Last Seen by Joy Kluver – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

I can see her, shouting with laughter as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. I can feel her tiny hot hand in mine, and my heart aches. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.  

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village seems to care that Molly is missing at all. Why?

And then Bernie makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls, and just when they think they’re making progress a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Can Bernie outwit the most warped criminal she has ever faced and bring Molly home safe, or will another innocent life be lost? 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Last Seen is an interesting debut novel which introduces the reader to Bernie and her team. Soon after attending the funeral of her beloved ’Pops’ Bernie has to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, Molly, from a play area. You would expect the local community to help with finding her but there is reluctance from the locals. The reasons why are revealed further into the novel but this is a close knit community and like many they don’t like questions, they are loyal and there are a lot of memories. I could understand how frustrating this was for Bernie and her team.

Bernie is new to the area, she relocated from the MET Police for reasons unspecified but the disappearance of Molly is putting her in the spotlight. Something which she is trying to avoid. The loss of Pops, not really knowing the local area and receiving  what could be a threatening card adds to her worry. Not to mention having to work with a new colleague who she can’t make her mind up about. 

One of the strengths of this novel is how long it seemed to take for the team to get their answers. It showed that not every case is fast moving and even though only a few days had gone they all felt the exhaustion and frustration and were fully aware that they needed to get a breakthrough. 

Little is revealed about most of them, including Bernie. Even though I liked her a lot, I felt I only knew her as a police officer. I wanted to know more about her life outside of the job. I expect that more will be revealed further into the series as she settles into her new life. I know that many series are similar and this isn’t a criticism but she seemed to be somebody I would like to know in real life. I am looking forward to learning more about all of them in book two.

Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Megan has to climb round and step across the body to get a proper view. What’s left is like a chalk white mask in the rough shape of a face. The innocence is still there, and a hint of the cheekiness. But perhaps she is imagining that.

Detective Megan Thomas moved to Devon for a fresh start, after years spent undercover. She’s staying with her sister and swimming in the sea daily, battling the tides and letting the waves wash her past away. But she can’t outrun everything.

On her first day back, she’s called to a murder. The body lies deep in an underground bunker, and when Megan forces herself to look, it triggers a panic attack. As her heart races and her breathing stalls, she realises she’s not sure if she can go back to life in a regular crime unit. Her memories are too powerful to be buried – maybe too powerful to let her do her job.

But when another body is found on the stretch of beach where she swims every day, Megan remembers why she joined the force, and what she’s fighting for. The victim came to the police for help, and Megan knows they failed her. She won’t rest until she gets answers. But how can she find justice for others, when she’s no longer sure of herself?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. It’s quite a while since I’ve read a book by an author I have read before and it was a pleasure to read book one in this new series by Susan Wilkins. Her previous series featuring Kaz Phillips was one that I enjoyed so had high expectations for this. I wasn’t disappointed, if anything it is better.

I liked Megan immediately, her interactions with her co- workers Vish and Brittany felt realistic. Her acceptance that with being older she was a little ‘out of the loop’ but she was good with them. Encouraging, supportive and a refusal to let them take the flack for her mistakes.

The reader is aware that she faced a life changing end to her previous role as an undercover officer. They are aware that she was lucky to survive, even though she had been left with some mental scarring. But that is all, nothing else is revealed apart from a fear of rats. I liked this, I expect that more will be revealed later in the series, as she gets to know her team more. 

I felt that whilst the two cases being investigated at the beginning it’s only in the second half of the book that they have more focus. They are there, but you see more about how the various team members interact with each other. You also see Megan’s sessions with her councillor, and the importance of her family. 

A very character driven novel, with some that I loved to hate. I’m looking forward to reading more.

Knock Knock by Chris Merritt – Review.

About The Book

Natasha Mayston wasn’t expecting anyone to knock on her door so late at night. And she has no idea that the face staring back at her is the last one she’ll ever see…

As Detective Dan Lockhart is called to a wealthy London street to investigate Natasha’s death, he’s startled by the similarity to a previous case. Noticing the cable-tie restraints and the tiny scratches on Natasha’s wedding finger, Dan already knows what he will find if he looks in her mouth – the metal ball which choked her to death. He knows Natasha isn’t the killer’s first victim and is certain that he will strike again.

Months earlier, Kim Hardy was found in the same position in a run-down hotel across the city – an identical silver ball in her throat. But Kim’s murderer was caught and sent to prison – did they arrest the wrong man? And what connects the two victims? Fearing that he’s dealing with a psychopathic serial killer, Dan calls in psychologist Dr Lexi Green to help him to get into the perpetrator’s mind. Tough and smart, Lexi will stop at nothing to hunt down the man responsible for the deaths.

Then, another body is discovered, just as Lexi finds a clue online leading to the killer. Dan’s team aren’t convinced, but in pushing Lexi away from the investigation, they force her to dig further into the case on her own. Convinced that she’s on to something, she puts herself in unthinkable danger… but can Dan piece together the clues and identify the killer before it’s too late?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I often read a novel by an author I hadn’t heard of before and wonder how I’ve missed them. This is one of those situations. I thought this book, the start of a new series was fabulous.

There was the police team, ex military SIO Dan Lockhart, who was trying to deal with the worry over his missing wife. Smith, who I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of. Khan, who it would be easy to dislike because of his self infatuation but I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Berry, mainly desk and quieter than some but I still liked her. And finally there was Lexi Green, Dan’s therapist who he has recruited hoping she could help. I felt that whilst this book focused mainly on the investigation there were would be a chance to get to know more about them all in future novels.

It was unusual to be introduced to the victims before they met the killer, I felt the impact more and also that I knew more about them than the police. I saw their fear and their pain and it was a strange feeling but, more unusual was that it is a long time since I have been so fascinated yet repulsed by what a killer was thinking. And I have never at the same time sensed a vulnerability and a feeling of hurt from more than just the victim. 

I was absolutely hooked on the storyline, Chris Merritt is a master at red herrings. There wasn’t a male character who I didn’t suspect and I lost count of the number of times that I though I had solved it. 

This is a series where I can’t wait to see the next book in the series, hope I don’t have to wait long. 

The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell – Blog Tour Review.


About the Book

Canada, present day

When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells-Next-The-Sea. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent.

Norfolk, 1940

Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.

But the tragedy of war brings heartbreaking choices. And a promise made between the two women will echo down the years, and could change everything for Martha…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Lost Letters is a dual time line novel that mainly takes place in 1940s London and Norfolk in the 1940s and modern-day.
Martha has arrived in Norfolk to try to find out more about her recently deceased father. She is a lonely figure, missing her father, divorced with a daughter who is at university in Cambridge and who has no time to talk to her and a sister who she has a slightly strange relationship with.
Sylvie in the 1940s has a different lifestyle in some ways. She has wonderful friends in Connie and Elsie but her marriage is a lonely one at times and a relationship from when she was younger causes problems for her. I loved seeing her friendship with both Connie and Elsie grow into something special.
It is a slightly slow novel to begin with, not a bad thing, these characters take a while to get to know. Usually in a dual time line novel I prefer one to the other but here I liked both equally. The 1940s felt like the author had personal knowledge, from family stories passed down, or had done a lot of research into local history. I felt that one part in particular, from early on in the war was a true event.
I became more intrigued in the modern-day story as the novel progressed and the knowledge about what happened increased. The final quarter of the novel was at times emotional to read. I can’t imagine what families went through, having to say goodbye and not knowing what the future may bring. I knew about children being evacuated but had no idea that they went so far away from home.
A lovely emotional novel from an author I would happily read again.

The Lost Letters - Blog Tour

Cross Your Heart by Kierney Scott – Blog Tour Review.


About the Book

Blinking her eyes open, she looks around the room, taking in the bed and the wardrobe full of clothes she’s never seen before. This isn’t her bedroom. Those aren’t her clothes. She begins to cry as she wonders if she’ll ever see her own home again.

Three young girls are missing. All of them cold cases. All of them forgotten. But when Detective Jess Bishop identifies a disturbing link between them, she’s determined to find out what happened, and fights to re-open their cases.

At the scene of each abduction the kidnapper left a clue – a small bag of candy – in place of the missing child.

And then a fourth child is taken. Eight-year-old Ava is snatched from her hospital bed and when a bag of candy is found in her room, Jessica knows it’s the same kidnapper.

As the pressure to solve the case pushes Jess and her team to breaking point, Jess takes a personal risk she fears she’ll live to regret. But she has no choice.

Out of hospital, Ava can only get sicker: Jess is running out of time. Can she find Ava before it’s too late?

My Review

Despite not reading book one, I was instantly gripped by this novel and I connected with the characters immediately. Jess suffered a serious injury before this book begins and is desperate to return to work. Her relationship with her previous partner, Jamieson, is also damaged and she has a new partner Chan who is the flirt in the team. He tries to use his charms on every female he talks to. It’s not annoying, it is just a little lightheartedness and shows the differences between the team in the way they react to him. Apart from her injury and new partnership I didn’t notice any spoilers so I am happy to read the previous book soon.
I liked Jess a lot. She had a troubled family history, I hope that more will be revealed about this, either in the earlier book or  in the books to come. She has a slightly dubious way of coping with things that are troubling her. Everybody in the team knows about it, frown upon it but let her get on with it.  I admired her resolve, laughed at her put downs towards Chan and wished that she would let friends help her.
The storyline could be a tough one to read but the author does a brilliant job of making it acceptable rather than gratuitous. Parts of it made me emotional, parts of it made me angry. Parts of the storyline covered events that should never happen but do, repeatedly.
I am looking forward to reading more in this series, I liked the characters and want to see how they develop in future novels. And I want to see how they cope after the events in this book.

Cross Your Heart - Blog Tour