October 22

Killer Intent – Linden Chase

killer-intentThe last time undercover journalist Zane King was sent to Tranquility he barely escaped with his life.

Now 5 years later he finds himself back again, this time as a fully diagnosed psychopath just like every other resident on the island prison.

Zane is only just beginning to come to terms with the fact that he has ended up trapped in Tranquility 2.0 when a seemingly random plane crash introduces a squad of mysterious strangers into the already explosive mix of rival factions and rising tensions among the most dangerous community of town-folk on earth.

As always on the island, nothing is as it seems and Zane must battle relentlessly to finally uncover the truth about Tranquility.


My thanks to Chris at Fahrenheit Press for my review copy.


The second in the Tranquility Trilogy. In the first book, Killer Instincts, we met Zane King. He was an undercover journalist sent to Tranquility island to investigate a new experimental island prison where residents were left to fend for themselves with minimal supervision but were expected to form living colonies, work the land and only rely upon infrequent supply drops to get by. The experiment did not work and a bloodbath ensued.  I loved Killer Instincts and likened it to Lord of the Files but for fans of slasher movies.   You can read my review here: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1951

As you can see from the intro above, King survived the ordeals in Killer Instincts. However, despite his escape and a subsequent return to civilization where he rebuilt his life, he never managed to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding who controlled Tranquility. Five years after the events in Killer Instincts, Killer Intent opens with Zane waking from a drugged stupor to find himself back on Tranquility. The prison is back, new inmates, new factions and a new sheriff in town calling the shots. Zane has been diagnosed as a psychopath and sent back to the island for rehabilitation where he will be surrounded by like-minded killers

King is adjusting back into life on the island when the balance is rocked by the arrival of new residents. A plane comes down in the jungle and suddenly in the midst of all the psychopaths are innocent crash survivors. Can King, the sheriff and the island padre (King’s new ally on Tranquility 2.0) keep the incomers safe and find a way to get them off the island?

I am loving the Tranquility Trilogy. Throwing King back into the Hell that he thought he had escaped was an unexpected (and nasty) twist. There was a very political feel about Killer Intent, King is more wary about who he can trust and characters are much more devious in playing-off against each other. The shocks and twists that were in Instincts are very much present in Killer Intent and the story shines as a result. There is a genuine feel that nobody can be trusted, anyone could die at any point and that everyone is hiding something – what more could you ask for in a thriller?

Tranquility really is an incredibly misleading name as there is NOTHING tranquil about these stories but that’s exactly how we like them.  I cannot wait to see how the trilogy wraps up. I know that Linden Chase is not going to make things easy for Zane King and I look forward to the conclusion with a huge amount of anticipation.


Killer Intent is published by Fahrenheit Press and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Killer-Intent-Tranquility-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B01MDNKQLB/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1477173220&sr=8-2&keywords=Linden+Chase


Category: 5* Reviews, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Killer Intent – Linden Chase
October 22

Her Last Breath – J.A. Schneider

ecover-herlastbreathA chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends?

Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?

A heart-stopping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Alfred Hitchcock


My thanks to the author for my review copy.


I tend not to Tweet much about the books that I am still reading, but when I started Her Last Breath I took advantage of a reading break to share how much I enjoy a book that gets straight into the action.

Her Last Breath opens with Mari Gill waking in a strange room to find herself lying beside a murdered man, a man she has never seen before and she has absolutely no idea what happened the night before. Soaked in blood and on the edge of hysteria is not how most leading characters are introduced…talk about grabbing my attention from the first page! But it is not just the opening that had me gripped as Her Last Breath was an absolute joy to read.

Mari is trapped in a living nightmare, accused of murder and unsure who she can turn to for support she finds that she has to engage her estranged husband as her lawyer. Meanwhile the investigating cops, in particular Detective Kerri Blasco, are initially inclined to believe Mari is innocent. Yet there are inconsistencies in Mari’s story that are not helping clear her name and Kerri has to persuade her boss that there is more to his murder than initially meets the eye.

J.A. Schneider has done a brilliant job in keeping the tension running through Her Last Breath. I attribute this in part to the wonderful characterisation in the book. So often I can put down a novel and struggle to remember any of the character names, however, I loved both Mari and Kerri Blasco – two totally different characters but equally engaging and brilliantly realised. I kept reading as I wanted to find if Mari could have been guilty of the murder. I kept reading as I wanted to find if Kerri would be able to find a murderer. I kept reading because the story was so damned good. It hit just the right balance for me, brilliantly paced, nicely twisty and with a nicely sized supporting cast who could all have been guilty at one point in the book!

Pacey, twisty and that perfect “one more chapter” feeling – Her Last Breath is highly recommended.


Her Last Breath is available now. Purchase link: ‪http://getBook.at/HerLastBreath 


Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Her Last Breath – J.A. Schneider
October 20

A Suitable Lie – Michael J Malone

a-suitable-lieAndy 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, too.

When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. He ignores it; a dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.


My thanks to Karen at Orenda for my review copy.


Domestic Noir has a new high bar and it is called A Suitable Lie.

This is Andy’s story, it is told in the first person and it makes for uncomfortable reading. Andy works in the local bank, he plays rugby, he is a single dad having tragically lost his wife who died during childbirth. His life is ticking along but his friends and family feel he needs to get out more so one evening he finds himself in a pub and he meets Anna.

Anna is a beauty, new to town and not happy that her “date” for the evening may have forgotten to mention his wife to her. Andy rescues Anna from a miserable evening and the two click. Before long they are a couple and then wedding bells beckon. On his wedding night Andy’s life will go from bliss to misery and he will find himself trapped in a living Hell.

Anna, petite and beautiful, is hiding a dark side – a violent and obsessive personality. She is controlling, vicious and yet loving and apologetic. Author, Michael J Malone, brings out Anna’s temper slowly and we see the violence and her control over Andy grow with each new chapter. I read A Suitable Lie with a knot of tension in my stomach – I feared for Andy and I hated everything that Anna put him through.

Yet Andy knows that he cannot (and will not) hit back. He endures beatings, humiliation and his confidence is undermined. We see him at work when he is struggling to hide his secret. His work life is also providing challenging as there are problems at the Bank and, with the distractions in his home-life, Andy is not as vigilant at work as he needs to be. His world is coming apart around him but who can he turn to?

A Suitable Lie is an intense read which is highlighting a topic which is a far bigger issue than most realise. It is a story that will stick with you for a long time to come and it is important that it does. Not to be missed.


A Suitable Lie is published by Orenda Books and is available in paperback and digital format. You can get your copy by clicking through this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Suitable-Lie-Michael-J-Malone/dp/1910633496/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476911441&sr=8-1&keywords=a+suitable+lie



Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on A Suitable Lie – Michael J Malone
October 18

The Mountain in my Shoe – Louise Beech

the-mountain-in-my-shoeA missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself.

On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all.

Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love.


My thanks to Karen at Orenda for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.


I’d seen so many glowing reviews for The Mountain in my Shoe that before I had even picked up my copy I had high expectations. I was not let down, this was a powerful read and a story which will stick with me for some time to come.

The Mountain in my Shoe was, for me, the story of watching a child grow up through the eyes of other people. It is all done through a lifebook, Conor’s lifebook. It is his story as told by the people responsible for him as he grows up.

Conor’s mother cannot look after him when he is born but she is not willing to put him up for adoption so Conor is placed into foster care.  His lifebook is his story, it is updated by social workers, foster parents, his mother, teachers and so on – everyone that plays a significant part in Conor’s life updates the book in some way and we chart how he grows.

Bernadette had Conor’s lifebook but she has lost it.  She has also lost her husband (misplaced may be more accurate, as when the story begins he hasn’t come home when she had expected) which is unfortunate as she had planned to tell him she was leaving him. Thus begins Bernadette’s trauma, by the time the book draws to a close a lost lifebook is going to be the least of her concerns.

Many reviews you will read of The Mountain in my Shoe will focus on the emotion, the character love and the relationships angles. I loved the mystery. The missing husband, the secrets, the shocking twist in the tale.  It is a wonderfully layered story – a great domestic thriller and a powerful tale of relationships and family.

Eye-opening, traumatic and totally engaging…The Mountain in my Shoe should be on your reading list.


The Mountain In My Shoe is published by Orenda Books and you can get your copy by clicking through this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mountain-My-Shoe-Louise-Beech/dp/1910633399/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476742416&sr=1-1&keywords=the+mountain+in+my+shoe


Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on The Mountain in my Shoe – Louise Beech
October 15

Dancers in the Wind – Anne Coates


Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan.

When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence. Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat. As she comes to realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth …. and stay alive.


My thanks to Urbane Publications for my review copy which I received through Netgalley

Journalist Hannah Weybridge is working for one of the national newspapers who are running a feature on the prostitutes of Kings Cross. The assignment appears to be a bit of an eye-opener for Hannah who finds that she is extremely uncomfortable learning about the lifestyle some of the girls are living.

What Hannah does not realise is that some of the working girls have been going missing – their battered bodies turn up a few days later but the nature of their occupation means that it has not been widely reported. One of the girls that Hannah interviews (Princess) seems to have had a particularly tough childhood – Hannah has paid for her story and they spend some time together while Princess tells the story of her path to prostitution.

When Princess turns up badly battered and bloody at Hannah’s door, Hannah finds she is compelled to get urgent help for Princess and also agrees to the girl’s request not to involve the police.  Hannah takes Princess into her home for a few days but these days stretch on as Princess recuperates and Hannah tries to encourage her to stay off the streets.

The pair have a somewhat troubled relationship, their very different backgrounds lead to some feisty clashes but both seem to realise that Hannah just has the best interests of Princess at her heart. Problems arise, however, when it becomes clear to Hannah that Princess has a few dark secrets and that some people will do whatever it takes to ensure Princess never gets a chance to share her knowledge with the “wrong” people.  Can Hannah keep her young friend safe?

Dancers in the Wind comes under the dark and gritty tag. The nastier side of London prostitution is laid out and we learn that Hannah simply cannot trust anyone. The police do not appear to be handling the prostitute murders with any sincerity, the newspaper Hannah works for is editing and spinning her stories and Princess is dropping mysterious hints about the past actions of several characters that Hannah encounters. The story keeps you on your toes, the only person you are reasonably sure is not keeping secrets is Hannah herself!

Take a great deal of suspicion, add in some cleverly edited story jumps which keep the reader off guard. Liberally apply some great end of chapter cliff-hangers (always guaranteed to keep me reading late into the night) and we have a nice wee thriller for readers to get their teeth into.


Dancers in the Wind is published by Urbane Publications and is available in paperback and digital format here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dancers-Wind-gripping-crime-thriller/dp/1911129635/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476484752&sr=8-1&keywords=dancers+in+the+wind





Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Dancers in the Wind – Anne Coates
October 13

Angela Marsons and Caroline Mitchell

Last month’s visit to Bloody Scotland reminded me how much I enjoy having the opportunity to hear authors chatting about their books. Having grown up in the remote wilderness of the Scottish Highlands, I am very aware that not everyone has the opportunity to get to festivals or book launches – I hate the thought that readers may miss out on the chance to hear their favourite authors discussing their writing.

In a few short weeks Caroline Mitchell and Angela Marsons will both release their new novels. Caroline is introducing a new lead character, DS Ruby Preston, in Love You To Death.  Angela is bringing us the next instalment in the Kim Stone series: Blood Lines. It is fair to say that I am more than a little excited about having the chance to read both books.

I asked Angela and Caroline if they would be willing to let me listen in while they discussed their new books, I was thrilled that they agreed. I also had a burning question that I wanted to put to them both, I just had to find a way to get a word in edgeways….


C – I’m very curious to know if Kim is based on anyone in particular, or is she your alter-ego Angie?

A – Kim Stone isn’t based on anyone in particular but she had been in my ear for years.  I didn’t let her out because even in my own head she sounded rude and abrasive and I didn’t think anyone would like her.  Even I didn’t like her all that much.  But once I gave her control of the pencil I did realise she had some redeeming qualities.  I gave her free reign after trying to write about characters I thought publishers would like and after years of rejection just decided to write the book I wanted to write. Even after five books I still feel as though I’m getting to know her.

On that same note I absolutely adored Jennifer Knight.  I loved her dedication and strength but also her flaws and idiosyncrasies. I devoured all three Jennifer books and hope there might come a time when you bring her back. Is that a possibility and how long had she been living with you before you put her to paper?

C – Thanks Angie, I’m so glad that Kim Stone hung around for her story to be told. It’s amazing how our characters take on a life of their own. Jennifer had been living in my head since my own real life paranormal experiences while working in the police. I’d love to write another book one day, and I’ve left it open for her to return. At the moment I’m concentrating hard on my new DS Ruby Preston series. Brought up in the East End of London, she’s a real tough cookie. In a scene in book two, she learns how to shoot a gun. I’ve been itching to visit a firing range and try it out for real. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done in the name of research? And don’t worry about the gun, you’re safe for now! 

caroline-mitchell2A – Well, I must say that Ruby Preston already sounds like my kind of main character and imagining you with a gun makes me happy (for once) that we live so many miles away from each other. I’m not sure about the most interesting thing I’ve done but certainly one of the funniest was only the other day when Julie and I were standing out on the decking with a piece of plastic roughly the same size as a shotgun trying to see how practical it would be to shoot yourself in the back of the neck.  I must say that research is one of my favourite parts of the process as I love to learn about things that interest and intrigue me.  Some writers hate the research part. How do you feel about it and how long do you normally take to research each book?

C – Ha! That made me laugh out loud. My husband sleeps with one eye open as it is, without me throwing a gun into the mix! It’s no stretch of the imagination to picture you and Julie on the decking play acting with your plastic gun. 🙂  Yes, I love research too, it’s so much fun. As we write for digital publishers, time is of the essence, so I’m limited with the amount of time I can spend on research for each book. I do spend a lot of time thinking about my characters though, they practically move in to my head for the duration of the book. I think that’s what’s nice about series; I get to spend time with the same characters that I’ve invested in. With stand alones, it can be hard to get them to move out when I’m done. You’ve written two stand alones prior to Kim, would you like to write any more, and if so, what genre?

blood-linesA – My two published stand alone novels (and others that shall never see the light of day) were stories that burned inside me.  They were subjects that I wanted to explore to see where they went and what I could learn about the subject matter.  I really enjoy analysing the mechanics of human relationships and the psychology behind what makes us act in certain ways. With the Kim Stone schedule of two books per year it would have to be a subject matter that  I just couldn’t let go of or I might be tempted to introduce the odd crime scene where it would be totally inappropriate.  Talking of different genres I recently read your psychological thriller Witness to be released later this year and absolutely LOVED it. The crossover from your previous work appears seamless to me but did you experience any problems while writing it?

C – The thought of some of your manuscripts languishing under your bed never seeing the light of day is a travesty. I think we need to start a petition to have them freed! I’ve heard such great things about Dear Mother and The Forgotten Woman. Thank you for your lovely words about Witness. I loved writing it. It was meant to be a straight thriller but as I began writing, stories of domestic abuse just flowed onto the page. I used to safeguard high risk victims of domestic abuse in the police, helping victims leave their abusive partners and begin their lives again. As the story formed, it portrayed that domestic abuse is as much about coercive control as it is violence, and it takes enormous strength to break away from such a relationship when someone has control of every facet of your life. It’s set between Frinton where I live, and Wales – near where you live. I see that many of your readers love your Black Country setting. What inspired you to use it as a setting for your Kim Stone books, and do you get many messages from readers about particular places that you use?

A – Before I wrote Silent Scream I had always tried to use both characters and settings that I thought publishers and agents would like even though they weren’t too familiar to me.  It was in a post-rejection fit of rage that I wrote the character I wanted to and used the area I know well. Traditional publishers rejected Silent Scream and said the setting and main character would never work. I get so many messages from local people thrilled at seeing places they know in the books but I also get messages from people wanting to know more about the Black Country.  I think the dark, industrial past of the area works well with Kim Stone’s character.  She would not do well in the Cotswolds, I fear!! It sounds to me that Ruby Preston is well represented by the setting you have chosen too.  Was that deliberate?

 C – I love this response, I can’t imagine Kim Stone anywhere else either. The dark broodiness of the Black Country setting suits her perfectly. I’ve gobbled up every one of your thrillers and it’s been a pleasure to watch her character progress throughout the series. As for me, well London has always been a source of fascination. Every time I visit I’m like a child, eyes wide in wonderment as I take in the sounds and smells of this amazing city. Such a diverse place makes for rich pickings when it comes to describing characters and scenery. Like you, my character seems to fit in with the setting and I can’t imagine them being based anywhere else. Fair play to you for having the dogged determination to keep going with your manuscript and writing the setting that struck a chord with you. What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to writers still trying to make it? 

 love-you-to-deathA – I also love visiting London but I find the roads around Covent Garden can be quite hazardous!! I think my one piece of advice above all else would be to trust your own instinct.  Once you enter the world of submissions there will be advice, comments, directions, improvements from a variety of sources and you have to know when to follow that advice.  There is no-one closer to the characters, story and journey than the writer and it can be easy to take everyone else’s opinions on board but you have to keep hold of the story that you wanted to tell in the first place.  Given your journey, what would you say to anyone following your path?

C – Ha! You wouldn’t be referring to the time we met in Covent Garden and I almost got you and Julie run over by a car would you? I blame Siri myself! I love your advice above and totally agree. It takes time to find your voice. I started off writing paranormal, then crime and now thrillers too. My advice is that it can be hard, so you’ll need to grow a thick hide, but just remember that this is meant to be fun too. Always try to keep your writing as an enjoyable process. It’s all about perspective. I count my blessings every day. Now Gordon I must apologise as we’ve not allowed you to get a word in edgeways! I hear you have a question for us …

G – There didn’t seem a good point to interrupt! But thanks Caroline…given that Jennifer’s investigations can take somewhat mysterious and supernatural twists, how do you think Jennifer and Kim would get on were their paths to cross on a case? 

C – That’s a really good question Gordon. Kim does not suffer fools gladly and I believe in past books she’s been skeptical when it comes to the paranormal. I think at first they would clash, but if they came together over the course of an investigation Jennifer would admire her investigative abilities and win her around. Things always seem to happen when Jennifer is near so if the evidence was right before Kim’s eyes, I think Kim would rub her hands together and say to Jennifer ‘right, what are we dealing with?’ Then crack on with the investigation as calm as you like. 

Tell me if I’m wrong Angie, what does Kim say? 

angela-marsonsA – I absolutely agree with Caroline’s assessment of how the two of them would respond to each other. Admittedly, Kim is definitely a ‘don’t believe it until I see it’ kind of girl but once someone has proven their ability or understanding of a subject about which she knows very little she would give them the benefit of the doubt and work with it. Like Jennifer she is all about moving forwards and doing everything necessary to solve a case so I think they would work it very well. I can even imagine Kim giving her a good-natured nickname like ‘mystic meg’ and Jennifer would probably do the same back.  Now, here’s a little secret – when I first wrote Silent Scream I wrote Kim with hint of unexplained intuition which I took out later as by that time I knew it didn’t fit with the rest of her sceptical character. 

Intuition is good and Kim has it in bucket loads. I think most good investigators have that initial gut feeling and put it to good use. It’s when the CPS is demanding evidence that it gets frustrating. I suppose it’s a matter of finding a balance. Here’s to a long a fruitful investigative career for our fictional characters. May they continue their crime busting efforts for long to come. *Raises glass. Cheers! 


I cannot thank Caroline and Angela enough for letting me eavesdrop on their conversation, I got the feeling that it had been running long before I joined them and will continue even longer.


 Love You to Death is published on 11 November and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-You-Death-Absolutely-Detective-ebook/dp/B01LYPU1MW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1476308879&sr=8-3&keywords=caroline+mitchell

You can find all of Caroline’s books through this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Caroline-Mitchell/e/B00GUUATPU/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 Blood Lines is published on 4 November and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Lines-Angela-Marsons/dp/1786810999/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476309070&sr=1-1&keywords=angela+marsons

Angela’s books can be ordered on this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angela-Marsons/e/B00J6D3914/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Angela Marsons and Caroline Mitchell
October 12

I Know Your Secret – Graham Smith

i-know-your-secret-book-cover“What would you do if your most intimate secrets got into the wrong hands?”

Set in modern day Cumbria, I Know Your Secret is a police thriller in which a priest is found crucified to the stone floor of his church. Fearing more attacks on the clergy, DI John Campbell and his team of misfits race to find the killer before he strikes again.

Meanwhile, DI Harry Evans, spends his days attending the trial of his wife’s rapist and his nights interfering in the investigation.

Can they catch the killer before he strikes again?


My thanks to Caffeine Nights for my review copy

DI Harry Evans has featured in two previous Major Crimes books and also in Graham Smith’s Snatched From Home. He is very much master of his home patch in Carlisle but is facing the prospect of imminent retirement and with that he may well lose the last thing that is important to him.

As the description above mentions Harry is also having to contend with the trial of his wife’s rapist. Previous books outlined events leading up to this confrontation but you do not need to have actually read them to keep up with the events in I Know Your Secret, it stands up well as a jumping on point for new readers.

I Know Your Secret opens with a very powerful murder. A priest is crucified on the floor of his chapel. Cumbria’s finest are called to investigate and Harry’s replacement (DI John Campbell) is leading the team.  I like Campbell, he is battling against the demands of being a supportive new father, battling the influence of the outgoing Harry Evans who does not want to give up his patch and battling against the constant pressure of understaffing and minimal resources.

Graham Smith balances the central characters well. We switch between Campbell’s investigation, Harry’s interventions, the court case and….did I mention a Killer and Blackmailer? As you may have guessed from the title I Know Your Secret is a tale about secrets. With secrets comes knowledge and with knowledge comes power – or sometimes blackmail.

There is loads going on in I Know Your Secret and Harry Evans is determined to be at the centre of everything. It will take its toll, physically and mentally Graham Smith is putting DI Evans through a personal Hell – it makes for intense reading.

Dark in all the right places, I Know Your Secret is a nicely constructed police procedural with some clever twists that caught me off guard.


I Know Your Secret is published by Caffeine Nights and releases on 17 October and can be ordered by clicking here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Know-Your-Secret-intimate-secrets-ebook/dp/B01LSVRL5G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476224783&sr=8-1&keywords=i+know+your+secret

Follow the Blog Tour:



Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on I Know Your Secret – Graham Smith
October 10

Cut-Throat Defence – Olly Jarvis

cut-throat-defence-2There is no man richer than a man without a price

Jack Kowalski is a young and newly qualified barrister, who finds himself working on the biggest drugs importation trial ever played out on English soil. With the assistance of his equally inexperienced instructing solicitor, Lara Panassai, Jack argues a savage ‘cut-throat’ defence – a risky tactic where the defendants blame each other – and quickly embroils some of the most eminent QCs in the land.

As the son of Polish immigrants, the sensitive Kowalski has always found it hard to fit in, with a sense of inferiority and constant nervousness in Court. Now he must face his demons and fight not only for his clients, but for his very future at the Bar.

But when the defendant then unexpectedly absconds, Jack and Lara must fight on regardless, following a tip that leads them out of the courtroom and into Manchester’s seedy underworld – crime bosses, strip clubs, corrupt lawyers and all manner of hidden sins.

As the case grows darker with each new discovery, who in this viper pit of deception can Jack and Lara trust?


My thanks to Heloise at EDPR for my review copy


There was a time (back when I was a student) when I only wanted to read legal thrillers and courtroom dramas, I could not get enough of them. But then I exhausted the titles published by the “big name” authors and my local village library didn’t have a vast selection to choose from.  It is only now that I have started Grab This Book that I realise I have not read very many courtroom dramas over the last couple of decades – shockingly few considering how much I used to enjoy them.

Cut-Throat Defence has made me want to read more courtroom thrillers, re-sparking my fascination with the clever interplay between the lawyers and the judges. I was particularly delighted to learn that Cut-Throat Defence is not just a sinister sounding name but an actual legal situation and one which Olly Jarvis has positioned brilliantly.

Central to my enjoyment of any book is the need to like the principle character and I more than liked Jack Kowalski. His Polish roots are mocked by his peers, he finds himself put down by the pompous establishment figures Couple this with his crippling lack of self confidence and it made him an immediately endearing character that I was willing to succeed (I do love rooting for the underdog).

Without giving away too much detail of the story, Jack finds himself at last chance saloon – a promising career is under threat as he cannot contain his nerves when he gets into court.  As it looks like his last chance to save his career is slipping by he accidentally lands a new client, one who is caught up in one of the biggest drugs busts in the NW. However, Jack’s client has a story so remarkable and unlikely that it is going to be virtually impossible to prove in a court of law.

Fighting against the clock, and impossible odds, Jack’s story in Cut-Throat Defence was a really fun read – I found I read longer and later than I should have done in the evenings as I didn’t want to stop reading. If you are a fan of legal thrillers then I strongly recommend adding Cut-Throat Defence to your library.


Cut-Throat Defence is published by Canelo and is available in digital download here.

Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Cut-Throat Defence – Olly Jarvis
October 9

The Bird Tribunal – Agnes Ravatn

bird-tribunalTV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough.


My thanks to Karen at Orenda for my review copy

The Bird Tribunal is a remarkable read and at no point in the story did I know where it was heading, I just knew that I wanted to keep reading to learn more.

There is mystery around Allis. She has left a successful career to take up a housekeeping and gardener role. She has no previous experience but is prepared to learn as she goes.  Her employer, Sigurd Bagge, is a strange man who hides himself away through the day and only initially comes out to speak with Allis at mealtimes. He will not let her eat with him and he is extremely secretive, choosing not to share any personal information with Allis. It seems he is married, however, his wife is absent and there is no sign she will return.

Allis is determined to make a success of her new role despite the peculiarity of her employer but she is facing her own personal demons. As The Bird Tribunal developed I became transfixed upon how Allis may overcome her personal angst. I also wanted to get to understand Bagge better, his character and behaviour were so odd that I had to know what had led him to that state.

The Bird Tribunal is beautifully written. Yet it is tense, chilling and at times disconcerting. Think Misery (different tension and no axes) but two people living in a remote location with a strained/artificial/complicated relationship.

A special mention has to be made for Rosie Hedger who has done a wonderful job of ensuring the translation of the author’s original text reflects the haunting atmosphere of the remote isolation that Allis has sought.


The Bird Tribunal is published by Orenda Books and is available in paperback and digital editions here.

Follow the Blog tour:


Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on The Bird Tribunal – Agnes Ravatn
October 7

Deep Down Dead: Steph Broadribb – Countdown


If you want to write then you should read…oft quoted words of wisdom. So imagine what may happen if one of the most respected crime fiction bloggers turned her hand to writing a thriller.

Now imagine a publisher with a phenomenal drive, an uncanny eye for spotting amazing stories and the desire to ensure these wonderful stories find their way into the hands of readers.

Now imagine what may happen if these two ever got together!



DEEP DOWN DEAD by Steph Broadribb  (published by Orenda Books) will release on October 15th and I cannot wait!


Here is today’s teaser extract from Deep Down Dead…

Too close to punch, I hooked my right leg around his left, and pulled hard to bring him down. He was too quick. One solid punch to my ribs pushed the breath right out of me. I gasped, doubled over, gulping for air. I clawed at my pocket for the pepper spray. Got a hold of it and pulled it out. The can felt cold, slippery. I couldn’t grip it. Heard it hit the ground.


Deep Down Dead is published by Orenda Books on 15 October 2016 and you can order a copy here.

Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Deep Down Dead: Steph Broadribb – Countdown