Archive for October, 2016

“Some secrets should never be kept…

A Suitable Lie AW.indd

Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive.  Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love.  Then he meets Anna.  Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match … and she loves his son like he is her own. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems.  Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.  A brave, deeply moving, page-turning psychological thriller,  A Suitable Lie marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s finest crime writers, exploring the lengths people will go to hide their deepest secrets, even if it kills them…”

You can buy a copy of A Suitable Lie here.

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on Michael Malone’s A Suitable Lie blog tour.  Michael has written a great guest post on writers and how they write, if like me you appreciate his sense of humour you will love the commentary.

How do you write? Any weird habits?  A favourite position (ooo, er missus)? Do you need complete silence, or do you rock out to Black Sabbath? Or can’t you even think about it until you have 3 coffees, melba toast and a wee slice of smoked salmon?

Truman Capote, who arguably wrote the best true crime “novel” ever, couldn’t write unless he was lying down, in bed or on a couch with a cigarette and a coffee. As the day progressed he moved from coffee to mint tea to martinis. As he described it, he had to be puffing and sipping.

Hemingway used to write 500 words every morning, to avoid the heat. Living in Scotland, I SO don’t have that problem.  He is quoted as saying he wrote one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit and that he aimed to put the shit in the wastebasket. I’m thinking the toilet would have been preferable.

Nabokov wrote his novels on index cards – they would then be paper-clipped together and stored in wee boxes. In the Paris Review he said he liked lined Bristol cards and well-sharpened, not too hard, pencils capped with erasers.

Thomas Clayton Wolfe, the early 20th century novelist was so tall he used to write leaning over a refrigerator.

Ben Franklin liked to write in the bath. (I’ll bet he was very careful. Soggy paper?)

Voltaire used to place his parchment on the back of his naked lover.

John Cheever only had one suit, so he would go to his writing space, hang his suit up and write in his boxers.

My writing space? When I moved in to my current home about eight years ago, one of the attractions was the floored and lined loft space. I imagined it with bookcases, a wing-backed chair and a corner desk where I would write until my little heart was content.

I made all that happen, but then I also filled it with all kinds of stuff – empty suitcases, Christmas decorations, old clapped out techie junk, skiing equipment and an assortment of other bric-a-brac. So much so that the space is an eyesore – and I write at my dining room table.

As you can see from the esteemed writers above, there is no perfect space. What matters is that you show up, just like it’s work and put the time in.

As for my writing space? One of these days I’ll reclaim that loft. I will. Honest.

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for some brilliant posts by Michael as well as more about #ASuitableLie


About The Author:


Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes:
Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage. Michael is a regular
reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

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Published: 22 September 2016
Reviewed: 12 October 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Urbane Publications in return for an honest review



Do you want to live forever? is THE question facing anyone pursuing immortality. But what happens when eternal life is disappointing, and everyone around you keeps dying?

Ben Ferguson-Cripps, a struggling writer with a surname that gets more attention than his creative endeavours, sets aside his literary ambitions to join the mysterious Life Assistance Agency. Their first case is to trace a missing person with links to the Elizabethan angel-caller Dr John Dee.

Pursued by a shadowy organisation – and the ghosts of Ben’s past – the trail leads through Europe into the historic streets of Prague, where the long-buried secrets of Dr Dee’s achievements are finally revealed, and Ben discovers there is far more to life than simply

My Thoughts & Review:

The Life Assistance Agency is a quirky and clever mystery, and a fabulous début for this author.
Ben Ferguson-Cripps finds a business card from The Life Assistance Agency and is intrigued, he is a struggling writer in need of help and a steady income so applies for a job, not realising it is run by an old acquaintance.  When he asks what is involved he finds out the Agency takes on any case, including but not limited to finding hitmen, finding jobs and bonsai trimming.
Ben and Scott work on the case of a missing man, Mr. Foxe, an eccentric lecturer.  Whilst investigating the circumstances of his disappearance they travel around Europe and desperately try to untangle the links to Alchemy and the work of a Doctor from the 1500s.  Just to make things more interesting, Ben and Scott are being followed by hired thugs from The Society of Psychical Research (The Society) who are tasked with minding all matters “otherworldly” for the safety of the general public.  

I read somewhere that this had been likened this to “The Da Vinci Code” the mystery and supernatural elements woven into an entertaining and thrilling story and I have to say I quite agree.  It’s a fun read, plenty comedic moments with some brilliant characters.  Ben is logical and serious, Scott on the other hand is the opposite so they contrast quite well.

The diary entries by Jane Dee (the wife of the 16th century Doctor) were a part of the book I can’t quite decide about.  Perhaps because the style of writing, they felt a little less like diary and more like a running narrative, however because they are written in the same style as the rest of the book it was sometimes difficult to tell where the entry stopped and the story took up again.  This could just be down to personal reading preference however, and I would urge you to read this and make up your own mind.

The author has done well to weave the past and the present together in this book to bring a fantastical tale that carries the reader off into a spiral of mayhem, madness and intrigue.

You can buy a copy of The Life Assistance Agency here.

About the Author:

Thomas Hocknell is from Kent and lives in London. He has been a social worker, car salesman and gardener. He attended the Faber Academy and The Life Assistance Agency is his first novel. His regular Idle Blogs of an Idle Fellow aims to embrace random topics of modern living, but mostly complains about other people’s inability to make decent tea. He also writes for Classic Pop magazine, the Good Men Project and The Line of Best Fit.

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Published: 11 January 2016
Reviewed: 10 October 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by the author in return for an honest review



DCI Michael Lambert is back…

When a woman is murdered, the twisted killer forcing her husband to watch her slow and painful death, DCI Michael Lambert knows that his next case might be his toughest yet.

And when a second set of killings are discovered, with exactly the same MO, the race is on the find the lethal sociopath before he strikes again.

But Lambert never expected to receive an anonymous call from the killer. This time, it’s personal: if Lambert doesn’t find the murderer soon, his own loved ones will be next…

The gripping second novel in a thrilling new crime series by Matt Brolly. Perfect for fans of Tony Parsons, Lee Child and Angela Marsons.

My Thoughts & Review:

Having had the pleasure of reviewing Dead Eyed I was absolutely thrilled to have the chance to review Dead Lucky too.  Matt Brolly is fast becoming an author I will be following closely for updates and new books, there’s word that book three of the DCI Lambert series will be out early 2017 and I for one cannot wait!  Having thought that Dead Eyed was a fantastic book, I was slightly hesitant when I started this one, would the curse of the second book befall Brolly?  Would this lack what made his début so brilliant?
The answer is absolutely not, Brolly has taken the success of book 1 and run with it, it’s quite possible that book 2 is even better….

First and foremost, if you’ve not read Dead Eyed, don’t panic, this does read as a standalone.  But for those wishing to read book 1 of the series, I would definitely recommend it, my review can be found here and a copy can be purchased here.

Dead Lucky is a thrilling and addictive read, once again the reader is faced with a killer that is utterly chilling and a story that is excellently plotted and a mystery that is head-scratchingly  clever.

Characterisation in this is excellent, DCI Lambert is still  unconventional in his methods and his personal life is awash with tragedy, a very broken and flawed character that Brolly develops well without turning this into a tale of woe.  In all fairness there are several characters that are worthy of note, but I would end up writing a full character study…great creations, very well developed and incredibly intriguing (DS Kennedy).

A very fast paced read, that is hard to put down, the descriptive qualities of the writing really help to make this addictive.  There are plenty of twists and turns in this to keep the reader guessing.

You can buy a copy of Dead Lucky here.


About the Author:

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University.

He is the author of the DCI Lambert crime novels, Dead Eyed and Dead Lucky, and the near future crime trilogy, featuring DI Kate Swanson, which begins with Zero.

Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children. You can find out more about Matt at his website MattBrolly.co.uk or by following him on twitter: @MatthewBrolly



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Published: 3 September 2015
Reviewed: 10 October 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by the author in return for an honest review



Gritty, complex and effortlessly chilling, Brolly’s Dead Eyed is a grisly crime thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

DCI Michael Lambert thought he’d closed his last case…

Yet when he’s passed a file detailing a particularly gruesome murder, Michael knows that this is no ordinary killer at work.

The removal of the victim’s eyes and the Latin inscription carved into the chest is the chilling calling-card of the ‘soul jacker’: a cold-blooded murderer who struck close to Michael once before, twenty-five years ago.

Now the long-buried case is being re-opened, and Michael is determined to use his inside knowledge to finally bring the killer to justice. But as the body count rises, Michael realises that his own links to the victims could mean that he is next on the killer’s list…

The gripping first novel in a thrilling new crime series by Matt Brolly. Perfect for fans of Tony Parsons, Lee Child and Angela Marsons.

My Thoughts & Review:

When the author initially approached me about reviewing this book I was instantly gripped by the description and immediately begged for a copy, the killer in this book sounded twisted, dark and absolutely fascinating.

Dead Eyed is the first book in the DCI Michael Lambert series and is an incredibly impressive début novel by Matt Brolly. As there are a wealth of crime books available to buy at the moment there is fierce competition to be the goriest, the grittiest or the most technically challenging out there, but what I liked most about this book was that despite it being the first novel in the series, it didn’t read like it.  This book was written with skill and confidence.  The style of writing is crisp, clear and wonderfully descriptive.  Brolly has carved out a place for himself beside the great crime writers with excellent plotting, great characters and a killer that really leaves the reader chilled to the bone at times.  I don’t want to say too much about the plot itself, it would spoil your enjoyment of the book!

Soul Jacker is a killer that really “works” well, a sociopath that goes around killing, removing the eyes of the victims and then carefully carving Latin phrases into their bodies.  Despite eventually identifying the killer, I was still utterly intrigued as to the the “why” and the “how” of it all.

The protagonist, DCI Michael Lambert is a fantastic character, he is flawed but likeable.  Sarah May is also a great character, it is good to see a strong female character who has intelligence and independence.

The pace of the book is excellent, twists and turns aplenty, and Brolly cruelly lets the reader think they’ve worked it out before pulling the rug out from under them……touché Mr Brolly!
Highly recommended crime thriller.

Looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Dead Lucky.

You can buy a copy of Dead Eyed here.


About the Author:

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University.

He is the author of the DCI Lambert crime novels, Dead Eyed and Dead Lucky, and the near future crime trilogy, featuring DI Kate Swanson, which begins with Zero.

Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children. You can find out more about Matt at his website MattBrolly.co.uk or by following him on twitter: @MatthewBrolly



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On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

Fans of Angela Marson, Mark Billingham and M. J. Aldridge will be gripped by this chilling journey into the mind of a troubled killer.

The first three chapters are available to read now via Amazon (free sampler) by clicking here

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Author: Tammy Cohen

Published: 21 April 2016
Reviewed: 9 October 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Black Swan / Random House UK, Transworld Publishers in return for an honest review



You see the people you work with every day.

But what can’t you see?

Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….

Now, there’s something chilling in the air.

Who secretly hates everyone?

Who is tortured by their past?

Who is capable of murder?

My Thoughts & Review:

When a friend recommends a book that they have enjoyed I am somewhat cautious, sometimes we don’t like the same books but sometimes she hints about a book being utterly brilliant and needs to be read as soon as possible.  When it’s worded like that, how could I refuse?

Cohen cleverly weaves together two seemingly unconnected strands of a story to create a fantastically twisted thriller.
One thread is narrated by Dr Anne Carter, who recounts the details of a dark and distressing case from earlier in her career.  It is made clear that this case involves one of the office workers in the second thread of the story.  The team in the office are the stereotypical office workers, each one has a secret, they all have their flaws but the appearance of a new boss sets the cat amongst the proverbial pigeons.  A team building weekend causes rivalries and when it turns to suspicion it’s not long before the bonds of friendship are shattered forever.

Short chapters make this a quick read, and coupled with the tension in the book it makes for a very addictive read.  It’s practically impossible to get one step ahead with this one, Cohen ensures the reader is kept guessing throughout this mystery, and even when you do think you’ve cracked it…..nope, Cohen keeps you guessing some more!
There is a real sense of menace when reading this, skilfully Cohen leads the reader deeper in to the mysteries of the book and leaves them feeling a little uncomfortable at times.

The clever use of each character narrating a chapter allows the reader to see the perspectives of each.

Be warned, this may leave you wondering just how well you know the people you work alongside.  But more importantly, it reminds the reader that whilst the physical scars of child abuse may fade, the psychological damage may never heal.

You can buy a copy of When She Was Bad  here.
About the Author:
Tammy Cohen (who also writes as Tamar Cohen) is a freelance journalist writing for national magazines and newspapers. After a late start, she has now written six novels – The Mistress’s Revenge, The War of the Wives, Someone Else’s Wedding, The Broken and Dying For Christmas and First One Missing – all published by Doubleday/Black Swan. She is a member of the Killer Women crime writing collective and lives in North London with her partner and three (nearly) grown children, plus one very badly behaved dog.

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Author: Jo Spain

Published 22 September 2016
Reviewed: 8 October 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Quercus Books in return for an honest review



From top-ten Irish bestselling author Jo Spain comes the second novel in the Inspector Tom Reynolds series

Did I know it would come to this? That I was playing Russian Roulette? I would give anything to turn back time and to be with my girls. There is no shot at redemption. I am going to die. The gun is in my eye-line as the second bullet is fired. That’s the one that kills me.

Late at night, two powerful men meet in a secret location to discuss a long nurtured plan about to come to fruition. One is desperate to know there is nothing standing in their way – the other assures him everything is taken care of. Hours later, a high-ranking government official called Ryan Finnegan is brutally slain in the most secure building in Ireland – Leinster House, the seat of parliament. Inspector Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to uncover the truth behind the murder.

At first, all the evidence hints at a politically motivated crime, until a surprise discovery takes the investigation in a dramatically different direction. Suddenly the motive for murder has got a lot more personal. . . but who benefits the most from Ryan’s death?

My Thoughts & Review:

Beneath The Surface is the second book by Jo Spain to feature Inspector Tom Reynolds, the first being With Our Blessing and can be read as a standalone.

The horrific murder of a government official in the parliament building, the most secure building in Ireland leads to an investigation headed up by DI Reynolds and his team.  Discovering a compromising photograph under the body of the victim opens up the investigation to realms of political skulduggery, corruption and scandal.

The development of Tom Reynolds in this book is great, the reader gets to know more about this character and his team.  The dynamic of home life and work life made for interesting reading and gave the characters a more realistic feel. There seemed to be so much going on in this book, with so many characters involved it must have taken the author some serious homework to keep track of them all, which in turn means that the reader has to pay some attention to who’s who and what their story is in order to keep up, not a book you can drift in and out of.
The story itself is interesting enough, but for me the political angle just wasn’t for me.

Jo Spain’s knowledge of working within Leinster House shows through the detail written in to this book, it adds an authenticity to it all.  The writing is enjoyable, the story flows well and the tantalising epilogue opens up the possibility of a third instalment in the Tom Reynolds series.

You can buy a copy of Beneath the Surface here.


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Published: 17 March 2016
Reviewed: 15 May 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Urbane Publications



The genteel façade of London’s Hampstead is shattered by a series of terrifying murders, and the ensuing police hunt is threatened by internal politics, and a burgeoning love triangle within the investigative team. Pressurised by senior officers desperate for a result a new initiative is clearly needed, but what?

Intellectual analysis and police procedure vie with the gut instinct of ‘copper’s nose’, and help appears to offer itself from a very unlikely source – a famous fictional detective. A psychological profile of the murderer allows the police to narrow down their search, but will Scotland Yard lose patience with the team before they can crack the case?
Praised by fellow authors and readers alike, this is a truly original crime story, speaking to a contemporary audience yet harking back to the Golden Age of detective fiction. Intelligent, quirky and mannered, it has been described as ‘a love letter to the detective novel’. Above it all hovers Hampstead, a magical village evoking the elegance of an earlier time, and the spirit of mystery-solving detectives.

My Thoughts & Review:

I’ve had notes written down about this book for months, but can’t believe that I’ve never actually moved this review from more than draft stage *bad reviewer*

Death in Profile encapsulates the feel of classic crime and is a wonderful change of pace from the modern day gritty (and sometimes gory) crime novels.
Written as a more intellectual crime novel as opposed to an action thriller, the story focuses on the investigation into the deaths of 5 women in Hampstead in London.

The characters in this are absolutely great, they are engaging and interesting, the author takes great care to ensure that they are portrayed well throughout the book.  I especially liked the dynamic between the “old school” detective and the “new school” detective, their differing techniques and approached to investigating were very well detailed and interesting to read.

The mystery in the story is superbly created, red herrings and twists aplenty to keep the reader guessing throughout.  My smug feeling that I had worked out “whodunnit” was short lived when turned the page – foiled!  There are clues scattered throughout the narrative, and it is possible to work out the culprit, it’s quite nice to feel that that you are piecing the clues together along with the detectives, trying to work it all out.

I appreciate that some people may not like this book, it may be too “cozy” for some, there is no gratuitous violence, it’s not dark and gritty.  Think Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers, back to the Golden Age of detective stories and you will be on the right track for this book, it’s a lovely change of pace from a gruesome and dark thriller.

I  don’t usually comment on the cover of books, purely because I am bad for being attracted by an interesting cover….yes I admit it, I sometimes only pick a book when my eye is caught by a cover….
But in this instance, I will make mention of the lovely cover.  The blood spatter over the artwork is brilliant, I absolutely love it!  It gives a hint towards what lies inside the book, there’s almost an eerie feeling emanating from it which adds to the intrigue.

I eagerly look forward to the next book from Guy Fraser-Sampson.

You can buy a copy of Death in Profile here.


About the Author:

Guy Fraser-Sampson is an established writer, having published not only fiction but also books on a diverse range of subjects including finance, investment, economics and cricket. His darkly disturbing economic history The Mess We’re In was nominated for the Orwell Prize. His Mapp & Lucia novels have all been optioned by BBC TV, and have won high praise from other authors including Alexander McCall Smith, Gyles Brandreth and Tom Holt. The second was featured in an exclusive interview with Mariella Forstrup on Radio 4, and Guy’s entertaining talks on the series have been heard at a number of literary events including the Sunday Times Festival in Oxford and the Daily Telegraph Festival in Dartington. With Death in Profile he begins a new series entitled The Hampstead Murders. Set in and around the iconic North London village, the first book in the series sees a team of detectives pursuing a serial sex killer while internal politics and a love triangle threaten to destabilise the enquiry. Harking back (sometimes explicitly) to the Golden Age of detective writing, Death in Profile introduces us to a group of likeable central characters whose loves, eccentricities and career ups and downs will be developed throughout the series. Very different from the contemporary model of detective novel, Guy’s innovative style and approach has been endorsed by leading crime writers such as Christopher Brookmyre and Ruth Dugdall.




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Author: Greg Mitchell

Published: 20 October 2016
Reviewed: 7 October 2016

5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Bantam Press in return for an honest review



In the summer of 1962, one year after the rise of the Berlin Wall, a group of daring young West Germans risked prison, Stasi torture and even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall.

Then, as the world’s press heard about the secret projects, two television networks raced to be the first to document them from the inside, funding two separate tunnels for exclusive rights to film the escapes. In response, President John F. Kennedy and his administration, wary of anything that might raise tensions and force a military confrontation with the Soviets, maneuvered to quash both documentaries.

As Greg Mitchell’s riveting narrative unfolds, we meet extraordinary characters: the legendary cyclist who became East Berlin’s most wanted man; the tunneller who had already served four years in the East German gulag; the Stasi informer who betrays the ‘CBS tunnel’; the young East Berliner who escapes with her baby, then marries one of the tunnellers; and an engineer who would later help build the tunnel under the English Channel.

Capturing the hopes and fears of everyday Berliners, the chilling reach of the Stasi secret police, and the political tensions of the Cold War, The Tunnels is breaking history, a propulsive read whose themes still reverberate today.

My Thoughts & Review:

For years I’ve held a fascination with the Cold War period and eagerly read a variety of espionage thrillers, historical fiction and factual material recounting life during these times, so when I heard about this book I knew it wasn’t one to pass up the chance to get an early copy to review.

Greg Mitchell takes a fresh approach to recounting history, his writing style makes this book read like an espionage thriller but all the while is informative and insightful.  The numerous hours of research and investigating evidence for this book show in the detailed narrative and also through the cast of wonderfully intriguing characters.  Mitchell also shows thought towards his reader when he writes reminders about a character in the narrative – very useful when the cast list is extensive and it is easy to forget who had what role.

This is a book that is worth taking time to read, it’s not a quick read like the spy novels written by John le Carré or Len Deighton, but it is just as enthralling.  I can honestly say that I feel it was a rewarding read.  It added to my knowledge of the Wall and the politics of the time but the human element, the stories of the individuals involved in tunnelling made this a compelling read.
Being a child of the 1980s, I was too young at the time to realise what the Berlin Wall meant, too naive to realise how momentous its deconstruction was, but The Tunnels manages to convey the importance of the Wall its history in a way that brings it alive.  Forgotten details are brought to the fore and incorporated into what might possibly be one of the best non fiction books I have read this year, quite frankly, I would be tempted to say ever.

I would thoroughly recommend this book and you can order a copy of The Tunnels here. 


About the Author:

Greg Mitchell (born 1947) is the author of more than a dozen books. His next book, coming on October 18 from Crown, is available for pre-order and has already been optioned for a major movie with Paul Greengrass to direct. It is titled “The Tunnels” and explores daring escape tunnels under the Berlin Wall in 1962–and the JFK White House attempts to kill NBC and CBS coverage of them at the height of nuclear tensions.

Mitchell has blogged on the media and politics, for The Nation. and at his own blog, Pressing Issjes. He was the editor of Editor & Publisher (E&P), from 2002 to the end of 2009, and long ago was executive editor at the legendary Crawdaddy. His book “The Campaign of the Century” won the Goldsmith Book Prize and “Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady” was a New York Times Notable Book for 1998. He has also co-authored two books with Robert Jay Lifton, along with a “So Wrong For So Long” about the media and Iraq. His books have been optioned numerous times for movies (including “Joy in Mudville” by Tim Hanks). He has served as chief adviser to two award-winning documentaries and currently is co-producer of an upcoming film on Beethoven with his co-author on “Journeys With Beethoven.”


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Author: Frances Brody

Published: 6th October 2016
Reviewed: 6th October 2016

Copy supplied by Piatkus / Little, Brown Book Group in return for an honest review



Nothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton feels like she deserves a break. Heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma who works as a fortune teller there.

Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn, but upon arrival discovers that Alma’s daughter Felicity has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn ticket for their only asset: a watch-guard. What makes this more intriguing is the jeweller who advanced Felicity the thirty shillings is Jack Phillips, Alma’s current gentleman friend.

Kate can’t help but become involved, and goes to the jeweller’s shop to get some answers. When she makes a horrifying discovery in the back room, it soon becomes clear that her services are needed. Met by a wall of silence by town officials, keen to maintain Whitby’s idyllic façade, it’s up to Kate – ably assisted by Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden – to discover the truth behind Felicity’s disappearance.

And they say nothing happens in August . . .

My Thoughts & Review:

When I think of cozy mystery novels I instantly think of the work of Agatha Christie and her endearing creation Miss Marple.  So when I encountered this book I was inquisitive to see what sort of detective Kate Shackleton would turn out to be.  The idea of the story being set in the 1920s in Whitby was another factor in my interest in this book.

Kate Shackleton heads to Whitby for a well deserved break, but as is the case for most private investigators, trouble is never far away.  Not long after arriving Mrs Shackleton pulls on her investigating hat and begins to look into the disappearance of her god-daughter Felicity, which subsequently leads her to the discovery of a dead body in the local jeweller’s shop.

This being the first encounter I’ve had with this character I was intrigued to see how her investigations would progress, what methods she would employ to get to the truth as well as how the limitations of the era for females would impact upon her.  Death at the Seaside is the eighth outing for Kate Shackleton, and I would be quite keen to catch up with her in one of the earlier books to see how she has progressed but also to enjoy this style of mystery again.
Cozy mysteries may not be for everyone, some people might prefer their crime thrillers to be fast paced, action packed and highly dangerous, but despite not being any of those things, this book is still very good.  The mystery element is engaging, the story itself is well written, the characters are incredibly well created and interesting and the pace is steady.

An enjoyable change of pace, and a lovely easy read.

You can buy a copy of Death at the Seaside here.



About The Author:

Frances Brody is the author of the Kate Shackleton mysteries, as well as many stories and plays for BBC Radio, scripts for television and four sagas, one of which won the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award. Her stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Nottingham Playhouse, and Jehad was nominated for a Time Out Award.


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Gem's Quiet Corner

Welcome to my little corner. Grab a cup of tea (or hot drink of preference), find your happy place and join me to talk all things bookish...