6 Ripley Avenue by Noelle Holten

ONE HOUSE
EIGHT KILLERS
NO WITNESSES

Jeanette is the manager of a probation hostel that houses high risk offenders released on license.

At 3am one morning, she receives a call telling her a resident has been murdered.

Her whole team, along with the eight convicted murderers, are now all suspects in a crime no one saw committed…

Don’t miss the first nerve-shredding standalone thriller from Noelle Holten, author of the Maggie Jamieson

I’m a big fan of the DC Maggie Jamieson series by Noelle Holten but I’ve always got a soft spot for stand-alone thrillers and so I think 6 Ripley Avenue is actually her best book so far! It has a confidence that radiates out of the written page, delivering a gripping storyline that felt authentic and faithful to the process that we put our trust in-the rehabilitation into society of criminals deemed to have served their time. The life of a probation officer is not for many but Noelle carried out the job for 18 years before she followed her heart into the world of books and publishing, as it really shows in her finished book. The attention to detail in 6 Ripley Avenue means that you’re able to trust in the process and put your own detecting skills to the test!

There are multiple points of view throughout and the short chapters help to keep the tension high as we swap between them. The most chilling narrative is that of the killer, who’s identity is closely guarded till the very end and even then we are treated to a few more shocking twists! I really liked the investigative journalist Sloan who was determined to work out who killed Danny Wells whilst he was living in a probation hostel. Who hated him enough to murder him in such a vicious way right under the noses of those in positions of authority? Sloane has her own demons to deal with but that spurs her on even more, especially when the killer sets their sight on preventing her from solving the case.

I loved 6 Ripley Avenue from start to finish. It was a gripping, well paced read that provided a thought provoking locked room mystery in an intriguing setting! Highly recommended!

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog.

Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Sweet Dreams by Anders Roslund

Two little girls go missing on the same day in Stockholm. Their disappearances are never explained. In time, the investigations are abandoned.

A chance discovery puts Detective Ewert Grens back on the trail five years later. His own personal trauma makes him determined to find out what happened to these children who were snatched from a supermarket and a car park and never seen again.

His search leads him into the recesses of the dark web and the discovery of a paedophile ring that can only be cracked from the inside. Grens is forced to call upon his retired partner, Piet Hoffman, the best undercover operative he knows, to try to infiltrate the group.

They will have only one chance – but are they up to the darkest challenge of their lives?

I do love me some Scandi-Noir and this is a favourite series of mine. Whilst I really enjoyed the overall storyline I do have to say that it goes beyond dark and disturbing and I actually did have to stop reading it a few times. You are warned about the fact it is going to be a tough read on the first page and I do have quite a strong stomach normally but when it comes to children I do have a lower tolerance level for disturbing content. Ewert Grens is a brilliant character-not fitting into the role carved out for him comfortably but filling the pages with his determination to solve a heinous crime. It’s a brutally chilling read but perfectly executed.

Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström are the authors of 5 bestselling books in Sweden. Roslund is a professional journalist and creator of Sweden’s number one cultural TV program Kulterkanna. Börge Hellström is an ex-criminal who founded a criminal rehabilitation program in Sweden.

The Bleeding by Johana Gustawsson

Queen of French Noir, Johana Gustawsson returns with a spell-binding, dazzlingly dark gothic thriller that swings from Belle Époque France to 21st-century Quebec, with an extraordinary mystery at its heart… FIRST in a bewitching new series

‘Intriguingly dark and vivid, and so cleverly told through three different time frames’ Essie Fox

‘A wonderfully dark, intricately woven historical thriller spanning three generations … it will have you hooked from the very first page’ B A Paris

‘This novel is a whirlpool that draws you irresistibly into levels of darkness so much deeper than you can possibly be ready for’ Chris Brookmyre

________________________________

Three women
Three eras
One extraordinary mystery…

1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.

1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.

2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.

Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…

I have always loved Johana’s books (her Roy and Castells series is absolutely brilliant and well worth a read if you haven’t already discovered it) and so The Bleeding was one of my most anticipated books of the year especially after reading a sampler at this years Harrogate Crime Writers Festival. But nothing could have prepared me for how much The Bleeding would become a complete obsession whilst I was reading it-nothing got done around me as I lost a whole afternoon immersed in the lives of three incredibly fascinating women…

Anyone who’s read this authors books before knows how she writes dark and cleverly complex storylines that, although taking part in different times in history, ultimately come together to form a perfectly complete puzzle. It’s never obvious how these stories are connected (well, not for me anyway and I’m usually very good at spotting and connecting the clues!) until the delivery of a shocking denouement but The Bleeding took this to such an extreme that it absolutely blew me away! Honestly, I spent the last few pages of this book with my mouth wide open in shock at how I had completely overlooked what the trail of breadcrumbs had been leading up to! I was overwhelmed, I was emotional and I knew that what I had just finished was now THE BEST BOOK I’VE READ THIS YEAR!!!!

Honestly, I don’t even want to tell you anymore about the plot as I would hate to spoil it for any future readers (and please believe me when I say that you NEED to read this book!) but I will say that you will meet unforgettable characters in The Bleeding, some you will love and some you will hate, but you will understand every single one of them. And this is because Johana manages to cleverly craft their emotional intelligence with such confidence that we become engaged very quickly in their lives. I related to these women and the darkness that surrounded them in a way I really wasn’t expecting as the author wove her tapestry of the tragedy of sisterhood and the devastation of motherhood that makes The Bleeding a must read.

It was only whilst writing up this review that I realised that The Bleeding is the first in a new series for Johana Gustawsson and this made me very happy indeed! The Bleeding is a compelling idea beautifully crafted and written with a depth of understanding that will take your breath away. Simply perfect in every single way…

The Bleeding by Johana Gustawsson was published by Orenda on 15th September 2022. My thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour. For other reviews and opinions please follow the other bloggers on the tour.

Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series, including Block 46, Keeper and Blood Song, has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. The Bleeding – a number one bestseller in France and the first in a new series – will be published in 2022. Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons.
Follow Johana on Twitter @JoGustawsson

David Warner translates from French and nurtures a healthy passion for Franco, Nordic and British crime fiction. Growing up in deepest Yorkshire, he developed incurable Francophilia at an early age. Emerging from Oxford with a Modern Languages degree he narrowly escaped the graduate rat race by hopping on a plane to Canada – and never looked back. More than a decade into a high-powered commercial translation career, he listened to his heart and turned his hand to the delicate art of literary translation. David has lived in France and Quebec, and now calls beautiful British Columbia home.
Follow David on Twitter @givemeawave and on his website wtranslation.ca

Before I Do by Sophie Cousens

What would you do if the one that got away turned up the night before your wedding?

Audrey is marrying Josh; steady, dependable Josh, the love of her life. They share a flat and a bank account, and it’s the only relationship that Audrey’s ever had that feels like something she can put her trust in. But romance should be full of fireworks, and as the big day approaches, Audrey’s found herself wondering if Josh really is ‘the one’.

So, when Josh’s sister Miranda arrives at their rehearsal dinner with Fred – Audrey’s ‘What If?’ guy, the man she met six years ago and had one amazing day with but never saw again – Audrey can’t help but see it as a sign.

Surely Fred’s appearance the night before Audrey is due to get married can’t be a coincidence. And when everything that could go wrong with the wedding starts to go wrong, Audrey has to wonder: could fate be trying to stop her from making a huge mistake?

The arrival of a new Sophie Cousens book is always a delight as I enjoy her thoroughly entertaining and stylish romantic comedies with an edge! Before I Do has a fabulous premise- what would you do if an old flame, one that you have never forgotten, turns up the night before your wedding? This is the problem facing Audrey when, on the eve of her marriage to fiancé Josh, she comes face to face with Fred-the ONE who broke her heart. She has never forgotten him-mainly due to how they met and then “parted” as they certainly didn’t get any closure and she has always wondered “what if?”…

I love a book with flashbacks as they always seem to reveal far more about the characters and why they react the way they do in the present moment. Audrey has been affected more than expected by her mothers love life and their experiences have obviously been taken onboard by Audrey more than she realises. We also have flashbacks to how Audrey meets both Fred and Josh plus some rather unexpected flash forwards! But the wider scale of this storyline meant that every character developed at different rates according to how important they were at that particular moment. I did love Audrey even if sometimes her actions weren’t those I would have expected but I understood why!

Before I Do is an engaging and fun read that grabbed me from the very first page. Full of interesting and relatable characters and some incredibly funny and awkward moments-it’s how all weddings should be! I loved it!

Sophie Cousens started her career in television, where she produced, among other things, The Graham Norton Show, Big Brother, Ant and Dec and Russell Howard’s Good News. Working in TV taught her three things;

1 – Wearing a lanyard makes you look as though you know what you are doing.

2 -The best phrase you can contribute in meetings is “let’s action that!”If you say it often enough, hopefully someone else will do your work for you.

3 – If in doubt, find someone wearing a lanyard – they’ll know what to do.

Sophie currently lives in Jersey where she now writes full time. She lives with her husband Tim and has two small children who keep her occupied with important questions such as ‘but did Cinderella have a toothbrush?’ and ‘do giraffe’s know they have really long necks?’ She yearns for a time when she will be able to add a miniature dachshund to the party.

The Perfect Neighborhood by Liz Alterman

Think you know your neighbors? Think again.

When actress Allison Langley leaves her former rockstar husband in the middle of the night, her sudden departure becomes the talk of upmarket Oak Hill. But the relentless gossip comes to an abrupt halt when five-year-old Billy Barnes disappears on his walk home from kindergarten. Is there a predator lurking in the leafy suburb? Weeks later, three-year-old Amy-Pat Davies vanishes from her backyard. In addition to sharing a zip code, the missing children have another thing in common – their babysitter, Cassidy McLean, who has a secret of her own.

This book is perfect for fans of Big Little Lies as I got the same vibe when I picked it up and started reading it-a neighbourhood full of secrets and lies where everybody has something to hide! The golden couple of the street and at the centre of all the gossip and jealousy are actress Allison and her musician husband Chris. But when Allison disappears the gossip intensifies only to stop when another disappearance takes centre stage. Five year old Billy is walking home from kindergarten but never arrives. His mother Rachel blames herself for being a working parent but he has a babysitter so where was she when he vanished off the streets? The storyline is told in multiple points of view, which can be confusing at the start but as the characters build their own voices, we start to see a very different neighbourhood from the one the residents would like us to!

After a slow start this slice of American suburbia delivered a gripping storyline that held onto its secrets till the very end-and what a shocking revelation it was! I found myself drawn to the characters lives like a fly on the wall, watching their true selfs interact because it’s true-you never know what goes on behind closed doors! But because the characters are so intriguing due to their many flaws and because you are constantly second guessing yourself, this psychological thriller about the disappearance of two small children develops into something much darker and more interesting.

The Perfect Neighborhood is a well written and suspenseful thriller that ticked all the right boxes for me meaning that Liz Alterman is an author I will definitely keep an eye out for in the future.

Liz Alterman’s work can be found in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Parents, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and other publications. She is the author of a young adult novel, He’ll Be Waiting, a memoir, Sad Sacked, and a domestic suspense novel, The Perfect Neighborhood. Liz lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons. When she isn’t writing, Liz spends most days reading, microwaving the same cup of coffee, and looking up synonyms.

The Blame Game by Sandie Jones

I’m thrilled to be opening up the blog tour today for The Blame Game by Sandie Jones. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Tracy Fenton for asking me to take part in the tour.

There are two sides to every story.

He came to me for help with his marriage.

I was alone and afraid. She was there when I needed to talk.

I needed to make him understand that he had to get away.

I knew what I needed to do. I just couldn’t do it on my own. I trusted her.

Now it has gone too far. And I can’t tell anyone what I have done.

Now I have nowhere to turn and I just pray they find me before she does.

And then there’s the truth.

The Blame Game is a dark, entertaining and suspenseful thriller from Sandie Jones, the author of The Other Woman and The Guilt Trip.

I have always loved Sandie Jones books but this one has to be her best one so far!! I flew through it in an afternoon and it has the honour of being one of the only books this year that really did surprise me! I was genuinely shocked by the twists and turns in this one and loved it so much I’ve chosen it as one of my books for Tracy Talks To-a must buy for September! So make sure you tune in when the date is announced to see me rave some more about this amazing book!

The Blame Game is published on 1st September 2022.

Sandie Jones has been a freelance journalist for over 20 years, interviewing celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Isla Fisher, Simon Cowell and Naomie Harris.

Her debut novel, The Other Woman, is a psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between a woman and her partner’s mother.

If Sandie wasn’t an author she’d be an interior designer as she has an unhealthy obsession with wallpaper and cushions!

She lives in London, England, with her husband and three children.

Under The Marsh by G.R. Halliday

SHE NEVER CONFESSED. NOW SHE’S READY TO TALK.

Twelve years ago DI Monica Kennedy caught the notorious serial killer Pauline Tosh, imprisoning her for life.

When Pauline asks Monica to visit her at the remote Highlands Carselang prison, the detective thinks she’s playing games.

But then Pauline hands her a hand-drawn map with a cross marking the desolate marsh lands near Inverness and Monica can’t ignore it – she was always convinced there were more victims out there.

And when a body is discovered it looks like they’ve found a new name from Pauline’s kill list.

But things are never that simple…

An atmospheric thriller set in the Scottish Highlands, perfect for fans of James Oswald, Ann Cleeves and Val McDermid.

I can’t believe that I’ve never discovered this series before! As a fan of strong women characters, crime thrillers and books set in Scotland, Under The Marsh ticks a lot of boxes for me so I’m surprised it managed to slip under my radar! But now I have to say that this book is so good that I immediately ordered the first two books in the series as soon as I finished this one as I think I’ve discovered my new favourite series! Under The Marsh is dark, shocking and utterly compelling and I found myself completely wrapped up in the atmospheric mystery that grabbed me from the very first chapter.

When serial killer Pauline Tosh asks DI Monica Kennedy to visit her in prison, Monica goes out of curiosity as she’s convinced they didn’t find all of Pauline’s victims. So when Pauline gives her clues to discover another body, Monica is shocked when they do actually find something buried beneath the marsh. But Pauline is renowned for playing games and Monica knows that nothing will be quite as it seems…

This is a twisty crime novel where the reader is never quite sure who to trust. I loved how the storyline slowly unravelled, gradually revealing its secrets as Monica works hard to follow all the clues using good old fashioned police work! I know this is the third in the series but I didn’t feel I couldn’t follow the characters like in some series where I have tried to start part way through. Saying that though, I do need to delve deeper in her life and character which is why I want to read the first two books in the series as well! I loved the balance between “work Monica” and “home Monica” as it gave a well rounded account of who she is and what makes her tick. She’s relatable and amiable, hardworking and strong minded so I took to her immediately.

If you’re a fan of Scottish Crime then this should definitely be on your reading list. I lived all over Scotland during my teens and my twenties so I knew many of the places that were used in the settings here. The Highlands are stunning so to contrast that beauty with the ugliness of murder made perfect sense to me! And G.R. Halliday uses his local environment to perfection throughout Under The Marsh to show how evil can lie dormant beneath even the most idyllic of backdrops.

As you can tell I absolutely loved this book-it’s a breathtaking read, beautifully written with a gritty and gripping storyline that continued to surprise me throughout. I highly recommend it!

Under The Marsh was published by Vintage on 21st July 2022.

G.R. Halliday was born in Edinburgh and grew up near Stirling in Scotland. He spent his childhood obsessing over the unexplained mysteries his father investigated, which has proved excellent inspiration for From the Shadows. The book was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Debut Prize 2019. G.R. Halliday now lives in the rural Highlands outside of Inverness, where he is able to pursue his favourite pastimes of mountain climbing and swimming in the sea, before returning home to his band of semi-feral cats.

No Safe Place by Bekhal Mahmod

Bekhal Mahmod was one of six siblings from a Sunni Muslim family in Iraqi Kurdistan who sought a new life as asylum seekers and arrived in London in 1998.

When Bekhal’s father tried to force her into an arranged marriage at 15, she ran away. This caused her father to ‘lose respect’ within the Kurdish community and Bekhal became the target of an honour killing and her younger sisters Banaz and Payzee were quickly married off to restore the family’s reputation.

When Banaz left her husband, claiming he’d beaten and raped her, Mahmod decided this ‘shame’ to the family meant Banaz must die. Within weeks, she had vanished.

Her body was finally discovered, crammed into a suitcase and buried in a garden in Birmingham. Banaz, age 20, had been raped and killed in a sickening plot orchestrated by her father and uncle.

Still fearing for her own life, Bekhal bravely faced her father and uncle in court – making her the first female in British legal history to give evidence against family members in an honour killing trial – and won justice for her beloved sister Banaz.

Bekhal now has a new identity after entering the police witness protection programme. She lives in terror of her father’s release from jail.

This is her story

This is such a compelling story and the fact that’s it’s a true account of one girls bravery and heartbreak makes it even more chilling. When Bekhal Mahmod moves to the UK as an asylum seeker with her family in 1998, she has no idea of what lies ahead. She embraces her new surroundings and decides she doesn’t want the arranged marriage her family expect her to go through with and so she runs away from home. Her sisters aren’t quite as lucky though and when Banaz tells Bekhal of her husbands controlling behaviour and that she wants to leave him for another man that she has fallen in love with, it is seen as bringing the family into disgrace. This leads to Banaz being raped and murdered in a plot organised by her own family…

This is a such a shocking story meaning that there were times that I had to physically put No Safe Place to one side. Obviously I had heard about dishonour killings within strict Muslim families but the details given here went far beyond what I knew or understood previously. I’m so pleased that Bekhal was able to stick to her principles and give the evidence in court that meant those responsible for this heinous crime were punished accordingly. But it means that she’s now in witness protection and will be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life.

This is such an courageous book and I recommend that everyone reads it especially if they work within educational settings. From a safeguarding point of view it is so important that everyone is aware of signs of FMG and familial abuse in their surroundings and community. It can be a difficult subject to talk about but with books like this raising awareness then it puts it out there for everyone to do the right thing. Beautifully written with an important message for us all.

No Safe Place was published on 7th July 2022.

Bekhal Mahmod is admired for giving prosecution evidence against her father, uncle and male cousins for the honour killing of her sister, Banaz Mahmod. Her relatives were all convicted of murder or related crimes. She is the first female sibling in the UK to do so. Bekhal also faced threats and attempts to kill her after she left home as a teenager due to abuse and pressures to have a child marriage. She is now on a witness protection scheme, but still in fear of her life. Bekhal has given numerous media interviews, including in an Emmy award-winning documentary, Banaz, A Love Story. She was also depicted in the popular ITV drama Honour, which starred Keeley Hawes. Bekhal is campaigning to introduce a Banaz’s Law to prevent cultural excuses for murder or honour violence. In 2011, Bekhal was nominated for the True Honour Award for her courage in court and campaigning.

Dr Hannana Siddiqui is an award-winning author, expert and activist on violence against black and ethnic minority women and girls. She has been a leading member of the renowned black feminist organisation Southall Black Sisters, for thirty-six years. Hannana has supported over 10,000 women and girls facing domestic and sexual abuse, forced marriage, honour violence, immigration, poverty and destitution, and suicide and self-harm problems. She has successfully campaigned to make major legal and policy reform as well as change conservative cultural and religious attitudes and practices which discriminate against women and girls within minority communities. Hannana has supported Bekhal Mahmod since 2006 to achieve justice for her sister, Banaz, and to end honour violence. She formulated Banaz’s Law and is currently campaigning with Bekhal to introduce this new law to re-frame cultural defences to honour crimes as aggravating offences and acts of dishonour.

The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell


LONDON. Early morning, June 2019: on the foreshore of the river Thames, a bag of bones is discovered. Human bones.

DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene and quickly sends the bag for forensic examination. The bones are those of a young woman, killed by a blow to the head many years ago.

Also inside the bag is a trail of clues, in particular the seeds of a rare tree which lead DCI Owusu back to a mansion in Chelsea where, nearly thirty years previously, three people lay dead in a kitchen, and a baby waited upstairs for someone to pick her up.

The clues point forward too to a brother and sister in Chicago searching for the only person who can make sense of their pasts.

Four deaths. An unsolved mystery. A family whose secrets can’t stay buried for ever …

I have to start by saying that after 2 pages of The Family Remains I had to stop reading it…not because I wasn’t enjoying it but because I wanted to maximise my enjoyment! I realised that I actually wanted to read The Family Upstairs again first just to refresh my memory of that amazing book and enhance my reading of this sequel-The Family Remains. Now I’ve been riding on the Lisa Jewell fan train since the very beginning after reading her debut novel Ralph’s Party and I will never get tired of that feeling of excitement when I pick up her latest release! So as I had some extra reading hours, I really wanted to do justice to this newest release by once again becoming involved in the messed up lives of a once ordinary family. And I’m so glad that I did!

The Family Remains has a clever title hiding an equally clever plot line that takes place not long after what happened previously. There’s a little reminder of the main characters at the start but I very quickly knew who was who and why they were in the places they currently were-geographically as well as emotionally! The discovery of a skeleton in the river Thames delivers a mystery for DCI Samuel Owusu and using the clues he discovers a connection with an old case-three adults were discovered dead downstairs in a gorgeous family home whilst a young baby girl was found very much alive and well in her cot upstairs. What had happened to lead to such tragic circumstances? Well you think you know but there is much more to uncover here! I don’t want to talk about the plot much more than that as I would hate to spoil it-this has been a much anticipated book by fans of The Family Upstairs and it will not disappoint!

The writing here completely envelopes you in the world of this dysfunctional family and once started I guarantee you will find it difficult to put down! Lisa Jewell can spin a beautifully crafted web of intrigue meaning you will be completely trapped by this utterly gripping and powerful tale. It’s breathtaking and mesmerising and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

The Family Remains was published by Century on 21st July 2022.

LISA JEWELL was born in London in 1968.

Her first novel, Ralph’s Party, was the best- selling debut novel of 1999. Since then she has written another nineteen novels, most recently a number of dark psychological thrillers, including The Girls, Then She Was Gone and The Family Upstairs and The Night She Disappeared, all of which were Richard & Judy Book Club picks.

Lisa is a New York Times and Sunday Times number one bestselling author who has been published worldwide in over twenty-five languages. She lives in north London with her husband, two teenage daughters and the best dog in the world.

Sorry for your Loss by Kate Marshall with Linda Watson-Brown @MardleBooks

Following Kate Marshall’s first year in the mortuary at a north of England NHS hospital, with each month exploring the people she meets, in life and death, as well as her own growing awareness of life behind the veil. 

  • Meet Mr X Found in his apartment months after his death, Mr X has no relatives that can be traced. He is the longest-serving resident of the mortuary, having been there for almost a year while the search for his elusive family continues. The staff talk to him like an old friend, but Mr X is disintegrating and a decision has to be made soon.
  • Meet Mary Her baby girl has been lost in the 15th week of pregnancy, Mary’s last chance to have a child. Mary won’t allow Abigail to leave the mortuary until she has finished reading a book to her. She visits twice each day, sitting with her baby, reading to her, speaking to no one, until she finally opens up to Kate.
  • Meet Joe A loving husband and father who has died suddenly of a heart attack. Joe is visited by his wife, his children – and his mistress. On the day that all his worlds collide, Kate witnesses how death can finally reveal the truth of years of lies.

Sorry for Your Loss is haunting, uplifting and informative, with many moments of laughter, and shows us that the way we approach death can make life all the more precious.

Sorry For Your Loss is quite a change from my usual reads but I was strangely drawn to Kates story, fascinated by what would draw someone towards her job. After working in a coroner’s office and cleaning up after hoarders (a job far more difficult and frustrating than you would imagine and a job I could never do!! I’m a thrower outer!!) Kate decides her life needs some change in it and apply a for a job in Bereavement Services in an NHS hospital somewhere in the Manchester area. Now I’ve often seen signs for Bereavement Services in my local hospital but I had thought (wrongly as it happens) that it was some form of counselling service! But Kate explains in great detail that it is in fact where bodies go after they have passed away so that families can view them before they go off to the undertaker. That is obviously my simple way of explaining it but Kate gives far more of an insight into what she does and some of it may surprise or even shock you!

Although it’s difficult to read Sorry For Your Loss without reading some very detailed descriptions of the deceased, at no point does it feel disrespectful or voyeuristic. As with any job you come into contact with a variety of people and situations can vary between heartbreakingly sad and hilariously funny and nothing is too small or too horrific to be shared. From suicides to Covid and from old age to babies, Kate has had to deal with them all in her calm, firm manner and it made me hope that there is a “Kate” in every hospital mortuary! Especially when you realise that there are some very VERY strange people out there who would like her job!

This wasn’t anywhere near as uncomfortable or distressing as I expected it to be and that is down to the way in which Kate handles herself. She goes above and beyond in her role whilst still maintaining her professionalism and showing such empathy throughout. Her attitude towards death is very matter of fact even though she has also gone through her own losses and I felt a sense of peace especially as I read towards the final few pages. Sorry for your Loss is ultimately an uplifting and insightful look at a job very few of us could carry out ourselves so I am thankful that Kate and others like her are there for us in our hour of need-whichever side of that mortuary door we are on.

Sorry for your Loss was published by Mardle Books on 21st July 2022.

Kate Marshall has worked in mental health, special needs and in the field of bereavement for many years with roles incorporating the coroner’s office, mortuary and Bereavement Services. She lives in Cheshire.

Linda Watson-Brown is a ghostwriter who has worked on more than 30 titles, many of them Sunday Times bestsellers.