecifiedMichael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award.  Connect with Michael Stanley on Twitter @detectivekubu.

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#Blogival: Soho Honey by A W Rock (Review)

41NSZsaON9L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“This contemporary crime story takes place over three weeks in November and unfolds against the multi-cultural backdrop of Soho, London.

Branen had to leave the UK six years before to escape his complex clandestine history and the consequences of a crime that achieved worldwide notoriety. When his daughter is brutally murdered in Soho he believes that he could be the reason. He returns to his old hunting grounds to find the killer. His search brings him into conflict with the British Secret Service and Soho’s underworld. He is forced to flee Soho again after a tragic meeting with his ex-wife. His past has caught up with him and the hunter becomes the hunted. Now forty years old Branen wants to stop running and to remove forever the continuing threat to his life. In an effort to get rid of his pursuers he is faced with the prospect that his only chance of survival could lead to his death.”

I am thrilled to be taking part in the Clink Street 2016 #Blogival today with my review of the gripping Soho Honey by A W Rock.  I had decided to read this book before I had a chance to look at the blurb.  That was all thanks to that stunning cover, absolutely gorgeous!  If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will!

Ex-secret service operative Branen is called back to action following the horrific death of his only daughter, Carrie.  He is tasked with finding her killer which means returning to the stomping ground of his youth, notorious Soho in the West End of London.  During his investigation he puts several high powered noses out of joint.  Not that they needed much encouragement.  Branen is a wanted man, on the hunt for a killer.  The bodies pile up as he gets closer to the truth, can Branen avoid being one of those bodies…

I enjoyed this book, it’s a fast paced thriller with lots of action, but I was quite confused by the end of part one.  There is a lot of information (locations, jobs, hierarchies, names etc.) which I felt came flying at me.  I wanted the story to slow a little to give me time to absorb what I was reading.  It all felt a little too much, too quickly and as a result it took me a little while to enjoy A W Rock’s style of writing.

Once I had gotten used to the author’s style, I found myself completely submerged in the story.  A W Rock paints a very vivid picture of Soho and it’s darker side.  The characters are well written and the action flows from start to finish.  It’s a dark, gritty tale about the criminals of Soho’s underbelly and I’m looking forward to reading book two in the series, particularly as book one left us on such a cliffhanger!

Three and a half out of five stars.

Thanks to Rachel at Authoright for my copy of Soho Honey in exchange for an honest review.

Soho Honey by A W Rock was published in the UK on 5th May by Clink Street Publishing and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones |

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Photograph by Jonathan Knowles

Based in London A.W. Rock has been a regular in Soho working in various sectors of the entertainment industry.

Graduated Hornsey College of Art with a BA degree.

Worked in design and graphics, co-owner of Mighty Mouse Studio designing for many companies and theatres including the Royal Court Theatre and The Roundhouse.

He then became a professional photographer based in England and working all over the world, for most of the major advertising agencies in stills and film. These include J. Walter Thompson, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam, McCanns, Bogle Bartle & Hegarty and many others.

A.W. Rock has directed a wide range of music promo films and over two hundred TV commercials worldwide. Working in a variety of locations he has made commercials for General Motors in New Zealand, American Express in New York and Dyson vacuum cleaners in England. A commercial he made for The Royal Tournament was nominated for a prize at the Cannes Film Festival. He also directed several thirty minute commercially financed dramas.

He made his first theatrical drama – Deux ex Machina – a short film which won 2nd prize in a national competition sponsored by Channel One TV – Prize Shorts. It was also chosen by the British Film Institute, from over 300 shorts, as one of eight international films to tour the country in the Brief Encounters Festival. It later was shown by the BFI on a worldwide tour.

This film received critical acclaim and was judged

” Very accomplished and remains in the memory ” by Derek Malcolm the Guardian film critic.

This film has appeared in several other international film festivals.

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Play Dead: A Gripping Serial Killer Thriller by Angela Marsons

51bWR1ciXAL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_“The dead don’t tell secrets… unless you listen.

The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.

Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A ‘body farm’ investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.

Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It’s clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work – but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?

As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer’s secrets – but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim …?”

When you hear on the blogger grapevine that the new Angela Marsons book is up for grabs on NetGalley, you drop everything.  EVERYTHING!  There is something so appealing, so special about this series.  It’s addictive and we all need our next DI Kim Stone fix!

DCI Woodward offers Kim and her team an extra special treat.  A visit to the local body farm, a place were they study the effects of weather and insect activity on long-dead corpses.  Not everyones idea of a treat!  Whilst on the guided tour Kim discovers a more recent addition to the body farms residents, the freshly deceased body of a woman.  Can Kim find the killer before anyone else meets the same grisly fate…?

This is a fabulous book.  I have grown to love Kim Stone and her team in a way I haven’t with other characters in other series.  I feel a fondness for Stone, Bryant, Stacey…even Dawson!  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a warm fuzzy story.  It’s a dark and scary read. Some parts I found quite harrowing and some parts my heart ached for one particular character.  I loved it.

I found the story very gripping and hard to put down.  I was drawn in from start to finish.  I loved the body farm setting, it really appealed to me and isn’t the kind of location you read about every day (ignoring Patricia Cornwell!).  It is clear that Angela Marsons has done a lot of research for this book.  Parts of the body farm content are truly fascinating and I learnt a few things that I didn’t know before.

Would I recommend this book?  Oh yes, but start with Silent Scream (DI Kim Stone, Book 1) and work your way up.  Only because all of Angela’s DI Stone books are fabulous and I wouldn’t want you to miss out!

Five out of five stars.

Many thanks to Bookouture, Angela Marsons and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Play Dead in exchange for an honest review.

Play Dead by Angela Marsons was published in the UK by Bookouture on 20th May 2016 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com |

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Via Goodreads.com

Angela discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
After many, many submissions Angela was signed in a 4 book deal to http://bookouture.com as their first crime author.  Connect with Angela Marsons on Twitter @WriteAngie