Prime Justice (Justice series 14) by M.A. Comley #BookReview

About this book…

A killer, an abductor, and a villain intent on revenge – just a normal week in the life of DI Lorne Warner.

When a wealthy woman is found murdered in a country lane, close to her home, it’s up to Lorne to find the evidence to track down the rural killer.

When another resident in the same vicinity is abducted, the evidence points Lorne to believe both cases are connected.

However, Lorne’s focus on the puzzling case is in jeopardy, when a criminal awaiting trial threatens her career in the force.

Can Lorne restore the tranquility in the once sleepy community? And will she still be a serving police officer in the Met by the end of the investigation?

My review…

I really don’t know how Mel Comley does it! She consistently comes up with new and gripping storylines and I feel like Lorne Warner is now a dear friend that I am following through the ups and downs of her life, instead of a fictional character.

There is a pretty shocking crime at the beginning of this book which becomes more horrific when we realise that Nadine Walker-Scott knows her attacker. But when another local resident is also abducted, Lorne comes to realise there is a seriel offender on the loose. Can she solve the crime before the body count increases?

There is also a nod to previous books with the brief appearance of Sally Parker as there’s some bad news for Lorne regarding a previous case. Yes, that lovely lady Claire Knight won’t go down without a fight and is back to cause some trouble, even from behind bars. I do love a good baddie but have to admit that after reading Prime Justice, Lorne and Claire probably have a lot more in common than Lorne would like to admit. A case involving Charlie and her boyfriend makes Lorne VERY protective so heaven help anyone who messes with her family! Remind you of anyone?

Once I sat down to read this there was no way I was moving till it was finished. It held my attention 100% from start to finish with plenty of shocking twists along the way. A great addition to this popular series.

I received my review copy of Prime Justice from the author.

Prime Justice (Justice series Book 14) is available to purchase from Amazon UK.

Meeting the author…

I was lucky enough to meet Mel for the first time last weekend and she was exactly what I was expecting, a lovely, generous and funny lady and I was probably a little bit overwhelmed to be honest so went very quiet and shy! I have looked for a photo of us together but the only one I could find looked like we were having an angry argument over a book! I was able to tell her about the Amazon review that started me on my Justice journey (the same review also started my own reviewing journey as I wanted to inspire the same enthusiasm in people for books I loved.)

**Catching up on the TBR pile** Kill Me Again by Rachel Abbott

This year I’m making sure I catch up on all those books sitting on my TBR pile both on my kindle and my bookshelf. Today’s book was purchased on 1st June 2016.

About this book…

When your life is a lie, who can you trust?

When Maggie Taylor accepts a new job in Manchester, she is sure it is the right move for her family. The children have settled well although her husband, Duncan, doesn’t appear to be so convinced.

But nothing prepares her for the shock of coming home from work one night to find that Duncan has disappeared, leaving their young children alone. His phone is dead, and she has no idea where he has gone, or why. And then she discovers she’s not the only one looking for him.

When a woman who looks just like Maggie is brutally murdered and DCI Tom Douglas is brought in to investigate, Maggie realises how little she knows about Duncan’s past. Is he the man she loves? Who is he running from?

She doesn’t have long to decide whether to trust him or betray him. Because one thing has been made clear to Maggie – another woman will die soon, and it might be her.

My review…

With a new Rachel Abbott out this month, I realised that I hadn’t read her LAST one which has been languishing on my Kindle since 1st June last year. Honestly, what sort of superfan am I?! My granddaughter still asks, even now, if I’m going to read Stranger Child again which I read in the summer of 2015 ( she loved the cover and I was obviously making OMG sounds throughout!) so I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to get round to Kill Me Again!

Kill Me Again is the fourth novel to feature DCI Tom Douglas and if you’ve never had a case of “fictional character crush” before, then you certainly will once you meet Tom Douglas! And be still my beating heart….. Tom is possibly back on the market! If you haven’t read any of Rachel’s books before I would always recommend starting with Only The Innocent where we are first introduced to Tom. But saying that, all of Rachel’s books work really well as standalone books.

The storyline here is wonderfully clever and complex with twists and turns galore, some I guessed and others came as a rather big shock! Rachel Abbott has an intense and hypnotic writing style that grabs you from the start. Her characters are always ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances that test their moral compass. Maggie, the defence solicitor, ends up questioning everything she knows about her husband when he acts very out of character. Following his disappearance it becomes obvious that the dead women being discovered in unusual locations in Manchester are connected to Maggie in more than just looks.

I love books set in and around Manchester and the unique and hidden settings described here were used to compliment the plot to great effect throughout. And although I loved the recurring characters of Tom and Becky, I have to say that I didn’t take to the character of Maggie as much as I thought I would! Sometimes I just wanted to shake some sense into her due to her incredible naivety and the risks she took with her children’s safety! I found her so frustrating but then I thought, who knows how they will react when faced with the prospect of having to protect their family? 

I really enjoyed this latest case for Tom Douglas and still think he should be transferred to the small screen as these books would make brilliant tv viewing. And now that I’m all up to date I can finally start to get excited about The Sixth Window out later this month! Bring it on!

Kill Me Again is available to purchase from Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

Rachel Abbott

Rachel Abbott’s debut thriller, Only the Innocent, was an international bestseller, reaching the number one position in the Amazon charts both in the UK and US. This was followed by the number one bestselling novels The Back Road, Sleep Tight and Stranger Child. Nowhere Child – a short novel based on the characters from Stranger Child – was Rachel’s fifth book. In February 2016 she released her sixth novel, Kill Me Again.

In 2015 Amazon celebrated the first five years of the Kindle in the UK, and announced that Rachel was the #1 bestselling independent author over the five-year period. She was also placed fourteenth in the chart of all authors. Stranger Child was the most borrowed novel for the Kindle in the first half of 2015.

Rachel now lives in Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France, and is now able to devote time to her other love – writing fiction. For more information, see Rachel’s website, or follow her on Twitter.

Rachel’s website can be found at

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Twitter: @RachelAbbott

No Safe Home by Tara Lyons #BlogTour @Bloodhoundbook

Today its my turn on the blog tour for No Safe Home the new crime thriller from Tara Lyons. DI Denis Hamilton is back!


About this book…

The gripping new crime thriller everybody is talking about

Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is haunted when the suspicious death of a teenage girl triggers suppressed memories. With a stalker targeting vulnerable women in Central London, and his team rapidly diminishing, Hamilton must conquer his emotions before another family is destroyed.

In a sleepy town in Hertfordshire, Katy has worked hard to rebuild her life after leaving behind everything she knew. But when her past catches up with her, and her young son’s life is threatened, Katy must admit her true identity if she has any hope of surviving.

A home should be a safe place, shouldn’t it?

But sometimes it is hard to know who you can trust…

London’s murder investigations team returns in the second novel from the bestselling author of In the Shadows.

My review…

I really enjoyed Tara’s debut novel In The Shadows (apart from the cover!! I am such a wimp!) so I was very excited when I found out that she had another book being published after she signed a two book deal with Bloodhound Books.  One of the only niggles I had about her debut was that I would have liked more of an insight into DI Denis Hamilton as I felt he was a charismatic central character who had a little bit more to give. I found him rather intriguing and so I was pleased to see his character getting much more exposure here as past memories are awakened by a disturbing crime scene.

At the heart of this book is a series of crimes that will have you holding your breath and praying for a different outcome as each new crime is discovered. As a parent, your child is the most important part of your life and that means you will do literally anything to protect them. Whilst not graphically described, there are some very distressing crime scenes for the team to process here. And that team appeared to be jinxed as it decreased by the day! This was more of a police procedural than In The Shadows and I thought it worked all the better for that. I love DI Hamilton and the team, especially Rocky, and feel that the balance has been perfectly achieved between personal and professional developments throughout the plot.

Tara is a natural storyteller, able to weave her words in such a way as to make her readers gasp out loud at the twists and turns as they rush up to meet them. I didn’t work out who was responsible for the murders until quite near the big reveal and I wasn’t disappointed by the outcome but I would  have liked a little more “closure” when it came to motive and MO but that possibly says more about me than Tara’s plotting! This reminded me of a “real life” crime story that I found rather upsetting at the time and I did feel very helpless watching and waiting for another crime to be reported. And those first few pages are still giving me nightmares now!

I’m so glad that this has become part of a series now, although both books can easily be read as standalones. Denis Hamilton is an engaging character, enigmatic with an air of sadness that is channelled into his passion for the job, a hardworking detective with a heart and I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.

Many thanks to Helen Claire at Bloodhound books for my review copy of No Safe Home.

No Safe Home: the gripping new crime thriller everybody is talking about is published by Bloodhound Books on 31st January 2017 and is available to purchase from Amazon UK now.

Meet the author…

Tara Lyons

Tara is a crime/psychological thriller author from London, UK. Turning 30 in 2015 propelled her to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. In the Shadows is Tara’s debut solo novel published in March 2016. She co-wrote The Caller and Web of Deceit: A DI Sally Parker novella with New York Times bestselling author, M.A Comley.

In August 2016 Tara signed a two-book contract with Bloodhound Books. The second book in the DI Hamilton series, No Safe Home, was published in January 2017.

When she’s not writing, Tara can be found at a local Wacky Warehouse stuck in the ball-pit with her young, energetic son.

Sign up to Tara’s monthly newsletter for exclusive news, previews and giveaways:

Find out more about the author and follow her writing journey:

High Force by L.J Ross #BookReview

About this book…

Hell has unleashed a demon – and he’s coming for you…

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan’s worst nightmare has just become a reality. Notorious serial killer The Hacker has escaped prison and kidnapped one of his best detectives from her own home. His brutality is the stuff of legend – Ryan lost his sister and nearly his own life bringing the man to justice first time around. Can Ryan do it again to save his friend?

There’s a nationwide manhunt underway but the trail has gone cold and fear spreads like a virus. Ryan and his team must find The Hacker before he takes another life – but are they too late?

The clock is ticking…

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

My review…

This is fast becoming such a favourite series of mine that I couldn’t wait to read this fifth addition, especially as I only read the 4th book Angel a couple of weeks ago. And as Angel left me with such a craving for more, High Force was hardly on my kindle when it shot to the top of my TBR folder!

So The Hacker is back on the loose and this time he is taking no prisoners, well actually, the main problem here is that he is!!! He has kidnapped DI Denise MacKenzie and the team are up against the clock to try and save her-if she’s still alive. Denise has been a favourite character of mine so it definitely raised my adrenaline levels having her put in such a scary and dangerous position but while we see her strength of character developing, we see Frank start to fall apart. Will the decisions he makes have fatal consequences? And if so, who for?

I found the plotting here scarily fast and the thrill of solving the case more enjoyable than usual as well. We discover more about Keir Edwards at the same time as the team do so there were a couple of times when I was terrified for Anna! She fitted the bill of The Hackers favourite prey plus what a way to further destroy Ryan if she did become the next victim! My heart was in my mouth on more than one occasion!

I have so much admiration for Louise Ross as she has kept this series fresh and intriguing whilst stopping it from becoming repetitive. Her plot twists still shock me as do the unique and graphically described crime scenes. The countryside settings are so picture perfect, it’s such a beautiful area of the country, that it really contrasts with the evil hidden away from DCI Ryan in the picturesque towns and villages. And I’m sure other fans of the series will agree that looking forward to the locations used by this author is just as important as the characters and the crimes they have to solve.

A fine addition to the series and a huge thanks to L.J Ross for providing my review copy of High Force.

High Force: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 5) is available to buy now on Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

LJ Ross

L.J. Ross is the author of the international #1 bestselling series of DCI Ryan mystery novels. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon Kindle UK bestsellers chart. Its sequels, Sycamore Gap, Heavenfield and Angel are also #1 bestsellers. The fifth book in the series, High Force, was released in ebook and paperback format on 31 January 2017. The novels are all available to purchase in e-book, paperback and audiobook formats on the Amazon store (the audiobook version of High Force will be released in early 2017). Holy Island is also available in German translation.

Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King’s College, University of London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.

Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Bath. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.

If you would like to connect with LJ Ross, she would be very happy to hear from you:

Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt #BlogTour #TheReturnofEden @bookouture

Happy publication day to Mel Sherratt! And I am absolutely thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Don’t Look Behind You on this very special day for a fabulous local author.

About this book…

She got into bed but sleep didn’t come easily. Every creak in the house made her alert. She was waiting for him to come and get her.

The small city of Stockleigh is in shock as three women are brutally attacked within days of each other. Are they random acts of violence or is there a link between the victims? For Detective Eden Berrisford, it’s her most chilling case yet.

The investigation leads Eden to cross paths with Carla, a woman trying to rebuild her life after her marriage to a cruel and abusive man ended in unimaginable tragedy. Her husband Ryan was imprisoned for his crimes but, now he’s out and coming for her.

As Eden starts to close in on the attacker, she also puts herself in grave danger. Can she stop him before he strikes again? And can Carla, terrified for her life, save herself – before the past wreaks a terrible revenge?

My review…

I have been a fan of Mel Sherratt for a few years now but I have to admit that this new series is becoming my firm favourite so far! As soon as I met DS Eden Berrisford, I knew that Mel was onto a winner. Eden was first introduced to us in The Girls Next Door, a twisty and terrifyingly realistic crime thriller set in the city of Stockleigh. In this sequel, we get to see a more personal side to Eden as she’s determined to find out why her husband Danny left her and daughter Casey and hasn’t been in touch since. But she somehow manages to put everything aside to throw herself into the search for a serial sex offender.

I don’t half love Eden! She’s a strong minded and determined kick-ass single parent who manages to juggle her home and family life with running the Community Investigation Team where she also maintains strong relationships with the other team members. She lives and works in an area she loves and knows like the back of her hand. So she is trusted by the locals to do the right thing. And she takes it very personally when her community is threatened! She’s definitely the type you need to keep onside! Having met the whole of Eden’s family last time, we are now settled into their lives and the secrets within but there was still a bit of a shock instore for me with some disclosures about Eden I HADN’T been expecting!

Twisting throughout the storyline are a number of flashbacks which some readers may find disturbing due to scenes of domestic violence. It’s pretty terrifying and had me on the edge of my seat, mainly trying to work out how it was connected to the stalker watching one of the female characters. I just knew that it was building up for a major violent confrontation and felt sick at the thought of justice not being served.

This series has really upped it’s game with this hard hitting storyline and we’ve really got a sense of who Eden is now. But where does she go from here? There is so much more to discover and I can’t wait to find out. If you haven’t read this author or series before you are really missing out! Don’t Look Behind You is a lot darker than it’s predecessor and creepy as hell! Do NOT read this when you’re alone in the house- every little noise will have your imagination working overtime so make sure you keep those lights on! A gripping must read crime drama with a high voltage finale to knock your socks off!

Don’t Look Behind You: A dark, twisting crime thriller that will grip you to the last page (Detective Eden Berrisford crime thriller series Book 2) is published by Bookouture and available to purchase now.

Meet the author…

Mel Sherratt writes gritty crime dramas, psychological suspense and fiction with a punch – or grit-lit, as she calls it. Shortlisted for the CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in the Library Award 2014, she finds inspiration from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante and Elizabeth Haynes. Since 2012, all nine of her crime novels have been bestsellers. Four of her books are published by Amazon Publishing’s crime and thriller imprint, Thomas & Mercer and she has a new series out with Bookouture.

Mel lives in Stoke-on-Trent, with her husband and terrier, Dexter, named after the TV serial killer, and makes liberal use of her hometown as a backdrop for some of her books.

 You can find out more at her website or on Twitter at @writermels

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner #BookReview

About this book…

Thirteen-year-old Sharlah Nash knows that the first time her brother killed eight years ago, he did it to save their lives.

Now retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his wife Rainie Conner have offered Sharlah a new life of safety. She desperately wants to believe this is her shot at happily ever after.

Then two people are murdered in their local convenience store and Sharlah’s brother is identified as the killer.

Telly Ray Nash is on the hunt for Sharlah and as the death count rises it becomes clear that nothing and no one, including Pierce and Rainie, will stop him getting to her.

Now, Sharlah has one chance to take control.

She can run for her life… or turn and face the danger right behind her.

My review…

My favourite time of the year! A new Lisa Gardner book to read! And this one is a little bit special as it has the return of my favourite characters from previous books Pierce Quincy and Rainie Connor. I do love DD Warren and Tessa Leoni but I have always had a soft spot for Quincy and it was wonderful to be able to reconnect with him and Rainie as they head into a new direction in their life together.

Right from the first chapter here, I was hooked. The brilliant way Lisa Gardner draws her readers in never fails to amaze me. When we first meet Telly and his sister Sharlar they have a close relationship, he takes care of her when their parents aren’t able to. But one night of violence tears their family apart and now they live with separate foster carers. I loved seeing Quincy and Rainie in a different setting to normal as foster parents to Sharlar, the relationship dynamics have changed and their cosy home life seems at odds with their careers as profilers. When a double shooting leads a little bit too close to their door, Quincy has to make some very difficult parenting decisions which, if you have read the previous books, you will know have proven catastrophic in the past.

Saying that, you don’t have to have read any of the previous books as this does works incredibly well as a standalone novel. It’s just as engrossing as all of her previous books, with plot twists and red herrings galore and if the clues were there then I totally missed them! This is a very clever thriller, with fascinating characters (a tracker who is also a cheese maker!) following a case that is never quite as straightforward as it would appear.

And now having finished Right Behind You, all I want to do now is go back to the start where we first met Quincy (7 books ago) and read them all again! Now that’s the sign of a PERFECT series!

Right Behind You (FBI Profiler Book 7) is published by Headline on 31st January 2017 and is available to purchase from Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

Lisa Gardner is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author. Her FBI Profiler novels include SAY GOODBYE, GONE and THE KILLING HOUR. Her Detective D.D. Warren series includes THE NEIGHBOUR, which won the International Thriller Writers’ Award in 2010, CATCH ME, CRASH & BURN and FIND HER. Lisa lives with her family in New England.

Angel by L.J. Ross #BookReview

About this book…

He’ll make you his angel, but first you have to die…

After a turbulent time, DCI Ryan’s life is finally beginning to return to normal and he’s looking forward to spending an uneventful Easter bank holiday weekend with his fiancée.

Then, on Good Friday morning he is called out to a crime scene at one of the largest cemeteries in Newcastle. The body of a redheaded woman has been found buried in a shallow grave and the killer has given her wings, like an angel.

Soon, another woman is found at a different cemetery, followed quickly by another. Panic spreads like wildfire as a new serial killer is born, and Ryan’s band of detectives must work around the clock to unmask him before he can strike again.

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

My review…

This is a series that really packed a punch right from the first book, Holy Island, and sometimes it can be difficult to keep up the momentum as a series progresses. But LJ Ross has such a captivating writing style that her books just seem to be getting better with each one! I will also say that each one is pretty self-contained so they can be read as standalone novels although the personal threads running through are so interesting that you will surely want to read them all anyway so I recommend you read them in the order they were written.

There’s such an intriguing case here for DCI Ryan to solve. When bodies start turning up, buried in graveyards and all looking similar, the police force realise that they have a serial killer on their hands. Even worse, it looks like red headed Mackenzie also fits the description of the murdered women so the race is on to discover the identity of The Graveyard Killer before he kills again. There’s barely time to take breath once the team start their investigations and there’s definitely not much time for personal relationships so they are put on the back burner for most of Angel. Is this the work of a religious zealot or is there a much deeper motive for the killing spree?

The first chapter really set the tone and pace for the rest of the book and once it grabbed me, it wasn’t letting go. I loved the camaraderie between the characters and the easy way they all came together, like a perfectly oiled machine! As usual the beautiful setting of Northumberland acts as a picturesque contrast to the dark and disturbing crimes committed here. In particular, at its heart, is the spectacular attraction The Angel of the North, a stunning visual landmark welcoming vistors to that part of the country. The comparison with the way the bodies were displayed was hard to miss and just added to my enjoyment of this gripping crime thriller. And now I just can’t wait to read the next one!  Highly recommended by me.

Angel: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 4) is available to purchase from Amazon UK now.

Meet the author…

LJ Ross

L.J. Ross is the author of the international #1 bestselling series of DCI Ryan mystery novels. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon Kindle UK bestsellers chart. Its sequels, Sycamore Gap, Heavenfield and Angel are also #1 bestsellers. The fifth book in the series, High Force, is scheduled for release towards the end of 2016 or early 2017. The novels are all available to purchase in e-book, paperback and audiobook formats on the Amazon store. Holy Island is also available in German translation.

Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King’s College, University of London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.

Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Bath. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.

If you would like to connect with LJ Ross, she would be very happy to hear from you:

Burned and Broken by Mark Hardie #BlogTour

Today I’m on the blog tour for Burned and Broken, a crime debut set in Essex which is being recommended for fans of Peter James.

About this book…

An enigmatic policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found burned to death in his car on the Southend sea front.

A vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.

As DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team are brought in to solve the mystery that surrounds their colleague’s death, they’re under intense pressure to crack the case without damaging the force’s reputation.

When a dramatic turn of events casts a whole new light on both cases, the way forward is far from clear. Were the victims connected in some way? And just how much should Pearson and Russell reveal to their bosses as they begin to unearth some dark secrets that the force would rather keep buried?

Mark Hardie’s stylish and gripping debut introduces a brilliant new detective duo to the world of crime fiction, weaving together two suspenseful stories that end in a breath-taking finale.

My review…

I’m a huge Peter James fan so was very keen to read this new author who is being recommended if you enjoy those styles of crime thrillers. The story is set in Southend on Sea but to be honest it could have been anywhere as I didn’t get a sense of place as I do when I read about Brighton in the Roy Grace novels. Saying that, I think this series has got off to a good start and it will be interesting to see if the setting develops further now that the characters have been introduced to the reader.

This book actually starts with one of the best openers I’ve seen this year so far. In a short tension filled prologue, we meet a police officer who has just had a car crash and his growing horror as he realises the car is about to catch fire. We then skip back 4 days to meet DS Frank Pearson who is trying to work through health problems but these will eventually need to be out aside as he investigates the death of his colleague, joined by DC Cat Russell. There was another thread running throughout the plot where a young girl just released from care is looking into the death of her friend Alicia and gradually these stories are set on a collision course for a shocking finale.

I thought that although the start and finish of this book were brilliantly gripping and involving, it lost its way slightly in the middle. There is absolutely no doubt that Mark Hardie can write an intelligent and articulate crime thriller and I found that I really enjoyed the conversational prose but wish there had been more of a balance between that and the descriptive writing in the middle. It hasn’t put me off trying the next book by this author though as I definitely felt a connection to Frank Pearson and would be interested in seeing how his character develops in the series.

Burned and Broken (Pearson and Russell) is out now in ebook with the paperback out on 26th January 2017.

About the author…

Mark Hardie began writing full time after completely losing his eyesight in 2002. He has completed a creative writing course and an advanced creative writing course at the Open University, both with distinction.

The Damselfly by S.J.I. Holliday #BookReview #TBConFB

About this book…

An unsolved murder. A community turned against each other. A killer close to home…

Katie Taylor is the perfect student. She’s bright and funny, she has a boyfriend who adores her and there are only a few months left of school before she can swap Banktoun for the bright lights of London. Life gets even better when she has an unexpected win on a scratch card. But then Katie’s luck runs out.

Her tragic death instead becomes the latest in a series of dark mysteries blighting the small town. The new school counsellor Polly McAllister, who has recently returned to Banktoun to make amends in her own personal life, is thrown in at the deep end as the pupils and staff come to terms with Katie’s death. And it’s not long before she uncovers a multitude of murky secrets. Did Katie have enemies? Is her boyfriend really so squeaky clean? And who is her brother’s mysterious friend?

With Banktoun’s insular community inflamed by gossip and a baying mob stirring itself into a frenzy on social media, DS Davie Gray and DC Louise Jennings must work out who really murdered Katie before someone takes matters into their own hands…

The Damselfly is the latest novel from the bestselling author of Black Wood and Willow Walk set in the small Scottish town of Banktoun. Fans of Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsonsand Peter James will love this rivetting psychological crime thriller as DS Davie Gray tries to hold together a community once again rocked by tragedy.

My review…

This is the third book (and as its a trilogy supposedly the last!?) in the Banktoun series by S.J.I.Holliday and I have to admit that it’s actually the best one so far. I liked Black Wood, I really liked Willow Walk but I loved The Damselfly! All of these books can be read as standalone novels but there are little threads running throughout this which may mean more to you if you’ve read the previous books. And if you haven’t, WHY NOT?

But I ended up feeling quite bereft after the first few pages, as I really liked Katie Taylor, with her hopes and dreams for a better life for herself. She is about to escape her unsupportive family and make a fresh start in London until she is discovered dead in her bedroom. Honestly, I would have been far happier for her awful sister Brooke or her apathetic mother Mandy to have met a sticky end! Before her death Katie won enough money on a scratch card to facilitate her on her journey to a new life but did this contribute towards her sudden demise? Back to Banktoun comes Davie Gray, fresh from his detective training, to work with Louise Jennings on this new case. But there’s also another familiar face returning to the scene of the crime. Just what secrets are the inhabitants of Banktoun hiding?

What I love about this series is that it seems so realistic! Banktoun could really exist with its vividly described surroundings and local townsfolk. Policeman Davie quickly slips back into his role of community protector as he carefully works his way through the evidence presented. I loved his enigmatic, calm demeanour and quiet determination to solve the case which was complimented by Louise, a compassionate sidekick, still not quite hardened to the rippling effects of violent crime.

The use of various social media gave this addition to the series a particularly current feel. There are regular posts published on the ThreeWiseMonkeys blog, author unknown, and a secret vigilante group on Facebook determined to name and shame the suspect they are convinced murdered Katie. These, alongside the short and intense chapters told by Polly, Louise and Neil kept me engaged in the highly addictive storyline right up to the breathtakingly dramatic finale.

S.J.I. Holliday has taken her dark and compelling Scottish crime novels and built a series that will be sadly missed if it stops here! I don’t think I have ever been as devastated as I was when I read the final few pages of The Damselfly, thinking that it could be my last vist to Banktoun! I’m hoping it is lying asleep somewhere like a modern day Brigadoon just waiting to be reawakened by a few taps on the authors keyboard. This has been a brilliant series which has concluded with the best book so far in my opinion and so it comes highly recommended by me.

My thanks to TBConFB for my review copy of The Damselfly.

The Damselfly: A gripping and unnerving crime thriller is published on 2nd February 2017 by B&W publishing.

Meet the author…

SJI Holliday
S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday grew up in East Lothian. A life-long fan of crime and horror, her short stories have been published in various places, and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize. She has written three crime novels, a mix of police procedural and psychological thriller, set in the fictional Scottish town of Banktoun. They are: Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly – all featuring the much loved character, Davie Gray. Susi also works as a pharmaceutical statistician. She is married and lives in London, and you will find her at crime fiction events in the UK and abroad. 
You can find out more at her website: and on Facebook and Twitter @SJIHolliday.

Sinful Deception by Linda S Prather and M A Comley Publication day #BookReview

About this book…

“At the end of the day, Foxy, we’re not all that different, really. I’m going to enjoy working with you.”

Detective Alex Fox now had positive proof that The Escape Artist was not only in New York, but monitoring her every move. As a member of the newly formed Special Investigations unit of the NYPD, she’s finally in a position to find him, put an end to his villainous crimes and avenge her sister’s brutal murder.

When the mutilated bodies of three teenage runaways are recovered, and with the abduction of former Commander Patterson, Alex is forced to put her plans on hold, as the unit is called in to investigate these horrendous crimes. With the two cases running side by side, Alex and her team are stretched to the limits in this edge-of-your-seat thriller.

My review…

Wow wow wow! Having loved all the Deception books so far this one really did get my old heart racing as we follow Alex Fox during her next case. And this time she gets even closer to The Escape Artist-closer than even SHE realises!
Mel Comley and Linda Prather have come together and done a brilliant job in creating such an intriguing villain. The Escape Artist is a seriously creepy criminal and here we start to find out much more about his background and what pushes him on in his quest to torment Alex further. In her latest case, teenage girls are turning up dead but is everyone who they say they are or are they all hiding behind their own masks?

Alex is such an amazing character creation and she is written with just the right balance of professionalism but with such a likeable personality that we are cheering her all the way on her journey for justice for her sister. Her relationship with Nobby is always so very poignant and moving to read that I always enjoy their scenes together.

This series just keeps getting better and I really can’t wait to read the next Deception as it looks like it is going to get seriously messy for Alex Fox! These books are absolutely unputdownable so if you haven’t discovered them before you are in for a spine chilling treat!

Sinful Deception: Book 2 in the gripping Deception series is published on 31st December 2016 and is available here at Amazon UK.

You can read my review Tragic Deception by Mel Comley and Linda Prather #BookReview #FridayReads here and my review of Clever Deception by Mel Comley and Linda Prather here. I highly recommend this series and hope you enjoy it too.

Meet the authors…

Linda S. Prather
M A Comley