1920s · blog tour · book excerpt · book review · crime · historical fiction

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Safe Game

TheSafeGame copy

Welcome to the book tour for The Safe Game by Wes Verde. Read on for more details!

the safe game - large

The Safe Game

Publication Date: July 22nd, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Crime Thriller

New Jersey, 1928.

The Cons – Roy, Urbane, and Victoria – made a living by separating fools from their money and rarely stayed in one place for too long. Keeping food in their bellies and a roof over their heads often meant hopping from one game to the next, barely staying ahead of the law or poverty and sometimes both. That was until the day Roy – the Idea Man – thought he found a big score; one that would put the Cons on Easy Street. No more scraping by. No more hungry nights in the cold or picking pockets in desperation. Maybe even enough to get them out of this life for good. But things were never that simple. When a tragic death brings the law snooping around, the Cons find themselves running afoul of cops, gangsters, and other powerful people – ones with secrets. The Cons have gotten out of scrapes before, but their luck may soon run out and this particular game may end in luxury, a jail cell, or an early grave.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Today she was on fire. Heads started to bob and the group pressed closer, trying to get a better look at the device.

With her work done, Victoria fell quiet. The excitement of the crowd was properly kindled now. A contended grin curled up her full lips. To Urbane’s surprise, her sharp eyes suddenly found his. At first, he thought it might be a fluke. Or perhaps his supposedly concealed location had been somehow compromised. Before he could stress himself over the matter, she winked. Then, all other thoughts fled. Just as his face started to heat up, she returned her attention to Roy. It was his turn to bring it home.

“Now, I’ve been given strict instructions by Treasury Department officials to accept no less than two thousand dollars for this device,” he intoned formally.

This was met with groans of disapproval and one or two boos and justifiably so; one could buy a small house for that amount of money. It was a far higher bid than in previous towns.

Feigning surprise, the Idea Man continued. “You understand, surely, that such a sum would be recovered in a matter of weeks if the prescribed regiment is followed?”

Urbane wondered if that was right. Knowing the scam – game – he had not previously given much thought to its premise. Having lost sight of Victoria for the moment, he quickly did the math in his head and came up with about fifty days. This was with the assumption that the machine was operated every five hours… and that it was not a scam.

As one who dealt in numbers and concrete reality, this world of deception was foreign to him. How people could believe such an outlandish proposition boggled his mind. A naturally curious sort, Urb simply could not fathom the lack of such in others.

Outside, Roy let the groans begin to subside before he extended the olive branch.

“Hang on, now. Hang on. Well… it will mean some hard questions from my superiors. Maybe even some shady bookkeeping on my part. But if that is asking too much, perhaps a discount might be considered. Just for the hard working folks of Lawrence, mind you.” In a quieter voice, he added, “But I must implore you to please keep this just between us. I could go as low as twelve hundred dollars.”

Again, boos. Though, fewer than before. In the end, Roy was obliged to drop the bid twice more before a collection hat started passing around. Urb shook his head, astonished. Roy and Victoria could steer a crowd the same way he could tickle a lock or build a mechanism. For the price of a decent used car, these people had accepted this deal that should have been too good to be true – of course it was. The crowd soon divided into two factions, apparently debating how the forthcoming riches would be allocated.

One man emerged as the representative of the group, holding the collection hat. Urbane’s eyes went wide. It was more cash and coin than they had made in the past three towns put together. If properly budgeted, it could well be enough to carry them into summer. The crowd shifted and he caught sight of Victoria again. She had also glimpsed the considerable sum. Like Urb, she bit her lower lip in anticipation. Seeing the curve of her face and the swell of her hips, he nearly forgot about their windfall and most everything else for that matter.

And he was not the only one to take notice. Would-be suitors were not an uncommon issue. As a professional hazard, Victoria tended to attract male attention like iron filings to a lodestone and today was no exception.

It was a young fella. The excessively confident ones often were and Urbane frowned as this one fixed Madame Charmer in his sights. She inspired many emotions: infatuation, longing, lust. Urb was a thinking man, but after six months of living and working in close proximity, even he could not fully resist her allure. Watching others make the attempt for her affection, even knowing they were doomed to fail was not good for his heart.

Though entirely capable of rebuffing such attempts, it seemed Vic had not yet detected her latest admirer. As the young man drew closer, Urb realized too late that something was off. This fellow had none of the telltale signs of one about to ask for a date.

At the same time, another speaker fired a bombshell question directly at Roy.

“How is this not counterfeiting?”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

portrait_3_small

Wes is an engineer by trade, a busybody by habit, and a lifelong Jersey boy. Writing has been a hobby in one form or another since 2006 when he started drawing 3-panel comics. When he is not putting words down, he is picking them up; the “to-read” pile only seems to grow larger. A fan of nature, he spends as much time outside as possible. Wes Verde

My Review

The cover of this book really drew me in, and the author did a fabulous job in recreating the 1920s, both in setting and societal expectations. The main characters – Roy, Victoria, and Urbane – are three people you wouldn’t imagine ever joining forces. With such diverse backgrounds, the unifying factor is the hustle. Each, in their own way, is skilled at separating fools from their money, and as a combined force, their success should only improve. And yet, their lifestyle is a daily struggle, moving on constantly, never setting down roots, and always but always looking over their shoulders.
When it looks like a con might backfire badly, Roy has had enough. As the Idea Man, he reckons he has the perfect job for them, one which will reap the rewards they dream of and allow them to enjoy the high life of their victims for a while.
But is going back to the place where his ex-wife and children still live such a good idea? And can he really expect to keep that fact from Urb and Vic?
As their plan develops, there are side hustles to keep them going, and when one of these ends badly for Victoria, it brings the cops into the neighbourhood. Can they pull it off in time?

The story blends intrigue and romance, and a class divide that accentuates the haves from the have-nots. There are so many villains; when the cons are the good guys you know it’s a fun read.
From corrupt police to pretentious elitists, and a tribalist “union” – there’s an innocent woman killed, a slimeball killer to be unveiled, and a con to perfect.
Tension, excitement, mystery, and with the cons being such likeable characters, it’s not hard to stay invested in the story. This is a long book but the fun, risky and diverse ways of making money kept my interest. The arrival of a new cop – Willie Doyle – in the district, untainted by corruption, heightens the risks the cons must take, and it brings them closer together. I wanted them to succeed and to bring down the elitist establishment who’d had things their own way for too long.

The only downside – if it can be called such – is that I was so caught up in the cons’ lives that I forgot all about the details revealed in the prologue and so seeing those points referenced at the end came out of the blue. Nonetheless, those points are interesting in their own right and prove the research the author did to create such an evocative setting.

Book Tour Schedule

September 19th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Bonnie Reads & Writes (Review) https://bonniereadsandwrites.wordpress.com

Timeless Romance Blog (Spotlight) https://aubreywynne.com/

Stine Writing (Spotlight)  https://christinebialczak.com/

September 20th

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

@brandidanielledavis (Review) https://www.instagram.com/brandidanielledavis/

@itsabookthing2021 (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/itsabookthing2021/

@readingwithwrin (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/readingwithwrin/

September 21st

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@fle_d (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/fle_d

@jadeisreading (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/jadeisreading/

Latisha’s Low-Key Life (Spotlight) https://latishaslowkeylife.com/  

September 22nd

@louturnspages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/louturnspages/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

Bunny’s Reviews (Spotlight) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

September 23rd

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

Just 4 My Books (Review) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

 Book Reviews by Taylor (Review) https://www.bookreviewsbytaylor.com/

@mels_booksandhooks (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/mels_booksandhooks/

@calmstitchread (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/calmstitchread/

Sadie’s Spotlight (Spotlight) http://sadiesspotlight.com/

Book Tour Organized By:
R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

As always,

blog tour · book review · crime · police procedural · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Santa Killer

The Santa Killer

The Santa Killer is coming to town…

One night less than two weeks before Christmas, a single mother is violently assaulted. It’s a brutal crime at the time of year when there should be goodwill to all. When DI Barton begins his investigation, he’s surprised to find the victim is a woman with nothing to hide and no reason for anyone to hurt her.

A few days later, the mother of the woman attacked rings the police station. Her granddaughter has drawn a shocking picture. It seems she was looking out of the window when her mother was attacked. And when her grandmother asks the young girl who the person with the weapon is, she whispers two words.

Bad Santa.

The rumours start spreading, and none of the city’s women feel safe – which one of them will be next?

He’s got a list. It’s quite precise. It won’t matter even if you’re nice.

https://amzn.to/3n7JMG5

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3n7JMG5

Author Bio

Ross Greenwood is the author of crime thrillers.

Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years.

He lives in Peterborough.

Social Media Links

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rossg555/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/RossGreenwoodnews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ross-greenwood

My Review

I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series but didn’t find it an issue at all, which considering this is book six goes to show how well the author presents his characters and their backstory.
A series of attacks on women points to a workplace issue, but the attacker is dressed as Santa which ties in with another investigation into threatening letters from Santa too. The letters suggest Santa has a list, but the attacks on these women skew the investigation.
DI Barton and his team have their hands full as the two Santa threads overlap, and just when they think they have the culprit there’s another twist to the tale.
Barton is a great character, and his home life features in this story as much as his working life. The blend is well done and highlights the stresses of his role and its impact on his family life.
For me, the story sagged in the middle with one of the threads, but it gathered pace for an ending that was well worth waiting for. 

For more news and reviews,

As always,

Amazon Reviewer Name
crime · murder mystery · police procedural · R&R Book Tour stop · Spotlight

Blog Tour – A Spotlight on: Grounders

Grounder copy

Welcome to the tour for Grounders by Leonard Love Matlick.

Read on for more details!

lf

Grounders: Publication Date: April 30th, 2022

Genre: Police Procedural/ Crime Fiction

Grounders is cop slang for easy, open and solved cases. A husband kills his wife, a bar-fight with a knife or a gun, cases quickly solved in two or three days. Cops love this, and get credit for promotion for easily solving cases. In Grounders, the NYPD cops find that this murder of a cook is much more than a simple grounder. It involves the Chinese Tong gangs in NYC, Peruvian rebels who want to overthrow their government by using “magic rocks” that were left from an alien civilization like Stargate in Machu-Picchu, and a love story between a detective and a Tong leader’s granddaughter.

Grounders combines everything; murder, love, greed, drugs, and rebels amid the backdrop of detectives trying to solve a murder mystery.

Get your copy from Barnes & Noble or on Amazon!

About the Author

IG Graphic

Leonard Love Matlick is an engineer, writer, and life coach. He works designing and maintaining NYPD police precincts. He has previously published Cops lie! and The success and confidence manual.

Book Tour Schedule

July 25th R&R Book Tour (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com @itsabookthing2021 (Spotlight) http://www.instagram.com/itsabookthing2021

July 26th Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/ Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com @bookswithstacie (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/bookswithstacie/

July 27th @elinasbookstagram (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/elinasbookstagram/ Latisha’s Low-Key Life (Spotlight) https://latishaslowkeylife.com/ Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

July 28th @readwithemstar (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/readwithemstar/ Freelance Writer, Janny C (Spotlight) https://freelancewriterjannyc.com/ @gryffindorbookishnerd (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

July 29th Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/ Haddie’s Haven (Spotlight) https://haddieshaven.blogspot.com Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com @mels_booksandhooks (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/mels_booksandhooks/

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

blog tour · book review · crime · historical fiction · mystery

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Twelve Nights

Tour Banner Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham
Twelve Nights

Twelve Nights

The TheatreLondon, 1592

When a player is murdered, suspicion falls on the wardrobe mistress, Magdalen Bisset, because everyone knows poison is a woman’s weapon. The scandal-pamphlets vilify her. The coroner is convinced of her guilt.

Magdalen is innocent, although few are willing to help her prove it. Her much-loved grandmother is too old and sick. Will Shakespeare is benignly detached, and her friend Christopher Marlowe is wholly unreliable. Only one man offers his assistance, but dare she trust him when nothing about him rings true?

With just two weeks until the inquest, Magdalen ignores anonymous threats to ‘leave it be’, and delves into the dangerous underworld of a city seething with religious and racial tension. As time runs out, she must risk everything in her search for the true killer – for all other roads lead to the gallows.

Twelve Nights Book Cover.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Twelve-Nights-Heavenly-Charmers-Book-ebook/dp/B09ZRPGZL8/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Nights-Heavenly-Charmers-Book-ebook/dp/B09ZRPGZL8/

Author Bio

I was born and raised in Yorkshire where my father inspired my love of history from an early age. He is a born story teller and would take us to the top of Iron Age hillforts, often as dusk was falling, and regale us with stirring tales of battles lost and won. Not surprisingly, I went on to study Classics at university, and still love spending my summers on archaeological digs. For me, there is nothing more thrilling than finding an artefact that has not seen the light of day for thousands of years. I find so much inspiration for my novels from archaeology.

I have had a variety of jobs over the years, including working for the British Forces newspaper in Germany, and at the BBC. When our family was little, the only available space for me to write was a small walk-in wardrobe. The children used to say, ‘oh, mum’s in the cupboard again’.

I have written four historical novels: The King’s Daughter explores the story of Aethelflaed, the Lady of the Mercians. The Saxon Wolves and the Saxon Plague are both set in fifth century AD, a time of enormous upheaval and uncertainty in Britain as the Romans departed and the Saxon era began. My latest is something a bit different. Twelve Nights is a crime thriller set in sixteenth century London, and features William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.

I now live with my husband in the Hampshire countryside. Like many others during the pandemic, we decided to try growing our own fruit and vegetables – with mixed results! We can only get better!

Social Media Links

Facebook: Penny Ingham Author Page | Facebook

Instagram: Penny Ingham (@penny.ingham)

Twitter: Penny Ingham (@pennyingham) / Twitter

Website: Penny Ingham (wordpress.com)

Giveaway to Win a PB copy of Twelve Nights (Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Rafflecopter Link

My Review

As historical fiction goes, Twelve Nights is rich in detail, both regarding the setting but also the mood that conveys the strong – and menacing – anti-Papist vibe of the era. It’s a dangerous time to be Catholic … and a woman, it seems. Pestilence and poverty are rife, and the injustice of the class system is never more visible.
As mysteries go, the story has a solid and intriguing plot in which you easily root for Magdalen Bisset for whom a death sentence looms large after a friend – a player – dies at the theatre in her arms. She’s innocent, we all know that, but the case builds against her for two reasons. Firstly, because she’s a woman – and poison is the instrument of female killers – and by virtue of her job at the theatre she was there when the first man died. Tenuous? These days, yes, but back then people were hanged for such flimsy claims. Of course, the second reason is yet more disagreeable since the officer charging her with murder is acting mainly from spite, his “charms” spurned years ago by Magdalen’s grandmother.
Fascinating, isn’t it?
With Shakespeare and Marlowe in the mix, competing for recognition and audience, Magdalen is friends with both men. They come across as self-centred men, hell-bent on their own goals, yet there are touching moments of support from both – even if one of them takes that support too far in Magdalen’s eyes.
While she tries to find who killed her friend, she has to live through hostility from her landlady, unwanted advances of her landlord, all while trying to keep a roof over her head and that of her grandmother who is in the throes of dementia and very unpredictable. Notes warning her to stop pursuing her investigations fail to discourage her, though the fear is very real.
As if that was not enough, a possible love interest rocks her world and she sees her grandmother incarcerated for attending a Catholic Mass. Regardless, she battles on to find the killer … but the outcome of her quest only gives way to a much bigger – and more damaging – truth.
The story is resolved in part and leaves the way open for a sequel that I’ll be keen to check out when the times comes.

For more news and reviews,

As always,

blog tour · book review · crime · Female sleuths · France · mystery · Spain

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Five Dead Men

Five Dead Men

When the bodies of five men are discovered in a secret vault at the villa Belle Époque, suspicion falls upon the villa’s former owner, enigmatic Pascal Deveraux.

Actor, gambler, general good-for-nothing – Pascal has lived a life of privilege and excess. But with no evidence to implicate him in murder, the case goes unsolved.

Called in to investigate the cold case, it’s not long before Margot’s enquiries re-open old wounds. Aided by policière municipale, Alia Leon, the investigation moves swiftly from the smugglers’ trails of the Pyrenees to the cannabis clubs of Barcelona. And it’s there, in the dark medieval streets of the city’s Gothic Quarter, that someone finds a reason to silence her.

Purchase Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09NK367Q7

Author Bio

Rachel Green is the pen name of a writer from the UK. Rachel has twice been longlisted for both the Bath Novel Award and the BPA First Novel Award, as well as being on the shortlist for the Capital Crime New Voices Award. Rachel lives in a tiny village in England, but travels frequently to the south of France where the stories from the Madame Renard Investigates series are set

Social Media Links

www.rachelgreenauthor.com

https://twitter.com/AuthorRachelG

https://www.instagram.com/authorrachelg/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelG

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rachel-green?follow=true

My Review

I must admit in advance to not having read the first book in the series but, for the most part, that wasn’t a major issue.

Margot has been asked by Judge Deveraux to look into a matter relating to a family property – Belle Epoque – and the disturbing case of five dead men being found in an underground tunnel beneath the grounds. (At this point, I didn’t yet know of Margot’s background, only that her husband had been a police detective, so I did wonder why Margot was chosen to investigate matters)
Anyway, that aside, Margot stays in the area and is eventually invited to stay at the home of policière municipale, Alia, and her father, Didier (also a former police officer), and together they look into the mystery. No-one was ever caught, and the discovery of the bodies has left an indelible stain on the property which is now left vacant by its former owners (whose plans to redesign the grounds led to the finding of the bodies in the first place).

Several years have since passed, and the case has gone cold, the bodies still unidentified. That doesn’t deter Margot, who is intrigued and determined to get to the bottom of things. With Alia and Didier, and one of Alia’s friends, they find themselves with some leads – the main one being Pascal Deveraux who grew up at Belle Epoque with his sister.
Pascal is an odd chap, the kind who’d make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, but there is no evidence to conclusively tie him to the murders. Even so, you get this feeling that he had to be involved somehow.
Margot feels much the same, and she won’t rest until she knows for sure what happened. Well, rather her than me, because he really has a creepy, smug vibe about him.
So, just imagine how Margot feels when he turns up unexpectedly when she’s in Barcelona following a lead in a cannabis club.
Too much of a coincidence, right?
Absolutely, and that glimmer of an opportunity to catch Pascual out is what lands Margot in deep, deep trouble.
Has she got it all wrong, or will she finally be the one to catch the killer of those five dead men?

The story is atmospheric in its settings, from the rural French countryside to the seedy backstreets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, the tension mounts incredibly towards the story’s conclusion – it’s a breathless race to the end, dangerous and heart-breaking for those close to the action.

The characterisation is sublime, from the crotchety gardener and housekeeper to the “unsettling” Deveraux siblings. Alia and Didier appear to have a wonderful father/daughter relationship, but a surprising twist changes that dynamic and Margot is pivotal in steering Alia towards leading her own life; their interactions are touching and, hopefully, long-lasting.

Now that I fully understand Margot’s history, I hope there is more to come from her. She’s a fierce femme fatale, definitely someone not to be messed with.

For more news and reviews:

As always,

book review · crime · police procedural

Book Review – 20/20

Can you see a killer before it’s too late?

On the first day of her new job, D.I. Eva Harris is called to the scene of a brutal murder at the heart of Surrey society. A shocking crime by a meticulous killer – who escaped with the victim’s eyes.

With the body drained of blood and no forensic evidence left at the scene, Harris’ efforts to find the killer becomes desperate. But as her investigation is complicated by corruption at the heart of the police, she doesn’t know who to trust on her own team.

As the pressure mounts, Eva realises the murder is even more horrific than it seems, and her own dreadful history threatens to be drawn out with it…

A dark and compulsive detective novel, for fans of Chris Carter and M.W Craven.

My thoughts

I expected to love this book, and at first I did enjoy it … but then the excessive technical terms distracted me from the story. I realise some background to the eye condition was necessary but it was too much for me and it affected the pacing – and my interest – considerably, becoming more textbook-like than fiction.

Eva is a strong and determined character who has few qualms in doing whatever is necessary to achieve a goal, and she seems to have a wide knowledge of almost anything, from art to film to string theory. She’s also incredibly “busy” – in this book alone there are many mysteries and crimes to be solved – two serial killers and several “mob” gangs that ultimately amount to at least four cases to crack. She is constantly under pressure and the tension is paramount, the pacing does increase substantially and the final scene is good but maybe not what I expected or felt was worthy of Eva’s story.

Fans of gritty and disturbing murder mysteries will enjoy this.

As always,

blog tour · book review · comedy · crime · Nordic

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Rabbit Factor

An insurance mathematician’s carefully ordered life is turned on its head when he unexpectedly loses his job and inherits an adventure park … with a whole host of problems. A quirky, tense and warmly funny thriller from award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen.

What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.

And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.

But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…

Warmly funny, rich with quirky characters and absurd situations, The Rabbit Factor is a triumph of a dark thriller, its tension matched only by its ability to make us rejoice in the beauty and random nature of life.

“It contains all the main elements of a dark crime/comedy mixed with a peculiar love story that is destined to move and engage the audience. Fans of the Finnish author’s previous work should definitely read this one and the same goes to all those who love quirky crime novels with unique characterization. I will be eagerly waiting for the second installment in the series.” Tap the Line

“Full of refreshing wit and wisdom, this comic departure from the usual Scandi noir is a treat.” — Publishers Weekly starred review

‘Laconic, thrilling and warmly human. In these uncertain times, what better hero than an actuary?’ —Chris Brookmyre

‘The funniest writer in Europe, and one of the very finest. There is a beautiful rhythm and poetry to the prose … original and brilliant story-telling’ —Helen FitzGerald

You don’t expect to laugh when you’re reading about terrible crimes, but that’s what you’ll do when you pick up one of Tuomainen’s decidedly quirky thrillers’ —New York Times

The Rabbit Factor is a triumph, a joyous, feel-good antidote to troubled times‘ —Kevin Wignall

The Rabbit Factor is an astounding read. It has the suspenseful twists of a thriller, the laugh-out-loud moments of a comedy and a tragic dimension that brings a tear to the eye’ —Crime Fiction Lover

‘Antti Tuomainen turns the clichéd idea of dour, humourless Scandi noir upside down with The Rabbit Factor. Dark, gripping and hilarious … Tuomainen is the Carl Hiaasen of the fjords‘ —Martyn Waites

‘British readers might think they know what to expect from Nordic noir: a tortured detective, a bleak setting, a brutal crime that shakes a small community. Finnish crime novelist Tuomainen turns all of this on its head … The ear of a giant plastic rabbit becomes a key weapon. It only gets darker and funnier’ —Guardian

‘The antic novels of Antti Tuomainen prove that comedy is not lost in translation … Tuomainen, like Carl Hiaasen before him, has the knack of combining slapstick with genuine emotion‘ —The Times

About the author & translator

Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards. Palm Beach Finland was an immense success, with Marcel Berlins (The Times) calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’. Little Siberia (2020), was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger, the Amazon Publishing/Capital Crime Awards and the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award, and won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. The Rabbit Factor (2021), the first book in Antti’s first ever series, is in production by Amazon Studios with Steve Carell starring. The Moose Paradox, book two in the series is out in 2022.

David Hackston is a British Translator of Finnish and Swedish literature and drama. Notable publications include The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy, Maria Peura’s coming-of-age novel At the Edge of Light, Johanna Sinisalo’s eco-thriller Birdbrain, two crime novels by Matti Joensuu and Kati Hiekkapelto’s Anna Fekete series (which currently includes The HummingbirdThe Defenceless and The Exiled, all published by Orenda Books). He also translates Antti Tuomainen’s stories. In 2007 he was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Translation. David is also a professional countertenor and a founding member of the English Vocal Consort of Helsinki. Follow David on Twitter @Countertenorist

My Review

Hmm, how to define this: to say it’s not your typical Nordic crim novel would be a massive understatement. I don’t generally find much to laugh about in such novels, but The Rabbit Factor is funny, quirky, heart-warming and a crime novel.

Henri Koskinen is the most unlikely man to run an adventure park (not an amusement park, as he will tell you frequently), he’s even less likely to kill someone. He’s an actuary! A numbers man. Not a killer. And you probably wouldn’t expect a romantic encounter either … so, be warned – nothing here is as it seems at first glance!

The story starts with Henri “quitting” his job because he cannot live with all the team-building and jargon-busting changes brought in by his boss. Faced with a choice of sitting in a basement office, poring over old accounts, or being more of a team player, he quits. The laws of probability comfort him, he’s certain he’ll find a new job within days.

And he does, just not in insurance. A lawyer advises him of his brother’s death and the inheritance of YouMeFun, an expansive adventure park. With no other plans holding him back, Henri visits the park and meets the staff – a motley crew of individuals who keep the park ticking over, and they’re not doing a bad job as visitor numbers prove. So why does the park have so many debts? What was his brother involved in? Henri’s questions are answered when two men (thugs) visit the park to inform him of his brother’s substantial debts, debts which they say have now passed to him.

As you might expect, Henri is not too happy about this, nor about the consequences of not paying. His only option is to devise a way to repay the money – hey presto, Mr Actuary comes up with a money laundering plan that should in theory pay the debts and enable him to keep the park going. You see, he’s grown rather fond of the park, and of one staff member in particular.

The plan is launched and the waiting game for the payoff begins … Henri’s new life couldn’t be farther removed from his old one. But does it pay the dividends expected of it? Can Henri truly fit into this new lifestyle, dodging gangster-type thugs and following his brother’s wish to keep the park business afloat? Well, that would be telling … as there is way more involved that Henri could possibly have calculated, suggesting there is more to life than the numbers in his spreadsheet.

The story is engaging, amusing, awkward and complex – an original crime novel from start to finish. Highly recommended.

PS – the translation is amazing, seamless, and effortlessly easy to read without losing any of the author’s voice.

As always,

blog tour · book review · cosy · crime · mystery · series

Blog tour ‘n’ Book Review – Murder at the Summer Fete

Murder At The Summer Fete

A fete worse than death…

After finding the killer of Lucy Roth six months ago, life has settled back to normal for bookshop owner, Nancy Hunter, and her grandmother, Jane. The annual Dedley End village fete is just around the corner, and Nancy is delighted when bestselling author, Thomas Green, agrees to launch his first new novel in ten years there.

But then a series of sinister events lead Nancy to realise someone is trying to sabotage their fete, so she, along with Jane and their journalist friend Jonathan, must turn detective to discover who isn’t at all thrilled about the return of Thomas Green.

When a body is discovered at the summer fete, the death scene mirroring that in Thomas’ latest bestseller, they realise that there’s another killer in Dedley End, but can they outsmart someone who appears to have pulled off the perfect crime?

The clues are right under Nancy and Jane’s noses, if only they can find them. Because the answers to life’s questions can always be found in a book…!

A twisty, unputdownable cozy mystery that fans of Richard Osman, S.J. Bennett and The Marlow Murder Club will love.

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/3HE7928

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3JLSUtX

Apple: https://apple.co/3zDUyte

Author Bio

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. She’s the author of the bestselling GLENDALE HALL series, which continues with its third book HOPEFUL HEARTS at GLENDALE HALL in September, as well as two other standalone novels – SUMMER at the KINDNESS CAFE, and THE SECOND LOVE of my LIFE. She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for two RNA awards. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star, and her books have won wide reader acclaim.

Victoria is a full-time author. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry, and loves books, clothes, music, going out for tea and cake, and posting photos on Instagram.

Find out more about Victoria by following on Instagram at @vickyjwalters, on Twitter at @Vicky_Walters or by visiting her blog at:https://victoria-writes.com/

My Review

It was wonderful to return to Dedley End and the bookshop run by Nancy and her grandmother, Jane. Since last we met, after the murder up at the house on the hill, life in the village has returned to its normal tranquillity. In fact, for both Nancy and Jane, things are a little too quiet which is why they have invested so much time and effort into the upcoming summer fete. Having arranged for a very successful crime writer to launch his latest book at the fete, the level of excitement and anticipation is high. Author Thomas Green grew up in a nearby village before getting an agent and a book deal in London.

What Nancy and Jane, and best friend Jonathan don’t realise is that Thomas Green’s return will not be so widely welcomed, especially among those who knew him in his younger days. Green is reluctant to talk about those days too, which begs the question why.

It takes an act of “vandalism” and threats to spark the sleuths’ interest in Green’s background, but not even they are ready to see another case of murder in Dedley End.

As before, the relationship between the main characters is endearing as are their endeavours to get to the bottom of things. At the outset I thought I knew the motive for the murder but the case almost seemed to be resolved … until Nancy feels the same sense of unease at justice not really having been done and so, encouraged by Jane and Jonathan, she digs further … and finds the real reason behind it. I’m glad to say my initial deductions were correct, and I applaud the author for making me second guess myself. The twisty nature of solving the crime was most enjoyable (and not just because I was proved right 🙂 )

The author picks up the trail of information we learned in book one about the culprit behind Nancy’s father’s death and now the story takes another personal twist in delivery Nancy another mystery, this time to do with her mother who left the family home when Nancy was very young. The author combines well Nancy’s personal family history with mysteries in Dedley End and that combination makes for an interesting, yet fun read, but also leaves me wanting more.

I’ll be looking out for the next book in the series.

For more news and reviews,

As always,

cosy · cover reveal · crime · mystery · series

Cover Reveal – Murder at the Summer Fete

Are you ready to return to Dedley End? I know I am. Murder at The House on the Hill was one of my favourite reads in 2021, a cosy mystery in essence but with a modern vibe. Consequently, I am so delighted to reveal the cover for book two in The Dedley End Mysteries by Victoria Walker … and here it is:

A fete worse than death…

After finding the killer of Lucy Roth six months ago, life has settled back to normal for bookshop owner, Nancy Hunter, and her grandmother, Jane. The annual Dedley End village fete is just around the corner, and Nancy is delighted when bestselling author, Thomas Green, agrees to launch his first new novel in ten years there.

But then a series of sinister events lead Nancy to realise someone is trying to sabotage their fete, so she, along with Jane and their journalist friend Jonathan, must turn detective to discover who isn’t at all thrilled about the return of Thomas Green.

When a body is discovered at the summer fete, the death scene mirroring that in Thomas’ latest bestseller, they realise that there’s another killer in Dedley End, but can they outsmart someone who appears to have pulled off the perfect crime?

The clues are right under Nancy and Jane’s noses, if only they can find them. Because the answers to life’s questions can always be found in a book…!

A twisty, unputdownable cozy mystery that fans of Richard Osman, S.J. Bennett and The Marlow Murder Club will love.

Praise for Victoria Walters’ Dedley End Mysteries cozy crime series:

Superb sleuthing! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Dedley End and can’t wait to go back!’ Heidi Swain, author of Underneath the Christmas Tree

‘Such a fab book – really puts the cosy in cosy crime!’ M. A. Kuzniar, author of Midnight in Everwood

‘This is a brilliant ‘whodunnit’ which gave me some serious Miss Marple feels… it’s absolutely brilliant and a pleasure to read’ Head in a Book18

‘I loved this brilliant cozy read… it felt very Christie-esque. Nancy and Jane were fab, I loved their relationship. And I can’t wait for more.’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

‘Even gave me some Murder, she wrote vibes… I truly enjoyed reading this funny, cosy mystery’ Tizi’s Book Review

‘What an absolute delight this was to read… I was still guessing whodunnit until the end.’ Wrong Side of Forty UK

‘A delightful detective duo, a charming and clever cosy mystery.’ Diane Jeffrey, author of The Silent Friend

‘A cosy, satisfying and enjoyable murder mystery full of intrigue… and even better, with a bookshop too!’ Ella Allbright, author of The Last Charm

The book is available to preorder now with a release date of 17th March 2022. I’m in … are you?

As always,

book review · cosy · crime · recommended

Book Review – The Appeal

IN A TOWN FULL OF SECRETS
SOMEONE WAS MURDERED.
SOMEONE WENT TO PRISON.
AND EVERYONE’S A SUSPECT.
CAN YOU UNCOVER THE TRUTH?

Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.

Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.

Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.

Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?

The standout debut thriller of 2021 that delivers multiple brilliant twists, and will change the way you think about the modern crime novel. 

Purchase link: Amazon UK

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia and South Korea. A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and co-wrote the feature film Retreat, a psychological thriller starring Cillian Murphy, Thandiwe Newton and Jamie Bell. The Appeal is her first novel.

My Review

Five Fabulous Stars

To say this book is unconventional in its format might make a reader walk away. If that’s you, then stop! Come back! I thought the same. A story told through emails, text messages, sticky notes and legal documents sounds like a lot of work for the reader, but it quickly becomes all-engrossing to the extent that you won’t be able to read one more message, then another and another until you’re so far in the only way out is by reading on.

It surprised me too. I’d seen so many dazzling reviews; they couldn’t all be wrong. And, trust me, they weren’t.

This witty thriller is giving Richard Osmond’s Thursday Murder Club a run for its money in the cosy crime stakes, as it continues to charm readers. Hallett’s debut, set in a sleepy town where an am-dram production of All My Sons is in the works, is funny and full of twists. Amateur sleuths and thespians alike will love it ― Evening Standard

This ingeniously conceived whodunnit encourages the reader to turn detective in a murder case set against the backdrop of an amateur dramatic club. Brain-twistingly clever ― Metro

[A] daring debut… Hallett will soon have you laughing out loud… The Appeal is clever and funny ― The Times


From the book’s description you learn that someone has been murdered and everyone is a suspect. Now, together with law students Femi and Charlotte, you get the chance to put the pieces together to find out what happened. Go!

The story runs alongside the performance of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons by an amateur dramatics group. Newcomers to the village are persuaded to attend the casting auditions as a way to get to know everyone. But before the casting is even decided, it’s revealed that the director’s granddaughter has brain cancer and treatment, although experimental, is only available in the US. Instantly, the group make plans to raise the necessary funds as they rehearse and perform the play. It’s the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child.
The family are the linchpin of the village, the people “you want to know” and by whom you want to be accepted. Being in that inner circle is, for many, a privilege, and offering to help with the fundraising a means to gain recognition with the “powers that be”.

The newcomers, however, do not have that sense of needing to be accepted and, perhaps, are the best eyes through which to watch events play out. They are encouraged to participate by Izzy, who for some reason has attached herself to them like a limpet, often volunteering to be a go-between for them. Izzy is hugely unaware of her “standing” within the community, and it seems ignorant of how she is perceived by others. Her actions are deeply amusing and sad. She seems to be super generous and thoughtful whilst also verging on annoying – you know the type, right? For me, she is a key character in bringing out the true personality of other characters. Their “tolerance” of her varies, creating some laugh-out-loud moments but not without episodes of cringeworthy desperation and frustration. What amazed me was how the author was able to bring out so many personality traits in the characters’ messages – from the straightforward, no nonsense tactlessness of some to the almost hero-worshipping of others. So refreshingly creative and effective. I couldn’t quite believe how absorbed I became in this story. Amid a tale of a family facing the ultimate challenge in saving the life of a young child to rumours of wrongdoings in Africa, it all comes together beautifully.

Without any spoilers, this is one very clever cosy mystery: witty, poignant, delightfully addictive, hugely satisfying, and (for once I’ll say this myself) unputdownable! I’ve already got the author’s next book on my Kindle and cannot wait for the right kind of rainy day to settle down and get stuck in. Easily one of my favourite books this year.

Enjoy!

As always,