January 9

World War Hulk – Greg Pak

world-war-hulkAn epic story of anger unbound! Exiled by a group of Marvel “heroes” to the savage alien planet of Sakaar, the Hulk raged, bled and conquered through the pages of last year’s “Planet Hulk” epic, rising from slave to gladiator to king. Now the Hulk returns to Earth to wreak his terrible vengeance on Iron Man, Reed Richards, Dr. Strange and Black Bolt ? and anyone else who gets in the way. Stronger than ever, accompanied by his monstrous Warbound gladiator allies, and possessed by the fiercest and purest rage imaginable, the Hulk may just tear this stupid planet in half. Collects World War Hulk (2007) #1-5.



Hulk stories are hit or miss for me. I love the earth-bound stuff but stick him in space and I am less of a fan.

World War Hulk is an Earth story so I came at it with high hopes and it does deliver, unfortunately it was just a bit too “Hulk Smash” and quite story-lite. There is a need for all the fighting as Hulk is returning to Earth to seek revenge on Reed Richards, Iron Man, Black Bolt and Doctor Strange – they banished him to space for the safety of people on Earth.

What they could not have known is where Hulk may end up, the battles he would face and the loss that he would suffer. Hulk has never been more angry and he will let no hero stand in the way of his rage.

The high battle count in this 5 part adventure means much of the artwork depicts fight scenes and battered and bloody heroes, split over 5 months this may have been easier reading – as a single volume it needed more story to break up the punching.

A high profile EVENT in the Marvel universe but not on the scale of Secret Invasion or Civil War. Hulk Fans will love it but casual readers will find it a bit more tricky to embrace.



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January 9

The Girl Before – JP Delaney

the-girl-beforeEnter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price?

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.


My thanks to Quercus for my review copy which was received through Netgalley

At the tail end of last year I did a preview of The Girl Before as I had been given the opportunity to read a sample of the opening chapters. I was really excited by how the book opened, it had developed a sinister twin timeline narrative, two characters were introduced both keen to rent the same property and both very similar in nature and appearance.

The property in question was One Folgate Street.  An unique house designed by an award winning minimalist architect who placed many stipulations and caveats on the property rental agreement which made the house very hard for prospective tenants to display their suitability. Jane is keen to take on the lease and bends over backwards to meet the rental caveats but once she moves into the property she learns that the house has a dark history and that her suitability may not just have depended upon the answers she provided on the pre-rental agreement questionnaire.

As I indicated above, this book had a cracking opening and a fabulous premise but I found that half-way through the story it lost me a tad. Events took a turn away from sinister and embraced an unexpected “50 Shades” feel. By the time I reached the end of the book I was able to appreciate why it all got a bit hot and heavy in places but it didn’t sit comfortably with me at the time.

The mystery of One Folgate Street was enough to keep me reading and I was quite pleased with the endgame (and a couple of the surprises which JP Delaney worked in to the final third of the story). Having seen mixed reactions from other readers over the last few days I suspect that this will be a story which you will either fully embrace or one which will leave you slightly underwhelmed. It is being turned into a motion picture with uber director Ron Howard taking control so you can expect to hear a good bit about The Girl Before in the coming months.

I am glad I had the chance to read it before I heard any spoilers and I think it has enough of a thrill factor to do well…but not for me this one.


The Girl Before releases on 26 January in hardback and digital format. It is published by Quercus Books.  You can pre-order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Before-JP-Delaney/dp/1786480298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483919870&sr=8-1&keywords=The+girl+before


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January 7

Deep Down Dead – Steph Broadribb

deep-down-deadLori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong.

The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past. Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.


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


There has been a real buzz of anticipation around Deep Down Dead. Early reviews were glowing and a glance at the back cover of the book lets us see over 2 dozen authors singing the praises of Steph Broadribb and her debut thriller.

I now know why – it is an absolute corker of a read.

Perfectly paced. Edgy. Tense and with a lead character you will want to root for. Deep Down Dead delivers the thrills and keeps you reading, it will grip you as it has that elusive “one more chapter” magic.

Deep Down Dead introduces Lori Anderson.  She is a bounty hunter working out of Florida. She is also mother to 9 year old Dakota who is recovering from serious illness and has accrued some sizeable medical bills for her mother to contend with.

Lori needs work but the only bounty available is going to be challenging – if she accepts the job then she needs to bring in a fugitive called JT (the man that trained her). Lori is successful as she has followed the lessons that JT taught her, but it is a shock to her to learn that he has broken his own personal code and fallen foul of the law. Can she outfox her tutor, track him down and bring him to the police?  If she does then she needs to do it with Dakota in tow as her baby-sitter has just left town. Taking a child to track down a fugitive should be a no-no but Lori knows JT of old and knows that he would never harm her daughter. Would he?

Lori’s trip to recover JT is going to be fraught with danger. She will need to be at her kick-ass best to keep one step ahead of the enemy that she doesn’t even know is looking for her. But Lori is smart, feisty and packs a taser which will drop anyone in their tracks…you just know it is going to get messy.

Deep Down Dead was practically inhaled once I started reading. I usually juggle 3 or 4 books at once but when I began to read this nothing else got a look-in until I had finished. Utterly captivated. Nice work Steph, I am ready for more from Lori when you get a chance…


Deep Down Dead is published by Orenda Books and is available in paperback and digital format now.  You can order copies by clicking here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deep-Down-Dead-Lori-Anderson/dp/1910633550/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483750394&sr=8-1&keywords=deep+down+dead

Follow the blog tour:


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January 3

The Blood Card – Elly Griffiths

the-blood-cardElizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are for Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case.

Edgar’s ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone silences him first. It’s Edgar’s colleague, DS Emma Holmes, who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards . . .


My thanks to Quercus Books for my review copy, received through Netgalley.

A third outing for DI Edgar Stephens and his friend, magician, Max Mephisto and I am delighted to see them back. Previous books have been centred around Brighton where Stephens is based, however, The Blood Card gives our heroes a much bigger playground with much of the action taking place in London and even across the Atlantic in America.

Stephens is investigating the death of a fortune teller but both he Mephisto are summoned to London to meet with the army top brass and guided to investigate the murder of their wartime commander. The investigation will take Stephens on an American adventure where his life will be in jeopardy, even if he is not aware of the danger he faces.

Back home Max Mephisto is facing a new challenge of his own…television! A live broadcast of a cabaret show is planned for the evening of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. Max will be one of the star acts (if he can be persuaded to make the leap from the stage to the small screen) but he will not have considered the possibility of a second magician also being on the bill.

With Stephens and Mephisto distracted it falls to DS Emma Holmes to lead the investigation into the murder of the fortune teller. With the gift of “second sight” a family trait amongst the victim’s family there are several concerned parties keen to offer Emma advice on how her life may be on the wrong path but can she believe her future lies in the cards?

I thoroughly enjoy the Stephens and Mephisto stories. Elly Griffiths captures the feeling of post war life so perfectly in her writing and the slower, more traditional way of life is always a welcome and refreshing change of pace from the modern “gritty” stories I seem to read so often.

With Edgar, Max, Emma and Ruby given much more time to shine individually I really felt that I got to know the characters in more detail in The Blood Card. For a reader that enjoys an ongoing series it is a delight to see the cast growing and being shaped with each new book.

The Blood Card kept me entertained through a couple of dark winter evenings, perfect reading for when I had a bit of quiet time to relax and unwind.


The Blood Card is published by Quercus Books and is available in Hardback and digital formats now. Click here to order a copy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Card-Stephens-Mephisto-Mystery/dp/1784296686/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483383958&sr=8-1&keywords=the+blood+card


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