The Devil’s Porridge Gang by Colin Garrow

4 Stars from me

Set at the time of the moon landing, this is a brilliant suspense-filled children’s thriller!

As well as having an inspired title, there are some wonderful characters contained within the gang members and indeed their enemy – the Wormleys…

A tale of simpler times, full of some wonderful nostalgia that will lift this from being a children’s mystery novel into appealing to an adult readership from this period of time. Anyone who recalled being of a similar age during the moon landing will no doubt fall in love with this book.

This book offers the perfect mix of mystery, intrigue, mild peril and childhood friendship.

#TheDevilsPorridgeGang @colingarrow @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Blurb: In a town where nothing happens, a gang of kids uncover a kidnapping plot.

In the days following the excitement of the moon landings, a group of criminals plan to kidnap the son of a Government rocket engineer – but they don’t expect a gang of kids to get in the way…

Sam Todd dreams of adventure and longs for something exciting to happen for him and his friends. When he and the gang try to add a touch of excitement to their lives by stealing empty bottles from a pop factory, they are easily caught. But the consequences lead them back to the factory where they begin to uncover a villainous scheme.

THE DEVIL’S PORRIDGE GANG is book #1 in this Sixties adventure series.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/colingarrow

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colingarrowthewriter/

Website (adults): https://colingarrow.org/

Website (childrens): https://colingarrowbooks.com/

 

The Terror Within by Linda Regan

4 Stars from me

This is a beautiful example of how to build tension!

Hats off to Linda Regan who has essentially written this entire book around one scene – it’s a brilliant concept and artful mastered.

The Terror Within is my first introduction to DCI Banham and I will be looking out for the previous books as I would love to read the backstory. Well, I think, to be fair it sounds pretty damn gruesome!

My only niggles throughout this book related to the internal dialogue from DI Alison Grainger – her ‘do I, don’t I, oh Banny, I love his little curl‘ got on my wick!

Ignoring that, this is a solid and superbly constructed hostage scene with a wonderful amount of ever tightening peril and tension – I loved it!

My thanks to the wonderful Emma from Damp Pebbles Blog Tours who rescued my ARC which was virtually unreadable! The woman is a saint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Blurb: CAN THEY SAVE THE HOSTAGES BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT?

Just as DCI Banham and DI Alison Grainger are about to get married, a policeman is shot and all officers are urgently called to the scene.

Banham, a trained hostage negotiator, rushes to the street when he hears his friend, PC Martin Neville, has been injured and taken hostage, along with four others. As Banham tries to negotiate, things go from dangerous to critical, with PC Neville is in a life-threatening condition.

Meanwhile Grainger, having been left at the altar, defies orders and is working on the case from the CCTV room. When the pieces begin to fall together, she finds herself in a deadly situation. With time nearly up, the demands of the hostage-takers are yet to be met and lives remain at risk…

DCI Banham returns in the latest heart racing novel from critically acclaimed author Linda Regan. This fast-paced and gritty thriller is perfect for fans of Lynda La Plante and Kimberley Chambers.

About Linda Regan:

Linda is a successful actress, still best known for her portrayal of April, the sweet yellow-coat, in the BBC award winning comedy Hi-De-Hi. Other programmes she has appeared in include: The Bafta nominated Channel five series: Harry and Cosh, The Bill, London’s Burning, Minder, Gentle Touch, The Knock, a Lynda La Plante series: Framed, to name but a few. Also many films, a season with the RSC, and many good theatre roles. To date she has appeared in nearly a hundred commercials.

She has been writing all her life: short stories, radio, fact and fiction. Her first crime novel was published in 2006, and her subsequent novels have all received excellent reviews.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Linda_Regan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaReganAuthor/

Website: https://lindareganonline.co.uk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/linda.regan.01/

I May Kill You by Keith Dixon

4 Stars from me

I finished this book gutted that Ben Buckland is an ex-policeman, I’d love to read a series involving him as a lead copper.

The story centres around Peter our serial killer – who has taken the time to write to 713 people to let them know that he might kill them, and Ben Buckland, disgraced ex-cop who is determined to catch the killer.

Ben is a great character and I enjoyed that he was the centre of a kind of neighbourhood watch group, appointed by all the old ladies in his block of flats who seemed convinced he was definitely still a policeman.

Peter is a reluctant, quirky and at times reluctant killer – his depth of knowledge of books was fabulous, a very nice touch from the author which put my in mind of the Michael Wood books.

Overall this is a great premise for a story, the relationships that Ben has – with his ex-wife, daughter, ex-girlfriend etc all add a nice dimension to his character. Although I can’t help feeling he brings some of the bad stuff onto himself…

Book Blurb: Serial killers are secretive animals. They keep their deeds to themselves and hope never to be found.

But there’s a new man in town—a killer who warns people in advance he’s going to kill them, then does it, in a variety of unusual, even bizarre, ways.

Ex-policeman Ben Buckland wants to catch this man not because he’s on the list… but because his 15-year-old daughter is. And that’s just not fair.

Especially when the killer has sent out warnings to several hundred people…

 

Rage and Retribution by Lorraine Mace

4 Stars from me

There is a lovely little moral dilemma running through the core of Rage and Retribution – the question of whether two wrongs make a right.

In the story, we soon learn that there is a person ‘Nemesis’ who is enacting revenge upon rapists, so far so good right… However, Nemesis has taken the act of retribution to its darkest edge and, much like in Retriever of Souls, Lorraine Mace leads us into some very uncomfortable, brutal and graphic scenes.

I’m a bit on the fence regarding my opinion of DI Paolo Sterling – most of the time I like him but there isn’t just something about him that rankles a little. Dave however seems like a top guy whereas the rest of the team seem 50/50.

There are some interesting little subplots throughout the story which add depth to the lead characters making them more real.

Overall a very interesting take on ‘can two wrongs make a right’ within a fast paced race to unearth the culprit.

My thanks to Lorraine Mace and Damp Pebbles for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: Can two wrongs ever make a right?

A man is found by the side of a canal, comatose and brutally attacked.

It quickly becomes clear that someone is abducting men and subjecting them to horrific acts of torture. After three days they’re released, fighting for their lives and refusing to speak.

A councillor is accused of fraud.

Montague Mason is an upstanding member of the community. That is until he’s publicly accused of stealing the youth centre’s funds – an accusation that threatens to rip through the very heart of the community and expose his best-kept secret. But how far would he go to protect himself?

Two cases. One deadly answer.

As the two cases collide, D.I. Paolo Sterling finds he has more questions than answers. And, when torture escalates to murder, he suddenly finds himself in a race against time to find the killer and put an end to the depravity – once and for all.

30 Days in June by Chris Westlake

4 Stars from me

Super creepy and loads of tension – 30 Days in June is a book that you will struggle to put down.

Marcus is an unusual character and I found him a little hard to truly like most of the time – but I guess that stems from the catalogue of horrors that have formed his life.

When, 30 years after a serial killer first strikes, someone calls Marcus by his old name, he is ricocheted back into the past and immediately fearful for his life. However it seems that the depraved – and patient, right – serial killer wants to play a game first.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for ‘Marcus’ and his family – they well and truly went through the mill didn’t they!

Marcus meets some eclectic ‘allies’ along the way as he struggles to fight the serial killer who almost took his life 3 decades before and for the month of June the clock ticks down to a final confrontations – but who will survive?

30 Days in June is a compelling read with a steady pace – albeit with a rapidly building tension – with a satisfying ending.

My thanks to Chris Westlake and Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for letting me be a part of this book tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: On the 1st day of June 1988, the residents of south Wales were thrown into a state of panic when a married couple were brutally murdered in their own home. The killer, nicknamed Spartacus by the media, did not flee the scene immediately; instead, he stayed to carve Roman Numerals onto his victims’ chests.

This was the beginning of a month-long killing spree, each murder taking a step closer to home.

Seventeen-year-old Jeffrey Allen was to be the final victim, on the final day of the month. Instead, he became the only survivor, and the only real witness. The killings ended as suddenly as they began. Jeffrey relocated to London, changing his name, and his identity, to Marcus Clancy. His past life became merely a dark secret.

On 1st June 2018, 30 years to the day since the first killing, a mysterious figure refers to Marcus by his old name, through closing lift doors.

Is Spartacus back? If so, has he returned to finish what he failed to do thirty years ago?

And so begins 30 days of terror for Marcus Clancy, culminating in dramatic fashion on the final day of June.

30 DAYS IN JUNE is Chris Westlake’s third novel, and his first crime thriller. He is currently writing his second crime thriller, and is on schedule to have it completed in 2020.

Avenge the Dead by Jackie Baldwin

4 Stars from me

It was great to catch up with DI Frank Farrell again – I last encountered him in Dead Man’s Prayer.

DI Farrell pushes the boundaries of ‘messed up cop’ to the absolute limit but I found that made me root for him all the more.

He is a complex but doggedly driven character who just never seems to give him (except on himself) and that drive and determination means that he pursues the culprit to the bitter end – no matter what.

Avenge The Dead has a clever and multi-layered storyline and Jackie Baldwin’s knowledge of the area and the legal profession really give this book an edge of credibility.

My thanks to @JackieMBaldwin1 and #damppebblesblogtours for letting me be a part of this stonking book tour! I feel honoured to be in such great company.

 

Blurb: Sometimes murder is the only way to get even… 

Four friends with dark secrets. One killer out for revenge.

DI Frank Farrell and DS McLeod are tasked with investigating the brutal murder of a defence solicitor’s wife in Dumfries.

It’s been over a year since they left the town after an investigation robbed them of a dear friend. But now they’re back and must find a way to move on.

When the son of another defence solicitor is murdered, a strange tattoo etched on his body, the case takes them into darker, more disturbing territory.

It leads them back into the past – to a horrific fire in a cottage that took a woman’s life, to four friends harbouring dark secrets – and finally to a killer waiting patiently for revenge.

#AvengeTheDead #DIFrankFarrell @JackieMBaldwin1 @0neMoreChapter_ @KillerReads @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

About Jackie Baldwin:

Jackie Baldwin is a Scottish crime writer. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads on 2nd September 2016. The second in the series, Perfect Dead was published on 15th June 2018. For most of her working life, she has been a solicitor specialising in Family and Criminal Law. She later retrained as a hypnotherapist. Married with a grown family, she recently moved from Dumfries to East Lothian.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieMBaldwin1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JackieBaldwinAuthor/

Website: http://jackiebaldwin.co.uk/

 

The Harlech Beach Killings by Simon McCleave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars from me

This was my first introduction to DI Ruth Hunter and I found her to be an easy to engage with lead character.

Having recently holidayed in Wales it was easy for me to conjure up images of the area and found this added to the atmosphere of the book.

I feel the need to go back and read book one to find out more about Hunter’s need to re-integrate with the police and her team – there’s clearly a great back story here.

Her partner Nick is an interesting character, classic alcoholism and a dangerous vendetta – what’s not to love?

All in all a good read with the promise of more to come in the next book it the series!

My thanks to Simon McCleave and Damp Pebbles for letting me take part in this blog tour.

Blurb: A murdered millionaire. A brutal drug operation. Can a detective with a haunted past stop the next assassination?

Detective Inspector Ruth Hunter is still struggling to deal with her stress. So when the body of a businessman washes up on a secluded North Wales shore, the former London cop is anxious to prove she can lead the local investigative team and nail the killer. But as she digs into the dead millionaire’s business affairs, DI Hunter discovers a disturbing link to an infamous Merseyside drug lord…

Tracking down clues alongside a hot-headed partner, she worries his private vendetta could seriously jeopardize bringing the gangster to justice. And between botched raids, tight-lipped suspects, and a slew of cold case murders, she’s sure the criminal mastermind must have corrupt police officers in his pocket…

Can Hunter take down the mobster before he orders a highly personal hit?

The Harlech Beach Killings is the second book in the gripping Ruth Hunter Crime Thriller series. If you like chilling police procedurals, true-to-life characters, and psychological twists, then you’ll love Simon McCleave’s page-turning thrill ride.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/author_simon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simonmccleaveauthor/

Website: www.simonmccleave.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simonmccleaveauthor/

Hidden Steel by Stuart Field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars from me

This is book 2 of a series featuring John Steel, the hero, who is on a cruise ship ‘Neptune’ where he has a matter of days to work out what is going on and beat the bad guys.

I wonder if John Steel is a bit marmite – will you love or loathe his all action hero style? He is a bit of Bond, Bruce Willis (from every Bruce Willis movie), Siegal, Cruise et al pretty much rolled into one ‘dude’ who has ladies falling at his feet.

Meanwhile back in New York, Sam McCall, is busy clearing down some cases which all appear to be separate but soon begin to show links… to each other and to the Neptune.

There follows a fast paced race to find answers, with rapid scene and point of view changes and definitely a high octane read!

Synopsis: In the UK, Detective John Steel is investigating the organization who killed his family. When he comes across information that something big is going to happen on the cruise ship Neptune, Steel goes undercover. He has fourteen days to figure out what is going to happen – and to stop it.

In New York, Steel’s NYPD partner, Detective Samantha McCall, is investigating a series of deaths. All seems run of the mill for the homicide detective until they find out that the deaths are somehow connected to the cruise ship John Steel is on.

McCall is convinced there is a mole in the department, but can she figure out who he is – and who he’s working for? Meanwhile, Steel is running out of options… and the clock is ticking.

Watch Over Me by Jane Renshaw

4 Stars from me

Well if this isn’t the sweariest book I’ll read this year then I’ll eat my f***ing hat hen.

Packed full of F-words, heavy Scottish dialect, casual violence (and good old fashioned hardcore violence and murder), Watch Over Me is humdinger of a story.

It is a book that needs you to suspend belief a little and just go with it – I think if you can successfully do that then you will love Watch Over Me.

There are some superb characters in here – Lorraine, Saskia, Caroline, Beckie, Aylish to name but a few (most of the Johnson clan deserve a mention to be fair although I did get a little lost at times are there are a few of them!). I do wish that Flora and Neil had had a bit more about them though, I couldn’t really find myself bonding with Flora unfortunately – Jeez what does it say about me that I preferred Lorraine to Flora?! Don’t answer that…

There are so many layers to this book and lots of twists, turns and surprises – if you like a psychological thriller that will keep you on your toes then this is the book for you!

My thanks to Damp Pebbles and Jane Renshaw for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Flora always dreamed of the day she’d become a mother. But some dreams turn into nightmares.

Flora and Neil are happily married, but they can’t have children so decide to adopt. And when Flora  meets little Beckie it’s love at first sight. Deep in her heart, she knows they’re meant for each other, destined to be mother and daughter.

When Flora officially becomes Beckie’s mum, it’s like a part of her that’s always been missing is finally in place. She is complete, every day filled with purpose and joy.

There’s only one problem. Beckie was taken from her birth family, the Johnsons, because they have a history of violence and criminal behaviour and so are judged to be unfit to care for a child.

But the Johnsons don’t agree. As far as they’re concerned, Flora has stolen their little girl and they are determined to get her back. They’re very smart, utterly ruthless – and they have a plan. One that will turn Flora’s life into a living hell and push her to the very edge of insanity. 

Operation Large Scotch by William Flockhart

3 Stars from me

This is an astounding debut novel from an author in his seventies – the storyline is deep and engaging and you are quickly pulled into the life of a young man sent away to South Africa (for his own safety), alongside that of the terror and tensions of military life in Northern Ireland at the time.

For me, the writing style had hallmarks of a seasoned male and I know my father in law would love all of the nuances and the tone of the dialogue!

My thanks to Emma from Damp Pebbles for letting me take part in this blog tour.

 

Synopsis: A dissident IRA terrorist cell, in opposition to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, plan to attack the Scotch Whisky Industry unless the British Government pay a ransom.

Armitage Brown, the assistant controller of M15, is given the task of preventing the threat which is planned to coincide with the Millenium Celebrations. Brown co-ordinates all the emergency services under his command in an effort to minimise casualties, using the code name ‘O.L.S.’ an abbreviation for Operation Large Scotch.

Both the terrorists and the security forces have carried out murderous deeds in the past which now come back to haunt them. John Jonhston, a young Northern Irishman, living thousands of miles away in South Africa releases information to Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service, in his effort to seek revenge for the killing of his father in Belfast.