Beyond Reasonable Doubt by Gary Bell – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Elliot Rook QC is one of the greatest barristers of his generation. 

He is also a complete fraud.

Elliot Rook is the epitome of a highly successful, old Etonian QC. Or so everyone believes. In fact, he is an ex-petty criminal with a past that he has spent decades keeping secret. Until now. 

An unidentified young woman of Middle Eastern origin has been found murdered on the outskirts of Rook’s home town. Billy Barber – a violent football hooligan and white-supremacist – is accused of her murder. Barber insists that Rook must defend him. If Rook refuses, Barber will expose him, bringing crashing to the ground the life and career that Rook has spent his life building. 

The truth is there for the finding. But at what cost?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I enjoy reading legal thrillers and obviously find some better than others. Beyond Reasonable Doubt is definitely one of the better ones that I have read.

Rook is silk and he isn’t like any of the others he works with. He isn’t Eton educated and he has a dubious past that he is determined will stay hidden. When he takes on a junior who is from the area he is brought up in and simultaneously is forced into defending a man from his past it appears that everything will be revealed.

One of the reasons this novel works so well is because Rook obviously has problems. There is his past, which only a few are aware of, his marital breakdown, his drinking and his weight. This isn’t a man who is clean and guilt free. He doesn’t have many friends in his profession and it doesn’t bother him. Zara, his junior, is the only one he really gets on with.

The case itself is a grim one. Racism at its worst and it’s something you expect to read about on a daily basis. The language and threat made me cringe and I had to admire Zara for putting up with it.

I liked the Nottingham setting. A mining community that no longer exists and has no prospects. Lives ruined, tragic events leading to loss of life and something I had never even considered and wondered if it was true. Football chants aimed at strike breakers. 

I would definitely read another in this series. 

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. A Modern Family is a book that is different to many that I read. Neither crime or historical it is instead a look at how a family dynamic changes when  parents announce that they are divorcing after being married for forty years. Most of the novel focuses on Liv and Ellen but the last chapter concerns Håkon the youngest.

All of the children are adult and all react in different ways. Liv with so much fury that it threatens to break up her own family, Ellen wrapped up in her own medical problems is practically oblivious and Håkon, the only one out of the three who actually talks to both of their parents about their own feelings.

It wasn’t a novel where I could pick a favourite character or narrative. It was one where I could see every point of view and understand what each of them was going though. Even though both Liv and Ellen did sometimes appear selfish. Especially Liv, and at times I did have a bit of sympathy for her husband Olaf. 

Many could read this book and identify with what each of the characters were feeling. At times it’s political, both American and British politics were discussed with insight given into how each could affect Norway. But it doesn’t overpower this family drama of life after divorce. It’s beautifully written and one that I would definitely choose to watch if it was ever filmed.



Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

My Review


With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is a book which you will appreciate more if you have read the earlier books in the series. Varg Veum is a character who you understand and like more if you are aware what has happened to him in the past.

He has struggled to move on after the charges of appalling crimes were dropped, both professionally and personally and he is shocked that two of the men he was charged with have died suddenly. He is also aware that somebody is following him and becomes more concerned when others he is close to are at risk.

He is a character who is completely different to many that I read about. He appears a lot more relaxed and slow to act than others but he isn’t one to give up when he doesn’t get answers straight away. Instead he persists, almost hovering in the wings until whoever he is questioning reveals their secrets, worries and anger.

What this author does so well is show what other characters other than Varg are going through. All of the characters who are connected to the historic crimes are affected by what happened. Not just the victims, the relatives and friends. It’s heart wrenching and real. One scene in particular, is very upsetting. Not because of graphic detail but the emotional distress that one character displays. And the complete lack of remorse shown by the one who should have prevented it. It is a scene where Varg shows his strengths, his expertise and caring nature whilst trying to help.

On My Life by Angela Clarke – Review – First Monday Crime.

About The Book

Jenna knows she didn’t do it. But she is running out of time to prove it… 
A heartbreaking, compulsive thriller with a killer twist! 

Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.

And the police think she did it…

Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:

Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer

But can she do it in time?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I was lucky enough to read a short sampler of this book at last years Theakston’s Crime Festival and knew that this would be a book I would enjoy. 

It was one that made me feel tense when I was reading it, not because of the crime which Jenna had been accused of, but because of what she faced in prison. The pack mentality was terrifying and very believable.

You read  briefly about what happened in the past but most of the novel takes place in the prison. Jenna is increasingly isolated. She doesn’t want people to know what she has been accused of, understandably, there are  prison officers she is wary of and most of all there is Gould. 

It is all believable, how cut backs and lack of money have created staffing problems to the extent that there is a risk to life. The overcrowding, fear, hatred, anger, the inmates who everybody finds intimidating, and also the handful of friends who try to stick together. 

I have read all of Angela’s novels and this is my favourite by a long way. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. 

Angela will be appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday 3rd June with Tim Weaver, Doug Johnstone and  Peter Hanigton.  Details can be found https://www.firstmondaycrime.com/

The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a “reward seeker,” traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America’s tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry. 

“Escape if you can.”

When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past–The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life? 

“Or die with dignity.”

Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game, risking his own life to save the victims even as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark ‘net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers and ruthless tech titans, he soon learns that he isn’t the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have never read a book by Jeffrey Deaver so when I found out that this book was the start of a new series it seemed a good one to start with. I was not disappointed, and I now have more books to read at some point in the future.

Colter was a character I liked instantly, I could tell that he was doing his job out of a desire to save a life, not just for the reward. I enjoyed the glimpses of his childhood and the survival techniques he was taught. And I liked his no mess attitude, the bravery, his use of percentages to assess a situation and his attitude when he was proven right or wrong. 

The gaming industry that is the theme in this book is one that baffles me. I don’t understand how people can sit for hours obsessed with online death or survival. And the thought of turning that online activity into reality is terrifying. I had also never given a thought to what else the gaming companies might be involved in. Something that made me more dubious about various gadgets that are in many homes.

A great start to a series, I will be looking forward to reading more about Colter in the future.