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Today on Celebrating Indie Publishing I am thrilled to share a review of a book that I immensely enjoyed. Disaster Inc by Caimh McDonnell is fifth book to feature his enigmatic character Bunny McGarry and is a true comedic delight for his fans.

Disaster Inc was published by McFori Ink on 16th September and is available to buy now!


Book Feature:

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He’s a good man having a bad day with the worst hangover. 

All Bunny McGarry wants is a spot of breakfast and a decent cup of tea. So imagine how annoyed he gets when two masked men attempt to rob the New York diner he is in? Unfortunately, dealing with that problem just leads to a whole lot more. One of the diner’s other customers isn’t who she appears to be, and the odds aren’t great that she is going to live to see another breakfast. 

So just how much trouble is she in? 

Well, you know how they’re always telling us to pay attention to our pensions?   Some ex-employees of the US government are really taking that advice to heart by using their mayhem-creating abilities to maximise their investments. When one of their fund managers has a momentary crisis of conscience and confesses all to a woman he hardly knows, they will stop at nothing to deal with the problem.  Amy Daniels is in big trouble and the only thing keeping her alive is a man who is supposed to already be dead. 

My Thoughts & Review:

I bloody love Bunny McGarry, this is a character that I can happily say that I would probably follow into any genre, even if he were to start flying a spaceship or riding rodeo, though perhaps not if he were to swerve into a Fifty Shades of Grey type book … I do have limits.
Disaster Inc is another hilarious offering from the comic genius that is Caimh McDonnell, the Irish/Cork wit that he weaves effortlessly throughout the narrative will have readers chuckling out loud and reading out to anyone around you.

Bunny McGarry is now across the pond in America, but as always, drink has played a part in his downfall and he finds himself without his phone or money and no means of getting in contact with the only person that can help him. And if that wasn’t complication enough, he finds himself on the wrong side of a gun when two balaclava clad men storm the cafe he’s eating breakfast in.
The fast thinking Irishman soon realises that something isn’t right and sets about causing mischief, or sure, doesn’t mischief find him?

What then follows is a madcap adventure with McGarry not keeping a low profile as he was told to, instead he’s coming to the aid of a damsel in distress who has some dangerous people looking for her.

The writing is clever and the pace is almost breakneck speed, readers are thrown into the vortex with Bunny McGarry, but it’s enjoyable. The level of detail in the plot is fantastic, investment banking is something that I never thought I would find interesting to read about but somehow Caimh McDonnell managed to make it almost exciting.

And for the record, I completely agree with Bunny’s horror at the lack of tea … it’s just wrong!

A wonderful start to a new series and one I cannot wait to read more about!

You can buy a copy of Disaster Inc via Amazon UK

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I’m thrilled to welcome you to another Friday post to celebrate another great indie book, this time it’s Heart in the Right Place by Lisa Hill.

This is billed as “a perfect romantic read for the summer”, and is available to buy now. It was published by Manatee Books in July 2018.


Description:

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Lottie Hardwicke is Yorkshire’s answer to Kirstie Allsopp, but ten years spent raising her three children with husband, Drew, has relegated her to Saturday Girl status at the family estate agents. This is Lottie’s year; she’s turning over a new leaf and is going to make her time in property less of a borderline obsession and more of an actual career. Only, she hasn’t bet on her interfering in-laws returning to scupper her plans or her teenage crush, celebrity Tom Thorpe, arriving in the village and offering her the opportunity of a lifetime, which could compromise everything…

Can Lottie have it all? Can she be a hands-on mum and get her career back, without wrecking her marriage in the process?

My Thoughts & Review:

Heart in the Right Place is the perfect way to round off my summer reads, the sun may not be shining as is did in the summer months but it certainly felt like it was whilst I read this listening to the autumn winds blowing outside.

A cast of very human and relatable characters spring from the pages with some quirky personalities and although some are less likeable than others, they are written in such a way that draws some strong feelings from the readers. And as readers get to know them better, they begin to see that there might be more to the fluster and bluster or the brusqueness, I certainly was surprised by one character once I found out a bit more about them.

Several separate strands make up the plot of this book and for the most part they are intriguing, if not frustrating when you put yourself in the shoes of the character involved. It’s that sort of read that you cannot help but become slightly invested in.
The themes of friendship, love and family play a huge part in the narrative and are written in such a way that moves the pace of the book along so quickly.

A truly lovely and enchanting read to pass a few hours with!

You can buy a copy of Heart in the Right Place via:

Amazon UK

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** My thanks to Karen Sullivan for my copy of this book and to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear … Sun Protection Factor 100

Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.
With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.

My Thoughts & Review:

Antti Tuomainen has a wonderful sense of humour that he deftly weaves throughout his writing, and so readers are in for a real treat with Palm Beach, Finland.  His unique brand of dark humour is perfectly matched to a superbly plotted narrative and some impressive characterisation, culminating in one of the most impressive reads that will leave you desperate for more!

Jan Nyman is an undercover police officer tasked with some of the most difficult and often taxing operations facing the National Central Police.  His current case, investigating a mysterious death at a peculiar holiday resort billed as Finland’s answer to the Floridan town.
The madcap cast of characters makes this a delight to read, and strangely enough it’s the less wholesome characters that appealed most to me.  Robin, Chico and Holma all have something in common, their actions are the result of circumstance.  Holma in particular is on a mission to get answers and has no qualms about using deception, force or sheer bloody violence to get what he wants.

As with Tuomainen’s other books, the descriptions of settings are magnificent and give the reader the feeling of being transported to the shores of Finland.  The frigid air of the holiday village setting leeches from the pages and leaves you feeling suitably chilled, the plot on the other hand will unnerve you and have you devouring the book to find out what happens.

The writing is clever, it’s electrifying and utterly brilliant.  This is an author you want to watch out for, each of his books is a joy to read and usually renders me speechless at the level of inventiveness woven throughout the plots.

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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen Sullivan for my copy of this book and Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi, on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My Thoughts & Review:

Trap is the second book in the Reykjavík Noir series by Lilja Sigurdardóttir, and it’s unapologetically brilliant. It’s sharp and clever and displays the high level of excellence that fans of Sigurdardóttir have come to expect from her writing.

The writing is evocative, and teeming with detail and atmosphere. Readers get a real feel for the situations that both Sonja and Agla find themselves in, the danger feels so imposing, the fear is almost claustrophobic.
If I thought that Sonja was a great character in the previous book, Snare, then Sigurdardóttir has well and truly made a character that I love and dare I admit it, admire. Her determination to get out of the jam she’s in really impressed me, her tenacity and stubbornness were great to see and I felt that I was almost cheering for her at times. Agla, I really felt for at times. I wanted to shake her, I wanted to laugh with her and I wanted to yell at her. How is it an author can create characters that we shouldn’t like, but still feel sympathy towards? That’s the skill of this author, she can draw strong emotions from the reader with ease. The character that really tugged on my heartstrings was Sonja’s son Tomas. He is a child stuck between divorced parents, adores his mother and wants to be with her, not his father. The complexities of adult relationships are beyond his comprehension, the whys and hows of his current situation only lead to frustration.

A financial investigation thread to the plot is fascinating, seeing how Agla and others planned to work the system is mindbogglingly clever and I applaud Sigurdardóttir for taking something so complex and making it understandable.

Packed with tension, this is a book that you do not want to put down. Short chapters make it far too easy for you to fall into the trap of reading “just one more chapter”, and before you know it, the supper is burnt or it’s 3am and sleep is something you can’t contemplate until you know what’s going to happen next. It’s the sort of book that you can imagine playing out like a film, and the quality of the writing means that it sweeps you away with a momentum akin to jumping into a vortex.

I absolutely cannot wait to see what book three of the series has instore for readers, but I’ll perhaps lay off the caffeine before it comes out so I don’t feel so jumpy and on edge as Sigurdardóttir casts her icy Icelandic spell on me!

 

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The River Runs Red cover

** My thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours and Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Berlin is in the midst of its worst winter in decades.

Against the backdrop of freezing temperatures, blizzards and snowstorms, the city refuses to grind to a halt. Lurking within the shadows is a Stasi victim, out for revenge against the former East German informants known as ‘The Ears’. Their dark secrets are about to be exposed.

A mix of ice and water and a single gunshot, provides the ultimate payback.

With the Millennium approaching, Hanne Drais, the criminal psychologist working within the Berlin Mitte Police team led by the irascible Oskar Kruger and his laid-back sidekick, Stefan Glockner, are seeking the perpetrator of these violent crimes.

Who is the man they’ve nicknamed Snowflake?

Who is turning the river red?

My Thoughts & Review:

I absolutely love books with a Cold War setting, something about them just makes for a thrilling and enticing read, and The River Runs Red by Ally Rose is certainly that.

With a plot that spans two different timelines, Ally Rose introduces readers to a Berlin that is rife with danger and suspicion, the Stasi are omnipresent and overpowering, ordinary citizens are turning informant on their friends, neighbours and even family, and those brave enough to defect make life difficult for the ones they leave behind. But the actions of the Stasi and their informants are the catalyst for a spree of killings some years later, someone is out for revenge for having been wronged.

The dual timeline makes this quite an interesting read, readers experience a snipped of the East German way of life, and see events through the eyes of a young man struggling with life after his father’s defection to West Germany. Whilst watching life unfolding for this character, readers also see a more modern timeline where they are privy to the actions of the killer, not the exact motives or the identity of the killer but some of their thoughts and actions as they seek revenge for events from the past.
Interestingly, Ally Rose also gives readers the view of the investigating team through the eyes of Hanne Drais, a criminal psychologist working with the Berlin Police. Drais is a fantastic character, her thought processes and actions make her stand out as someone readers will want to know more about. She is a likeable character, and one that I think many readers will connect readily with.

Plotting and characterisation are well done, the way that the story unfolds is sure to hook the interest of readers and keep them captive trying to work out of they’ve guessed the connections between events and if they’ve guessed the identity of the killer. The pace is good, I found that this was a book that I was racing through, thoroughly enjoying each chapter. Giving readers a variety of characters to get to know makes this such an intriguing read, each is well rounded and multidimensional, an whilst I may not have agreed with the actions of all of them, I definitely felt that I was becoming more invested in their tales and wanted to know more.

Although The River Runs Red is the third book in the Hanne Drais series, this can definitely be read as a stand alone book. Ally Rose gives ample background information about Hanne Drais so that you get to know this character and her history, and don’t feel on the back foot at all.
Now, I think I will go back to the start of the series to enjoy books one and two!

You can buy a copy of The River Runs Red via:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Fahrenheit Press

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Today I am thrilled to welcome you to another post to Celebrate Indie Publishing and share a review of the latest of the series to feature the brilliant Rina Walker, a kick ass character that thrills readers and leaves them breathless! Rina is the creation of Hugh Fraser, author, actor and theatre director, and a man I would recommend seeing at any book event/launch/talk that you can!


Book Feature:

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When a step out of line means a fight to the death…London 1967. A working girl is brutally murdered in a Soho club. Rina Walker takes out the killer and attracts the attention of a sinister line-up of gangland enforcers with a great deal to prove.

When a member of British Military Intelligence becomes aware of her failure to fulfill a contract issued by an inmate of Broadmoor, he forces her into the deadly arena of the Cold War, with orders to kill an enemy agent.

Rina needs to call upon all her dark skills, not simply to survive, but to protect the ones she loves.

 

 

 

My Thoughts & Review:

It’s not often that you eagerly go into a book knowing that danger and thrills lie in wait for you but that’s something you’re guaranteed with a book in the Rina Walker series by Hugh Fraser.

Set in 1960s London, readers are led into the darkness of the underworld and aristocracy as they follow Rina Walker as she attempts to right wrongs, meet obligations and protect those she loves. The themes covered in this book are topical and Fraser does not shy away from the uncomfortable topics when portraying the gang related interactions – violence, torture and abuse featuring within the context of the scenes. There are however themes which some readers may feel difficult to read about.

The writing is rich in atmosphere, the mentions of music throughout evoke a great sense of the period and quite often had me singing along in my head as I read. Tension mounts swiftly as the pace quickens, the situations that Rina becomes involved in make for utterly thrilling reading.

Rina is a character that many readers will take a liking to almost instantly, there’s something so relatable about her, and admirable at the same time. Her quirks and personality are written so that it’s possible to get into the head of this character and appreciate the decisions she makes, understand her actions and in some cases, I found that I was almost cheering for her. The clever juxtaposition of this character’s ruthless side with her softer, caring and passionate traits is one I loved watching develop. She is calm in the face of danger and not fazed by violence, but at the same time, she bears mental scars from events that have moulded her into the assassin she has become. But none of the brutal or violent scenes can remove the humanity from this character, her love for her partner and her family allows her to show a softer side.
The more I read about her the more invested in her fate I became, almost unable to put the book down through fear of missing something!

Whilst this is the fourth book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. Rina’s past and connections are well detailed throughout the narrative and give a great sense of what has passed before, but if you really want to get the full experience then I would heartily recommend reading the entire series.

You can buy a copy of Stealth via:

Amazon UK
Waterstones

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Today I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you to The Quiet Knitter for another Celebrating Indie Publishing! The book in the spotlight today is Ed’s Dead, a wonderfully dark and thrilling crime read from one of the wittiest and skilled authors Scotland has to offer.


Book Feature:

Book Description:

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“A high-octane read.” – Maxim Jakubowski 

Meet Jen. She works in a bookshop and likes the odd glass of Prosecco… oh, and she’s about to be branded The Most Dangerous Woman in Scotland.

Jen Carter is a failed writer with a rubbish boyfriend, Ed. That is until she accidentally kills him one night. Now that Ed’s dead, she has to decide what to do with his body, his drugs and a big pile of cash. And, more pressingly, how to escape the hitman who’s been sent to recover Ed’s stash. Soon Jen’s on the run from criminals, corrupt police officers and the prying eyes of the media. Who can she trust? And how can she convince them that the trail of corpses left in her wake are just accidental deaths?

A modern noir that proves, once and for all, the female of the species really is more deadly than the male.

My Thoughts & Review:

Russel D. McLean is an author that I’ve had on my radar for a while, but never quite got round to reading, a fact that I am so glad that has been changed now.

Jen Carter is really having a tough time, her relationship with boyfriend Ed is toxic, she no longer wants to be in a relationship with him and somehow ends up killing him one night. If that wasn’t complication enough, she then has a body to dispose of and the unexpected bounty of cash and drugs, oh, and evade the hitman sent to collect the debt owed by Ed. Things are a mess around Jen, and just as she thinks life is calming down, bodies start to mount up around her.

With a pace that doesn’t let up, this is a brisk and caustic read. The colourful characters make this such a cracking read, the humour and subtle wit that are woven throughout the dialogue really grab the reader, making this a book you do not want to put down. There were moments reading this that I found myself thinking things couldn’t possibly get worse for Jen, things couldn’t possibly get more murky and then McLean swiftly leads the reader on a merry wander down a dark alley, littered with danger and corruption.
The descriptive quality of the writing makes this an incredibly immersive read, you cannot help but be able to envision the settings in this book.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, it’s dark, it’s witty and it’s a cracking read!

You can buy your copy of Ed’s Dead via Amazon UK

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** My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book **

 

Description:

DI Alec McKay is back.

Jimmy McGuire, a washed-up comic, is found dead on the streets of Inverness, his body garroted. Back in the 1990s, McGuire had been half of a promising double-act until his partner, Jack Dingwall, was convicted of rape.

Soon after, a second corpse is found in an abandoned industrial site on the edge of the Moray Firth. The body has been there for some days and has also been garroted. The victim turns out to be a former musician turned record producer, who had also been the subject of rape allegations.

Meanwhile, DI Alec McKay and DCI Helena Grant are still wrestling with the fallout from one of their recent cases following an acquittal.

As the body count rises, the police think they have the killer in their sights. But McKay is concerned that the evidence is too neat so when he realises there will be a final victim, he fears that time is running out …

My Thoughts & Review:

Having thoroughly enjoyed the previous books of this series, I was pleased as punch to find out that the author had written a third novel featuring the wonderfully sarcastic Alec Mckay. But my real excitement was the thought of a trip back to Inverness and The Black Isle with the author. He has a fantastic way of describing settings and locations that give the reader the full technicolour experience.

As with any series, I would recommend reading the books in order as it will make more sense and explain the sequence of events and links between characters. The book opens with DI McKay and his boss DCI Helena Grant discussing a previous case, the whys, the wherefores and the things to avoid happening again. But running alongside this police procedural tangent is a narrative of a woman who seems frightened, unsure about the situation she is in and her travelling companion. And if that wasn’t intriguing enough, the reader is also given a glimpse into the mind of the first murder victim, Jimmy McGuire as he meets his end.

Taking great care to link back to the previous books, Alex Walters gives readers answers and conclusions for things that happened in the first two books, but, and I really want to stress this point, he somehow makes sure that readers who pick up Their Final Act to read as a standalone will be able to dive straight in with sufficient details to explain the previous case and links between characters without bogging it down.
Although, I still have one niggling question unanswered … will there be a fourth book in the series that might answer this? Or will this be one thing that we never find out about?

Plotting is topical, the themes give readers plenty to think about. And as the story progressed, I found that I was trying to piece together the clues to work out who might be behind the killings and why, but as always, Walters only gives you so much information to work with, ensuring that when you do reach the end of the book, you’re stunned!

You can by a copy of Their Final Act via Amazon UK

 

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Today I am thrilled to welcome you to my post to celebrate another brilliant book from Bombshell Books, an imprint of Bloodhound Books specialising in women’s fiction, chick-lit & romance. The book in the spotlight today is The French Escape, which was published on 20th September 2018.


Book Feature:

Description:

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It’s fair to say that Flick has had a terrible year. Her beloved father died, she had the wedding of her dreams and only hours after the ceremony her husband ran out on her. 

Brenda, fed up with her daughter living like a hermit, decides to drag Flick off to France to stay in a chateau. What could be better than an idyllic escape?

But when they arrive Flick discovers the chateau is all but abandoned.

The only upside of her French escape is the handsome and mysterious neighbour, Nate.

Nate loves his life living in the cottage on the grounds of the abandoned chateau but that is about to be put in jeopardy…

Can Nate and Flick ever learn to come to terms with the past and find love again?

 

Description:

Having enjoyed Suzie Tullett’s previous books, I was thrilled to find out that she had a new book coming out! There’s something really lovely about Suzie’s books, maybe it’s the way that she writes, maybe it’s the way she creates her characters, or maybe it’s just the book I need at the time, but each of her books has been a delight to read.

Readers meet Flick as she and her sleeping mother are on their way to a mysterious French holiday destination, well mysterious for Flick as her mother hasn’t really given her much detail other than where to programme the satnav for. But when they arrive, Flick is astounded, they are staying at a chateau, albeit one that looks in need of a massive overhaul, but breathtakingly beautiful.
Interspersed through Flick’s story, is narration from Nate, someone who has a history that he wants to keep securely locked away and likes living in the relative remoteness of the woods.
Both of these characters has their own struggle, they are trying to rebuild their lives and find a way to move forward. I think it was Nate’s story that was the most intriguing, what secret is hiding in his past, why doesn’t he want to be recognised?

The wonderful descriptions of the settings and the food are simply wonderful, the chateau sounds so full of character and the icy cold shower sounded like such a shock to the system! I could almost see the picturesque views, the market in town, it just all came to life from the pages.

Aside from Flick and Nate, there are some really fun and quirky characters in this book, each of them so very different from the other, and I will admit there were ones I took more easily to than others. Brenda, Flick’s mother, bless her heart, just wants the best for her daughter. And as a mother I could sympathise with her, I could understand why she would do whatever it took to make her daughter happy, her methods might not be the most straightforward, but she has a heart of gold. Julia was another character I liked, always there to pick up the pieces for her nephew, always there with a word of wisdom or dole out a sharp reminder that life isn’t easy.

The French Escape is a lovely romantic comedy, it has the great “will they, won’t they” element to it, it’s the sort of escapism that you want from a book. A good story, great characters and enough mystery to keep you hooked!

Highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of The French Escape via Amazon UK

 

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the tainted vintage

 

** My thanks to Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for inviting me to part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

In the small Czech town of Vinice the mayor has been found dead in his wine cellar.

Detectives Jana Dvorska and Ivan Dambersky are called to the scene and soon realise that despite appearances, Mayor Slansky’s death was most definitely not from natural causes.

Almost immediately, the close-knit community closes ranks to try and brush the unexplained death under the carpet with the minimum of fuss.

Dvorska & Dambersky are drawn deeper and deeper into secrets that many hoped would remain buried forever and they’re forced into pursuing an investigation where their own lives are put in danger.

The Tainted Vintage is the first book in a wonderful new series set in and around The Czech Republic, an area rich in history, literature and culture that still remains largely unexplored by contemporary crime fiction fans.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I picked up this book I didn’t expect that it would be such an enjoyable and engaging read, something about the setting, the characters and the plot instantly grabbed my attention and held my attention captive.

I have to admit that The Czech Republic isn’t a setting that I am overly familiar with when it comes to books, and can’t actually think of any recently that I’ve read that even have characters travelling there, but will say that authors are missing a trick! What a fantastic location and the way that Blanchard brings it alive, the landscape, the history … it all becomes so vivid.

The story line is one that inspires intrigue, the town mayor discovered dead in his own wine cellar and everyone apart from the detectives is happy to believe a heart attack was the cause. Paired together are the most unlikely of detectives Jane Dvorska and Ivan Dambersky, who are determined to investigate the matter and find out the truth. But this pairing works, they make for great detectives and I look forward to meeting them in future novels.

History is something that plays an important role in this plot of this book, and I will say that it is written in a way that really gives the reader pause for thought. Tracing back to the war, there are crimes buried in the histories of characters that shock not only those around them but the reader too.

Well written, well paced and a great start to what looks to be a very exciting series!

You can buy a copy of The Tainted Vintage via:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Kobo

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