The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney #BlogTour @Bookouture

Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for a stunning debut crime thriller by Patricia Gibney introducing Detective Lottie Parker.

The Missing Ones - Blog Tour

About this book…

The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.

As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?

Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.

My review…

I do love a good police procedural so thankfully this is a VERY good police procedural! And that is quite some achievement for Patricia Gibney and her debut novel The Missing Ones.

Lottie Parker is my kind of police officer and I have taken her to my heart already. She is my own personal favourite – a strong female lead, good at her job but struggling with her own personal demons which make her realistically normal! I loved her relationship with her kids and I thought their family dramas and conflicts were detailed with just the right amount of realism making them like every other family with teenagers, the only difference being that this family is now a single parent one after the death of Lotties husband. Which leads us to Lotties relationship with her colleague Boyd which was one of the most tender and poignant I have come across in a while. This is a partnership I will follow with interest as this series continues.

Plotwise this grabbed me by the hair and dragged me kicking and screaming through all the suspects but I didn’t guess who or the reason behind the seemingly connected murders. The first victims death I took particularly badly as it was a character I would have loved to have seen develop and have their own personal happy ever after but it wasn’t to be.

There was a real underlying feeling of loss and a terrible burden of sadness throughout this book. Not that it made me feel depressed or anything but it just made me hug my family just a little bit tighter after I finished it. Patricia Gibney writes beautifully with well crafted descriptive prose that flows perfectly so that before you know it minutes have passed while you have been utterly entranced by  Lottie and her surroundings. I’m ecstatic to have discovered a new detective series to follow especially one created to such a high standard with believable characters and plotting.

If you love Angie Marsons Kim Stone series then you will love one too. Highly recommended by me.

Thanks to Bookouture for my review copy of The Missing Ones which I have chosen to read and review.

The Missing Ones is published by Bookouture on 16th March 2017 and you can click  The Missing Ones: An absolutely gripping thriller with a jaw-dropping twist (Detective Lottie Parker Book 1) to purchase the ebook from Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

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Trust Me by Gemma Metcalfe #BookReview @gemmakmetcalfe

About this book…

One phone call. Two lives. Their darkest secrets.

Lana needs to sell a holiday, fast. Stuck in Tenerife, in a dead end job, she never expected a response quite like Liam’s.

Thousands of miles away a phone rings. Liam never intended to pick up, he’s too busy choosing the quickest way to die. But at least someone should know the truth before he goes, even if that someone is a stranger.

As time runs out both are drawn to the other, expressing thoughts they never imagined they would share.

When you’re about to die will your secrets even matter?

My review…

Wow! Trust Me is the best 99p I have spent in a long time! I saw this book had some great early reviews so got my pre order in and it magically appeared on my Kindle on Friday. And normally books then languish there for a good few weeks (months) due to my ridiculously high TBR pile but this one had intrigued me so much that I went to bed with it on Sunday night. And in the early hours of Monday morning I finally put it down with just that one word…….”wow”!

It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Gemma Metcalfe has taken her inspiration from a job she knows well and woven a twisted “what if?” around it in such a unique and engrossing writing style that you will be gripped immediately. Honestly, I defy ANYONE to be able to put this book down once they start it! It had all the pace of a Hollywood blockbuster but with a thoughtful insight that you don’t much see in this genre. But the best thing about it for me was that I had absolutely no idea where it was going! I LOVE being surprised by a book, it doesn’t happen to me much nowadays so when it does I just want to scream and shout and generally rave about it to anyone who will listen!

These two main characters Lana and Liam have never met but they are about to become the most important person in each others life as their deepest thoughts and darkest secrets slowly come together. I loved that the random phone call brought them together at just the right time and from that first contact I was desperate to discover what they were both hiding. You can almost feel Lana’s desperation as she starts off trying to make the sale that will save her skin but then it becomes an agonising race against time to hear how Liams story will end. Both threads kept my attention throughout and I would get fully invested in the tragic occurrences in Liams life then be left hanging in anticipation while we switched to the chain of events explaining how Lana ended up in that dead end job in Tenerife. There were some great unexpected plot twists here as well, one of which I didn’t see until it slapped me in the face with its originality and brilliance! Very clever indeed!

And after all that build up I wasn’t disappointed by the perfectly pitched ending – the cherry on the top of an involving and well rounded thriller that is unlike anything else you will read this year. Gemma Metcalfe should be so proud of herself for this uniquely fabulous debut and I am so looking forward to seeing what other deliciously warped ideas come from Gemma’s twisted imagination. Highly recommended by me!

Trust Me was published by HQ Digital on 10th March 2017 and you can click Trust Me: The thrilling suspense that will have you hooked in 2017! to purchase this book from Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

Gemma Metcalfe
Gemma Metcalfe is a Manchester born author who now lives in sunny Tenerife with her husband Danny and two crazy rescue dogs Dora and Diego. By day, Gemma can be found working as a Primary school teacher, but as the sun sets, she ditches the glitter and glue and becomes a writer of psychological thrillers. An established drama queen, she admits to having a rather warped imagination, and loves writing original plots with shocking twists. The plot for her debut novel ´Trust Me,´ is loosely based on her experiences as a call centre operative, where she was never quite sure who would answer the phone…

Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard #BlogTour @Legend_Press @SusannaBeard25

I’m absolutely delighted to be on the blog tour today for the debut novel by Susanna Beard “Dare to Remember”

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About this book…

Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her best friend dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.

However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions, too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?

As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there’s another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can’t escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.

My review…

Sometimes you pick up a book expecting one thing but getting something completely different (GOOD different not bad different!) and Dare to Remember is one such book. I was expecting the usual psychological thriller from the blurb on the back but was pleasantly surprised by the beautifully developed plot and depth of emotion laid bare here. In fact, this wasn’t so much a psychological thriller as a suspenseful piece of women’s fiction in my opinion and I found it all the more enjoyable for that. After the first few pages I was sucked into Lisa’s solitary existence and couldn’t put it down, reading long into the night, totally bewitched by the stunning prose and insightful exploration of post traumatic stress disorder.

Dare to Remember is intelligently written and intriguing with a perfectly crafted cast of characters who drive the storyline forward at a relaxed pace due to the longer chapters. This is no adrenaline rush, rollercoaster ride to discover what happened the night Lisa was attacked and her flatmate and best friend dead. Instead, we follow Lisa as she struggles with her survivors guilt and devastating grief. She cuts herself off from her family and friends and moves away, unable to cope with work or familiar places all of which remind her of Ali. But a chance meeting with an adorable black spaniel starts her on the road to unexpected friendships and a need to begin her healing process including possible closure about what happened that night.

To me, weirdly enough, I actually would have been quite happy NOT to find out exactly what happened the night Lisa was attacked. It was obviously an horrendous and brutal crime which left its mark on her both physically and mentally, but I was more taken by the day to day life of Lisa and enjoyed watching her come to terms with the changes in her surroundings and circumstances. I loved Riley and the walks he shared with Lisa and eventually Jess and Bobby. But my favourite character was John. His relationship with Lisa was so incredibly touching, and gradually built upon, until the only worry I had about the approaching denouement was not what was about to come out about “that night” but the welfare of John!

Dare to Remember is a wonderful, touching debut and I can’t wait to read more by Susanna Beard. Many thanks to Lucy Chamberlain for my review copy.

Dare to Remember: New Psychological Crime Drama. was published by Legend Press on 1st Feb 2017 and is available to purchase from Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

susanna-beard

Susanna is a psychological crime writer who lives in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Her day job in PR both demands and celebrates writing and she’s helped promote everything from websites to wine. She writes every day, all the time: news, articles, speeches, websites, blogs – and now novels.

She likes dark, contemplative stories with a twist; she’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships and the impact of insignificant events on people’s lives.

Susanna started writing fiction after attending a course at the Faber Academy. Other passions include her dogs, who keep her grounded, and tennis, which clears her brain of pretty much everything.

Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb #BlogTour @OrendaBooks

So today I am the closing stop on the blog tour for Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb otherwise known as Crime Thriller Girl who’s blog was one of the first ones I discovered when I entered the world of crime book blogging! Many thanks to Karen Sullivan for inviting me to take part.

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About this book…

Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.

Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.

Breathtakingly fast-paced, both hard-boiled and heart-breaking, Deep Down Dead is a simply stunning debut from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

My review…

OH. MY. GOD. There is one less space in my top reads of 2017 today and its only February! But this book……..!!!!! It is just so seriously cool and ridiculously brilliant! I loved it so much I am now prepared to do some serious stalking to get hold of Stephs next book in the series as soon as I possibly can. I mean, I have MAJOR “fictional character crush” here and its not on JT (although he is a very close second!) Lori Anderson is such an achingly hip mom that I just want to be her! I loved her relationship with her nine year old daughter Dakota, whom I took to straight away with her mini adult perspective on her mother’s life and job. I loved the way she kicked ass when faced with a roomful of bad guys. I loved her courage and determination. But most of all I found her to be real, a single mum doing what she had to do to get by, in a world where good rarely triumphs over bad anymore.

Everything about this book worked for me. I loved its fresh writing style with the short chapters maintaining a high level of anxiety and adrenaline. I loved the characters,  good AND bad, the atmospheric settings of Florida and West Virginia, and the whole concept of a plot that revolved around bounty hunting. I have to admit though I stopped reading after a few pages to google bounty hunting which is FASCINATING stuff! And due to Steph, herself, having trained as a “skip tracer” it felt authentic from start to finish. I was sucked in to Lori’s dilemma immediately and became so engrossed in her predicament that I nearly missed my stop on the train-yes, I was that into this book! In fact, I couldn’t wait to get back on the train to continue both our journeys!

This could easily have wandered farther down the romantic suspense route but the author kept any relationship dynamics to a tantalising minimum concentrating more on the action and a VERY cleverly conceived crime plot. I really felt Lori’s maternal instincts intensify as she channelled them into her search for the truth. She was like a one woman A-Team, a fierce mama bear protecting her sick young and prepared to fight till her final breath for those she believes in.

I haven’t read a debut as fresh and exciting as this for a long time. And now I have, I WANT MORE! I also feel it would make a great Hollywood action movie-we need more strong women characters leading the way on the big screen (I had Jennifer Lawrence in my head while reading. Anyone else?) Loved, loved, LOVED IT from start to finish and therefore very highly recommended by me.

Deep Down Dead (Lori Anderson) is available to purchase from Amazon UK now.

Meet the author…

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases.Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Deep Down Dead is her debut novel.

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.

Rattle by Fiona Cummins #BookReview

About this book…

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

My review…

Now I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to horror! I physically can’t watch horror films and I can’t read horror books either, mainly as it would be rather difficult to read with a huge cushion in front of my eyes. They tend to get into my head and transfer to my nightmares way too easily for me! Concerned that I was only missing out on Rattle due to my nervous disposition, I became determined to “man up” and give it a go. I was rather worried though about comparisons to Silence of the Lambs, a book I was too scared to read and a film I had only heard (that big cushion again!) But fear not, this is so much more than a scary serial killer crime thriller. Or should I say be afraid, be VERY afraid because Rattle is also a terrifying shock fest with a totally unique and gripping plot. Yes, it scared the **** out of me but I loved every minute!

The Bone Collector is one of the creepiest and darkest characters I think I have ever come across. His quest to secure the best exhibits for his personal museum sees him methodically hunting down his victims based on the unique pathology of their bone disorders. And children are very much top of his grotesque shopping list. I could feel my blood pressure rising as I kept reading “just one more chapter”, terrified by the thought of what was about to happen to those poor children. But the stylish writing and the remarkable character creations, especially that of detective Etta Fitzroy, kept me turning the pages-there was no way I was going to let The Bone Collector scare me away! I loved Etta’s determination and how the search for closure for previous victims took over to such an extent that it affected her personal life.

Once picked up you won’t be letting this book out of your sight. It’s a completely engrossing tale that really stands out from the crowd with its dark and chilling storyline but I had the feeling that it was also sending out an unexpected message of hope. I felt like I had been living out my own personal fears of loss and mortality alongside the affected families, with The Bone Collector a ghostly “grim reaper” presence, watching and waiting in the shadows. But by the end, I actually felt quite uplifted, which surprised me and I do love a book that messes with my emotions as you well know!

This is a fantastic debut and I can’t wait to see where Fiona Cummins takes us next. Be warned though that it can be rather gory in places, as you might expect from the cover blurb, so that’s worth remembering if you are a little bit squeamish. But for me, every gruesome detail was a relevant necessity and I didn’t hide behind that cushion once!

Rattle is published on 26th January by MacMillan and is available to purchase from Amazon UK here.

Meet the author…

Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family. Rattle is her first novel.

Sirens by Joseph Knox #BookReview @TransworldBooks 

About this book…

It starts with the girl. How it ends is up to DC Aidan Waits.

Isabelle Rossiter has run away again.

When Aidan Waits, a troubled junior detective, is summoned to her father’s penthouse home – he finds a manipulative man, with powerful friends.

But retracing Isabelle’s steps through a dark, nocturnal world, Waits finds something else. An intelligent seventeen-year-old girl who’s scared to death of something. As he investigates her story, and the unsolved disappearance of a young woman just like her, he realizes Isabelle was right to run away.

Soon Waits is cut loose by his superiors, stalked by an unseen killer and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman. He’s out of his depth and out of time.

How can he save the girl, when he can’t even save himself?

My review…

As soon as I saw the cover of Sirens I knew it was one I had to read, the iconic Manchester skyline dominated by the Beetham Tower which brings back some very happy personal memories for me. Living near Manchester, I’m very familiar with the city but after reading Sirens I think that I may be looking over my shoulder a lot more when I’m up town from now on!

As a huge fan of gritty crime dramas I have felt recently that poor Manchester has lost out to its more popular crime fiction cousins, London, Glasgow and even Liverpool. But Manchester brings it’s dark side to this brilliantly gripping debut novel, laying down a carpet of bleakness on that gloomy urban landscape to give us a cracking crime thriller. Right from the first few foreboding pages I was hooked. Aiden Waits is my kind of antihero-a bad boy detective who doesn’t follow the law himself, he drinks, takes drugs and as for the women…..he certainly isn’t someone I would engage to find my teenage daughter! He definitely has issues that affect his judgement but his sullen, brooding personality masks his intensity to succeed no matter what the cost. I just loved him! I need more Waits in my life!

At the centre of a lot of the action was the Beetham Tower which I felt practically stood out as a character in its own right as it involved itself in the various plot threads. A stark and lonely figure, the skyscraper cuts an unexpected and curious prominence watching over the busy and noisy city like a silent judge (the local folklores surrounding the tower are fascinating reading for anyone interested by the way!)

Joseph Knox has written a wonderfully realistic crime thriller here, gutsy, dark and atmospheric. The short chapters pack a punch, keeping your adrenaline pumping and your emotions high so that you keep telling yourself “just one more chapter” until there are no more left! And that ending-it was just so intensely perfect and shocking that I cried! “Northern noir” has a new star in Joseph Knox (actually, crime fiction in general has a new superstar!) and I will be singing his praises all the way to the top of that tower! Please tell me there will be more of the same coming soon!

Sirens is the best book I have read so far in 2017 so highly recommended by me.

Sirens is published by Transworld Books on 12th January 2017 and is available to purchase from Amazon UK here.

Meet the author…

Joseph Knox was born and raised in and around Stoke and Manchester, where he worked in bars and bookshops before moving to London. He runs, writes and reads compulsively. Sirens is his first novel.

Personal note…

The reason I love the Hilton Tower is that back in 2015 I was told to get myself dressed up as my girls were taking me somewhere special for my 50th birthday treat. I had no idea where we were heading until we drove into Manchester and that iconic building got closer and closer. We went up to Cloud 23 on the 23rd floor where we had cocktails and the most amazing afternoon tea. The views are fantastic, you can see for miles! I can highly recommend it for that special occasion or just to treat yourself. It’s a truly unique experience!

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Here I am enjoying my “prohibition-era priced” cocktail at Cloud 23.


My granddaughter admiring the view below us