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Archive for the ‘crime fiction’ Category

Rubicon Cover

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

 

Description:

Two cops, both on different sides of the law – both with the same gangland boss in their sights.

Sam Batford is an undercover officer with the Metropolitan Police who will stop at nothing to get his hands on fearsome crime-lord Vincenzo Guardino’s drug supply.

DCI Klara Winter runs a team on the National Crime Agency, she’s also chasing down Guardino, but unlike Sam Batford she’s determined to bring the gangster to justice and get his drugs off the streets.

Set in a time of austerity and police cuts where opportunities for corruption are rife, Rubicon is a tense, dark thriller that is definitely not for the faint hearted.

My Thoughts & Review:

Rubicon is a book that you pick up when you have a free day, it’s the sort of book that once you start, you will not want to put it down again.  It’s gripping, it’s dark and it’s utterly thrilling!

The narrative is seen from the perspective of two characters, DS Sam Batford and DCI Klara Winter, and for all intent and purposes they are on the same team but their end goals are vastly different.
Batford is an undercover agent with Metropolitan Police, and the impression he gives through his somewhat narcissistic narrative is that he’s a renegade, a damned good one though.  He’s a bit of a loose cannon, but he seems to get results, even if he doesn’t follow the rule book.
Winter on the other hand is the polar opposite, she follows the rules, she works as part of a team, and there’s no question as to whether she may be rogue or not.  Through a series of diary/journal like entries, the reader is privy to her frustrations and anger at how the current case is progressing and the politics between police departments.

It’s clear from the snappy writing that the author has experience of policing and his ability to say so much without overdoing it is superb.  The plot is pacy and taught, the characters are the sort that you almost want them to be caught out, you almost want to see Batford get caught out at times … even just to see him talk his way out of it.

It’s an action packed, thrilling read that grabs the reader from the outset and leaves you wondering who exactly the bad guy is.  It’s clever, the plotting is great and characterisation spot on!
Ian Patrick is an author I will be keeping an eye on from now on and Rubicon is highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of Rubicon via:

Amazon UK
Fahrenheit Press (Publisher)

 

About the Author:

Educated in Nottingham, Ian left school at sixteen. After three years in the Civil Service he moved to London for a career in the Metropolitan Police.

He spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command. A career in policing is a career in writing. Ian has been used to carrying a book and pen and making notes.

Now retired, the need to write didn’t leave and evolved into fiction.

Ian’s Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IPatrick_Author

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ian-Patrick/e/B075VB1MP4/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

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Description:

December in Glendara, Inishowen, and solicitor Benedicta ‘Ben’ O’Keeffe is working flat-out before the holidays; the one bright spot on her horizon is spending her first Christmas with Sergeant Tom Molloy.

But on a trip to Dublin to visit her parents, she bumps into Luke Kirby – the man who killed her sister – freshly released from jail. He apologises to her; remorseful, conciliatory … but as she walks away, he whispers something that chills her to the bone.

Back in Glendara, there is chaos. The Oak pub has burned down and Carole Kearney, the Oak’s barmaid, has gone missing. And then on Christmas morning, while walking up Sliabh Sneacht, Ben and Molloy make a gruesome discovery: a body lying face-down in the snow … Soon it becomes clear that these events are part of a plan for revenge that will have devastating consequences for Glendara’s residents.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Inishown Mysteries series has been one I’ve followed for a wee while now, and have to admit that I’ve taken a shine to Ben O’Keeffe.  She is a warm and compassionate character who seems to attract trouble regardless of her good intentions.  In this instalment of the Inishowen Mysteries, Ben has found some happiness.  A blossoming relationship with Sergeant Tom Molloy has her beaming with happiness and the promise of time off over the Christmas period is another reason so smile.

Ben’s past is something that is interwoven throughout the series, and the aftermath of her sister’s death has shaped the person she has become.  So when she hears that Luke Kirby, her sister’s killer has been released from prison she is understandably shocked.  Even with logic and legal experience, her gut feelings of being close to the victim mean she cannot comprehend his release from prison.  A chance meeting with him in Dublin throws her, he approaches her with an apology, shows remorse and almost pulls of a genuine act until his mask slips and he shows his true menace, but only Ben witnessed it.

As if the threat of Luke Kirby isn’t enough to keep Ben occupied, there is also the daily business of her legal practise to tie up before the Christmas break, various property sales and court appearances taking up her time.  But the local residents of Glendara have plenty to keep Ben from becoming bored, scandal is afoot when the local pub is burned down and the barmaid goes missing.  Is there a connection between these events? What is the connection to the body discovered upon up Sliabh Sneacht?  Ben’s relationship with Sergeant Molloy gives her a chance to puzzle over the cases, but instead of her getting information from him, she is the one feeding him titbits of information from the locals.

As with the previous books, Andrea Carter really spoils readers with some wonderfully vivid descriptions of the picturesque settings and atmospheric writing.
I would say that this book verges more towards cosy crime, slowly building up the pace and tension, hinting that something more sinister may be up ahead but never actually turning nasty.

On the whole an enjoyable read that brings the series a little more up to date and leaves me wanting to know what the future holds for Ben.

You can buy a copy of The Well of Ice via:

Amazon UK

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** My thanks to the wonderful Katherine Sunderland, the folks at No Exit Press and the lovely Anne Cater for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.

Geraldine Steel is reunited with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the baffling case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

My Thoughts & Review:

Having absolutely loved the previous Geraldine Steel novel Deadly Alibi, I was delighted to find out that book 10 was coming out soon and even more excited that I had been granted the honour of reading an early copy.

Class Murder opens with our protagonist having been demoted from her position in London and now she’s in York working alongside her former sergeant and friend Ian Paterson.  Geraldine’s actions in Deadly Alibi were the catalyst for this change and unfortunately for her they caused her career progression to halt inexplicably.  She now has to learn how to work with a new team and how to take orders from superiors who don’t need to trust her instincts or hunches because she’s not earned that position of trust yet.

The case that Geraldine and the team are working on is one that is fascinating.  Who is the killer?  What is the motive?  One thing’s certain, Leigh Russell is the master of spinning a yarn so complex and deliciously tangled that readers cannot help but get caught up.  Whilst reading I was conscious of not falling into the trap of trying to guess who the killer was, whilst we have narrative from the killer’s perspective there are no outward clues as to the identity which makes it all the more intense and exciting as the case hots up and the detectives try to work it out.

The thing I love about Leigh Russell’s books is the fact that there are so many aspects to the plot but they all slot together like a perfectly formed jigsaw puzzle.  The characters are so well crafted,. the settings are so vividly described and the killer, well wow!  I felt so on edge reading about this killer, at one point I did actually go and check that all doors were locked and all windows were secure…that’s how much this killer got under my skin!

There are so many things I want to say about this book, it’s clever, it’s brilliant and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

You can buy a copy of Class Murder via :

No Exit Press (publisher’s website)
Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

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After many years teaching English in secondary school, internationally bestselling author Leigh Russell now writes crime fiction full time. Published in English and in translation in Europe, her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson titles have appeared on many bestseller lists, including #1 on kindle. Leigh’s work has been nominated for several major awards, including the CWA New Blood Dagger and CWA Dagger in the Library, and her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series are in development for television with Avalon Television Ltd.
Journey to Death is the first title in her Lucy Hall series published by Thomas and Mercer.

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Hello and welcome along to another post to celebrate indie publishing, where I like to shine the light on another book from an independent publisher or author and share some book love with you all.  Today I am delighted to share a review of The Last Thread by Ray Britain, and also a short interview with the author.


Book Feature:

Description:

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Accused of pushing a boy to his death in a failed suicide intervention, DCI Doug Stirling is suspended from duty. Attacked in the media and haunted by the boy’s smile as he let go of Stirling’s hand, he must look on helplessly as an incompetent colleague intent on destroying him investigates the boy’s death, supported by the vindictive Deputy Chief Constable, McDonald.

Weeks later, an anonymous call leads the police to a remote location and the discovery of a burnt out car containing the body of an unidentified man who has been savagely murdered. Short of experienced senior investigators, ACC Steph Tanner has no choice but to take a professional risk. Throwing Stirling the lifeline he needs to restore his reputation, Tanner appoints him as SIO to lead the investigation.

But with no witnesses, no forensic evidence and more theories than investigators, Stirling’s investigation has far too many ‘loose threads’ as he uncovers a complex, interwoven history of deception, betrayal and sadistic relationships. Was the victim connected to the crime scene? Is the murder as complex as it appears? Or is there a simpler explanation?
Still traumatised by the boy’s death and with time the enemy, does Stirling still have what it takes to bring the killer, or killers, to justice before McDonald intervenes?

Things are already difficult enough when DC Helen Williams joins the investigation, a determined woman who seems intent on rekindling their past relationship. And is Ayesha, the beautiful lawyer Stirling has grown fond of, connected to the murder somehow?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Last Thread is a remarkable debut novel, with a superb plot and some fantastic characters.  There are so many strands to the plot of this novel that I feel that I should take a moment to appreciate how complex it is but at the same time how exceptionally interesting and thrilling a read it is.

The main character DCI Doug Stirling first appears in a very precarious situation, on top of a bridge with a fifteen year old boy who is about to commit suicide, and Stirling is there as negotiator.  Stirling succeeds in getting the boy to talk to him and trust him to take his hand before unfortunately the boy falls to his death.
The subsequent investigation by the Police Complaints Commission into the incident leaves Stirling on restricted duties and at the mercy of a Chief Inspector who has an agenda.
As it this weren’t enough for our protagonist to deal with, he’s then brought into the investigation of a gruesome death, a body discovered in a burnt out car and warned to keep a low profile whilst internal investigations are ongoing.  Once a positive identification is made the case is thrown open and the intrigue ramps up a notch or three.

For me, this book really stood out from the “normal” police procedural with the level of detail included.  It’s obvious from the writing that the author knows British policing and procedures and it’s really quite interesting to see a side of reality we don’t often get to witness.
The characters are interesting and varied, and I loved seeing the office politics play out between certain personalities.  Doug Stirling is a fantastic character that I hope to see more of in the future!

A brilliant crime thriller with realistic police procedural details – highly recommended!

 

You can buy your copy of The Last Thread via:

Amazon UK
Author’s website


Author Feature:

Ray Britain’s debut novel The Last Thread was published September 2017. Following a highly successful career in policing in the UK, it should be no surprise that his story is a complex crime investigation story.

Ray served in the Midlands region of the United Kingdom gaining promotion to a high rank, working in both uniform and investigative roles, but the investigation of crime and the camaraderie of investigators remained his first love. As a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), Ray led many investigations, some of which engaged specialist, national capabilities. For fifteen years he was also a Hostage & Suicide Intervention Negotiator responding to hostage situations, many firearms incidents and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily.

In ‘The Last Thread,’ Ray’s real-world experience puts the reader in the driving seat of a complex investigation with all the uncertainties and realities of modern crime investigation.

Ray’s interests include: mountain walking, rugby, skiing, Dad dancing, reading, and sailing.
(Author bio courtesy of Amazon)

 
What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

I most enjoy scoping and plotting the story, creating the twists and turns and the faux leads, or red herrings, to intrigue and interest the reader until the end of the story. I also like developing the characters so that they can become friends to the reader or, if not friends, then interesting as to what makes them tick. Having been a professional investigator for many years, studying and analysing people’s traits and characteristics in interview was always a fascinating process, particularly when seeking a confession or some fine witness detail. People come in infinite variables and are endlessly fascinating.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Proof reading and endless editing which is extremely tedious but essential to be sure you’ve made the best use of language and trim away excessive detail. Or, indeed, to flesh out a character to achieve their purpose in the story.

And what is the most challenging part of getting yourself published?

Without doubt, it’s getting yourself noticed. A challenging as the writing is, in many ways it’s the easy part. There are so many books being self-published through Kindle and the like that it’s a challenge to get yourself ‘seen’. Thank fully, we have excellent book review blogsites such as ‘The Quiet Knitter’ which are of tremendous help to new authors like me.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Hmm, I’m not sure. I think that given my background, I should stick with what I know and only if sufficient people like my writing, would I consider branching out into a different genre. Anyway, I have too many plotlines and romantic entanglements for my protagonist, DCI Douglas Stirling, in my head for the time being.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

I’ve finished working in the conventional sense of the word and as writing is a very sedentary occupation, particularly when in the throes of the storyline, I try to keep myself sensibly fit by going to the gym a few times each week. I love walking, particularly in the mountains and fell walking and as there aren’t any mountains in the Midlands, the Lake District is my favourite destination in the UK.

Do you have a set routine for writing? Rituals you must observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

Not really. Having worked in a reasonably disciplined organisation for over thirty years leading investigations and large-scale teams, I’m a ‘self-starter’ anyway. I use a laptop for writing and back up each day’s work to both cloud and to a hard drive in the event of a catastrophic system failure, or theft.
Writing has seen me keeping some very strange hours, though. If I can’t sleep I have to get up and use my time usefully so if I’m wrestling with the plot, or a particularly tricky item in the story, I might get up and write through the night. It can make me a bit grumpy in the mornings, I’m afraid.

What’s on the horizon? What can your fans look forward to next?

Subject to readers enjoying my writing and the characters in it, ‘The Last Thread’ is just the first in a series of DCI Douglas Stirling investigations. The next book is mind-mapped out, I’ve drafted the Prologue and committed the first murder. Most satisfying!

You mentioned mind-mapping?

I’ve been a big fan of mind-mapping for over twenty years. I use mind-mapping software to capture my thinking, any research required, parallel story lines and timelines and my character profiles to ensure consistency and so avoid any mistakes. In short, I aim to treat the reader with respect. I want them to immerse themselves in the story without the distraction or irritation of inaccuracies or inconsistency.

Sounds great! So, where can we buy ‘The Last Thread’?

It’s for sale on Amazon and all good e-readers, or simply visit my website at
http://www.raybritain.com/ where you buy it through there.


My thanks to Ray for joining me today and sharing more about himself, and I am so excited to hear that book two is plotted out …..fingers crossed we can get reading soon!

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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour.

Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood.

Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

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

 

My Thoughts & Review:

For those of you who read this blog on a regular basis (you are much appreciated and I cannot thank you enough for stopping by), you will notice that I review the odd short story here and there, but never crimes ones.  The reason for this is that I like my crime reads to be meatier, to be more fleshed out and like to get carried away with the story.  But I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone and see what I was missing out on.  Reading through the list of contributing authors for this anthology, it’s like a who’s who of the brilliant and best out there and with a few names that I am a huge fan of, how could Orenda Books do me wrong?

Like many readers, when I first picked this book up I instantly wondered how this would be best read…should I just start with the first tale by Ann Cleaves and work my way through?  Should I pick out stories that jumped out immediately and read them first?  Decisions, decisions…..
In the end, I went for the option of picking my favourite authors and honing in on their pieces first.  The first tale that I read was by William Ryan, who wrote one of my favourite novels The Constant Soldier, the piece that he has written is very different from his usual style of writing and I LOVED IT!  There’s so much detail and tension packed into a few pages, the story crackles and fizzes with excitement, it oozes suspense and had me desperate to see it expanded into a full length novel to find out more about the characters, especially Angela!
Fans of Anna Mazzola are in for a real treat, she manages to pack in some of the most tense and foreboding writing into just a few pages that will leave readers gasping.  From there I quickly raced to find the piece written by Ragnar Jónasson and was not disappointed.  Each and every one of the stories in this book is excellent, all different and all utterly fantastic!  Like a child in a sweetshop, I jumped from one spot to another, deciding to read stories as they jumped out to me, and it was the perfect book to pick up in between those pesky housework chores.  Do an load of ironing, reward yourself with a cuppa and a story or two….worked for me!

Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely, in a heartbeat!  If there are authors that you’re not sure about whether you might like their style of writing then this is a great book for you.  I admit that previous to this, I had not read anything by one or two of the authors listed (their books are in my ever growing “to be read” pile, but other things keep sneaking in front of them), so it was nice to get a feel for their writing and it has meant that there’s a book snuck it’s way closer to the top as I really enjoyed what I found.  I won’t mention names (certain bloggers will chastise me for my glaring omission in crime fiction).

In short, this is a cornucopia of talented writers, writing some of their best ideas and sharing them with us very lucky readers!

 

You can buy a copy of CWA Anthology of Short Stories via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository
Blackwell’s

Follow the blog tour:

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** My thanks to the wonderful folks at Bookouture (aka Kim & Noelle)  for my copy of Murder Game and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

A serial killer is playing a terrifying game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead. 

In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the twisted killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die… 

But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby persuades her boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to use his criminal connections to set up a dangerous meeting. Because to catch this killer, she needs to think like one… 

But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team become. Is Mason really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining Ruby up to be his next victim?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Peter James will be hooked by this dark and utterly disturbing thriller, packed with twists until the final page.

My Thoughts & Review:

Fianlly, the third book in the Detective Ruby Preston series, oh how I’ve waited to get my hands on this book!!  I’ve been a fan of this series since book one, Death Note but have been a fan of Caroline Mitchell’s writing for some time now.

The plot of this book is brilliant, and absolutely gripping.  I loved that Ruby is back in a relationship with Nathan Crosby, the danger and the clandestine air to their pairing just makes this all the more exciting!

Ruby Preston finds herself up against a ruthless killer, one who seems to be playing a deadly game and worst of all paying homage to a serial killer who is now behind bars for the crimes he committed.  The copycat killer is taunting the police, leaving pictures as clues for them to solve, and pitting them against the clock before a second victim is taken.  If this killer isn’t enough to chill readers to the core, then the original killer definitely will.  Ruby goes to him in prison, hoping that he might be able to answer some of her questions, but he seems to have his own agenda which adds a wonderfully gripping edge to the plot.

Anytime I’ve seen Caroline Mitchell interviewed on a blog or appearing on social media she comes across as such a lovely and friendly person, so kind and generally the sort of person you could chat to over a cuppa (and cake!), but somehow she manages to create characters who are the antithesis if of herself.  The killers in Murder Game are so disturbing, making this the perfect read for Halloween season.  I did find there were a couple of times I squirmed as I read, that old “someone walking over your grave” sensation kicked in a couple of times but that wasn’t enough to drag me away from this book!  Absolutely stunned when the final reveal came, hat tip to Caroline Mitchell there, even with the number of psychological thrillers I’ve read I didn’t see the killer’s identity coming at all!

If you’ve not read any of Caroline Mitchell’s books I would seriously recommend them, and urge you to pick up the Ruby Preston series!

You can buy a copy of Murder Game via:

Amazon UK 🇬🇧: http://amzn.to/2v1l8v5

Amazon US 🇺🇸: http://amzn.to/2umrDqp

 

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part in the BlogBlitz for Murder Game:

Murder Game - Blog Tour 2

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Hello and welcome along to The Quiet Knitter!  It’s Friday, and that can only mean one thing (well for here anyway!), it’s time for another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”.
This week I am delighted to bring you a book from No Exit Press and I thoroughly recommend checking them out both as they have some cracking books to offer!  Today’s book in the spotlight is “Deadly Alibi” by Leigh Russell and she’s kindly taken some time out to face a grilling for the author feature.


Book Feature:

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A hand gripped her upper arm so suddenly it made her yelp. Biting her lower lip, she spun round, lashing out in terror. As she yanked her arm out of his grasp, her elbow hit the side of his chest. Struggling to cling on to her, he lost his footing. She staggered back and reached out, leaning one hand on the cold wall of the tunnel. Before she had recovered her balance he fell, arms flailing, eyes glaring wildly as he disappeared over the edge of the platform onto the rails below. . .

Two murder victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt… Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which threatens not only her career, but her life. And then her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, with problems which are about to make Geraldine’s life turn toxic in more ways than one.

For fans of Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsons and Robert Bryndza

Look out for more DI Geraldine Steel investigations in Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring and Deadly Alibi

 

My Thoughts & Review:

I think it’s only fair to admit that I broke my own rule with a series….I started this series on book 9!  But I will be going back and binge reading the previous 8 as soon as I can as I loved Geraldine Steel and want to know more about how she got to this point in her life and career.  So rest assured, if like me you are impatient to read this book, it can be read as a stand alone.  Leigh Russell has included ample detail to give readers a good grounding of DI Steel as well as the events surrounding her to make this an enjoyable read for new audiences but adds in details that will delight fans of the series.

To rehash the plot in this review would do this book an injustice, suffice to say that I don’t think I could without giving mammoth spoilers!  There is so much going on in this book that it’s like being on a rollercoaster.  One moment you’re gently putting the pieces together to try and work out who’s behind the heinous acts and the next you’re on the edge of your seat, frantically speed reading to find out what’s going to happen next!  It’s the sort of book you need to give all your attention to, and I was fortunate that I managed to read this in one day so I could feel the tension woven through the plot, become immersed in desperation and frustration being felt by the characters as they were led into a whirlpool of doubt caused by the suspicions around them.

A superb crime thriller with so many exciting and intriguing plot points, the case that DI Steel works on fast becomes addictive reading, and as readers try to piece together the clues it’s impossible not to start jumping to conclusions.  I will admit to being fooled by the red herrings that were cleverly placed in the plot, I thought like the police initially and could have kicked myself once I realised…..fantastic writing!!.

I would absolutely recommend Leigh Russell’s DI Steel series based on this one book alone, it’s fair to say she’s secured a new fan!  Now off to No Exit’s website to buy all the other books!

You can buy a copy of Deadly Alibi via:

No Exit Press (publisher’s website)
Amazon UK


Author Feature:

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After many years teaching English in secondary school, internationally bestselling author Leigh Russell now writes crime fiction full time. Published in English and in translation in Europe, her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson titles have appeared on many bestseller lists, including #1 on kindle. Leigh’s work has been nominated for several major awards, including the CWA New Blood Dagger and CWA Dagger in the Library, and her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series are in development for television with Avalon Television Ltd.
Journey to Death is the first title in her Lucy Hall series published by Thomas and Mercer.

 

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

What I like most about being an author is not having to get up early to go to work. I love writing. Nothing will stop me when I’m feeling creative – or if I have a publisher’s deadline looming – but now I can start my working day in bed if I feel like it. For me, that is pure luxury, especially on a cold winter’s morning.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?  

This is a hard question to answer as I genuinely love everything about the writing process, from typing the first words of a new book, to completing final edits. It can be hard. Sometimes a plot doesn’t work out in a realistic way, a character refuses to behave as I had intended, or my editor points out a gaffe, and I invariably have to spend time sorting out my muddled timelines. But on the whole I love every aspect of writing and consider myself extremely fortunate to have fallen into a career I enjoy so much.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

That is an impossible question to answer, as it’s equivalent to asking which is my favourite book. There are so many to choose from that I can’t pick just one.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Is there ever a time for a writer when he or she is not plotting a book? Eugene Ionesco said “A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of writing or thinking about writing.” That tends to be my experience. Other than that, I love spending time with my family.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

When I started writing I had essential rituals, certain pencils, and particular locations, but with fifteen books to my name, I have become far more relaxed about external props. All I need is my ipad, my keyboard, and my ideas, and I can write anywhere. I have a desk at home where I do most of my writing, but I’m equally happy writing on a train, a plane, a beach, in a coffee shop, in bed, in my garden – because I carry my writing space with me in my head. And when I’m writing, I’m not really in any of those external locations, I’m thinking and feeling as a character in a fictitious world. I’m Geraldine Steel, puzzling over enigmatic clues, or a killer working out how to dispose of a body without being caught….

 

A huge thank you to Leigh for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.
If you would like to know more about Leigh and her books, check out the following links:

On Twitter:  @LeighRussell @LeighRussell
Website: http://www.leighrussell.co.uk/


 

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Description:

Danny Bird and the gang are back.

In this, the 3rd book of the popular series, life at The Marquess of Queensberry public house has returned to something resembling normality. Although his complicated love life is still in a state of some disarray, things are looking pretty rosy for Danny Bird.

Not for long…

Something horrible is discovered in the cellar, someone horrible comes to threaten one of the gang, and Danny and Lady Caroline are faced with some of their biggest challenges yet.

With local crime-lord Chopper Falzone keeping a watchful eye on his investment, Danny and Lady Caz must unmask a murderer, find some stolen diamonds and thwart a blackmailer – just another day at The Marq.

As the plot races breathlessly towards its conclusion, everyone realises that secrets, no matter how well hidden, can’t stay buried forever.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit I did give a little squeal of delight when I heard that the third book in the Danny Bird series was going to be out soon and then headed over to Amazon to pre order it as soon as the publisher tweeted the pre order link was working.  Then there was the (impatient) wait until publication day….finally Death of a Devil arrived on my kindle and I took some time away from my review books to savour this one.

Death of a Devil sees the return of the prodigal Danny Bird and Lady Caroline Holloway who worked their way into my heart back in November 2015 when they first appeared in Death of a Diva and since then have delighted and amused me in equal measure.
Farrell’s writing has always been fantastic, but this latest offering feels different, like he’s developed a newer level of plotting and story telling that exceeds all expectation.
Beautifully clever plotting keeps readers guessing and completely off guard throughout.
The varied cast of characters add colour and shape to the series and each in their own right is superb.  Having followed the series it is nice to see the development of the additional characters, as well as the stars.
In this book it was interesting to explore more of the London gangster background as well as learn more about Ali the bar manager and see a different side to her that many readers might not have ever imagined.

The madcap adventures that Danny and Caz end up embroiled in are chaotic to say the least, but they somehow seem to have more lives than the proverbial cat and come out of it all relatively unscathed – just a little wiser for their troubles.

For those not familiar with the Danny Bird series, the first book Death of a Diva, the second book Death of a Nobody, and then finally Death of a Devil.  These books are fantastic to read and I would recommend reading them in order, but if you fancy picking up the latest installment it can be read as a stand alone book as there is ample information woven throughout the plot to inform you of previous events.

Another impressive novel from Derek Farrell, I just hope he doesn’t keep us waiting too long for his next book!!

You can buy a copy of Death of a Devil via:

Amazon

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Published: 27 July 2017

 

Description:

The second in the terrifying DI Callanach crime series. Fans of M.J. Arlidge will be hooked from the very first page.

In the midst of a rock festival, a charity worker is sliced across the stomach. He dies minutes later. In a crowd of thousands, no one saw his attacker. The following week, the body of a primary school teacher is found in a dumpster in an Edinburgh alley, strangled with her own woollen scarf.

DI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach have no motive and no leads – until around the city, graffitied on buildings, words appear describing each victim.

It’s only when they realise the words are appearing before rather than after the murders, that they understand the killer is announcing his next victim…and the more innocent the better.

My Thoughts & Review:

Helen Fields has done it again, she’s penned one of the grittiest, most gruesome yet amazingly fantastic books I’ve got my mitts on!  I do want to point out that although this is the second book in the DI Luc Callanach series, it can be read as a stand alone,  but why deprive yourself?

‘Perfect Prey’ sees the return of DI Callanach which will delight fans, the delectable French Scotsman has returned to solve crimes and keep the residents of Edinburgh safe….well once he and DI Ava Turner have managed to crack the case that is.
The pairing of these two detectives is the work of genius really, the dry sarcastic exchanges between the two characters is witty and entertaining but underneath it all is a real sense of care between these two.  Callanach’s relationship with the officers in his team is also great to see, and it’s nice to see how it has developed from ‘Perfect Remains’.  Each of the notable characters in his team has developed well, DC Tripp is one such character, his enthusiasm shines from the pages and contrasts well with DS Lively.  His attitude has remained the same and the ongoing battle between Callanach and Lively makes for some entertaining reading.

The plot is deviously twisted and cleverly played out, the pace moves along swiftly as readers become ensnared by the hunt for nameless victims and their fiendish killers, all of this just makes for completely gripping reading.  The dark web technical aspects to the story have just enough detail to add an authenticity and realism to the plot without becoming too much.
It did feel a little like DI Turner took a lesser role in this, however once the pace picks up readers become aware of personal issues that she is facing so it all makes sense.  The relationship between DI Turner and DCI Edgar was questionable at best, and I have to salute Helen Fields for creating such a deplorable character.  He’s craftily been brought to life with qualities that rank him higher up the scale for hating than the killers!
The killers, well that’s an ingenious set up.  The way this aspect of the plot plays out is so incredibly frightening but at the same time riveting reading.

Now the wait begins for January for book 3 in the series to come out…….

You can buy a copy of ‘Perfect Prey’ via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

 

My thanks to Sabah at Avon Books for the opportunity to read this fantastic book!

 

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Published: 1 June 2017

 

Description:

An irresistible mystery set in 1890s Edinburgh, Kaite Welsh’s THE WAGES OF SIN features a female medical student-turned-detective, and will thrill fans of Sarah Waters and Antonia Hodgson.

Sarah Gilchrist has fled from London to Edinburgh in disgrace and is determined to become a doctor, despite the misgivings of her family and society. As part of the University of Edinburgh’s first intake of female medical students, in 1892, Sarah comes up against resistance from lecturers, her male contemporaries, and – perhaps worst of all – her fellow women, who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman…

When one of Sarah’s patients turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into Edinburgh’s dangerous underworld of bribery, brothels and body snatchers – and a confrontation with her own past.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

“The Wages of Sin” is a wonderfully atmospheric fictional thriller, it is steeped in fantastically rich detail that portrays life in the late 1800s as both interesting as well as fraught with danger.

Society deemed that women in this era should know their place, that being in the home raising families, tending to the needs of their husbands or generally being gentile and “ladylike”, and most definitely not wielding scalpels and training to become surgeons at Edinburgh University.  Society clearly never encountered Sarah Gilchrist and her 12 like minded classmates it would seem.
Having disgraced her family in  London, Sarah is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Edinburgh, and it is agreed that she can attend her studies at the university so long as she is ferried back and forth by a driver and kept from any temptations or situations that might besmirch the good family name any further.

The adversity and oppression faced by women in this era is demonstrated well by the author, attitudes of those around Sarah blatantly showing horror at her chosen career path, her fellow students keen to ridicule each other and the rivalry between both male and female students rife.  Indeed, there seems to be more rivalry between the female students who seem more eager to bring each other down than to support and hold one another up.

Through her work at the local Infirmary, Sarah comes into contact with those less fortunate, the poor and destitute pouring in through the doors in search of medical help as well as the women from the surrounding brothels.  Unfortunately for Sarah, one of these women seeks assistance that cannot be given, abortions being illegal at the time.  From here Sarah embarks on a journey of self destruction, believing that something is amiss and nefarious practises surround her.  Her detective skills might be somewhat lacking but her heart is in the right place, she is determined to find out the truth behind the death of a patient, even if it means casting accusations wildly.

This is a very well thought out and well researched book, the topic of female emancipation making for interesting reading.  The descriptiveness of characters and settings in this mean that readers can conjure vivid images in their heads of the squalor of the slums, the opulence of Society and the bitter chill of a Scottish winter.
Sarah is a character that is well crafted, initially a broken and seemingly fragile creature, her studies give her hope and something to work towards, she develops well but still retains some vulnerabilities and naivety.

Kaite Welsh has crafted a clever tale of corruption, wickedness and discrimination that seeps into all tiers of Victorian society.

You can buy a copy of “The Wages of Sin” via:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Wordery

My thanks to Headline and Tinder Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

 

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