No Further Question by Gillian McAllister – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

The police say she’s guilty.

She insists she’s innocent.

She’s your sister.

You loved her.

You trusted her.

But they say she killed your child.

Who do you believe?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. No Further Questions was a novel that was different to many others that I read. Not because of its subject matter or type of crime fiction but because I was convinced I knew who was responsible for Layla’s death. The problem was that this character, alongside many others had a perfect alibi. I won’t say who I thought it was, or if I was correct but I would love to know what other readers thought.
It is told by various points of view as you go through the court case. Many of the witnesses have their own voice, they are not just standing in the dock answering questions. You see their inner thoughts and their turmoil at not doing more on the night of Layla’s death and in the events that led to it. You also get to see what the judge was thinking. I liked this a lot, I’ve only ever read about a judge’s thought in lighter novels and I found it fascinating.
Obviously the death of a baby is traumatic and the court case caused more upset. Martha and Scott had differing opinions about whether Becky is responsible but still managed to be supportive to each other. I could see their attempts to rebuild their lives, each blaming themselves and I was willing them on to be successful.
The court case didn’t overpower the storyline, there was plenty of room for the personal storylines too. There was also not too much medical detail, I have found in the past that it can be confusing if you are not familiar with the terminology.
A brilliant novel that many will enjoy.

blog tour

 

The London Murder Mysteries by Alice Castle – Blog Tour Review.

Death in Dulwich Cover  The Girl in the Gallery Cover

A Death In Dulwich

About the Book

Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane is forced to become Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple when she stumbles over a murder victim on her first day at work. To clear her name, Beth is plunged into a cozy mystery that’s a contemporary twist on Golden Age crime classics. But can she pull it off? She already has a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of SE21. Join Beth in #1 of the London Murder Mystery series, as she discovers the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places.

My Review

A Death in Dulwich is a good introduction to this cozy crime series. Beth is a character I liked, she was shown to be independent, with a slightly sarcastic opinion on some of the people she met and especially of life in Dulwich. I don’t know the area at all but I can imagine that there are plenty of areas like it. Her new job is one that I would love, I would have the time of my life in that poky, untidy little office! Finding a body, not so much.
It is cozy crime but there is a darker thread to the mystery, some of which is revealed as she tidies the archives and also the murder. It isn’t the main theme in the novel though. The author goes out of her way to make the reader have an interest in the characters. There are a few I’m hoping to read about in book two. Including the cat, Magpie, strangely enough.

The Girl in the Gallery

About the Book

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane sneaks off to visit one of her favourite places – the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy, Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Just who is The Girl in the Gallery?

Join Beth in adventure #2 of The London Murder Mystery series as she tries to uncover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.

My Review

You soon realise that Beth has the bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are many similarities with the previous book, her friendship with Katie, her scathing opinion of all the ‘yummy mummies’ and her often fractious  relationship with York, the police officer who has to investigate the cases that she is has the misfortune to be involved in.
But the case she attempts to solve this time is completely different. More modern, some of it believable with regards to the social media influence. But this is cosy crime and there will always be parts that are less believable but that the reader can still enjoy.
I found this book much more sinister than the first. At times it was creepy, the control that certain people had over others, even down to what they were allowed to eat and the refusal by some parents to see a problem caused by social media.
I have enjoyed both of these books and I’m looking forward to more.

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The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech – Review.

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About the Book

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have now read and thoroughly enjoyed all four of Louise Beech’s novels. She is the only author who doesn’t write crime fiction who I follow avidly. Her writing is exquisite.
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story. Most of the novel concerns both Ben and Andrew, the reader sees both sides of their story. You first meet Ben when he is in Zimbabwe. You know that it is a life long dream but don’t know why he chose to be there at this time in his life. He is struggling with his emotions though, wanting to ring home, or write but not being able to do so. But he is somebody who struggles to admit to those close to him his true feelings. More is revealed as you read. It is a different setting for me, but I could visualise it through the writing. The weather, the magical sunrises, the lions with their beauty but also the knowledge that they could be a threat. And the vile coffee.
Andrew is a completely different character. Much more open in some ways, he has no problems with his sexuality, but in other ways he struggles. Health issues, a lonely childhood and the unfulfilled dream of becoming an author.
When reading this novel I felt like everything else that was happening in the world vanished. It was impossible to be distracted whilst reading. This is rare for me, I’m best reading with nothing happening in the background but with this book it didn’t matter. It took over everything. There is so much to love. Bob Fracklehurst ( a character who regular readers will know), the humour that is present in a relationship with a soul mate, the wrong words, the excerpts from Andrew’s book at the top of each chapter. I could go on and on.

I’m not ashamed to say I cried. More than once. I cried at the relationship between Ben and Andrew a few times and I also cried over Will. The man who knew he had made mistakes, and regretted them.
An absolutely brilliant novel, told as always from the heart.

Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley – Review.

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About the Book

Martin Reese is an average guy who just happens to be obsessed with digging up the undiscovered remains of serial killer victims. For years, he has illegally bought and studied police files, using them to find missing bodies left behind by serial killers. His wife’s beloved sister vanished decades ago, her body never found, so Martin knows what it is like to live without closure. The anonymous tips have led the police to many grisly finds and the police department have dubbed him ‘The Finder.’

My Review

With thanks to Sophie Goodfellow for the copy received. Find You In The Dark is likened to both The Talented Mr Ripley and Dexter. Not having read or watched either I read this novel not knowing what to expect. But with it being published by Text Publishing I knew it would be a little different.
It is a slightly sinister read, Martin is intent on helping his wife get some closure by finding the body of her sister who disappeared before they met. Whilst he has failed with that he has helped other families. He does it by sifting through police statements for the mundane facts that the police decide are worthless. This helps him locate the bodies but the police are keen to know more about him. And alongside them is a killer.
I wouldn’t say that Martin was a character I liked. He was a successful businessman but he did have a worrying side to his personality, especially when he was younger. This is explained towards the end but it was still a little disturbing. I felt his marriage a little empty, but both him and his wife were devoted to their daughter Kylie, my favourite character out of the three.
The two officers trying to identify him and solve current murders are another strange couple. Sandra, especially, gives an outward image of being a hard cold person, sometimes rude but I think if there is a follow-up novel her softer side will be revealed. I have to admit I did have suspicions about her partner but they were incorrect.
Often fascinating, sometimes gory and totally original. I liked it a lot. Recommended.

After He’s Gone – Jane Isaac – Guest Post

Today it is my pleasure to my blog Jane Isaac to talk about starting a new series. I will give you the synopsis first.

About the Book

You think you know him. Until he’s dead.

When Cameron Swift is gunned down outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer: a dual role that requires her to support the family, and also investigate them.

As the case unfolds and the body count climbs, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets.

Even the dead…

Guest Post

Doing Something Different

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog! This month marks the publication of a not only a new book for me, but also the start of a new crime series.
Those who’ve read my work will know I currently write the DCI Helen Lavery series and the DI Will Jackman series. It can be a difficult decision to change when readers have invested so much in your characters, but I see it more as a break. I’d love to work with both Helen and Will again in the future, but wanted to try something different for the moment, to keep the stories fresh.
After He’s Gone introduces Family Liaison Officer, DC Beth Chamberlain. It’s been an interesting series to research and write as it offers a different perspective on murder investigations, focussing on the victim’s family. Family Liaison Officers are deployed to support families of victims of serious crime like homicide, road death and other critical incidents. They spend a lot of time updating them on the investigation and feeding back information and often get very close. And since most people are killed by someone they know or someone close to them, it affords the opportunity to unravel some really intriguing secrets!
For me, finishing a book represents the end of a journey, but it’s by no means the end of the road. As soon as I completed my first draft of After He’s Gone and sent it off to my editor, I began working on the second DC Beth Chamberlain novel which is scheduled for release at the end of this year, and it’s been interesting to watch Beth deal with the trials of a new investigation. One of the joys of writing a series is that, by the end of the first book, you know the character implicitly and it’s wonderful to challenge and stretch them in other directions.
There’s always a sense of trepidation that accompanies sharing a new book with the world. I realise I’m not alone here, some of the most famous authors, with a stream of books behind them, have spoken of their angst when they release a new title. Will readers like it as much as the last? Will it fulfil their expectations? An editor once told me that every book we write should be better and richer, a development on the last. No pressure there then! These thoughts have been more prominent with After He’s Gone, I guess because I’ve tried to do something different. Hopefully, readers will find it a fresh, interesting slant on the contemporary police procedural. Time will tell.

Author Bio

Jane Isaac lives with her detective husband (very helpful for research!) and her daughter in rural Northamptonshire, UK where she can often be found trudging over the fields with her Labrador, Bollo. Her debut, An Unfamiliar Murder, was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’ The follow up, The Truth Will Out, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-Thriller.com.
After He’s Gone is Jane’s sixth novel and the first in a new series featuring Family Liaison Officer, DC Beth Chamberlain. The second DC Beth Chamberlain novel will be released later in 2018.
Connect with Jane at www.janeisaac.co.uk .