#BookReview: The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett @ViperBooks #TheMysteriousCaseoftheAlpertonAngels #AlpertonAngels #TheAlpertonAngels #damppebbles

Open the safe deposit box.
Inside you will find research material for a true crime book.
You must read the documents, then make a decision.
Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?

Everyone knows the sad story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl and convinced her that her newborn baby was the anti-Christ. Believing they had a divine mission to kill the infant, they were only stopped when the girl came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than stand trial, while mother and baby disappeared into the care system.

Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed; if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby’s trail.

As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong. The truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined. And the story of the Alperton Angels is far from over.

From the bestselling author of The Appeal and The Twyford Code comes a stunning new mystery for fans of Richard Osman and S.J. Bennett. The devil is in the detail…”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett. The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels is published by Viper Books today (that’s Thursday 19th January 2023) and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow later in the year. I chose to read a free ARC of The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Rosie at Viper Books for sending me a proof copy.

A new book by Janice Hallett is a very exciting prospect indeed. The author has given the mystery genre a flipping good shake in the last few years with her mesmerising plots and different style of delivery. If you’re not sure what I mean by ‘different style of delivery’ then please allow me to explain. All three of Hallett’s books, The AppealThe Twyford Code and now, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, have been told through the use of written communication. So letters, emails, transcripts, social media messaging etc. It provides a completely different experience for the reader, it’s so skilfully executed and I love what Hallett is doing. The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels is a novel I have been looking forward to with bated breath for nearly a year now (since finishing The Twyford Code) and it delivered on every count…and many, many more. Fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a very enthusiastic review!

Upon opening the book the reader is given a task. In your hand you hold a key. The key opens a safety deposit box. Inside that box you will find comprehensive research material for a true crime book about the notorious Alperton Angels. You’re asked to read everything and make a decision: 1) return the documents to the box and lose the key so it can never be opened again, or 2) take the documents to the police. What will you do?

True crime writer, Amanda Bailey, is looking for something completely different to cover. When her agent suggests a book about the heart breaking case of the Alperton Angels from 2003, Amanda is sold. The baby that was involved in the case (and was considered by the cult members to be the anti-Christ) is about to turn eighteen and can finally talk about the experience. What a scoop that would be! But Amanda is not alone in her search for the baby. Oliver Menzies, an ex-colleague she has a strong dislike of, is also searching for the Alperton baby. Forced to work together, they begin to realise that memories are fragile and often, people recall events very differently. Every avenue they turn down leads to a dead end. Every hint or clue they’re given turns out to be a dud. Someone somewhere must know something and Amanda will do whatever it takes to discover the truth…

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels is sublime in concept, execution and delivery. Utterly intriguing, highly original and impossible to put down. Yes, this book IS responsible for the dark circles under my eyes and yes, it’s because I chose reading over sleep! I find there’s not a lot of choice to be had when the book is this bloody good! As with previous books, I quickly became comfortable with the different style the story is presented in, powering through the pages, unable to tear myself away. Once again, I appreciated the comprehensive list of characters near the front of the book disguised as an ‘interview wish list’ but found myself not referring to it so much this time around. There was no need as I was able to bring to mind all of the characters with ease, their relationships to one another and their place in the story. Which brings me around nicely to talk about the characters. Amanda is a career driven woman who I often felt pushed others feelings aside for her own personal gain. Saying that, she can’t be all that bad as her ex-assistant, Ellie Cooper, the woman tasked with typing up her audio transcripts, seems to have a real soft spot for her. Ellie was my favourite character in the book. Which is a strange thing to say as she really isn’t involved in any of the action. Ellie does however add her own personal thoughts and observations to Amanda’s transcripts and there was a real warmth and fondness to her words which I very much enjoyed. Ellie also brings a touch of humour. I don’t know how Janice Hallett does it though. How do you give the reader a real sense of your characters when all you have to make them come to life are a few emails and WhatsApp messages? It blows my mind. Janice, you’re a genius!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. One million times over. The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels is devilishly good (geddit? 😉). I’m a huge fan of books featuring cults and their enigmatic leaders so I was always going to love The Alperton Angels. I just didn’t realise how much. It’s an utterly intriguing story delivered by a master storyteller in their superb trademark style and I LOVED it. Hugely creative, totally addictive and beautifully intricate. You need this book in your life (and why not pick up the author’s first two books whilst you’re there?!). Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett was published in the UK by Viper Books on 19th January 2023 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist, and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office, and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia, and South Korea. A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and cowrote the feature film Retreat.

#BookReview: The Way It Is Now by Garry Disher @ViperBooks #TheWayItIsNow #damppebbles

WHO SHALL INHERIT THE SINS OF THE FATHER?

Twenty years ago, Charlie Deravin’s mother went missing, believed murdered. Her body has never been found, and his father has lived under a cloud of suspicion ever since.

Now Charlie has returned to the coastal town where his mother vanished, on disciplinary leave from his job with the police sex-crimes unit, and permanent leave from his marriage. After two decades worrying away at the mystery of his mother’s disappearance, he’s run out of leads.

Then the skeletal remains of two people are found in the excavation of a new building site… and the past comes crashing in on Charlie.
From the multiple Ned Kelly Award-winning author of Consolation comes a stunning new standalone thriller, for readers of Jane Harper, Ian Rankin and Chris Hammer.

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Way It Is Now by Garry Disher. The Way It Is Now was published by Viper Books on 4th August 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow. I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Way It Is Now but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Rosie at Viper Books for sending me a proof copy.

Regular visitors to the blog may be aware that I’m what you could call ‘a little bit obsessed with Australian crime fiction’. Only a little, mind you 😜. One of the big names in Aussie crime fiction that I have been desperate to read for some time now is Garry Disher. I’ve been accumulating his Paul Hirschhausen books over time but gaps in my reading schedule have been few and far between, meaning I haven’t had a chance to pick one of Disher’s titles up as yet. Until now, that is. I jumped at the chance to read The Way It Is Now, a standalone novel by this much revered and respected author of Australian crime fiction. And what a treat it was!

Charlie Deravin’s mother disappeared without a trace twenty years ago. Now Charlie, a police officer on enforced leave following an altercation with his boss, is determined to find out what happened to her. However, Charlie cannot catch a break and comes up against dead end after dead end following years of searching for the truth. Speculation within the town where the Deravins lived has always been rife with Charlie’s father, Rhys, an ex-detective himself, firmly in the spotlight. Then one day the remains of two bodies are found in the grounds of a derelict property and life for the Deravin family will never be the same again…

The Way It Is Now is a very compelling and hugely absorbing mystery featuring an extremely well-written and multi-layered lead character in Charlie Deravin. This is Charlie’s story, documented across many years detailing his grief at the loss of this mother and his obsession with finding out what happened to her. Her car was abandoned one day with her possessions strewn across the road. To the casual observer it looked as though Rose Deravin had been abducted. But the police investigation failed to get off of the ground, particularly as the police already had their prime suspect in their sights. Now all they had to do was prove Rhys Deravin guilty, one way or another. Did Rhys kill Rose twenty years ago to prevent their divorce and the sale of their family home? What I loved about The Way It Is Now is that you can never really be sure of Rhys Deravin. Whether he’s guilty or innocent. There were always questions in my mind. Things which didn’t quite add up. I felt he was untrustworthy, part of the old boy’s network of cops back in the day, ‘turn a blind eye because he’s one of us’ and all of that. It made for gripping reading and kept me turning the pages late into the night.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I thoroughly enjoyed The Way It Is Now and I am even more excited to get started on Disher’s Paul Hirschhausen series now. The Way It Is Now is a tense, unsettling, slow burn mystery with strong characterisation, a vivid setting and a highly intriguing storyline which I couldn’t get enough of. I really liked how Disher developed Charlie over the course of the book. There were softer, more emotional moments which were unexpected but endeared me to Charlie’s character even more. All in all, I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to experiencing the author’s writing again very soon. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Way It Is Now. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Way It Is Now by Garry Disher was published in the UK by Viper Books on 4th August 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |

Garry DisherGarry Disher lives in Australia and is the author of over 40 books: novels, short story collections, writers’ handbooks, history textbooks and children’s fiction. His Challis and Destry police procedurals, and his Wyatt crime from the inside thrillers, are gaining international recognition, winning best crime novel of the year awards in Australia and Germany and appearing on best books of the year lists in the USA. Garry has toured Germany twice and the States once, and counts a scholarship year spent in the Stanford University creative writing school, early in his career, as one of his most important formative experiences.

#BookReview: Black Lake Manor by Guy Morpuss @ViperBooks #BlackLakeManor #damppebbles

A locked room. A brutal murder. And a killer who can unwind time…

In the former mining town of Black Lake, there is an old story about a shipwreck with only one survivor. His descendants have a unique ability: once in their lives – and only once – they can unwind the events of the previous six hours.

More than two hundred years later, part-time police constable Ella Manning is attending a party at Black Lake Manor, the cliff-top mansion belonging to the local billionaire. When a raging storm sweeps in from the Pacific, she and several other guests find themselves trapped.

And when their host is discovered brutally murdered in his study the next morning, the door locked from the inside, they turn to her to solve the crime.

Pushing her detective skills to the limit, against the odds Ella is sure she has identified the killer… but then someone undoes time. With no memory of what she discovered before, her investigation begins again, with very different results. Which of her suspects is guilty? And is there something even more sinister she is yet to uncover?

Can she solve the mystery before time runs out… again?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Black Lake Manor by Guy Morpuss. Black Lake Manor is published today (that’s Thursday 8th September 2022) and is available in hardcover and digital formats with the paperback to follow next year. I chose to read and review a free ARC of Black Lake Manor but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to the team at Viper Books for sending me a proof copy.

One of the most memorable books I read last year was the absolutely bonkers Five Minds. Speculative crime fiction at its absolute finest. I was blown away by the detail, planning and thought that had gone into the book to create a future version of our world which perhaps we should do everything to avoid… But I was left pondering on what the focus of the author’s next book could be. How do you top Five Minds? Well dear reader, the answer to your question is you write Black Lake Manor!

It’s a momentous night for Orcus Technologies. Founder and billionaire Lincoln Shan is about to unveil his ground-breaking technology to the world’s press. But mid-demonstration a storm hits Black Lake Manor, Shan’s luxurious home, cutting those at the party off from the rest of the world. By morning Shan has been viciously murdered in his office. The door is locked from the inside and nothing about the scene really makes sense. It’s down to part time special constable and Shan’s ex-fiancée, Ella Manning, to solve the case. But time is against Ella because a number of her suspects have a secret skill and can unwind time. As Ella gets closer to the truth, the killer resets the clock and Ella must start from scratch again with no memory of what came before. Can Ella discover who killed Lincoln Shan before time runs out…again?

It’s true, I did – more or less – steal that last sentence from the blurb but I don’t care because I bloody love it! Black Lake Manor is an inventive, brilliantly mind-bending novel which hooked me in from the opening scenes and didn’t let go. It’s propulsive, highly intelligent and superbly written with fascinating characters and a stunning setting. We first meet Lincoln in 2025 at the tender age of twenty and on the cusp of selling his remarkable power (that of being able to unwind time by six hours) to the highest bidder, who happens to be the 8th Duke of Ombersley. I should mention at this point that the ability to unwind time is a once in a lifetime event. So once it’s done, that’s it – it can’t be done again. This shocking and unsettling exchange immediately sets the scene for the reader.  We then skip forward another twenty years to 2045 where Lincoln has made his billions and will stop at nothing to break new ground in the field of technology. Until he’s killed in a horrific manner and it’s down to Ella, a woman with more empathy for animals than her fellow humans, to solve his grisly murder…again and again and again.

I thoroughly enjoyed how vividly the author painted the Akaht backstory with the flashbacks to the early 1800s. They provided a level of authenticity which I very much appreciated. There is a lot going on in this book with chapters moving from the past to the present day story, and then time hopping backwards by six hours as the wolf eats time (read the book, it’ll make perfect sense 🐺) so the characters have to relive the same day again, most of them without any memory of what happened the first (or second) time around. It could have been confusing but it’s done so well that it’s very easy to follow and understand. All of the threads are expertly interwoven and tied off by the end of the book.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. If you’ve never read a speculative fiction novel before and would like to indulge then please, please, please pick up Black Lake Manor (or Five Minds). You’re in safe, competent hands with Mr Morpuss at the helm. I loved the characters, Ella in particular who is a little bit prickly and not really a people-person but she does what she has to do. I loved the setting with its sweeping Vancouver Island coastline looking out onto the Pacific, and the intricate, crumbling cave network beneath the community’s feet from Black Lake’s days as a mining town. And I loved how involved I became in the story. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the wolf to eat time, waiting to see how that would affect proceedings and what different angle Ella would approach the investigation from afresh. Black Lake Manor is a very clever, hugely entertaining, totally immersive read which I devoured with wolf-like glee! If you’re looking for a mystery with a bit of a different spin to it, or you’re just a fan of superbly written characters, vivid, beautifully drawn settings and plots to grab and hold your attention, then this is definitely the book for you. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Black Lake Manor. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Black Lake Manor by Guy Morpuss was published in the UK by Viper Books on 8th September 2022 and is available in hardcover and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | WaterstonesFoyles | Book Depositorybookshop.org | Goodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Guy MorpussGuy is a London-based barrister whose cases have featured drug-taking cyclists, dead Formula 1 champions and aspiring cemetery owners.

His favourite books involve taking a twist on reality, and playing with the consequences. Which led to his debut novel, FIVE MINDS, about five people sharing one body – possibly with a murderer.

His second novel, BLACK LAKE MANOR, will be published in 2022.

He is currently working on his third novel, HIGHLIGHTS.

Guy lives near Farnham, England, with his wife and two sons. When not writing he can usually be found walking or running in the Surrey Hills.

#BookReview: No Secrets by David Jackson @ViperBooks #NoSecrets #damppebbles

THEY BELIEVE HIS LIES. SHE KNOWS THE TRUTH.

You can’t lie to Izzy Lambert. Her highly developed empathic abilities allow her to read people’s emotions with terrifying accuracy – and consequences. As a child her insights sparked her parents’ divorce. As an adult she avoids getting too close to people for fear of what she might learn.

But now young girls are going missing in her town. The police have no suspects but, seeing her old school caretaker interviewed on the news about the story, Izzy comes to a chilling realisation: he knows where the missing girls are. When the police won’t take her seriously despite the lives at stake, she will risk everything to uncover the truth.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of No Secrets by David Jackson. No Secrets is published by Viper Books today (that’s Thursday 7th July 2022) and is available in hardcover and digital formats with the paperback to follow next year. I chose to read a free ARC of No Secrets but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Rosie at Viper Books for sending me a proof copy.

I am a huge fan of David Jackson’s books. My obsession started with his DS Nathan Cody series and has continued with his more recent standalone thrillers. Jackson is an exceptional writer and getting my mitts on his latest release is both a priority and a highlight of my reading year. So I was over the moon to receive a copy of Jackson’s latest novel, the brilliant No Secrets.

Izzy Lambert has a gift. Or, as Izzy sees it, a curse. She’s been highly empathic since birth. Able to tell when those she is familiar with are lying. Knowing secret things about family, friends and work colleagues she just shouldn’t know. But when she sees someone she used to spend time with at school on the news, talking about the disappearance of a young woman, she immediately knows he isn’t telling the truth. He knows a lot more than he’s letting on. Pushed by her partner Andy, Izzy turns to the police and to DS Josh Frendy to report her suspicions. But Frendy doesn’t believe her and there’s no evidence to prove what Izzy is saying is true. Determined to save the missing girl Izzy makes it her mission to prove she’s right. She’ll stop at nothing, particularly when it becomes personal. The deeper Izzy digs, the more convinced she becomes. But at what cost…?

No Secrets is a brilliantly written thriller with a fascinating protagonist which gave it a bit of an edge over other books in the same genre. I really liked Izzy. It can’t be easy being her, that’s for sure. I loved her tenacity, her determination to get to the truth no matter what. I sympathised with her as she came up against brick wall after brick wall, dead end after dead end. I was as frustrated as Izzy was, which I think is the mark of a very talented writer. Writing likable, believable lead characters who feel real to the reader is something Jackson does time and time again. Many of the other characters in the book were quite horrible, very unlikable. They really wound me up at times and I absolutely loved it. Although I did find myself unexpectedly sympathising with one particular character when perhaps I really shouldn’t have!

The plot is well paced and grips the reader from the get-go. It’s a truly chilling read at times but Jackson’s trademark humour is ever present, adding a number of lighter moments to proceedings. But the darkness prevails and I enjoyed exactly how twisted things become for Izzy on her hunt for the truth. The ending, after a major revelation which left me reeling, was incredibly tense and I was completely absorbed in this clever story.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. No Secrets is a gripping, thrilling, twisty read which I really enjoyed losing myself in. The characters are all very well-written, you’ll love some and loathe others. The plot is perfectly paced with lots of tension and suspense, keeping the reader turning the pages late into the night, desperate to find out if anyone will ever believe poor Izzy! All in all, this is a standout story from a hugely talented author. I love what Jackson has done with this book. I desperately want to say more but run the risk of sharing something I shouldn’t so I won’t elaborate further, but trust me on this one, you need to read No Secrets. Compelling, creepy and oh so good! You really can’t go wrong with a David Jackson thriller. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of No Secrets. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

No Secrets by David Jackson was published in the UK by Viper Books on 7th July 2022 and is available in hardcover and digital formats with the paperback to follow next year (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

David Jackson is the author of nine crime novels, including the bestseller Cry Baby and the standalone The Resident. When not murdering fictional people, David spends his days as a university academic in his home city of Liverpool. He lives on the Wirral with his wife and two daughters. Find him @Author_Dave.

Author Links: | Twitter | Website |

#BookReview: The Box by Dan Malakin @ViperBooks #TheBox #damppebbles

“To save your child you must open The Box…

Ed Truman’s family is falling apart. His daughter Ally is being targeted by an alt-right incel organisation, Men Together. His house is being picketed, former clients are accusing him of sexual assault, his son won’t speak to him. And then Ally disappears.

Frantic, Ed suspects that Men Together have abducted her. But before he can go to the police, his DNA is found on the body of a young woman. Suddenly he’s the subject of a nationwide manhunt, led by the tenacious DCI Jackie Rose. Ed finds himself on the run with Ally’s friend, Phoenix, who claims to know where Ally is. But what is the truth? Is Ed a violent sexual predator? Or is he the victim of a ruthless conspiracy? The answers are in The Box. But not everyone who goes in, comes out alive…

From the bestselling author of The Regret, this heart-pounding thriller is perfect for readers of Harlan Coben, Mark Billingham and M.W. Craven.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Box by Dan Malakin. The Box will be published by Viper Books later this week (on Thursday 16th June 2022) in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow at a later date. I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Box but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to the team at Viper Books for sending me a proof copy.

Ed Truman’s family is falling apart and his life is unravelling.  His sixteen year old daughter, Ally, publicly provoked the leader of a powerful alt-right misogynistic men’s group, Men Together, and in retaliation all of Ally’s personal details, including her bank account and passwords, have been published on their website. Ed, a successful lawyer, fights back the only way he knows how – by requesting an injunction to have the website taken down. Now a group of protestors are picketing outside Ed’s house in an attempt to sully the lawyer’s good name. But their tactics go way beyond a few leaflets to the neighbours. Before long Ally is missing and Ed knows in his gut that Men Together are responsible. When Ed’s DNA is found on the body of a murdered woman he takes flight. Hunted by both the police and Men Together, can Ed find Ally in time and save her from The Box…?

This high octane thriller is a thoroughly gripping read which held my attention from the first word to the final page. This is the first book I’ve read by this author but I can absolutely guarantee it won’t be the last.

Malakin really knows how to write excellent characters who evoke a reaction in the reader. There are three absolutely standout characters for me in this book. The first being Ed Truman who is a pretty normal guy. A family man but in all honesty does he really devote enough of his time and attention to his wife, daughter and son? No, not really. He’s made mistakes and he continues to make them. At times I liked Ed, at others I wanted to shake my head at him and give him my disappointed look! The next character that definitely deserves a mention is DCI Jackie Rose who is the kick-ass, ‘don’t care much for the rules’ detective tasked with hunting Ed down for the murder of the young woman. Oh my gosh! I loved her. She’s a bit obnoxious, totally driven and very hot headed. Sure, there are rules but they can be broken as and when needed! Alongside her new ‘by the book’ DS, clashing heads along the way, they lead the search for Ed. The final character I need to mention, who made me so cross I nearly threw the book across the room, is Benedict Silver. Right-hand man to the head honcho of Men Together, this arrogant, chauvinistic, misogynistic psychopath made my blood boil at frequent points throughout the book and I loved it! I’m a strong believer that books should make you feel ‘something’, evoke an emotion of some sort and Silver did just that. I loved the scenes featuring both DCI Rose and Silver. Both strong characters, staring each other down, waiting to see which of the two would break eye contact first. Marvellous!

The plot is paced well with lots of thrills and spills along the way. Before picking this book up I expected the titular ‘Box’ to drive the characters forward towards an end goal but no one other than Phoenix, a girl Ed goes on the run with, knows anything about it! She has the footage to prove what’s been going on. Now all she needs is for the nation to believe her. ‘The Box’ is key to the storyline and plays a pivotal part but I was surprised to discover it wasn’t the driving force. Ed’s sole motivation is evading the police long enough to rescue his daughter. No matter how you look at it though, what ‘the box’ definitely is, without a shadow of a doubt, is darn right horrific. The stuff nightmares are made of. But gosh, it felt uncomfortably believable. What a terrifying thought!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Box is a chilling, edge of your seat modern day thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The writing is punchy with short chapters which pull the reader into the story, keeping them hooked until the final heart breaking reveal. There are some big surprises along the way but I had my suspicions as to how things were going to pan out, which were confirmed. However, what I didn’t see coming was the events of the epilogue which felt right and just to me and, following everything that had come before, a perfect way to end this thrilling novel. Malakin has delivered a powerful, high concept thriller which deserves to fly off the shelves and I look forward to reading more of his work soon. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Box. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Box by Dan Malakin was published in the UK by Viper Books on 16th June 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow at a later date (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Dan MalakinDan Malakin has twice been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and his debut novel, The Regret, was a Kindle bestseller. When not writing thrillers, Dan works as a data security consultant, teaching corporations how to protect themselves from hackers. He lives in North London with his wife and daughter.

His new novel, an action thriller called The Box, will be released by Viper Books in June 2022.

#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Homes by J.B. Mylet @ViperBooks #TheHomes #damppebbles

“There were good people in The Homes. But there were also some very, very bad ones…

A thousand unwanted children live in The Homes, a village of orphans in the Scottish Lowlands on the outskirts of Glasgow. Lesley was six before she learned that most children live with their parents. Now Lesley is twelve, and she and her best friend Jonesy live in Cottage 5, Jonesy the irrepressible spirit to Lesley’s quiet thoughtfulness.

Life is often cruel at The Homes, and suddenly it becomes much crueller. A child is found murdered. Then another. With the police unable to catch the killer, Lesley and Jonesy decide to take the matter into their own hands. But unwanted children are easy victims, and they are both in terrible danger…
Inspired by a true story, and introducing readers to the unforgettable voice of young orphan Lesley, The Homes is a moving and lyrical thriller, perfect for readers of Val McDermid, Chris Whitaker, Jane Casey and Denise Mina.

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be joining The Homes blog tour. The Homes by J.B. Mylet will be published by Viper Books later this week (that’s Thursday 26th May 2022) and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Homes but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Rosie at Viper Books for sending me a proof copy.

Lesley and Jonesy are twelve-year-old best friends who have been abandoned by their parents. They’re unloved. They live in the Homes, a purpose built village in Scotland, alongside nearly 800 other orphaned and abandoned children. Life is tough. Beatings are common. But it’s the only life they know. When one of the older teenage girls is found dead, it’s the most exciting and interesting thing to have ever happened at the Homes. But when a second girl is killed, realisation dawns on the children. There’s a killer loose targeting the young female population of the Homes and any of the girls could be next. Lesley and Jonesy don’t want to die so they take it upon themselves to try and solve the murders. But the more they dig and poke around, pointing fingers at the staff, the closer to danger they get…

Oh my word, this book! I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from The Homes but what I got was a brilliantly written mystery featuring some of the most memorable characters I’ve met, alongside a bit of an education about the Quarriers Homes and how life was for the children who lived there.

Lesley is such a wonderful character. We meet her as she’s just about to face up to bully Glenda McAdam and it’s immediately clear to the reader that Lesley is very much out of her depth. She’s a clever girl and brawling, particularly with the powerhouse that is Glenda, is not something she wants to do. Egged on by best pal Jonesy, she knows the only way to get Glenda off her back is to stand up to her. And that’s exactly what she does. This opening chapter provides the reader with everything they need to know about Lesley. It’s a beautiful introduction to a character who will stay in your heart long after you’ve finished reading.

The Homes is very much Lesley’s story. Her life, her friends, how she copes with being one of only four children from the Homes who attends the grammar school, the relentless teasing and bullying she gets for being smart, her weekly meetings with Eadie, the on-call psychologist, her interactions with her strict houseparents – Mr & Mrs Paterson – and the other girls who share a room with her, and it’s an absolutely fascinating, highly compelling tale. I was completely smitten with Lesley’s story. Her life isn’t perfect but she has routine and stability, and it’s all she knows.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Homes is a well-written and compelling tale which I was drawn into from the moment I met Lesley. I adored spending time in her world and I now feel a little bereft having finished the book. I couldn’t for the life of me work out whodunit so when the reveal did happen, I was shocked. I also really, really enjoyed that the author has used local dialect throughout the book to tell the story – lots of deids and heids and cannaes – which really added to the authenticity of the story. I read the entire book with a Scottish accent! Emotional, devastating at times, and with a well-plotted mystery at its heart, The Homes is a must read for readers who like strong character-driven tales. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Homes. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Homes by J.B. Mylet was published in the UK by Viper Books on 26th May 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

J.B. MyletJ.B. Mylet was inspired to write The Homes based on the stories his mother told him about her childhood. She grew up in the infamous Quarrier’s Homes in Scotland in the 1960s, along with a thousand other orphaned or unwanted children, and did not realise that children were supposed to live with their parents until she was seven. He felt this was a story that needed to be told. He lives in London.

#BookReview: Sundial by Catriona Ward @ViperBooks @ThePigeonholeHQ #Sundial #damppebbles

You can’t escape the desert. You can’t escape Sundial.

Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because of what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to Sundial, her childhood home deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

A gripping gothic masterpiece from the bestselling and award-winning author of THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET, SUNDIAL is a must-read for fans of GIRL A and SHARP OBJECTS.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Sundial by Catriona Ward. Sundial was published by Viper Books on 10th March 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow later this year. I chose to read and review a free eARC of Sundial but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to The Pigeonhole for providing me with a copy.

The Last House on Needless Street was, without a doubt, one of the biggest books of 2021. It’s been shortlisted for awards, the rights have been sold all over the world, it topped the charts, it featured on several TV book clubs, the film rights have been optioned and most importantly of all (in my opinion, anyway) it was the joint winner of #R3COMM3ND3D2021. It’s HUGE and rightly so. So it goes without saying that the latest release from Ward and Viper Books was going to be a must read for many. Myself included. I could not wait to read this book!

Rob and Irving have two beautiful daughters, rewarding teaching careers, they live in a good neighbourhood and take the utmost care of their house. Life, on the outside, looks perfect for the Cussens family. But Rob knows the truth. There’s something about her eldest daughter, Callie, which puts her on edge. To the point where she feels her other daughter, Annie, isn’t safe. When the proof arrives, Rob makes the decision to move Callie as far away from her sibling as possible for a few days and drives to her family home of Sundial in the Mojave Desert. In the isolation of the desert, surrounded by painful, difficult memories and the ghosts of her family, Rob will have to make the hardest decision she’s ever made….

Dark and disturbing, Sundial was an absolute dream to read. I adored every unsettling moment I spent amongst the pages of this exquisite novel. The author is a master at writing highly complex, utterly intriguing, yet deeply flawed characters who, over time, reveal their true selves, and it makes for compulsive reading. I adored Rob. It’s clear from the moment she and Callie arrive at Sundial that her past, and her family, were very different to the norm. Dysfunctional is an understatement! The more the reader discovers, the more shocking things become. I’m loathe to say too much in fear of giving something away that I shouldn’t. There are so many well-plotted layers to this novel that each chapter brings a new revelation. Something to twist and shape what you thought into something new and different which makes for a thrilling, unpredictable reading experience.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Sundial is highly original, darkly compelling and totally twisted (in the best way possible). The pressure really was on for the author following the huge success of The Last House on Needless Street but by George, she’s gone and done it again! Sundial is a very different beast to its predecessor but I think I preferred it ever so slightly. Both books are superb but I think this one, for me, takes the edge. The setting is very well drawn, I could feel the heat of the Mojave Desert blistering my skin. The characters have real depth and I felt as though they were living and breathing in front of me. The plot flowed beautifully, keeping me within the pages and occupying my thoughts when I wasn’t reading. Addictive, uncomfortable at times but truly stunning in concept and delivery. Psychological horror at its absolute finest and this book firmly puts Ward on my ‘must read’ author list. I’m excited to see what Catriona Ward delivers next! Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of Sundial. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Sundial by Catriona Ward was published in the UK by Viper Books on 10th March 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Catriona WardCATRIONA WARD was born in Washington, DC and grew up in the United States, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen, and Morocco. She read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford and is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia.

Stephen King praised her latest gothic thriller, saying: ‘The buzz building around Catriona Ward’s THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET is real. I’ve read it and was blown away. It’s a true nerve-shredder that keeps its mind-blowing secrets to the very end. Haven’t read anything this exciting since GONE GIRL.’ THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET is published 2021 by Viper (UK) and Tor Nightfire (USA).

Her next book, SUNDIAL will be published by Nightfire (US) and Viper (UK) in March 2022.

Ward’s second novel LITTLE EVE won the 2019 Shirley Jackson Award, as well as the August Derleth Prize at the British Fantasy Awards, and was a Guardian best book of 2018. LITTLE EVE will be published in the US by Tor Nightfire in October 2022.

Ward’s debut RAWBLOOD also won the 2016 August Derleth, making her the only woman to have won the prize twice. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. ‘The Pier at Ardentinny’ was shortlisted for the ALCS Tom Gallon Trust Award organised by the Royal Society of Literature. She lives in London and Devon.

#BookReview: Begars Abbey by V.L. Valentine @ViperBooks #BegarsAbbey #damppebbles

“A dark house filled with darker secrets…

Winter 1954, and in a dilapidated apartment in Brooklyn, Sam Cooper realises that she has nothing left. Her mother is dead, she has no prospects, and she cannot afford the rent. But as she goes through her mother’s things, Sam finds a stack of hidden letters that reveal a family and an inheritance that she never knew she had, three thousand miles away in Yorkshire.

Begars Abbey is a crumbling pile, inhabited only by Lady Cooper, Sam’s ailing grandmother, and a handful of servants. Sam cannot understand why her mother kept its very existence a secret, but her newly discovered diaries offer a glimpse of a young girl growing increasingly terrified. As is Sam herself.

Built on the foundations of an old convent, Begars moves and sings with the biting wind. Her grandmother cannot speak, and a shadowy woman moves along the corridors at night. There are dark places in the hidden tunnels beneath Begars. And they will not give up their secrets easily…

A chilling read that will keep you turning the pages late into the night, Begars Abbey is a must-read for fans of Laura Purcell and W.C. Ryan.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Begars Abbey by V.L. Valentine. Begars Abbey is published by Viper Books today (that’s Thursday 28th April 2022) and is available in hardcover and digital formats with the paperback to follow later this year. I chose to read and review a free ARC of Begars Abbey but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Therese at Viper Books for sending me a proof copy.

Following the death of her mother, Vera, Sam Cooper comes to realise that she has nothing left. She’s barely existing, she has no money and her Brooklyn apartment is crumbling around her. Whilst clearing out her mother’s belongings, Sam discovers a stack of telegrams her mother failed to mention. The telegrams reveal a family and a substantial inheritance several thousand miles away in Yorkshire. Sam is desperate to connect and find out why her mother would rather live in squalor, struggling to put food on the table each day, than ask her family for help. But on arrival in Yorkshire, Sam’s expectations are dashed. Begars Abbey is a crumbling ruin of a house, run by a strange housekeeper and a number of incompetent staff. Sam’s grandmother, Lady Cooper, is wheelchair bound and unable to utter a word after several strokes. There’s something not quite right about the house. So when Sam discovers her mother’s teenage diaries, she’s determined to discover what secrets Begars Abbey holds…

Begars Abbey is a thoroughly enjoyable, dark, chilling gothic mystery. I’ve been living on the edge recently and not reading the blurb of a book before I make a start on it so I went into Begars Abbey almost blind. Yes, it is clear from the cover that it’s a gothic tale but that’s as much as I knew. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that our story starts in Brooklyn in the 1950s! Sam is a fantastic character – well rounded, likeable and quite ballsy, which I really appreciated. I warmed to her instantly, despite the chill of the New York air already giving me goosebumps! I really enjoyed meeting Sam and finding more out about her relationship with her mother.

After a long journey across the Atlantic Ocean Sam’s arrival in England falls flat, with her pre-arranged escort nowhere in sight and the icy bitterness of the Liverpool docks providing the reader with even more chills. But with the help of the family’s solicitor, Alec Bell, Sam is whisked to her ancestral home. The supporting characters in the novel are all well-written and absolutely fascinating. I found Alec to be wonderfully frustrating whilst the eccentric but endlessly loyal Mrs Pritchett was unpredictable and unnerving – superb characterisation.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. If you’re a fan of gothic mysteries, or just well-written mysteries full stop, then I heartily recommend Begars Abbey. Dark, creepy and compelling, I flew through this book in a few short sittings and would gladly read more by this author. Wonderful imagery, marvellous characters and lots of surprises in store for the reader. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Begars Abbey. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Begars Abbey by V.L. Valentine was published in the UK by Viper Books on 28th April 2022 and is available in hardcover and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

V.L. ValentineV.L. Valentine is a senior science editor at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C., where she has led award-winning coverage of global disease outbreaks including Ebola and the Zika virus. She has a master’s in the history of medicine from University College London and her non-fiction work has been published by NPR, The New York Times, The Smithsonian Channel and Science Magazine. The Plague Letters is her first novel.

#BookReview: The Burning Boy by Nicola White @ViperBooks #TheBurningBoy #damppebbles

“A dead police officer. A murder that no-one wants to solve…

Dublin, 1986. The murder of an off-duty officer in Phoenix Park should have brought down the full power of the Dublin police force. But Kieran Lynch was found in a notorious gay cruising ground, so even as the press revels in the scandal, some of the Murder Squad are reluctant to investigate.

Only Detectives Vincent Swan and Gina Considine are determined to search out the difficult truth, walking the streets of nighttime Dublin to find Kieran’s lovers and friends. But Gina has her own secret that means she must withhold vital evidence. When a fire rips through Temple Bar and another man is killed, she must decide what price she is willing to pay to find a murderer.

A gripping mystery that will keep you hooked until the final page, perfect for readers of Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Tana French and Adrian McKinty.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Burning Boy by Nicola White. The Burning Boy is the third book in the Detective Vincent Swan series and was published by Viper Books on 20th January 2022. I chose to read and review a free copy of The Burning Boy but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to the team at Viper Books for sending me a finished copy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the second book in White’s Dublin based detective series, The Rosary Garden, around this time last year. So I was delighted when an unexpected copy of book three in the trilogy, The Burning Boy, landed on the doormat at damppebbles HQ a few weeks ago. Detectives Vincent Swan and Gina Considine really left their mark on me last January so I was keen to be reunited with them and see what tricky new case they had been tasked to solve.

A man’s badly beaten body is found barely alive in a Dublin park. He’s hanging onto life by a thread and that thread is starting to fray. He’s whisked to hospital where he’s identified as Kieran Lynch, a Garda in the local force. Instead of the immediate outcry you would expect from the Garda officers at one of their own nearly being killed, all that surfaces is indifference at the attack. Because Kieran’s badly beaten body was found in a notorious gay hook-up spot and no one, neither his friends nor his colleagues, want to be associated with him. Not even when the hunt for Kieran’s attacker turns into a hunt for his killer. Which means it’s down to Detective Vincent Swan and Detective Gina Considine to fight for their fallen colleague and find out who killed Kieran, and why…

Swan and Considine are a marvellous pairing and I enjoyed spending time with them once again. Both characters have their own secrets and hidden heartache to contend with in The Burning Boy which I felt helped me get to know them better. Coming into this third book I was aware of Swan’s situation, which the author builds on extremely well – fleshing out Swan’s loneliness until my heart broke a little for him – but I was fascinated to find out more about Gina Considine. I don’t feel I really got to know what made her tick in the second book, The Rosary Garden, so I was delighted to discover she plays a key role in this latest instalment.

I love White’s Dublin of the 1980s. It’s funny because I forgot the series is set in the past and I was part way through the book before some key word or phrase reminded me that this isn’t contemporary crime fiction at all. But a beautifully written, vivid historical mystery. The plotline centres around the gay scene in Dublin in the mid-80s. A time when it was illegal to be homosexual, although the Garda – in terms of the book at least – turned a blind eye. There’s tension between the Garda and the gay community throughout the novel. Many of the views are of the time but it all adds up to a very enjoyable reading experience.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Burning Boy is a well-written and intriguing mystery. The pace can be a little slow at times but there is plenty for the reader to get their teeth into, which I appreciated. I feel as though I’m starting to really get to know these characters now so I hope there is more to come (although only time will tell). I loved the ending of this book. It was so unexpected and so utterly devastating – my jaw was on the floor. All in all, another well plotted, well written mystery from a talented author. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Burning Boy. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Burning Boy by Nicola White was published in the UK by Viper Books on 20th January 2022 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Nicola White grew up in Ireland and New York and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin. She lived in London and Belfast before moving to Glasgow to work as a contemporary art curator, moving on to produce arts documentaries for BBC radio and television.

In 2008 she won the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writer Award, and began to publish short stories in a range of journals, anthologies and for broadcast on Radio 4. In 2012 she was Leverhulme Writer in Residence at Edinburgh University.

Her novel, In the Rosary Garden, won the Dundee International Book prize and was shortlisted for the 2014 Deanston (now McIlvanny) Prize. It was selected as one of the four best debuts by Val McDermid ‘New Blood’ panel at the Harrogate crime festival and was one of the Glasgow Herald’s 2014 ‘books of the year’.

She publishes non-fiction with The Dublin Review and has contributed essays to numerous visual art publications, such as the National Galleries of Scotland’s 2014 ‘Generation Reader’.

Nicola currently splits her time between Glasgow and the Highlands, which means she lives mostly on the A9.

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Nasty Little Cuts by Tina Baker @ViperBooks #NastyLittleCuts #damppebbles

WHO WILL SURVIVE THE NIGHT?

A nightmare jolts Debs awake. She leaves the kids tucked up in their beds and goes downstairs. There’s a man in her kitchen, holding a knife. But it’s not an intruder. This is her husband Marc, the father of her children. A man she no longer recognises.

Once their differences were what drew them together, what turned them on. Him, the ex-army officer from a good family. Her, the fitness instructor who grew up over a pub. But now these differences grate to the point of drawing blood. Marc screams in his sleep. And Debs hardly knows the person she’s become, or why she lets him hurt her.

Neither of them is completely innocent. Neither is totally guilty. Marc is taller, stronger, and more vicious, haunted by a war he can’t forget. But he has no idea what Debs is capable of when her children’s lives are at stake…

A powerful exploration of a relationship built on passion, poisoned by secrets and violence. Perfect for readers of Blood Orange and Big Little Lies.

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be joining the Nasty Little Cuts blog tour. Nasty Little Cuts by Tina Baker will be published on 24th February 2022 in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow later in the year. I chose to read and review a free eARC of Nasty Little Cuts but that has in no way influenced my review.

I have been waiting with baited breath for the release of Nasty Little Cuts since reading Tina Baker’s debut, Call Me Mummy, last year. Call Me Mummy left its mark on me thanks to the dastardly Mummy and her pursuit of perfection, no matter what the cost. Baker excels at characterisation (which, for me, is as important as plot in a book) so I was excited to get stuck in to Nasty Little Cuts so I could become acquainted with her latest creations, Debs and Marc. Once again the author forensically examines her characters in beautiful, often deeply uncomfortable detail.

Debs awakens with a start knowing immediately that something is terribly wrong. She creeps downstairs to find a man in her kitchen. In his hand he holds a knife. She blinks again and realises it’s not a stranger, it’s her husband, Marc. How have they gone from a happy, passionate marriage to the point where they no longer really know or trust each other? Debs knows one thing for sure. She and the children are in great danger. Who will make it through the night…?

Nasty Little Cuts is a powerful, emotive read which grips from the opening lines and doesn’t let go until you’ve closed the final page. A harrowing, brutal story of a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. I want to say at this point that I don’t think a title has ever fitted a novel as well as this one does. Every time I see the cover I think to myself, ‘that is so clever, so completely spot on!’. A bit of an aside and not something I normally comment on but hey, it’s pretty darn perfect! Because that’s what life with Debs and Marc has become. Over the course of their marriage, things have happened, things have been said, some on purpose, some not so much, which have hurt both parties. But they all add up and the result is catastrophic.

This is not an easy read. It will make you feel uncomfortable but I was completely smitten with the way Baker holds her reader’s attention, pulling you in the depths of the disaster. Bit by bit, piece by piece. The story is told in the present day, as Debs and Marc face up to each other across the kitchen and in the shadow of the big, pink fridge, and in the past. The reader gets a detailed insight in the couple’s past, peeling away the layers and seeing the traumas they’ve faced – pre and post marriage. The timeline isn’t linear and jumps about, going from 15 years ago to 6 months ago to 2 years ago and beyond, which I was concerned would be a smidge confusing but it wasn’t at all. Because the events of the past lead the reader to the here and now. It’s done exceptionally well. Each slight doing more damage than the last.

The characters are exquisite. I love them all a little for being so deeply flawed but I also loathe them all a little too. Apart from the children, Dolly and Pat-Pat. Once again Baker has written the children in such a way that it’s impossible to not feel affection for these helpless, unwilling victims. Dolly, being the older of the two children, steals the show on several occasions (particularly with her RuPaul catchphrases and sassiness) providing a little light in a very dark and disturbing story.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Nasty Little Cuts is a hugely compelling unravelling of a marriage gone wrong. It’s pretty bleak and brutal at times. I don’t feel the author has held back at all, which I am grateful for, as it’s a shocking tale told in glorious, unflinching technicolour. A toxic relationship at breaking point, fuelled by the past and heading towards catastrophe. Will it be for everyone? I’m not sure, but if you’re a fan of domestic suspense done INCREDIBLY WELL then yes, you must read this book! A gutsy, brave story from an author who is now on my ‘must read’ list. Deliciously dark, disturbing and oh so good! Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of Nasty Little Cuts. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Nasty Little Cuts by Tina Baker was published by Viper Books on 24th February 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow later in the year (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Tina BakerTina Baker, the daughter of a window cleaner and fairground traveller, worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years and is probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. After so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it and won Celebrity Fit Club. She now avoids writing-induced DVT by working as a Fitness Instructor.

Call Me Mummy is Tina’s first novel, inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to become a mother. Despite the grief of that, she’s not stolen a child – so far. But she does rescue cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.