#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward (@sarahrward1) @FaberBooks #DCConnieChilds #TheShroudedPath #MustRead

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“The past won’t stay buried forever.

November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.

October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: ‘Find Valerie.’ Mina’s elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?

DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs’ old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home.”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on The Shrouded Path blog tour. The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward is the fourth book in the excellent DC Connie Childs series and continues to remain a very firm damppebbles.com favourite. A series I return to time and time again. And it’s the eBook publication day today for this latest instalment so a very happy release day to Sarah and the folk at Faber Books. The hardback will follow later this week on Thursday 6th September.

One of my most eagerly anticipated releases of the year is always the next DC Connie Childs book from Sarah Ward. And do you know what? I am NEVER disappointed. Never. It’s that simple really. If you’re a fan of crime fiction and you haven’t read one of Ward’s books, then you’re doing something wrong. Her characters are fully formed, living beings who leap off the page at the reader. You’re drawn into the misty fictional town of Bampton and it’s surrounding Peak District towns, a landscape which feels as much a part of the book as the characters. And then you’re handed a complex, enthralling mystery to get your teeth into. It’s fictional bliss and I can’t get enough of Ward’s masterful writing.

I adore Ward’s lead protagonist, Connie Childs, but I also have a rather large soft spot for her DI, Francis Sadler, who, unlike many senior officers you find in crime fiction, is supportive of his DC. Sadler offers an encouraging word and a gentle shove in the right direction whilst also providing the authority which spontaneous and impulsive Connie needs at times. They’re a wonderful match and such a refreshing change to many other DI/DC relationships I read about. I must also mention the new boy, DC Peter Dahl. He’s not as fiery as some of Connie’s previous colleagues but he felt a good fit for the team. I look forward to finding out more about him in future novels.

I very much enjoyed the leaps from the late-1950s to the present day. The author has built a wonderfully enjoyable mystery around a small group of school friends, both in the past and in the present. The secrets, the lies and the half-truths made for compelling reading. And yes, I tried from the very start to figure out where the story was headed and who was responsible but I would never have reached the correct conclusion. I was bowled over by how simple parts of the story were, how Ward manages to keep her big reveal, her ‘taddah’ moment away from the reader’s mind. Absolutely brilliant.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. And it’s predecessors too. This is one of the very best crime fiction series out there at the moment and Ward’s books are a must read for every crime thriller fan. A dark and brooding mystery which I couldn’t put down. The eerie atmosphere of ‘the Cutting’ sent chills down my spine. I absolutely loved it!

Five out of five stars.

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

The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward was published in the UK by Faber Books on 6th September and is available in hardcover and eBook formats, with the paperback to follow in 2019 (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

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sarah ward

Sarah Ward is the author of four DC Childs novels, In Bitter Chill, A Deadly Thaw, A Patient Fury and The Shrouded Path set in the Derbyshire Peak District where she lives. On her website, Crimepieces (www.crimepieces.com), she reviews the best of current crime fiction published around the world. She is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian translated crime novels. Sarah was a 2015 Amazon Rising Star and A Patient Fury was The Observer’s Thriller of the Month in 2017.

Author Links: | Blog | Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward (@sarahrward1) @FaberBooks

a deadly thaw cover.jpgAutumn 2004
In Bampton, Derbyshire, Lena Fisher is arrested for suffocating her husband, Andrew.

Spring 2016
A year after Lena’s release from prison, Andrew is found dead in a disused mortuary.

Who was the man Lena killed twelve years ago, and who committed the second murder? When Lena disappears, her sister, Kat, sets out to follow a trail of clues delivered by a mysterious teenage boy. Kat must uncover the truth – before there’s another death . . .

A Deadly Thaw confirms Sarah Ward’s place as one of the most exciting new crime writers.”

I’m extremely excited to welcome you to my stop on the A Deadly Thaw paperback blog tour.  A Deadly Thaw is written by the very talented Sarah Ward and is book two in the DC Childs series. Having been released in eBook format last year it is now also available in lovely paperback as well (published 2nd February 2017).  And what better way to celebrate than with a blog tour packed full of some of my very favourite book bloggers!

It’s 2004 and Lena Fisher is a murderer.  After welcoming her husband home and spending some hot, sweaty time in their bed together, Lena suffocates her husband with a pillow.  She’s eventually arrested, stands trial and ends up in prison for 10+ years.  Fast forward to 2016 where Lena is a free woman once again.  She returns to her childhood home; Providence Villa – a large, crumbling, Victorian estate.  Her parents are long dead but she has her estranged sister, Kat for company.  Lena isn’t surprised when DC Connie Childs and DS Palmer turn up on her doorstep, after all she is a convicted felon.  What she isn’t expecting is for them to inform her that her husband’s body has discovered in a disused morgue.  That he is very recently deceased with a gaping chest wound and that they know the man Lena killed in 2004 wasn’t her husband.  Will DC Childs and DS Palmer be able to uncover the complicated truth?  When Lena goes on the run, Kat struggles to understand what is happening and exactly who her sister is.  Kat’s muddle is not helped when a teenage boy, who claims to be a friend of Lena’s, starts leaving cryptic clues for Kat.  Who will be the first to solve a mystery that dates back many years.  And is Kat’s life in danger?  Is she the only one….?

A Deadly Thaw is an excellent example of how to write a gripping, multilayered, character focussed crime thriller.  It’s full of secrets, family tension and bucket loads of suspense.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be making a point of downloading the first in the series, In Bitter Chill to my Kindle immediately after finishing  writing this review.

Author Sarah Ward has been on my radar for a while now.  I remember seeing the reviews for A Deadly Thaw back in the Summer and being intrigued.  And who wouldn’t be drawn in by that brilliant blurb.  Some authors you read because…well, just because really.  Other authors you read because you know deep down, that their words, their story and you will be a brilliant fit.  That’s exactly how I felt about A Deadly Thaw.  

I don’t know where to begin with DC Connie Childs.  You can probably guess that I absolutely loved her.  Yes, there are two male detectives who work alongside Connie.  Yes, they are also brilliantly written, essential characters.  But, for me, they faded into the background.  She’s the first character in a while that I’ve found to be relatable.  OK, so the fawning over DS Palmer I probably could have done without but it gave an incredibly strong character a necessary weak spot (which probably made me feel for her just a little bit more).  I loved the get up and go attitude, I loved the fire in her belly when it came to the treatment of the victims, I even loved her naivety – something which would drive me quite loopy in other characters.  Although DI Sadler led the investigation, I felt at times that there wouldn’t BE an investigation if it wasn’t for Connie.  She’s definitely high on my favourite character list and I can’t wait to see where Sarah Ward takes her in future.

I found the setting to be suitably creepy and loved the eerie feel of Sarah Ward’s Derbyshire (I’m terrible at geography and have to admit to consulting a map of England to discover where Derbyshire is.  Yes, I am British.  Yes, I live and have always lived in England/UK/GB.  Yes, I feel suitably ashamed!)  Whitby also features heavily in the book and that also needed investigation as to its location (rubbish at geography!).  Ward paints such a vivid picture of these grey, dank places that I can’t help but want to go and see them for myself.  Bampton, Derbyshire felt like a living, breathing character.  Strangely mesmirising.

The plot has many different strands to it and at times it is hard to see how they will tie together.  But tie together they do in an explosive, nail-biting conclusion.  At times, I found myself getting quite upset by the stories unfolding in front of me.  I experienced anger as well, at the injustice and poor treatment of the victims.  It’s quite a shocking and unsettling read, but oh so good!

Would I recommend this book?  Of course I would!  But prepare yourself for a lot more than you expect.  Sarah Ward knows how to tell a brilliant story and I can’t wait to read more from her.  Dark, creepy and highly addictive (and I may be a little bit in love with DC Connie Childs).

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of A Deadly Thaw.  Many thanks to Faber & Faber and NetGalley for providing me with a copy.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward was published in the UK by Faber & Faber on 2nd February 2017 and is availble in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Faber & Faber |

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Crime fiction is in my blood. From Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five to Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew, I was reading the genre at an early age. In my teens it was Agatha Christie followed by Ruth Rendell and PD James. Later influences include Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Minette Walters. Then I discovered Scandinavian crime writers.

I’m the author of two crime novels In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw which are set in the Derbyshire Peak District where I live. They are published in the UK by Faber and Faber and by Minotaur Books in the US.

In addition to this blog, I have reviewed at the Los Angeles Review of Books, crimesquad.com and Eurocrime. Articles and short stories have appeared in the Sunday Express magazine, Traveller and other publications. I’m one of the judges for The Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel and I particularly love reading translated crime fiction.

Author Links: Blog | Twitter | Facebook |