Blood Family by Graeme Hampton

4 Stars from me

I love meeting new police characters and I enjoyed following DI Matt Denning and DS Molly Fisher of the East London MIT in this second book of the series.

The books starts with a brutal and gruesome crime as a family home is set on fire and it doesn’t take long for fire investigators to discover the five bodies, three generations of the Galloway family, inside. I couldn’t hep but feel relieved that they had been shot first.

Denning and Fisher are a bit of an odd pairing and I plan to go back and read the first book in the series so that I can get to know them better. However, you learn a lot about them and their own dysfunctional families in Blood Family, with Matt Denning jugging his dedication to his career along with caring for his autistic son and Molly Fisher struggling with brother.

There seemed to be a different dynamic here than in other police procedurals that I have read recently and it made the book all the more engaging as Molly is actively encouraged to take risks and more cautious Denning plods doggedly onwards to solve the crime and catch the murderer.

The aspect of dysfunction and no such thing as a normal family is a strong message and not a bad one to promote.

Blood Family is a enjoyable read and I will look out for more in the series. My thanks to Graeme Hampton and BOTBSPublicity for letting me take part in this blog tour.

Synopsis: When D.I. Matthew Denning is called in to investigate a house fire in a North London street, he never anticipated the horrors that awaited him. As Denning and D.S. Molly Fisher search the wreckage, the bodies of the Galloway family – Brian and Ellie, son Simon, daughter Amber and 9-year-old grandson Caleb – are discovered in the smouldering house.

All evidence points to a tragic accident… until Matthew and Molly discover that the family was dead before the fire, murdered in their home by a faceless psychopath. What started as a routine investigation swiftly turns into a murder investigation, with Denning and Fisher hunting a killer who has wiped out three generations with a shotgun.

But as the case deepens, Denning and Fisher discover that the Galloways were no ordinary family. Like all families, they harbour secrets – but unlike others, their secrets were so deadly, someone is willing to spill blood to keep them hidden…

An utterly gripping detective novel set in London, Blood Family will thrill fans of Angela Marsons, Mark Billingham and Robert Bryndza.

Joining Blogging Book Tours – pros and cons

2019 has proved to be a wonderful year for me from a book blogging perspective. I have read some incredible books (I’ve read 72 according to Good Reads but I know it is a few more than that!).

I have always been a keen and regular reader – escapism at it’s finest!

During 2019 I’ve really embraced taking part in blog tours for books and I’ve hugely enjoyed it, it feels really good to be tiny part of the publicity and promotion for an author and to feel like I might in some small way have contributed to their sales 🙂

At this point, I would like to offer very genuine and heartfelt thanks to those who have welcomed me into their reviewers fold:

Damp Pebbles Blog Tours – got to start with Emma and Damp Pebbles as this was the first blog tour I joined and I have read some fabulous books thanks to Emma and the excellent service she offers to authors and reviewers.

Tony Marturano – next I move to Tony who introduced me to the fascinating and hugely exciting world of being invited to join a readers panel with a view to being an early reader to provide honest feedback intended help shape the editing process prior to publication. I was honoured to be able to this for Tony with his own books and also with Eye for Eye by J K Franko.

Book on the Bright Side Publicity – then there is the lovely Sarah from BOTBS who again I have taken part in some brilliant tours with and is super lovely to deal with too.

R&R Book Tours – now the lovely Shannon from R&R tours… Not only do I get to discover new books with her but she sends me MAGIC content that is all whizzy and HTML codey wizardry!

Random Things Tours – the most recent sign up for me is with the lovely Anne from Random Things Tours. Anne is great to deal with and super organised – thanks again for letting me take part.

Last but by no means least, I have also done a couple of reviews with Mirror Books and have a couple more lined up for the New Year. They are also great to work with and have some really exciting publications.

Also a nod to NetGalley, I absolutely love NetGalley!

So again, huge thanks to you all.

Now to Pros and Cons

I’ll start with cons as then they are out of the way. It can, at times, feel pressured. It can, sometimes, feel as though you are reading to meet a deadline rather than reading for enjoyment. There will be times when you don’t like the book. You will need to be clear and strong with your own opinions – without damaging the tour. You will need to be organised and meet the commitments you have made in terms of reviews – people are relying on you to publish on the right date. Never ever do it for the ‘free’ books, they aren’t free, think about the cost of your time!

Phew, now, on to the pros! So many positive aspects here, you get to read some amazing books – for me personally I’ve read books that I would probably not have ever encountered and a lot of them have been brilliant! You get to make connections with other people who love books 🙂 it’s a beautiful thing giving someone a book recommendation and then getting a tweet in a couple of weeks time to say they loved it. Reading an advance copy of a book for a nerd like me is exquisite! And, for me, the best thing is knowing that I’ve helped an author or made them smile when I can honestly say ‘I loved your book’.

So thank you all once again and I look forward to reading and reviewing many more fabulous books in 2020.

Lisa x

Who’s There? by Kerena Swan

5 Stars from me
County lines are of serious concern in the UK right now and Who’s There? really taps into this current and troubling issue. Kerena’s history of working in the sector shone through and added a breadth of credibility to the story.
For me, (I work in a secondary school and live in a town that is on a main line from London) this book is highly insightful and deals with a contemporary and very real issue in a sensitive way. Safeguarding of young and vulnerable people is high on the agenda for schools and government agencies and Who’s There? really shines a light on just how easy it is for someone to fall foul of these gangs of drug dealers.
This book is worth reading for that alone. So much so that I would actually recommend this to anyone who was seeking to gain an understanding of how the county lines work and why they are of such a risk to our children and young people.
Chip was a sweet character and again all too familiar to me as it is young, disconnected kids who are often targeted by these gangs to be their drug runners – kids like Chip who aren’t being closely monitored by their families and who are desperate either for attention, money or even just a sense of belonging.
Arnold is a superb character, I loved him so much for his straight forward view of things. What lovely eyes to see the world through – I felt quite jealous of his naive ability to see just the good in things. His view of the housing estate was so different to the cynical first impression gathered by his mum. Sadly this also meant he was the perfect person for them to ‘befriend’ and abuse. Yet, in among on the awfulness, I loved his little obsession with Clint Eastwood and the cowboy films, that was a nice touch.
Poker and Spider – ugh. Awful people with literally no morals.
I felt for the poor girl who lived next door to Arnold. Saskia was clearly a very genuine and kind girl – she was very sweet to Chip and Arnold on several occasions, yet her own dark past had led her to become hooked on drugs. Such a shame how the story panned out for her.
The parallel story of Arnold’s family would have been just as intriguing as a book on it’s own and showed a real depth of understanding of family dynamics and the complexity of the relationships within. Arnold’s mum, sister, stepdad and of course the dog were all excellently crafted and served to bring the story to life.
The fear for Arnold’s mum as she let go enough for him to leave home and live on his own was tangible and beautifully written.
I really enjoyed Who’s There? and am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the blog tour.
Synopsis: Appearances can be deceptive… Arnold Eastwood is thrilled when social services allocate him a flat all of his own. Independence hasn’t come easily to a young man with Downs Syndrome but now he has the chance to live free from his mum’s nagging, find a girlfriend, watch endless movies and make new friends. Meanwhile a London drug gang is setting up a supply line in Arnold’s town. They’re looking for someone to deliver drugs for them and somewhere to set up a base of operations. Soon Arnold and his flat are in the drug gang’s sights. Drawn into the dark underworld of crack cocaine and modern slavery, Arnold soon discovers that friends can in fact be deadly enemies. The question is: can he break free?  
Author Bio:
Kerena Swan trained as a Social Worker and worked for Social Services for over 25 years. For the past 14 years she has owned and managed an ‘outstanding’ rated agency for children with disabilities.  Following serious illnesses she decided to fulfil her long-held ambition of writing a book and getting it published. ‘Dying to See You’, published by Bloodhound Books, was her debut novel. 

After many years of writing professionally in the course of her work, Kerena has discovered the exhilaration and deep joy of writing fiction and can be found at all hours in front of her computer. Her second novel ‘Scared to Breathe’ is now available and her third book, ‘Who’s There?’ will be released on December 13th 2019.

Kerena lives with her family in a small village in Bedfordshire, UK and her books are set in the surrounding areas.

Drawing on her extensive knowledge and experience of the problematic world of social work and social studies, Kerena adds a unique angle to the domestic noir and crime genre.

If you would like to hear more about new releases, read Kerena’s blogs and download a free short-story – the prequel to Dying to See You – then visit www.kerenaswan.co.uk   and join her mailing list.

Facebook – Facebook.com/kerenaswan

Twitter- @kerenaswan

Instagram – kerenaswan

Goodreads link – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48763828-who-s-there

Amazon link – https://www.amazon.com/Whos-There-Kerena-Swan-ebook/dp/B081D5JWXG/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Kerena+Swan&qid=1573648513&s=digital-text&sr=1-2

Left For Dead by Paul J. Teague

4 Stars from me

I loved reading about Morecambe Bay and enjoyed the contrast of the vibrant holiday town from the past versus the now dilapidated and neglected holiday camp that is ripe for redevelopment today.

Will and Charlotte were a bit of a complex couple, seems to me they need to communicate better! It was a little bittersweet to read of them as a young couple and then see how much they’d lost each other along the way.

Lots of great characters throughout this book with a nice amount of attention paid to some of the non key characters too which I always think is a nice touch.

This is pretty much a mystery book and I was excited to learn that it is the first in a series – we desperately need some new crime thriller dramas on TV, could this be the next big thing?

My thanks to Paul J Teague and BOTBSPublicity for letting me take part in this blog tour.

Synopsis: A return to the past. Two guilty secrets. A memory that won’t stay buried…

When Charlotte and Will Grayson return to the seaside resort where they met as teenagers, they hope it’ll help to heal the wounds in their marriage.

But visiting the dilapidated holiday camp where their relationship began brings terrible memories back from the past.

The man who’d once made their lives hell has come back to find them – only, the last time they saw him, they’d left him for dead on the beach.

As the threats to their new life become more severe, Charlotte and Will discover that they were mistaken about what happened to Bruce Craven on that fateful night.

And now he’s returned to finish off what was started thirty years ago.

Sometimes the past is best left alone…

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulTeagueUK

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

Thriller website: https://paulteague.co.uk/

Left for Dead is the first book in the Morecambe Bay Trilogy.
Book 2 is Circle of Lies and will be published on Monday 9th December 2019.
Book 3 is Truth Will Out and will be published on Monday 6th January 2020.

The Hunting Ground by L J Morris

#Cover Reveal
Hunting Ground
L J Morris
Book Description:
Freed from prison and back in Europe, Ali Sinclair has one job… find Frank McGill. The information he has is vital if they are to end the conspiracy that threatens to bring down the Government and push NATO to the brink of war. With terrorist attacks increasing and a mole at the top of the establishment, Sinclair and McGill will need to use all their skills to follow the clues across the continent in a deadly treasure hunt that drags them back towards London.But when you’re being hunted by assassins and the authorities… going home isn’t always the safest option.
Author Bio:
L J Morris is an author with a lifelong love of books and storytelling that he developed as a child. He spent most of the 80s and 90s serving in the Royal Navy as a Weapons Engineer and now lives in Cumbria, with his family. He currently works within the defence industry and continues to write at every opportunity. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies including Volumes 1 & 2 of Best-selling author Matt Hilton’s anthology series ‘ACTION: Pulse Pounding Tales’.
Other anthologies he has appeared in include ‘Happily Never After’, ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’, and ‘Liminal Time, Liminal Space’ where one reader described his tale ‘True Colours’ as “Riveting and powerful
His first novel ‘Desperate Ground’ was published in May 2018 and attracted good reviews.

 

What He Did by J G Roberts

4 Stars from me

This is my first time reading anything by J G Roberts and I am delighted to say that I really took to our lead detective Rachel Hart although I can’t help feeling that I should have read book 1 in the series first and I am going to suggest to anyone considering ‘What He Did’ to definitely go ahead and buy/download it but to also get yourself a copy of Little Girl Missing by the same author.

What He Did has a clever storyline and many potential suspects with red herrings and discoveries along the way. Detective Rachel Hart has an interesting style in terms of how she leads her team and also how she conducts her personal life, I feel I need to know her a little better to fully understand some of her ways.

I was quickly drawn into this book and keen to discover who the killer was as one by one a group of old team mates begin to be murdered and a hidden secret is revealed as the motive. The bulk of the book is essentially a whodunnit with a few other stories running concurrently (as you would expect) which interweave at salient points.

I am looking forward to book 3 and I have to say I’ve taken a real dislike to Rachel’s boyfriend, Tim!

My thanks to @Bookouture Books on Tour for letting me take part.

Synopsis: Your husband’s car crash wasn’t an accident…

Maddy Shaw learns the life-shattering news in the most horrific way: live on air. As the shaky phone recording pans over the terrible crash, she recognises her husband Simon’s car in the wreckage… He is critically injured, and she rushes to his side.

Detective Rachel Hart knows how it feels to have a loved one’s life hanging in the balance, and hurries to support her friend. Maddy is distraught about her husband’s accident, and Rachel decides to investigate. It’s not her case, but if she can give her friend answers, she will. But she soon realises Simon didn’t crash because he was distracted, or because a tyre blew. Someone made this happen. Someone who wants Simon dead…

After the discovery of a threatening letter buried in Simon’s diary, Maddy has to ask how well she knew her husband. Then a new victim is found – an old friend of Simon’s, a man he hasn’t seen in years. It seems a dark secret from their past has finally come to light… The killer has a list of targets, and they are dying one by one.

Rachel must race against time to protect her friend and find the murderer, before another life is taken. But however fast she runs, it seems the killer is always one step ahead. And Maddy must decide if she wants the truth – even if it puts her in the killer’s path…

A twisty and breath-taking thriller for fans of Rachel Abbott, Cara Hunter and Angela Marsons.

A Cruel Deception by Kim Booth

3.5 stars from me

It has been quite an hour to read A Cruel Deception knowing that it is the first hand account of the policeman who cracked the case. Truly a privilege to follow his thought processes and procedures as he closes in on the perpetrator.

The crime within A Cruel Deception (well, the main one as there are several little side stories and anecdotes which beautifully enhance and flesh out the pages, I can image an afternoon with tea and cake with Kim Booth is a meandering and uniquely fascinating experience) is one of a brazen fraud, carried out with breathtaking audacity over a period of many years. It is artfully captured within A Cruel Deception and the dogged and determined approach taken by the police to capture such a criminal without the use of modern day technology is to be admired.

As, begrudgingly, is Barbara Hendry who manages to pull of repeated cons against unsuspecting people without all the clever frippery of social media, computers and mobile phones – dreadful woman, obviously, but also clearly very devious.

As a fan of crime thrillers, it took me a little while to adjust to the slower pace of this – after all real – account. I only say that so that others can mentally adjust and expect this change of pace rather than be caught out by it.

Overall, an interesting and rare opportunity to witness some old-school policing first hand.

Book Description: ‘No one knows this horrifying true crime case better than the detective who cracked it. Kim Booth will take you on an unforgettable journey into lies, deceit, cunning and malice.’ Nick Louth
For Joan and Ted Warner, an innocent and trusting couple, a chance encounter with Barbara Hendry, a cunning con-woman who turned their settled lives into a living nightmare.
The Warners were not victims of a remote scam, carried out over the internet by fraudsters from afar. For six years, faking a friendship face-to-face, this plausible woman carried off the impersonation of a member of the nobility fallen on hard times, manipulating the emotions of her victims, deceitfully draining them of every penny they had set aside for their retirement, and plunging them into debt.
Hendrys intention was to slip away, having sucked the Warners dry of all their hard-earned savings. But for some dogged investigative work by a determined detective she would have succeeded- and remained free to prey on other vulnerable victims.
Follow this journey of fraud and depravity in the company of the one man who knows the full story – the British detective who cracked the case and brought Barbara Hendry to justice.
A Cruel Deception is an insightful and gripping work of true crime, which illustrates the depth of wickedness and the possibility that we can all be deceived.
The author retired from the Lincolnshire Police as Detective Inspector in charge of the Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit. He now provides anti-fraud advice and fraud investigation on a consultancy basis together with assisting authors with police procedural issues and story lines.
Author Bio:
Prior to joining the police I had numerous jobs, Worked in a chicken factory for next to nothing, In a Bakery, Royal Mail as a Postman, With my dad who was a civil engineer construction roads and sewerage works and finally in a hotel. Had dealings with the CID and thought “I can do that” and joined the police with the sole intention of being a CID man! Joined Lincolnshire Police in July 1975.