Buried by Lynda La Plante #blogtour @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of the first in a new series by the brilliant Lynda La Plante on publication day! Yes, Buried is out today! Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for my blog tour invite and review copy of the book.

DC Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie have just moved to London to start a new life together. Though charming, Jack can’t seem to find his place in the world – until he’s drawn into an investigation that turns his life upside down. 

In the aftermath of a fire at an isolated cottage, a badly charred body is discovered, along with the burnt remains of millions of stolen, untraceable bank notes. 

Jack’s search leads him deep into a murky criminal underworld – a world he finds himself surprisingly good at navigating. But as the line of the law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers – and what will it cost him? 

In BURIED, it’s time to meet DC Jack Warr as he digs up the deadly secrets of the past . . .

This is the start of a new series Lynda La Plante and what a great start it is! I was worried when I saw that her main protagonist was male as one of Lynda’s greatest strengths is her female characterisation. But Buried pushed aside those fears very quickly and delivered a gripping crime thriller that more than exceeded my expectations.

DC Jack Warr is called in when a body is found in a burnt out cottage alongside a large amount of cash. He traces it back to a group of women who used to live nearby and a criminal underworld tied up in past crimes that could also be connected. And this was where the plot took an unexpected and rather exciting turn for me as a character I hadn’t thought I would meet again turned up and became and integral part of the storyline! This lead to some shocking twists for Jack himself to discover. I did struggle to take to Jack to begin with and he certainly didn’t endear himself to me with some of the actions he directed towards certain people and situations but eventually I came to understand him I think. He’s certainly a very complex character and one I’m looking forward to meeting again in the future.

Buried is a gritty, compelling and exciting crime thriller that became unputdownable for me. I was gripped from start to finish. Highly recommended for fans old and new!

Lynda La Plante was born in Liverpool. She trained for the stage at RADA and worked with the National theatre and RDC before becoming a television actress. She then turned to writing – and made her breakthrough with the phenomenally successful TV series Widows. Her novels have all been international bestsellers. 

Her original script for the much-acclaimedPrime Suspect won awards from BAFTA, Emmy, British Broadcasting and Royal Television Society as well as the 1993 Edgar Allan Poe Award. Lynda has written and produced over 170 hours of international television. 

Lynda is one of only three screenwriters to have been made an honorary fellow of the British Film Institute and was awarded the BAFTA Dennis Potter Best Writer Award in 2000. In 2008, she was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Literature, Drama and Charity. 

If you would like to hear from Lynda, please sign up at http://www.bit.ly/ LyndaLaPlanteClub or you can visit http://www.lyndalaplante.com for further information. You can also follow Lynda on Facebook and Twitter @LaPlanteLynda.

Join author Lynda La Plante for a G&T on Facebook at 6pm this Thursday 2nd April, to celebrate the publication of the first novel in a brand-new series,Buried, featuring Detective Jack Warr. Lynda will be reading from the novel and answering questions (submitted in advance) through her Facebook page.

Submit any questions ahead of the evening by emailing lynda.laplante@myreadersclub.co.uk

We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker #blogtour @Tr4cyF3nt0n @WhittyAuthor @ZaffreBooks

Today I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for my blog tour invite.

With the staggering intensity of James Lee Burke and the absorbing narrative of Jane Harper’s The DryWe Begin at the End is a powerful novel about absolute love and the lengths we will go to keep our family safe. This is a story about good and evil and how life is lived somewhere in between.

‘You can’t save someone that doesn’t want to be saved . . .’

Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer. 

Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.

Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town. 

Murder, revenge, retribution.

How far can we run from the past when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?

Well, Chris Whitaker has made it a hat trick with this, his third, novel. I really don’t know how he does it but I was immediately transported to another place and a slice of Americana that was served with a large helping of realism so intensely perfect that it is amazing to think that it’s written by an English author! Chris Whitaker dips his readers into the small town American mentality, leaving them thinking about this book long after they have finished it. I am certainly struggling to forget the storyline and would have been quite happy to watch these characters live their lives long after that final page.

The first chapter sets the scene for the events that take place thirty years later. The discovery of a young girls body puts Vincent King away for her murder. But now he’s been released and is back in Cape Haven. Lots has changed whilst he’s been in prison though. His friend Walk is now the sheriff and his ex girlfriend Star, who’s sister was the murder victim, is now mum to two children. And it’s her 13 year old daughter Duchess that I really took to my heart here. Although all the characters portrayed within We Begin At The End are expertly crafted, Duchess is a character that only comes around once in a blue moon. Her storyline is both heartbreaking and optimistic whilst her relationships with her mother and brother are captivating in their intensity.

As before, it’s only as you get to the end of a Chris Whitaker book that you realise just how involved you have become in the lives of those living within its pages. My heart broke into a million pieces as everything came together and the paths followed by these characters, who had revealed their souls to me, started to become clear. I read the final few pages at a snails pace as I just couldn’t face leaving either the characters or the surroundings that had become so familiar to me.

We Begin At The End is a slow burning, emotionally charged and character driven masterpiece with an authentic voice that so rarely comes along nowadays. It broke me and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Chris Whitaker is the award-winning author of Tall Oaks and All The Wicked Girls. Both books were published to widespread critical acclaim, with Tall Oaks going on to win the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award. Chris lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons. Follow Chris on Twitter @WhittyAuthor

All In Her Head by Nikki Smith #blogtour @annecater @Mrssmithmunday

Today I’m reviewing the debut novel by Nikki Smith who won a competition to be mentored by Amanda Reynolds. All In Her Head is out on April 2nd. Many thanks to Anne Cater for my blog tour invite and my review copy of the book.

Alison is more alone than she’s ever been. She is convinced that her ex-husband Jack is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her in the canteen.

She knows she has a good reason to be afraid. She just can’t remember why.

Then the mention of one name turns her life upside down.

Alison feels like she’s losing her mind . . . but it could just lead her to the truth.

Wow! This is a very powerfully written book that, although it took me a while to appreciate the fact I wasn’t going to know exactly what was happening until much later in the narrative, kept me compulsively turning the pages. For me it was a one sitting book and I felt I needed to read it that way for my own clarity and continuity. There were so many questions I needed responses to and I’ve never been very patient at waiting for answers! All In My Head will take you on a journey into a woman’s mental health and leave you wondering what is really happening and if you can trust this very disturbed woman to tell you exactly what is going on. Thankfully there is another point of view here where we hear from another main character but they don’t seem to be telling the reader everything they need to know either! So my advice is to just buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Nikki Smith has such a compelling writing style and the storyline she has created was gripping and twisty, keeping her readers on tenterhooks throughout. I was never sure I completely liked Alison but I think this was a purposeful ploy. The secrets she was hiding behind were obviously very disturbing so it’s left to the reader to decide if this is a deliberate personality flaw or a defence mechanism in place for very different reasons. There was just something very “off” about her and also her ex-husband Jack so it was difficult to decide who to believe as they both seemed to have very different agendas.

This is psychological thriller with a slow burning, emotional storyline that will keep you guessing till the very end. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read more from Nikki Smith after this accomplished debut!

Nikki studied English Literature at University before pursuing a career in finance. She always had a passion for writing and in 2017 she applied for a Curtis Brown Creative writing course. Later that year she had a short story published and submitted the opening chapters of her novel to a competition where she won the opportunity to be mentored by the author Amanda Reynolds, and the rest was history.

The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis @annecater @EmilyGunnis

Today I’m thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis. Huge thanks to Anne Cater for my invite onto the tour and for my review copy of the book.

Her mother was the victim. Her father was the suspect. She was the only witness…

Rebecca Waterhouse is just thirteen when she witnesses her mother’s death at the hand of her father in Seaview Cottage.

But what else did Rebecca see?

Years later, Rebecca’s daughters Iris and Jessie know their mother will never speak of that terrible night. But when Jessie goes missing, with her gravely ill newborn, Iris realises the past may hold the key to her sister’s disappearance.

With Jessie in trouble, Iris must unravel a twisting story of love and betrayal in her mother’s family history.

Only then will Seaview Cottage give up its dark and tragic secret…

Much as I loved The Girl in the Letter, The Lost Child is just so much better! I loved everything about it and felt completely and utterly emotionally shattered by the time I had finished it. This book is a beautifully brought to life journey that once started is impossible to stop. Emily Guniss has obviously put her heart and soul into The Lost Child and it has paid dividends.

I love a dual timeline and here, although the main events are set during 2014, there are flashbacks to 1960 (and even earlier) as journalist Iris investigates how events from the past are connected to a missing mum on the run with her seriously ill baby. The key event that is related to every event since, is the night in 1960 when 13 year old Rebecca loses both her parents to violent deaths. Her father had mental health issues but Rebecca is determined that she heard a stranger visit their home that night…

I adored this book from start to finish! Emily Gunnis writes so beautifully that it’s just satisfyingly easy to become completely involved in the lives of her perfectly drawn characters. She breathes life into every single one of them so that they become real, flesh and blood personas who warrant our emotional responses to their dilemmas. The story she tells is a sad one where nobody seems to be living the happy life they should, all experiencing guilt over circumstances that shouldn’t affect them. But it’s a fact that during this period of history it was deemed normal to keep quiet and not talk about incidents in the open leading to family secrets that were squirrelled away to be lost (or uncovered at a future date) to much distress.

Those recurring themes of motherhood, birth and loss are implicitly linked throughout this powerful narrative. These intertwined the events taking place throughout the different time periods and I know I should have had an inkling where things were going but I was completely shocked once all the clues came together. And I don’t mind admitting that I sobbed my way through the last few pages!

A wonderfully woven novel, full of family secrets that will sweep you away into another time. I loved it more than I could possibly convey in words. One of my favourite books of the year so far!

Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi.

Exit by Belinda Bauer


Pensioner Felix Pink is about to find out that it’s never too late . . . for life to go horribly wrong.

When Felix lets himself in to Number 3 Black Lane, he’s there to perform an act of charity: to keep a dying man company as he takes his final breath . . . 

But just fifteen minutes later Felix is on the run from the police – after making the biggest mistake of his life.

Now his world is turned upside down as he must find out if he’s really to blame, or if something much more sinister is at play. All while staying one shaky step ahead of the law.

So I have to just start by saying…THIS IS MY FAVOURITE BOOK OF THE YEAR SO FAR!! And it will take a lot to tip it off that pedestal! At the moment of writing the publication date is June 25th but as the publishing world is also living in the same surreal 2020 that we all are, I felt I just had to make sure you were aware of this book to get your preorders in! I’ve been a huge Belinda Bauer fan for years now and always preorder her books but this is definitely one I think everyone needs to read! It’s a sharply observed novel with a very dark humour and one of the most memorable and engaging serial killers that you will ever meet! I found myself laughing out loud at times (most of them totally inappropriate!) so if “gallows humour” is your thing then this book is definitely for you.

Felix Pink is a pensioner with an unusual pastime. He’s an Exiteer, someone who will provide the service of assisted suicide for those who no longer want to live but want to depart this world on their terms. Working with a partner, they both use a pseudonym when they meet up to assist those suffering to end their own lives. But they do get to go for a nice cuppa and a chat afterwards. When his usual partner decides to quit, Felix is paired with a young woman and their first job together descends into chaos when they make a very serious mistake and find themselves wanted for murder. But something doesn’t sit right with Felix and he has to stay one step ahead of everyone to work out what feels off about this latest mission (and ofcourse why!) before it puts his own life in danger…

Belinda Bauer has delivered a perfectly plotted novel that kept me on my toes throughout. It is deliciously dark, with a fabulous cast of quirky characters plus the odd unexpected twist thrown in for good measure! Felix wasn’t at all the man I was expecting from the blurb and I thoroughly enjoyed following him and his interactions with the other characters he becomes entangled with. I liked the fact I couldn’t predict his actions, even when I thought I knew him better, as Felix constantly surprised me. There is still a crime mystery to be solved though and here it’s up to Calvin, a young police officer, who gets to work through all the evidence pointing the finger at Felix. Calvin is another character that surprised me as my opinions on his integrity really did change quite dramatically towards the end-no spoilers here though so you will have to read Exit yourselves to work out why.

Exit is a book I want to unread just so that I can read the whole thing again for the first time! It was just incredible from start to finish. Funny, shocking and a little bit wicked at times, Exit smashed my expectations and I loved it from beginning to end.

Belinda Bauer grew up in England and South Africa and now lives in Wales. She worked as a journalist and a screenwriter before finally writing a book to appease her nagging mother. 

For her debut, Blacklands, Belinda was awarded the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year. She went on to win the CWA Dagger in the Library for her body of work. Her fourth novel, Rubbernecker, was voted Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her eighth novel, Snap, was a Sunday Times bestseller. It was longlisted for the Man Booker prize and voted Crime & Thriller Book of the Year at the Specsavers National Book Awards. 

Her books have been translated into twenty-five languages.

My Chronicle Book Box @MyChronicleBB #unboxing

So it’s my favourite time of the month again and the March My Chronicle Book Box has now been delivered! It has been an absolute pleasure to be an ambassador for Louise at My Chronicle Book Box for the last two months and I’m sure that not even she could have realised how much home deliveries of things like books would become such lifelines in these unsettled times that we are living in at the moment! I highly recommend this company and I love what they are doing so if you’re in need of a bookish parcel you cheer yourself up then you definitely need to sign up.

The March box arrived looking a bit bigger than normal but that was due to one of the contents needing a little bit more love and protection that normal! But here is what I found when I opened it up…

This little plant pot is so cute and I’m going to put a little succulent in there.
I love this wooden wedding invitation and I will be showing it to my daughter who will need to send out more invitations when she comes to rebook her corona virus hit wedding.
Gorgeous bookmark 😍
And a copy of the fabulous The Guest List by Lucy Foley which was…

I don’t think I have ever been happier to get such a beautiful book box through the post! If you’re thinking of signing up for yourself or as a gift to someone who really needs cheering up at the moment then use go to the My Chronicle Book Box website https://mychroniclebookbox.com/ plus you can check out all the subscription details here https://mychroniclebookbox.com/product/monthly-book-subscription-box/

And as a special thank you for reading this post, if you quote Chestnut10 then you can get 10% off your first box! April’s theme is Secrets in the Swedish Forest and you have until the 1st April to sign up. Enjoy!

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten @OneMoreChapter_ @BOTBSPublicity @nholten40

It’s a huge pleasure today to be on the blog tour for Dead Wrong which is the second book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series by Noelle Holten. Having read (AND LOVED!) the first book Dead Inside, I was super excited to read its sequel. Huge thanks to Sarah at BOTBS for my blog tour invite and review copy of the book.

The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…
They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…
But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

Noelle Holten what have you done to me!! How could you do that?! Dead Wrong kept me on my toes throughout with some very dark and disturbing scenes plus the mother of all cliffhangers which had me screaming “NOOOOOOOO!!!!” as soon I had had read that final sentence. I mean, no sooner had I finished book two in this series then I wanted book three in my hands IMMEDIATELY!! And that’s the sign of a GREAT series!

We are back with DC Maggie Jamieson in Staffordshire where she is called upon to solve a murder. Nothing unusual in that for a police officer you might say but wait until you realise that the dead woman is Lorraine Rugman, the victim of a serial killer already behind bars for that murder! This means that he couldn’t have committed the crime that he’s been put away for and it’s up to Maggie and her team to work out what the hell is going on! It also becomes a race against time to find the other women he was accused of murdering before they really ARE killed!

It was lovely to see the team back together again, even (and especially!) the lovely Doctor Kate, and this mix of characters works really well here. We find out more about Maggie and her personal life as an aside to the main focus so I discovered that I like her even more than I thought I did! She’s certainly a determined and strong minded woman but I felt I understood her a little more this time and that there’s a softer side she keeps well hidden from her colleagues at work. But it’s the vile villains who steal the show here and I can’t believe I didn’t work out who was at the centre of this intriguing plot until the big reveal hit me in the face. Be warned though that, if you’re a little squeamish, there are some quite graphic descriptions of the crimes committed but gory definitely fits the plot here!

Dead Wrong has a well written, gripping and compelling storyline from start to finish. I loved it and I can see that Noelle has used her background and knowledge to create a believable main character who’s fast becoming a real favourite, not just for me but for crime fans worldwide. Highly recommended by me!

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. 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 is her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.