November 4

Shadows – Paul Finch

As a female cop walking the mean streets of Manchester, life can be tough for PC Lucy Clayburn. But when one of the North West’s toughest gangsters is your father, things can be particularly difficult.

When Lucy’s patch is gripped by a spate of murder-robberies, the police are quick to action. Yet when it transpires that the targets are Manchester’s criminal underworld, attitudes change.

Lucy is soon faced with one of the toughest cases of her life – and one which will prove once and for all whether blood really is thicker than water…


My thanks to Sabah at Avon for my review copy and the chance to join the tour


A new Paul Finch book is always met with much excitement at Grab This Book so when Shadows hit my Kindle I could not wait to start reading.

Lucy Clayburn returns for a second outing following her debut in Strangers. Having read Strangers will help you better understand  a couple of the conversations in Shadows, however, Shadows can definitely be read as a stand alone novel. Both are great reads so you are not going to be unhappy whichever reading option you opt for!

Lucy had a terrible start to her police career and has been working hard to restore her credibility and prove her value to the department.  Events in Strangers has significantly helped and her stock is rising but now an old acquaintance is looking for help as one of his friends has been caught in possession of narcotics – if Lucy can have a lesser charge pursued he can provide information on a violent armed robber.

The possibility of catching a serial offender gives Lucy the opportunity to join the high profile team that work on capturing armed robbers.  She embraces the opportunity and tries to ensure she shines through careful planning and preparation. It is great to see Lucy getting the chance to step-up and her enthusiasm and determination make her an engaging a likeable character.

Away from Lucy’s case the reader gets to see what the “bad guys” are up to.  Established (and high profile) criminals are being attacked in places they believe to be safe.  It looks like there are new players in town and they are intent on disrupting the old guard and taking out the competition.  Their mission is deadly and the story takes a dark turn when they met out their unpleasant lessons and establish their authority. It makes for gripping story telling and I got completely caught up in events.

I have yet to read a Paul Finch book that I have not enjoyed – Shadows is another great read and I highly recommend it.

Shadows is published by Avon and can be ordered in paperback or digital format here:


Category: Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Shadows – Paul Finch
February 6

Corpus – Rory Clements

Corpus 2 1936.
Europe is in turmoil.
The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland.
In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror.
Spain has erupted in civil war.

In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.

In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division. Dons and students must choose a side: right or left, where do you stand?

When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe – and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson…


My thanks to Emily at Zaffre for my review copy

Historical fiction is always a tricky balance – can the author capture the time and setting? Are the events covered so well known that building a new story around famous characters seems implausible? Does the author challenge your perception or understanding of an historical event?  Having read Corpus I can report that Rory Clements does a fantastic job at ticking all those boxes.

It is 1936 and the Nazi party are on the rise in Europe, there are powerful men in prominent positions in England that are keeping their support of Mr Hitler very quiet. There are also a significant number of communist party members to be found in London and Cambridge so political tensions run high. All this is not helped by the pressure on the King who is involved with an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.

In the midst of all these forces is American History Professor Thomas Wilde. He provides a detached overview of the political manoeuvring and his approach to analyse and challenge events makes him a great lead character. Wilde is well respected but does not seem to fit in with the traditionalists around his college. He will provide guidance to a Times journalist (who may working for more than one master) who wants to consult Wilde on the brutal murder of a member of the aristocracy as there are political ramifications which need explored.

Corpus is a political thriller, there is a murderer running around too and there is a good dose of action adventure happening here too.  As I indicated above, Rory Clements does a brilliant job in setting the scene and keeping the fictional events relevant to the established historical facts that he is weaving his story around. There are some very unlikeable characters, yet Wilde is a joy to follow and reading this story was something of a treat.

Fans of Fatherland, cold war thrillers and political dramas – this is very much one for you.


Corpus is published by Zaffre and is available now in hardback and digital format.  Order a copy here:



Follow the tour:

Corpus_Blog Tour Banner

Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Corpus – Rory Clements
October 24

For Reasons Unknown – Michael Wood

For Reasons UnknownTwo murders. Twenty years. Now the killer is back for more…

A darkly compelling debut crime novel. The start of a brilliant series, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, and James Oswald.

DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.

Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda’s case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more…


Thanks to the Killer Reads team for my review copy which I received through Netgalley


The first very pleasing thing I can say about For Reasons Unknown is that it will be the first in a series of novels which will feature DCI Matilda Darke. I find this pleasing as I really enjoyed For Reasons Unknown and am already looking forward to more from Michael Wood. 

We first encounter DCI Matilda Darke as she prepares to make her return to work after a prolonged absence, while we are not immediately made aware of the reasons for this absence the background is nicely teased out through the story.  Matilda has been through the wringer and you cannot help but empathise with her struggle.  

To ease her back into work she is assigned a cold case to work – one of Sheffield’s most notorious murders which occurred some 20 years earlier. Matilda is frustrated by being sidelined on her return, particularly as her former colleague (Ben Hales) has stepped up into her role and is not too keen on stepping back down again. I really enjoyed the workplace politics within For Reasons Unknown, it gave extra depth to the investigating team and watching two principle investigators, Matilda and Ben, battle it out for supremacy made for some excellent reading. 

Matilda’s cold case investigation concerns a brutal double murder, a husband and wife were killed in the family home as they prepared to go out for an evening. They had two sons, one was found in the family home traumatised and unable to talk after the incident, the other son went missing for days after the incident and is seemingly unable to provide clarification as to where he had been.   

Jumping forward to present day we learn the ‘murder house’ is due to be torn down and naturally it has brought the unsolved double murder back into the public attention. But when a murder in the city seems to link into Matilda’s cold case doubts arise as to whether either Matilda or Ben are capable of putting their personal issues to one side to investigate their respective cases.

For Reasons Unknown is a great read with some nice twists along the way. One of those books that I finish and immediately want to pick up the next title by the same author. So Mr Wood, it is over to you – more please!


For Reasons Unknown is available now in digital format.

Michael Wood is on Twitter: MichaelHWood




Category: From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on For Reasons Unknown – Michael Wood