March 31

London Locations. Researching ’Bloq’ – Alan Jones

BloqOn my blog tour for Blue Wicked, Gordon asked me to do a post about the locations I’d used in the book, so for my second visit to GrabThisBook, I suggested a follow up post on how I found the London locations for Bloq.

Bloq is the story of a Glasgow man, Bill Ingram, a very ordinary husband and father who lives in a pleasant suburb of the city. He’s a civil engineer; a man who does his job well and lives a quiet life.

On Christmas Eve, he’s waiting in Glasgow’s Central Station for his daughter, Carol, a journalist working in London, who’s returning home to spend Christmas with him. When she doesn’t get off the last train, he knows something is badly wrong. He returns home, but sitting by the telephone, waiting for her to call, he makes the decision to drive to London to find out what has happened to her.

Up until that point, I was great with the locations. I’ve been in Central station thousands of times; I know the suburb in Glasgow where Bill lives. I can see him driving home up the switchback, sick with worry.

But I’ve been to London maybe half a dozen times in my life and I really didn’t know it well at all.  I pretty much had the plot in my head, and I knew that I needed five or six key locations at least. I’d used google earth to find those I needed for my last book, Blue Wicked, but I was looking for very specific spots in an area that I was much more familiar with, so I knew where to look. This was different.

The first one wasn’t too difficult. I’d stayed in London thirty years ago with friends in Camden, and I remembered it as an ideal location for Carol’s flat. Google maps proved to be much better than google earth in a city environment, and street view has improved to the point where I could almost feel that I was walking about the streets of London, but with the ability to teleport myself to anywhere in on the map at the touch of a mouse. Within a short while, I’d found a street that matched the one in my mind’s eye.

The next bit blew me away; I was looking for a bar where Bill would have gone to grab something to eat and have a couple of pints after a long day treading the streets looking for his daughter, so in Streetview, I made my way from carol’s flat down to Camden High Street, and walked along it looking for a traditional bar. I had in my mind that it would be the sort of place that Bill would choose. I found one, The Elephants Head, situated only 10 minutes’ walk from the flat, as calculated by the Google maps, and had a closer look at it. To my amazement, when I clicked on the doorway, I was inside the bar, looking at the interior. It was like something out of Alice in wonderland! Not only was I in the bar, but I could move around inside, checking out the layout as if I was there. I even tried going up to the bar to see if I could order a pint, but it wasn’t that good!


Bloq image 1I hadn’t realised that this was available in Streetview, so I wasted the next hour finding places to go into, just for the fun of it. Check it out yourself; it’s phenomenal. Just enter ‘The Elephants Head, Camden’ into google maps and drop the little Streetview man outside it.

For the nightclub that gives the book its title, I had a converted warehouse in my mind, and I wanted it to be in one of the less fashionable areas of London. I’d already written some of the scenes that happen at the nightclub, so I had a much longer list of specific requirements that needed to be just right. Why didn’t I just make the place a complete figment of my imagination, I hear you ask, and it’s a fair question.Bloq image 2

I find it easier to write if I can totally immerse myself in the story, and having real locations definitely helps. If I believe the narrative one hundred percent, I hope the reader will too, but I do tinker sometimes with the detail a bit, to make it fit in with the plot.

After looking at seven or eight places in Bethnal Green, and finding nothing suitable, I moved my search south of the river. It was time consuming, but worth it, because I eventually found the perfect place in Walworth. It had all the right attributes, and I could see the changes that the builders would make to transform it into the nightclub of my imagination. A tarted up exterior with a new ostentatious doorway that had a certain look about it would make it perfect for the job, and it had a car park wedged between it and the church next door that ran the whole length of the building, just as I wanted.

I always imagined Alexander Gjebrea, one of the main characters, living in an uber-modern Grand Designs style house in one of the more affluent boroughs of London, so I checked on Google to see which areas were the most desirable. Islington seemed to fit the bill, and I did a Google search for modern houses in the area and came up with a development that was just perfect. It even had an online brochure from the developer with detailed plans and pictures of the interior.

Bloq Image 3For the story, I altered these a little and added some bling, to fit in with the story and the character.

I emailed Martin Stanley, a London author who I’d been introduced to, mentioning two or three of the key locations and asking him if they made sense. According to him they did.

I meant to get to London myself to check out all the locations, and physically travel between them to get the feel of what the characters would have to put up with, getting from one to another, but work and life got in the way, and it just didn’t happen, so I decided that I needed a couple of proof readers who knew London well to check out the first draft for authenticity in its setting.

I had a friend in London, Nick Short, who’d read my first two books, and he generously agreed to read Bloq for me and check out its London credentials. For the other proofreader, I asked the members of The Crime Book Club on Facebook (I’m a member there) if anyone fancied helping out, and I got a quick reply from an extremely nice lady, Rowena Hoseasons, who said she was a book blogger at and she was willing to read it through for me.

Both my London beta-readers were a godsend. They said that, on the whole, I’d got it almost right, but they came back with a list of tweaks about living in London that they thought would enhance the realism of the book, all of which I incorporated into my first edit.

It was mainly issues like traffic congestion, bus lanes, Oyster cards, parking nightmares, cyclists and ways in which I could beef up the manic and multicultural nature of London life.

I’m extremely grateful for her and Nick’s help in improving Bloq’s depictions of London.

All of the locations in the book exist, although I’ve altered some details in a few of them, and one day I’ll jump on a train to London and go round and visit than all. I’ll be almost disappointed when I turn into Browning street and there’s no bright neon sign, ’BLOQ’ above a nightclub doorway half way along, next to the church.


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March 31

Bloq – Alan Jones

BloqA gritty crime thriller.

Glasgow man Bill Ingram waits in the city’s Central Station to meet his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train pulls in, and she doesn’t get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why.

His search for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again.


I received my review copy from the author in return for an honest review.

Bloq is going to be a tricky review to write.  I like to provide the official book description (as above) and in my review I generally include a personal overview of the story and explain why I liked the book I am discussing. However, I cannot tell you WHY I enjoyed Bloq as it would just mean dropping massive spoilers. I CAN tell you that I loved it and didn’t want to put it down.

For no reason I can really explain (other than that I love an ongoing crime series) I had expected Alan Jones to set his new book in Glasgow and bring back Eddie Henderson, the lead character from his fantastic thriller Blue Wicked. I met Alan at the end of 2015 and although he wouldn’t tell me anything about Bloq he was quite happy to assure me Eddie was not returning!

So I picked up Bloq with no idea of what to expect and I tried to avoid other reviews before I read the story so that I could approach the book with a totally open mind. What I found was a gripping tale of a father’s obsession over his missing daughter, a deeply disturbing ‘bad guy’ to loathe and the dark shocking twists which turn a good thriller into a great thriller.

Bloq is the name of a London nightclub. Lead character, Bill Ingram, has travelled from Glasgow to London to try and find his daughter – the only real clue he has to her whereabouts is that she was a regular visitor to the Bloq nightclub. Bill visits the club but there is no sign of his daughter, the club manager gives Bill the owner’s address but that trail leads nowhere either and Bill is stumped where to turn next. What Bill does not realise is that his enquiries have caught someone’s attention and that he is now being followed.

As I alluded to previously, everything that is good about Bloq needs to be discovered by the reader as they follow Bill around London. You cannot know too much about this book in advance – avoiding spoilers is the key to maximum enjoyment. It is not the easiest of reads at times as Alan Jones seems to enjoy being really nasty to his characters. There are tough times ahead for Bill and as he leans more about his daughter’s potential fate you begin to wonder if you actually want Bill to find her!

Bloq scores a ‘must read’ 5/5 review from me.

Bloq Blog Tour



Bloq is published on 1st April through Ailsa Publishing – you can order your copy here:

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March 30

Star Wars Galaxy (Topps) – Gary Gerani

Star Wars GalaxyIn 1993, 10 years after the release of Return of the Jedi, the Topps Company reintroduced the Star Wars universe to collectors with a series of trading cards.

Illustrated by the biggest names in science-fiction, fantasy and comicsincluding Kyle Baker, Moebius, Jon J Muth, William Stout, Walter Simonson, and Boris VallejoGeorge Lucass galaxy is reinterpreted in each artists own style, portraying favourite characters, recreating classic scenes, and even inventing new scenes the illustrators always wanted to see.

These trading-card images became instant fan favourites and the benchmark for visual reinterpretations of Star Wars to come. For the first time, this collection showcases the complete New Visions series; rare promotional images; and an introduction and commentary by Gary Gerani, the original editor of the Toppss Star Wars series.


My thanks to Alexandra at Abrams for my review copy.

We recently took our young bookworms to the Huntarian Art Gallery (Glasgow) to visit their latest exhibition: COMIC INVENTION.  As a lifelong reader of comic books (or Graphic Novels when I want to sound more grown-up) I was keen to let my boys see how comics had evolved over the years.  The exhibition is well worth a trip and the details are here:


After the Comic Invention display we took in the rest of the gallery. We realised that my youngest was loving the art and seemingly has a good eye for designs and style….his big brother, not so much. Older bookworm is not enchanted by pictures of random shapes or faces of people he has never heard of and (to be perfectly honest) neither am I…When it comes to art I know what I like and it is usually pictures with ‘POW’ and ‘ZAP’ surrounding Batman or Spider-man.

However, I had a secret weapon to engage the interest of the disenchanted boy – Star Wars Galaxy.  My son, like his Dad, is a bit of a collector – and Topps Trading Cards have been a bit of a guilty pleasure in the past.  This is artwork I can relate to – the best artists in the land capturing people, creatures, droids and scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy. When we got back from the museum trip I brought out Star Wars Galaxy from its hiding place and sat down with the bookworm to look at pictures we could relate to.  Happily he was on much more comfortable ground with the collection of classic trading card images and we spent ages looking at different art styles and interpretations that were collected and wonderfully presented by Gary Gerani.

There are over 200 pages in Star Wars Galaxy and as a rough estimate I would say over 150 classic trading cards are represented.  I loved seeing Steve Ditko’s R2-D2/C3PO picture (I am a huge Ditko fan) but my son hardly glanced at it – he lingered on other pictures which I would have gladly skipped by.  Art is so subjective but this collection seems to cater for many tastes and the editor’s helpful commentary added an extra level of detail to our appreciation.

I actually took the book into the office to show a colleague one of the pictures that I had particularly liked. It generated massive interest around the department and sparked dozens of conversations about the ongoing Star Wars love that we all seem to harbour and I was amazed just how many people used to collect trading cards!

The high point for my bookworm was the discovery that the book contained some bonus trading cards. Actual cards! He was over the moon and has squirrelled the book away on his bookshelves beside his much loved Wimpy Kid stories.

One final note – this is not a comprehensive collection, it is a selection of images chosen by the editor.  The book does not suffer in any way from missing some of the images in the collection but it does seem to irritate purists.

Star Wars Galaxy is a wonderful collection which would delight Star Wars fans of all ages.  The trading cards are well presented, the editor notes are witty, informed and insightful and the book looks and feels gorgeous.


Star Wars Galaxy is published by Abrams Books. You can order a copy here:



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March 28

The Teacher – Katerina Diamond

The TeacherYou think you know who to trust? You think you know the difference between good and evil?

You’re wrong …


The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?


This is a psychological crime thriller in a class of its own.

WARNING: Most definitely *not* for the faint-hearted!


My thanks to Helena at Avon for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.


When I first heard about The Teacher it was presented as a very dark crime story, it would be graphic, often horrific, and absolutely not suitable for everyone. As I read the description all I could think was “this is exactly the kind of story I enjoy.”  Anticipation was high.

The opening chapter had me hooked. A mysterious delivery which leads a man to take his own life, teasing hints of transgressions in the past and the suggestion that the death you read about is just the first of many.  Little did I know just how many characters would fail to make it to the end of the book!

The Teacher is a fast paced serial killer story. The death count is significantly higher than I was expecting and the depictions of the murders certainly justify the warning that comes with the book that The Teacher is ‘not for the faint-hearted.’ The killer is on a revenge mission and is keen to ensure the victims that have been targeted suffer horrifically before they are eventually allowed to die.

Running alongside the story of the killer (and victims) is that of Abbey.  She is a shy, awkward girl working in a local museum tasked with restoring stuffed animals from the displays to a better state of repair. As the story unfolds we learn why Abbey is happy to be hiding herself out of the limelight in the dark corners of the museum working with dusty exhibits. Abbey provided a great side plot from the more visceral events which were unfolding, however, her story also made for some uncomfortable reading and she was the character I found myself wanting to come out of the story with a happy ending.

On the hunt for the killer are local police officers Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey. They have just been partnered together for the first time – two rogue officers who appear to have been put together as punishment for their role in events prior to the story. If Katerina Diamond wants to bring Miles and Grey back for a second outing I would be delighted as these two were great fun to read about.

So I liked the cops, I found a character to root for and the serial killer was wonderfully dark and highly inventive.  All good and I have to say that I really enjoyed The Teacher. One final observation…it was presented as a crime novel but read like a horror story.

The book does carry a warning along these lines so the readers can make that choice for themselves. However, there seemed greater emphasis on the murders than on the investigation element which I felt was somewhat sidelined. As an avid reader of both crime and horror fiction this did not concern me – I was loving the story.

Definitely a book I will recommend and I really hope Grey and Miles will return.

The Teacher Tour




The Teacher is published by Avon and is available in paperback and digital format now:


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March 27

In Her Wake – Amanda Jennings

in her wakeA tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence.

Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but her life.

Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.


My thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy.


I knew that I would be reading In Her Wake so I purposefully have been avoiding reading reviews. What it is impossible to avoid is the fact that all the reviews that I have seen other bloggers and reviewers sharing are incredibly positive, I think all the superlatives have been taken already.

I read In Her Wake in one day and can see why everyone has loved it. I had no idea what to expect but the story of Bella was utterly compelling and I just had to keep reading. Amanda Jennings has a beautiful writing style and paces this story magnificently, her depiction of Cornwall gave the book the real sense of location and I could almost feel the warmth of a beach or the shock of cold water – such was the level of my absorption into the tale.

Bella has had a sheltered upbringing. Raised by an over protective mother, home schooled and encouraged not to mix with other children. She finally gets a degree of freedom when she leaves for university and meets her future husband, however, it seems he is also a very controlling individual. Bella needs to break the shackles and take control of her life.

A family tragedy reveals a dark secret from Bella’s past – suddenly everything she thought she knew is turned on its head. Her life is a lie and she is given just enough information to uncover the truth.  In Her Wake follows Bella’s attempts to uncover the truth about her past and it is an amazing journey that you simply must read.

Dark, intense and utterly unputdownable.


In her wake blog tour


In Her Wake is available in paperback and digital formats and can be ordered here:

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March 26

Thin Ice – Quentin Bates

Thin IceSnowed in with a couple of psychopaths for the winter…

When two small-time crooks rob Reykjavik’s premier drugs dealer, hoping for a quick escape to the sun, their plans start to unravel after their getaway driver fails to show. Tensions mount between the pair and the two women they have grabbed as hostages when they find themselves holed upcountry in an isolated hotel that has been mothballed for the season.

Back in the capital, Gunnhildur, Eiríkur and Helgi find themselves at a dead end investigating what appear to be the unrelated disappearance of a mother, her daughter and their car during a day’s shopping, and the death of a thief in a house fire.

Gunna and her team are faced with a set of riddles but as more people are quizzed it begins to emerge that all these unrelated incidents are in fact linked. And at the same time, two increasingly desperate lowlifes have no choice but to make some big decisions on how to get rid of their accidental hostages…


Thin Ice is the fifth book from Quentin Bates featuring Icelandic police officer Gunnhildur – it is a series that I am new to and I can confirm that Thin Ice is easily accessible as a stand alone story. I can also confirm that I will be dipping back into the coffers to pick up the books I have missed as Thin Ice was great fun to read.

Although this is a Gunnhildur story the main focus of the first 2/3rds of the book are the crooks!  Ossur and Magni have robbed a drug dealer of thousands of Euro’s and are on the run. Unfortunately their driver failed to turn up to whisk them off to safety and they have had to improvise. A mother and daughter out on a shopping trip find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The robbers escalate their crime spree to include a double abduction and the four head off into the Icelandic wilds looking for a safe haven.

The interaction of the robbers and their unwilling companions is wonderfully entertaining to read. A small cast thrown together in a remote location and trying to keep one step ahead of the authorities (well Ossur and Magni are) made for an unusual scenario which Quentin Bates pitched perfectly.

As the book progresses the police come into the story more. We follow their investigations and see how they start to narrow down their search for the missing women. There are some unexpected twists along the way too which took Thin Ice in directions I had not anticipated, a sensation I never tire of.

A highly enjoyable story, the snowy Icelandic chill seemed to creep off the pages and when the story drew to a close I was disappointed it was over.

Thin Ice Blog Tour


Thin Ice is published by Constable and is available in paperback and digital formats.  You can order a copy here:

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March 23

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows – Marnie Riches

The Girl Who Walked in the ShadowsEurope is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and at the mercy of a killer, who leaves no trace. His weapons of choice are razor-sharp icicles. This is Jack Frost.

Now a fully qualified criminologist, Georgina McKenzie is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. Are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer? Could there be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen – two abducted toddlers he could never quite give up on?

The hunt for Jack Frost sparks a dangerous, heart-rending journey through the toughest neighbourhoods in Europe, where refugees and Roma gypsies scratch a living on the edge of society. Walking into the dark, violent world of a trans-national trafficking ring, can George outrun death to shed light on two terrible mysteries?


My thanks to the team at Avon for my review copy which I received through Netgalley.


George McKenzie is back in The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows, the third book in The Girl Who series by Marnie Riches and I have been waiting patiently (honest) for the chance to read this one.

Housekeeping first…it is entirely possible to read and enjoy The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows as a stand alone book.  There are links to the previous titles (The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die and The Girl Who Broke The Rules) and there may be some small spoilers for new readers who go back to read the earlier titles after reading Shadows. However, new readers will not be disadvantaged as the author ensures recurring characters or past events are reintroduced during the narrative.

Right let’s get down to it…The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows is an intensely dark read. Brutal murders, child abduction and powerful criminal gangs all make for a wonderfully gritty reading experience. George and her partner, Amsterdam cop Paul van den Bergen, seem to be facing their biggest challenge yet.

Their attempts to track down a serial killer who leaves no forensic evidence at the crime scenes are failing at every turn. Van den Bergen’s bosses are demanding results yet there are no tangible leads for the police to follow.  Van den Bergen is also haunted by his inability to make any progress with investigations into a double kidnapping of two young children – the children’s mother (a PR expert) has ensured the abduction has been all over the media – and the pressure is on van den Bergen to trace the missing toddlers. Could George’s studies into child abuse and connections to travellers yield any clues?

In addition to the pressures of these cases is the combustible nature of van den Bergen’s relationship with George. The two are seemingly determined to push each other away on a regular basis, however, they will have to overcome the problems of the tempestuous nature of their relationship to form an effective investigative team.

The story is nicely split between England and Amsterdam again and I enjoyed that the supporting cast (George’s family and van den Bergen’s team) got very prominent roles to play. The narrative jumps timelines and we switch between George, van den Bergen, the killer and other key players as the story demands. Normally I don’t fare well when books switch time periods (as I am a skim reader) but I didn’t have any issues in keeping track of events within Shadows. I actually really enjoyed how some events were teased, the author had revealed the outcome/aftermath of a situation, but left the reader wondering what had transpired to reach that point.

Marnie Riches is tackling some deeply emotive issues in this book and there are some nasty and unexpected twists along the way. I loved how the various plot threads started to come together as I reached the final third of the story and I think I practically inhaled the finale which left me crying out for more.

Dark, brutal and brilliant. The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows is exactly the kind of story that I love to read. Marnie Riches has crafted a series which I cannot recommend enough. A review score of 5/5 was guaranteed when I put down the book and realised that I had been holding my breath as I read the last pages.


The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows is released on 31 March 2016.  You can order a copy here:



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March 17

In Extremis – A Hellbound Novella – David McCaffrey

In Extremis 21888. Whitechapel. Think you know the story? You don’t know Jack…

James Maybrick had secured his legacy as the most infamous serial killer of all time…his diary would one day shock the world.

Thomas Quinn wants revenge…his actions will give birth to an organisation of unspeakable power.

Together, they unwittingly set in motion a plan that will one day lead to the serial killer, Obadiah Stark.

Stark became The Tally Man.

They were The Brethren.

Maybrick is known to history by another name…


A novella and companion volume to the fantastic Hellbound – a book which has heavily influenced many of the features I have run on this blog. Previously only available in digital format I am delighted to see a paperback version has now also been released, hopefully ensuring that the book will now reach an even wider audience.

In Extremis is chronologically a prequel to Hellbound, however, I would recommend reading Hellbound first. There are no actual spoilers in In Extremis but I enjoyed learning about the sinister Brethren through the sneaky reveals in Hellbound.

We find that The Brethren are very much in their infancy when we read In Extremis yet they are already using their influence to meddle in dangerous affairs. As you will be able to establish from the book description (above) the story is going to feature the most famous of serial killers – I am sure all crime readers know the significance of Whitechapel in the late 19th Century!

In the Afterword the author explains that the journal of James Maybrick came to light in the early 1990’s. David McCaffrey has taken the information contained within the journals and spun a wonderfully engaging story around Maybrick’s life, linking him to the Ripper murders and also suggesting that The Brethren may have played no small part in Jack’s appearance in London at that time.

I always feel that any book tackling Jack the Ripper needs to ensure it captures the right feel of the time. McCaffrey certainly achieved this, the language and the character dialogue had the right touches of the Victorian era and the locations (from narrow, dark Whitechapel streets to grand aristocratic houses) all rang true. It was easy to lose myself in the story.

I don’t read novellas or short stories as a rule but I made an exception for In Extremis, I very much enjoy David McCaffrey’s writing. I love the Ripper stories. And I find I still want to know more about The Brethren (David – that last one’s for you…more Brethren please).

Taking on a story about the most famous of villains is no small task – David McCaffrey has handled it superbly and presents another interesting angle on the legacy of Jack The Ripper.


In Extremis is available digitally and in paperback format and you can order a copy here:

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March 16

Cold Moon – Alexandra Sokoloff

Cold Moon 2The hunt for mass murderer Cara Lindstrom is over. FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke has been working for this moment: the capture of a killer who savagely hunts the worst of humanity. But Roarke remains traumatized by his own near-death at the hands of the serial killer who slaughtered Cara’s family…and haunted by the enigmatic woman who saved his life.

Then the sixteen-year-old prostitute who witnessed Cara’s most recent murder goes missing, and suddenly pimps are turning up dead on the streets of San Francisco, killed with an MO eerily similar to Cara’s handiwork.

Is a new killer on the loose with a mission even more deadly than hers? In the pulse-pounding third Huntress/FBI Thrillers book, Roarke will have to go on the hunt…and every woman he meets, even those closest to him, may prove deadly.


My thanks to Thomas & Mercer for my review copy which I received through Netgalley

Cold Moon – the third volume in the brilliant Huntress/FBI thrillers series and there are problems ahead for Agent Matthew Roarke. At the end of the previous story (Blood Moon) serial killer Cara Lindstrom had been captured by the authorities. Cold Moon opens with Cara in prison and Roarke increasingly obsessed with the enigma that she represents.

While Cara is in prison the reader gets to observe the adverse impact that incarceration is having upon her. She does not react well to being placed in a cage and soon finds that she is attracting unwelcome attention. It becomes clear that Cara is going to have to take action if she wants to be left alone.

I mentioned problems for Roarke.  While Cara is in prison there a murder is committed which shows all the hallmarks of being one of Cara’s kills, however, if she is locked up then how could she possibly have killed someone on the outside?  Does this mean the FBI have apprehended the wrong woman or is there a copycat (or a protégé) continuing Cara’s mission?

With a focussed Social Media campaign championing Cara’s case and trumpeting the ‘good’ work of The Lady Death, Roarke and his team have their hands full managing public expectations. Yet they also face the problem of tracking down the new killer who appears intent on taking out the pimps who are making lives of so many working girls a perpetual misery.

I particularly enjoyed how Alexandra Sokoloff developed the broad cast of characters in Cold Moon, especially Roarke’s team at the FBI who are given much more prominence in this book (with Cara being less in the limelight). We see how Roarke’s obsession with Cara is creating divisions and concern within his team and how they are trying to drive the investigations forward without his full awareness.

Cold Moon tackles the subject of morality and challenges the reader to consider the justification of killing to avenge a multitude of ‘wrongs’.  Alexandra Sokoloff balances these issues within a compelling story and kept me engrossed. The Huntress series is going from strength to strength and I cannot wait for the next instalment.


Cold Moon is published by Thomas & Mercer and can be ordered here:

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March 16

Ordeal – Jorn Lier Horst

OrdealFrank Mandt died after a fall down his basement steps, the same basement that holds a locked safe bolted to the floor. His granddaughter, Sofie Lund, inherits the house but wants nothing to do with his money. She believes the old man let her mother die in jail and is bitterly resentful.

Line Wisting’s journalist instinct leads her into friendship with Sofie, and is with her when the safe is opened. What they discover unlocks another case and leads Chief Inspector William Wisting on a trail of murder and narcotics to an ordeal that will eventually separate the innocent from the damned.


Thanks to Keara at Sandstone Press for my review copy

My introduction to  the books of Jorn Lier Horst and his protagonist, Chief Inspector William Wisting, was made so much easier by the GENIUS inclusion of a 2 page summary of the character and the key players in his life. Can we start a campaign to have this approach adopted in all books where we have recurring characters?  So handy for new readers and likely to be something of a Godsend for forgetful readers (and I include myself in this category).

On reading Jorn Lier Horst’s author biography I learned that he was a former policeman who rose to a head of Investigations role – this explains why Ordeal is one of the best police procedurals I have ever read. Horst has spun an absorbing story around a very methodical and thorough police investigation.  William Wisting is one of the most believable characters I have encountered and Horst pulls us through the story with what appears to be effortless ease. Page after page was turned long into the night as I found I just wanted to keep reading.

Wistling has been investigating the disappearance of Jens Hummel but progress has been slow and after 6 months there have been no sightings of the missing man and no tangible clues as to where he may have gone. Pressure is being applied by the police hierarchy who are unhappy with the lack of progress. Yet at the start of Ordeal a random comment overheard in a bar may just provide Wisting with his first real lead.

Meanwhile Wisting’s daughter (Line Wisting) is into the last few weeks of her pregnancy and has moved back into her hometown, leaving her promising journalistic career behind, and is preparing for the arrival of her baby. She has moved into a new home, the former resident having passed away, and is redecorating and renovating – with a little help from her father. Line encounters an old school friend who has also moved home – a single mum who has also moved into a home where the former occupant passed away.  However, Line’s friend (Sophie) has moved into her grandfather’s house, her inheritance following the old man’s death.

Sophie knows her grandfather died after falling down the stairs into the cellar – she is not comfortable spending any time in this part of the house. However, in the cellar is a large safe which has been securely bolted to the floor. The safe forms part of Sophie’s inheritance but nobody can find the key.  As the safe was too large to remove it has remained in the house (untouched) for Sophie to deal with…should she choose to do so.  With some encouragement from Line, Sophie decides to have a locksmith open the safe – the contents come as something of a shock to the two women and will soon have Wisting becoming involved as there is ‘overlap’ with his missing person investigation.

I am reluctant to share too much more detail about Ordeal as it really is a book that I would encourage you to read for yourself. Beautifully told, engaging and a damn fine crime story which does not need to resort to extreme over-the-top action sequences to keep the reader’s attention.

Before I had even finished Ordeal I had already nipped online to find out if there were any other books available in the series – there were (and purchases took place). Anticipation is already running high for my next journey into the world of Chief Inspector Wisting.


Ordeal was translated into English by Anne Bruce – she has done a phenomenal job, this story just flows with beautiful imagery and is one of the most readable novels I have read for some time. Horst’s ability to paint a world into my imagination made reading Ordeal an absolute joy.

Ordeal Blog Tour twitter [183486]



Ordeal is published on 17 March by Standstone Press and can be ordered here:

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